Relatives can live in the same town and not even know each other.
Friends first, they didn’t know they were cousins.
Several years ago, my Uncle Ken informed me that a man in Tennessee had compiled a volume on the Hartsell family. My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Hartsell.
So I wrote the man, Larry Fox, and he sent me a copy of the Hartsell volume. He also asked additional questions about my immediate family that he wanted to include in a subsequent genealogy report.
As I looked through the names in Larry’s volume, I focused on those descended from my immediate ancestors. I found one name I instantly recognized: Fran Dumas.
Fran was the secretary at my church, and I knew her well.
As it turned out, she and I were first cousins once removed. Her mother was my grandmother’s first cousin.
I told her of my discovery, and we marveled that we were cousins. We would never have known any of this if I hadn’t read Larry’s publication.
Later, my husband, James, daughter Amy and I visited Larry and his wife, Maggie, when we passed through Tennessee on vacation. Maggie was the Hartsell descendant, and Larry the genealogy sleuth.
I also got to know Maude, Fran’s mother, who lived in Kyle, a little town a few miles south of us. She remembered my grandmother and greatgrandmother and thrilled me with family stories, one about a table that was brought in a wagon from Oklahoma to Austin. Two leaves of the table cracked when the wagon got stuck in the mud. Maude is now deceased and I have moved away, but Fran and I stay in touch through Christmas cards.
IRIS DISCOVERED that the Strawn sisters, June, Jodie and Fran, were her first cousins once removed.