My ancestors in the United States, at least those born prior to 1930, were relatively easy to find (sorry for the unintended pun). That is because until the 1930's or so, family members grew up to live near family members, thus limiting the number of different locations in which to look. After the 1930's, however, people started to stretch across the country. First we had relatives move from Luzerne County, PA to the Chicago area. Others migrated to Niagara County, NY. Over time the distances between relatives grew to Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, and then to Houston and Virginia. With the time that has passed and the distance that has grown, keeping up with my immediate family was rather tough, let alone keeping up with cousins I'd known or meeting cousins I hadn't. This was a big country, after all.
Until the Internet came along. The Internet gives a whole new meaning to the song "It's a Small World After All". Since beginning my genealogical journey I have been able to reconnect with old friends and cousins. Through my Internet adventures here on my blogs, at RootsWeb.com, at Ancestry.com, and through Facebook, I have gained family connections that I hope make my ancestors proud, as second cousins and third cousins three times removed have managed to "meet" and become friends.
This evening I went to the post office to check my PO Box, which I took out after a recent move. As I was walking to my box I was suddenly struck with a blast of sadness as something there ... I don't even know what ... made me think of dad. I had to brush away a tear and I didn't quite know what set it off. But alas, it was short lived. I checked the box and found a key to one of the "package" bins. Inside the bin was a box from a second cousin in Pittston, PA, who found me through her and her son's research several years ago. She'd been reading my blog for quite some time (and I suspect often disappointed in the gaps between posts over the past year or two) and sent me an email about my recent series on the History of Anthracite Coal Mining in NE Pennsylvania. I keep meaning to respond but time seems to escape me.
Anyway, the item in the box that I found inside my the P.O. bin made my tear fade and my face and stomach roar with laughter:
Straigt from the culm bank in Hughestown, PA. Thanks, Joyce. You really made my day. And sorry I've been so negligent lately.