This month's edition of The Carnival of Genealogy ponders the following:
Living-relative connections made during your research processes and/or blog. Who found you or how did you find them? Were they helpful or did they send you on a wild goose chase for further information? How much and what kind of information did they share with you? What did you share with them? What kinds of contacts have you had... in person, via phone, online chat, email, snail mail, web casts? (If you're not comfortable using their real names you might want to consider using pseudonyms.)
I myself have had several cousins of various degrees contact me as a result of my research. Not too long after I began my research, I had someone by the name of Pat email me stating that it looked like we were distant cousins. Another distant cousin of hers saw a post I'd made on an email list and sent it to her. Turns out the cousin that saw the email is my second cousin once removed on my maternal KEARNS line. Pat, who then emailed me, is my third cousin once removed, being connected to the KEARNS via that line's maternal DONAHUE line. Below is a picture of the Lawrence and Bridget (DONAHUE) KEARNS family that Pat sent me:
REAR, L-R: My great-grandmother, Mary KEARNS, my 2nd great-grandparents John and Bridget (DONAHUE) KEARNS. FRONT, L-R: John, Winifred, Lawrence, Genevieve, Jeremiah, and Margaret aka Frances KEARNS (standing in front-middle). Pat also sent me a bunch of information on the KEARNS/DONAHUE lines.
I also had two second cousins find me via my research, though to be honest I've forgotten if it was via an email list or my blog! My maternal grandmother, Regina (Jean)(DOYLE) O'ROURKE's sister Blanche married a William TIGHE. Two of their granddaughters contacted me and have been a great help. In fact, I've named one of them my official editor since some of my relationships among the Doyle-Tighe lines are a bit mixed up! Below is a picture of a mixture of the DOYLE and TIGHE lines in front of the Leo DOYLE home, I believe, on Union Street in Pittston, Luzerne Cty, PA.
Hopefully, the blogger feature will work and you can click on the picture to enlarge it. In the third row from the bottom, (the first standing row), the young boy standing at the far left as you look at the picture is John J. DOYLE, my great-grandfather's grandson (from his son William and daughter-in-law Nellie). This young John J. DOYLE is the one responsible for my getting into genealogy; I'd found a picture of a white cross grave marker engraved with his military and death info in China during WWII. I plugged in his name, rank, place of death (listed as Chen Kung China) and military i.d. in various search engines and the whole thing exploded from there! It took quite a while to figure out where this John Doyle fit, but eventually I found him! The picture above? It was sent to me by my mother's uncle (her mother's brother), who found me via the above mentioned TIGHE cousins!
Through those connections, I'd also been able to email a few DOYLE cousins, two second cousins once removed; one a descendant of my great-grandfather John DOYLE's brother William and the other a descendant of John's sister Johanna (DOYLE) HORAN.
Also through my research, I found my mother's brother (with whom we'd lost contact about 17 years earlier) shortly before he died, and thus found my aunt and cousins. He was able to verify my suspicions that my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE married Mary KEARNS, daughter of John Kearns and Bridget DONAHUE, who was the daughter of Lawrence Donahue and Mary KEHOE. I then was put in contact with another first cousin we'd lost contact with. Below is my mother's brother, James (Jimmie) O'ROURKE (1929-2005). I'm glad I was able to track him down before he died. Lastly (I think), I recently was contacted via my blog's guestbook (feel free to sign it at the link in my profile box!) by my second cousin on my paternal McHUGH line. Below left is who we believe is Mary (GRIFFIN) McHUGH, my great-grandmother on my father's paternal line. The picture on the right includes a variety of McHUGH ancestors. My grandmother Mary (HODICK)McHUGH is in the back row, second from left. Grandpa Joseph McHUGH is in the same row, second from right.
That's 12 connections made via my research. One of these was with an uncle I've known; another was with the wife of a first cousin. The rest were people I never knew existed. I've said before that connecting with relatives I either lost track of or never knew about is the best part of genealogy research for me. The first one to contact me over 2 years ago, Pat, and I "talk" via IM at least weekly, and we've never met. Honest to God, though, I think we were meant to be sisters!
I haven't always been successful, though: I recently learned that my great-grandfather James O'ROURKE's (with whom you're all becoming so well-acquainted) grandchildren from his daughter Mary have taken up their father's ophthalmology practice(s) in Northeast PA. I emailed the office at the website (the only email I could find) with a generic request for any of the founding father's children to respond if they're interested in making a connection. I never heard back. Perhaps I'll send a snail mail letter addressed to them directly....
At any rate, I have yet to run into the problem of someone hoarding information, pictures, or documents. Rather, the cousins with whom I've connected have been very forthcoming with what they have. I try to keep everyone abreast of my finds, too. I see no point whatsover in possessiveness in this field.