Now, however, I'm in touch with some second cousins, grandchildren of my mother's father's brothers. And..one of them (so far...) is a fellow writer. If you're a reader of historical romances, you might have read hers: Martha Hix. Here's a list of her books including two nonfiction ones, a history of the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio and a book about Pace Picante Sauce (which has been one of our favorites for years.) See also http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Hix/e/B000AQ2Y12
Interestingly, though she has old family stories from her line, and another one has old family stories from *her* line, my old family stories (all via my mother, since my grandfather died when I was four) are interestingly different. She and the others have done more genealogical research than I have, mostly (it looks like) via Ancestry.com, but my smaller amount was done before Ancestry became so dominant, via other public (and free) sources. In their work, a certain situation suddenly looks more "respectable" than it did when (my mother having mentioned a deep secret) I ferreted out a little. Should be interesting to see if the real story (whatever it is) comes out and if the respectable side is real, how the mystery secret enters into anything. Most families have secrets, some of them hidden (or just plain forgotten) for years.
One of the things to come out of this sudden contact and expansion thereof is how connected the others are (all had siblings and multiple first cousins) and how isolated we, in fact, were. It's a completely different life, to grow up as a single little sprout a long way from the cornfield, or one cornstalk in amonst a lot of others with the wind whispering through you all.