NANA circa 1914
Sometime last year my Aunt showed a letter to me she had received from a cousin of ours named Hugh. I was rather shocked that I had cousins I knew nothing about. I realized there was a lot about my Dad's side of the family of which I knew very little. In particular, the multitudes of relatives I have in England, Ireland, and God knows where else.
Hugh and I have been sporadically emailing each other ever since then. Anyone who has ever pried the lid off a Pandora box will understand how overwhelming it can be. Yet thrilling.
My Grandmother was a beautiful woman. I found her on a manifest in 1913 coming to the United States through Ellis Island. She was to join her husband, who I will call R.P., who was already living in NYC.
It is a tale of woe. R.P. was an alcoholic who abandoned his family leaving Nana alone to raise three children. Gerald, who is pictured above, died at an early age. Nana cried and grieved for Gerald to her dying day. Nana's family helped, opening the family home in NYC for Nana to stay and have a home for her three surviving children. When her mother died, the family home was overtaken by the oldest (unmarried) brother and Nana was literally put on the street.
Bad Blood was born. That is why finding all these cousins is such a shock. They were never mentioned before I saw that letter from Hugh looking for us!
I'm writing about this because I am excited. Today I have been contacted by yet another cousin...as she puts it LONG LOST COUSIN 16,000 TIMES REMOVED. She is English and living in Alabama!
Ain't Life Grand?