I hope all of you got through April Fools with ease! As a past teacher, I dreaded the day. Luckily it normally landed on spring break but when it didn’t, I always felt extra cautious!
When I started this blog over a year ago (it was then My People in History), I didn’t really know what to expect. I got the blogging idea after searching for people’s opinions on some genealogy education I was looking into and found a LOT of genealogy blogs. I decided to participate and created my blog with the intention of discussing going from a hobbyist to a professional as well as a place to record my own family history.
What I didn’t expect was the “cousin bait.” If you’re unfamiliar with this term, “cousin bait” is what bloggers use to describe some or all of their blog posts about their ancestors. The hope is that other “cousins” looking for the same relative will stumble upon your blog and connect with you.
All of us have a very LARGE extended family with many 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. cousins. So why didn’t I expect to this? Well, I come from a very small family. I mean small – I have three sets of aunts and uncles and five first cousins. That’s it – just five. The closest cousin in age to me is nearly ten years older than me too, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t know my cousins very well. I assumed then that I just had a small family even though I knew my paternal grandmother came from a large family and my maternal grandfather came from a large family. My maternal grandfather’s siblings I did know (my aunt Betty is one of them) but I can’t really remember meeting a lot of my mom’s cousins. I didn’t meet any of my paternal grandmother’s siblings (that I know of anyway) and although I probably met some of my dad’s cousins from that side, I couldn’t tell you who.
So, when I began searching in to my family and discovered just how large it really was, I was astounded! Then, when I started getting emails, I was elated! By far, this blog has brought me (and my dad) closer to family members we never knew existed. In fact, many cousins even went to the same school around the same time period as my dad but he didn’t know about them. How amazing is that?
I mentioned before that I recently met a Raifsnider cousin (my paternal grandmother’s mother’s family that my dad knew nothing about) and this week I “met” some Hummel cousins! Pictures and stories were shared and I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything that has happened! I am going home for the holiday this weekend and I cannot wait to share this with my dad!
The Hummel side is my grandmother Mary’s family. I can’t fully describe how much I miss that woman although I think I’ve mentioned it a few times on this blog. My grandmother meant the world to me and even though I was only 17 at the time she died, my world fell apart a bit at her death. It’s been 15 years since she passed but I still cry whenever I talk about her and not a day goes by when I don’t wish she was here. I wish she could have known me as an adult, see what I’ve done, met my husband, traveled to my home. This wonderful woman even taught me to love my family history. This past week with all these new stories about “Aunt Mary” have been amazing. In my own way, I do genealogy to feel closer to her and this last week made that even more clear.
So if you’ve ever wondered about starting your own family history blog but wasn’t quite sure what it could bring you, let me tell you that it’s absolutely worth it because of the amazing connections you can make!
If you have any wonderful cousin bait stories, please share below!
Happy hunting everyone 🙂