Three weeks ago today, I was waking up to my first full day of hanging out with my Birmingham, Alabama cousins. The extended family of my paternal grandmother's dad, discovering their existence and actually meeting a few of them had been the highlight of my Alabama research trip the month before, and now I was getting to spend some real time with them!
I stayed with my cousin - technically, my second cousin, once removed - and her family. (Confused about that relationship? This chart will help! My great-grandfather Steve Evans/Theodore Johnson and her grandmother Jannie Mae Evans were brother and sister.)
It was a lovely trip. Not only did I meet 4 generations of the extended family, get to eat some of their delicious cooking and hear some of their memories, I also got to look at family photos, get copies of funeral programs for individuals who had passed, explore some of the areas where our family lived, worked and played, and see sites that were important to Alabama - and our nation's - Civil Rights history.
|My host, her husband, and their grandson.|
|My cousin with two of her sisters, up from Montgomery, AL|
|A few of the kids and grandkids, all smiles!|
|Another of the kids, my third cousin, who would like you to know that he doesn't always take his shoes off and fish in creeks!|
|A double relation by marriage, he's in his 90s and remembers my great-grandfather leaving Alabama!|
|Two generations of double relations, they dug in their memories and helped solve a genealogy puzzle!|
I'm so glad I added a second Alabama trip to my schedule - it was absolutely worth it to have this experience. And now, as my grandmother said to me when we chatted during this trip, a fire has been lit and we need to get the branches of our family - spread at least between Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois. Michigan and Alabama - together for a reunion! Whew, boy!