Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Before I Continue...

Before I dive into this more, let me lay down some basic history about me and my parents. Providing this will help some things make more sense. Extra info will especially help you understand some of my shock, amazement and surprise of some things I have found along the way. It really is a small world after-all!

I was born (in the mid 60's) and raised in Eastern Kansas,. I grew up as the youngest of four. My parents split up when I was 3, and Dad had a job that made him travel a lot. We typically only saw him once a year, or so. But we wrote to each other, him and us kids. Relatives that I had near me while growing up was my siblings (two sisters and a brother, then later a half brother and sister), my mother's parents, Grandma and Grandpa, and my aunts and uncles and cousins, on my mom's side. My Mom was the 3rd of 4 kids. Her older brother and family (a wife and 3 girls) lived (lives) in the Pacific Northwest. We only saw them on occasion, when they could come to Kansas to visit. Their youngest daughter is only a couple years older than I am. Mom's sister and her family were in the same town as we were. She has 5 boys and a girl, her youngest son is my age. We grew up around each other a lot. What you would expect of cousins. Mom's younger brother married, but never had kids. Some of were afraid of him as kids, he wasn't exactly gentle in personality, but we have grown out of that as we have grown older, and actually enjoy talking to him etc. He's a pretty cool uncle.
Grandma's sister lived in our town too, but for some reason I didn't realize they were sisters until recently. We always called her by Mrs. Wolgamuth. So did Grandma. I remember going grocery shopping with Grandma (always a Saturday chore), and sometimes stopping to pick up Mrs. Wolgamuth to take too. She was old, even then (to me), and because of that, slow. But as she got older, going shopping got harder, and Grandma would call her before she went shopping to get a list from her, and we'd drop off her things when we finished and Grandma would stay and chat with her awhile. I must have been pretty clueless as a kid to not realize they were sisters. I just always thought they were old friends.When Mrs. Walgamuth died, I remember Grandma being the saddest I had ever seen her. Grandpa died when I was in the 8th grade.

I never knew my great grandparents on mom's side. I knew they had lived in Missouri. I knew Mom was born in Missouri, and we still had relatives who lived there. I know I met some at a family reunion when I was very young, but I really never remembered who was who.

I also never knew my dad's parents. They both died before my older sister was born. I had seen a couple pictures of them, and heard a couple stories, but not much. My dad was born and raised in New Jersey. He had one sibling, a brother, who was about 14 years older than him. My dad's brother didn't have kids, and I never knew anything about his other relatives growing up. I would hear a few names over the years, and the name of the man my dad was named after, but that was about it.
My Dad joined the Air Force after he finished highschool. He was stationed at the base in Wichita, Kansas. It was through friends that he met my mom. The rest is, as they say, history. My oldest sister was born there, then Mom and Dad moved to New Jersey for a few years, where my brother and my other sister were born. Then they moved back to Kansas, (my dad likes it there better), then I was born.

So how did I wind up in Kentucky!? Well, I was the restless type of teenager, and determined to get out of that little town once I graduated. I joined the Army, went to basic training (in New Jersey of all places!) then was sent to Texas. The third day I was at Ft. Bliss, I met a guy. A few months later we were married. Our first son was born there, then my husband was stationed in Germany. Our second son was born in Germany, then we came back (while I was pregnant with our 3rd) and our third son was also born at Ft. Bliss. By the time our third child was a year old, the oldest was getting ready to start school, and the army life wasn't looking to be a very grounded way to raise kids. So we got out of the Army and moved to Kentucky, where my husband was born and raised. Our youngest son was born here. Kentucky has been my children's home, and my home since. That restlessness of my teen years has faded and I now wish I lived closer. Dad and I stay in touch with email mostly, phone calls sometimes. My sisters are still there with their families, my brother moved west. I've not been able to stay in touch with my half-siblings very well, or at all, as is the case with one. Grandma passed away in 2004, and I still mourn her passing as if it were yesterday. I stay in touch with some of my cousins, and even a few of their kids too. I know most of the family is also curious about our family history, they just aren't able to devote the time to help uncover it.

One cousin ( a second cousin or something to my dad, I had it figured out at one time) on my Dad's side, was my pen pal growing up.  She is close to my age, lives in New Jersey. Her grandmother used to write back and forth with me when I was young too. She was Dad's Aunt Josephine, we just called her Aunt Jo. I actually got to meet Jeannie (Aunt Jo's granddaughter) when she came to my graduation from Basic Training. Jeannie and I now write via email, and she is also trying to do some family history. We have a some-what unique situation in the family history realm. Her grandfather and my grandfather were brothers, and her grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. So our Fraternal family tree is the same!

My journey into the family tree and the use of the internet has allowed me to find more 'cousins', of the more distant kind, but I enjoy being able to talk to them now too. It's pretty amazing how I found some of them!
Many more stories to come...so keep checking back!
Thanks for stopping by, and glad to see some followers sign up since I got this started. Always feel free to comment, make suggestions, send hints, whatever! In case you can't tell, I'm the chatty type. You won't be bugging me!

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