My parents are both only children. Therefore, my siblings and I do not have aunts, uncles, or first cousins. For the most part, we’ve been ok with this. We had our grandparents all to ourselves. We have our parents and, of course, each other. We never felt the need to go looking for more relatives.
When my sister tested positive for a BRCA gene mutation, we did a little genealogical search to see if we could track its familial source and warn that branch of the family, but at the time, we were not too successful.
Accessibility of records, programs, and websites appears to have fostered a boom in amateur genealogist enthusiasts. In the last couple of years, distant relatives have reached out looking for information on my branch of their family trees. (Note: Be careful of fraud.)
Just this past week, a community member approached my brother and me to suggest that we might be related. Long story short, we share great-great-grandparents Louis Lebovitz and Fannie Ezer, who died long before any of us was born. We introduced our children who are fourth cousins. Our families live about a mile apart and likely have for the past four generations. A family rift must have separated us at some point during the last century. (If the fight was over my great-grandmother’s china, I’m still not giving it back.) In any event, it’s nice to reconnect. We set up Shabbat dinner for next month to get acquainted.
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