Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Family migration

 People migrate, and that includes family,  When that happens close ties tend to be lost, and so it takes considerable effort to maintain relationships from afar.  It's possible but over time less and less contact is inevitable.  Couple that with the lack of questioning of family when and while present about our and their history; and continuity and complete histories are impossible to piece together.

A generation ago or two, families were larger.  For what ever reason, lack of reliable birth control methods, adherence to religious tenants, it was common for a family to have 10 - 14 offspring.  Due to the state of healthcare, early death of some children was also common.  Still families of 5 or 6 children growing to maturity was common.   To be sure, many of those offspring remained nearby their homestead.  Others, if for economic reasons alone, moved away.

Such was the case in my family.  First, my mother left her family and 4 siblings in Indiana to join her husband and start her own family here in Northern New York.  While I became well acquainted with two of her siblings, sisters, through their efforts in traveling to visit, I had minimal to zero contact with her brothers and more to my point here; all, 100%, of the numerous cousins of all my mom's siblings are complete strangers to me. All but one of her siblings migrated also, giving me aunts, uncles cousins, and first cousins once removed from coast to coast, north to south that I have never met.

My father did settle and remain in the area of his birth after his stint in the Armed Forces, but, alas, none of his surviving siblings stayed here.  In many, if not all cases, dad's siblings followed their aunts and uncles to communities hours, if not longer, away from the "homestead."

I discovered recently that a brother to my paternal great grandfather migrated to Michigan.  There is  2 - 3 generations of relatives I not only have never met, I never knew they even existed.

One of dad's brother's migrated to the Long Island region and established a large family there.  Because we share a career choice, one of his children and I have maintained a close relationship.  I know not any of his siblings nor their offspring.

More than a few of my great aunts and uncles as well as aunts and uncles (dad's side) found the metropolis of Rochester, 4 hours away, a  suitable place to live.

After marriage, my sister established her home in the Rochester area and thusly acquainted herself with the large cadre of cousins and first cousins once removed as well as 2nd cousins.  When I started building a family tree program, some 15 or so years ago, she was invaluable in providing statistics with which to populate family history cards.

A few years ago I was invited to a gathering of cousins in Rochester affording me the opportunity to meet and engage with heretofore unknown relatives.  Thereby I was able to put a face with the info provided by my sister. That said, still, I have remained close to only 3 of those cousins and we do share family histories, making it easier to put together a genealogy with some sense of realness to it.

By happenstance and the pervasiveness of Facebook I came across a comment from a cousin to another cousin with whom I have stayed in close communication with.  Finding some inconsistencies on the less known cousin's page I contacted my sister to get the scoop since she had provided the original info. My program showed this girl's parents, my first cousin,  a husband and one child.  My sister updated me; this cousin has 2 children has been married and divorced twice and has been in a relationship with another guy for 5 years.

Effort, much effort is necessary to maintain family cohesiveness.

I did reach out to the lesser known cousin and we are now Facebook friends and can  stay current with each other's lives.


Post a Comment

<< Home