I was born and grew up 350 miles north of where I live now. After I got married we lived a few places and then settled here.
The weird thing is my parents were born and grew up here. Their families have been here since before the Civil War. I never really knew my extended family and so when I moved to this area it wasn’t for family reasons. We moved here as part of a church planting team.
It’s such a strange feeling to drive to Chick-Fil-A and pass my grandparent’s graves. I’m just a stone’s throw from my other set of grandparents and great-grandparents. I never knew any of them.
In my genealogy research I found that my great- grandfather lived in the same town I live in now. My great- uncle had a store in town. I feel so detached because this is just the place where I’ve lived as an adult yet there are really real ties to this place. This could be my hometown if my parent’s hadn’t moved.
My family owned land and started churches and raised their kids here just like I have and I didn’t even know it until recently.
Family connections are all around me waiting to be discovered. Let me tell you about one such connection.
I’ll tell you about individual threads, then I will weave them together for you.
My son had a high school Literature teacher that he really loved.
My son went to college in Mississippi and met a girl there who ended up marrying a Japanese classmate.
My son brought his Japanese classmate to spend the weekend with us. He was a super nice guy.
The girl who married the Japanese guy went to church with my son’s high school Literature teacher. He was the youth pastor of her church.
I ended up teaching with the high school Literature teacher, became friends and he became pastor of the church where the girl who ended up marrying the Japanese guy went.
So, for many, many years I knew of the girl, the Japanese guy and the church that my friend and co-teacher ended up pastoring.
Recently, I started attending the church that my friend and co-teacher pastors.
I met the parents of the girl who married the Japanese guy.
The mother of the girl who married the Japanese guy, her sister-in-law and I went out to lunch.
They began to talk about a class on genealogy that they were taking.
I shared that I was interested in genealogy, too and we began to share stories.
I shared about my great-grandfather who was taken as prisoner in the Battle of Atlanta to a prison camp in Ohio and after the war he walked all the way home.
The mother of the girl who married the Japanese guy was stunned. She had a relative with the same story.
I love telling that story. I think it’s so cool.
I walk around here in my town and wonder if any of the people I see are related to me. They really might be.
Are we related?