by Patti German
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
and I live in Columbus, OH.
Thirteen years ago I worked as a nursing assistant in a nursing home caring for elderly patients. One patient in particular I became attached to and she became attached to me, mostly I think because I had the same first name that she did, Patricia, although her nickname was Kitten. She was in the nursing home because she had broken her hip, but she would be going home soon.
The morning that she was leaving, I hastily wrote my phone number on her kleenix box and told her to call me if she needed any help at home. A few months later, her niece, Sally, called me to see if I could come and work for her on the weekend taking care of Kitten. I accepted the position and took care of Kitten and her sister Spice. I cared for them off and on for about 5 years.
One day when I was caring for them, we discovered that our families were from neighboring counties in West Virginia. This came up because one of my favorite things to do was to sit and go through "The Girls'" scrap books and photo albums with them and hear their stories.
To make matters even more interesting, Sally went to college with my 3rd grade teacher whom I was still in touch with. I jokingly told Sally that we were probably related, since everyone in West Virginia is related somehow or another. I will mention that I have been researching my family tree since I was 16, and right at this moment, that is half my life. It started out as a school assignment, and I just haven't stopped. I don't plan on stopping either, at least until I can't do it any more.
Eleven years after I made that joke to Sally about the possibility of us being related, we made a connection in the Marcum line. We are 5th cousins, twice removed. We stumbled across it because whenever Sally does research, she takes my surnames with her, and I do the same for her. We started comparing notes, and lo and behold, we actually were related.
To make things even more interesting, while researching my Stroud line, I found a census page from the 1850 Census of Logan County VA, and to our surprise, her great-grandfather and my ggg-grandfather were neighbors. It's as if we were destined to be friends.
It amazes me the paths that lives take, and from the looks of that census, it seems like our families have been intertwined for at least 150 years, if not more. It's almost as if our relatives from the past reached out to us here in the present and brought us together somehow. Sally is one of the best friends I have, I wouldn't trade her for the world, and what makes it even better is that we're related, too.
Sadly, her mom and sister have both passed on before we found out we were related. "The Girls" would have loved to heard that one. We have been friends 13 years this coming February, and I hope that Sally will be around for at least another 30 or so. Besides, everyone should have a genealogy buddy, even if they are a shirt-tail cousin!
Submitted: Jan 27 2001