My cousin, sister, and I are working on organizing a family reunion this summer. We all live in the Midwest, and that's where the family began, so to speak. So that's where we have our reunions and since we're here, we're helping to organize.
I have been working on genealogy charts, using free software I downloaded. I have a lot of information from my mother and my aunt, and I plugged it in, sat back, and looked at the results. I have information going back about 5 generations, to England where the family began. Then I added in the 'newcomers', the babies and the latest generation, giving me about 8 or 9 generations of family.
You know, it's interesting to see how all family groups intertwine. I had 'cousins' growing up who were really my mother's mother's cousin, but my mother never bothered to try to explain the convoluted family relationship so we settled for 'shirt-tail cousin'. Now I see how that branch of the family fits in. I see where the stories about "grandpa's mother died and his father remarried fast because there were so many kids to raise" -- yeah, like 10! No wonder Grandpa Levi remarried fast! I remember his second wife, who used to tell us stories about living on the frontier in the early 1900s.
How our world has changed since my grandmother -- even my mother -- lived. It feels like we're making leaps and bounds in the progress department, but when I put it in perspective -- when I look at my great x 4 grandfather, I'm sure he thought the same thing about the steamboats and the railroad and the telegraph.
It's good sometimes to look back because it gives a new perspective on what's here now. And to reflect on what those long-ago relatives experienced. In many ways, their lives were just like ours now. And in other ways ... how different!