What a wonderful gift this discovery must be for you! I hope you have plenty of opportunity to explore and communicate to heart's content.
It's...interesting. The bits my mother had to tell were nourishing, so to speak, and one of my elementary school teachers admonished all of us who were attempting to come out on top bragging about ancestors that what mattered was not what we thought of them and what they did...but how we would live and how they would think of us. Stopped that argument cold and gave me the feeling that lack of lots of relatives wasn't a bar to future success.
I'm interested but I also have a life that feels full already, rather than kind of empty as it did sometimes when I was a kid. An only child--especially one with no relatives anywhere nearby--learns to reach outside the family for companionship, to explore more. Maybe.
Sounds like a teacher who understood Life priorities, as well as children and how to inspire them.
I'd guess you probably have a life that is quite sufficiently full to satisfy most people. . . and the good sense to appreciate that!
But I have a place in the world.
I know what you mean, and yes, I'm interested and yet--having been sailing my own little boat free in the big ocean for so long, I'm just a little worried about losing the freedom to be "isolated" in the "blood relatives" sense.
And yet I like what I'm hearing. It's definitely a push/pull thing. I want to know; I don't want to be trapped. The bait (of knowing) is alluring, but I also know that my "self" is set at this point and isn't going to be overturned if I discover that (for one highly unlikely scenario) I turn out to be a long-lost relative of Donald Trump or a serial killer or something. My identity is not as strongly tied into my ideas about my ancestry as some others are.
I grew up an only child, and have always maintained some distance between my relatives and my own family. I love them, in fact I also like them, but I have never wished to be defined by, surrounded by, or encroached upon by them (and I like to choose when to arrive and when to leave, if you know what I mean).
I see no reason you cannot maintain this aspect, yourself, as you desire. You are your own person, and have lived your own life thus far. It's nice to have ties with people that might resonate with us (genetics can be strong and uncanny in some cases), but it's also nice to have one's own space and identity. This may just feel more solidified in an only child, because we have grown up knowing a freedom of self that others may not have experienced until they determinedly let go of their attachments to siblings, cousins, peers. But I can only speculate, as personal distance and planned/decided visits are all I've known.
Edited to add: I'm actually related to a somewhat famous man (now deceased). Interestingly, he was an illegitimate child, outcasted from his family (my ancestors, not too far back) as far as I know, because he would have "ruined" the (image of the) marriage, and I assume raised in another family, yet turned out to be a very flamboyant character, strong of self, perhaps in defiance of all that rejection and silence. If he had lived in my time, I would have, of course, openly welcomed him. I can't help but hope he was happy.
Edited at 2016-04-10 04:47 am (UTC)
I had a similar experience a few years ago when I discovered - very much to my surprise - that my father actually had relatives! It turned out that there were third- and fourth- cousins in the UK and the US, and even in Canada - including one in the same province I grew up in.
I'm glad to be in touch with them now; I wish he had mentioned them sooner.
I think (from looking at other families) that connections to other family members are more easily made in childhood, and hard to create later.
2016-04-11 12:58 pm (UTC)
I have over 60 years experience research families and will retire on Jun 30 from my day job. If you decide you want to have tome work done let me know at FamRSearch@aol.com. We meet in DC about 3-4 years ago. I was the women in the wheel chair.
2016-04-11 01:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Genealogy Help
How good of you to offer to help me! And yes, I remember meeting you. My new-found cousins seem to be avid amateur genealogists, but they were all "in the loop" of the family long before I was. Because of our situation, I had only one source, my mother's memories, until high school, when she took me to visit my grandfather's two older sisters...once. It wasn't until much later that the itch came to know more, and not until I got in the internet in the mid-'90s that it became possible to look without traveling places. I'm not sure my itch would carry me as far as these cousins are determined to go, but then scratching an itch makes it itch more.
To be honest, I'm embarrassed to say that I paid a lot more attention to this new family I'd discovered as an adult than I ever had to the old family I always knew about as a child.
I actually have quite a large extended family on my mother's side, and I always knew about them; but almost all of them are in a small foreign country across the ocean, and I don't even speak the language. I did know her uncle and his family, since he was the first to immigrate to Canada to the same city. But that's about it.
When I learned about my father's side of the family, I made several trips that year to different countries to meet some of them. they were all very welcoming, and I learned a lot of family lore that I previously had never heard.