Thirty years ago, when I started my extended family tree research, I didn’t have a clue where it would take me. Shaking hands with an active astronaut, and having him give my reunion group a private tour of a space capsule, was not on my radar.
This all started by giving my parents and in-laws a book of memories to complete and realizing that I would be the one to research what was missing. By finding the thousands of relatives in our ancestry, I pieced together our own family map of the world. Our children have been introduced to a menagerie of cousins who have taught them, mentored them, looked out for them, and even followed them on LinkedIn.
My husband and I made a hobby of visiting newly found relatives on our trips, joining in family reunions, and entertaining those visiting New Jersey. He takes it a step further and interviews many of our cousins on the radio! His show is The World of Work and everyone has something to offer, be it an occupation or an interest. With tales too important to be lost, I incorporated all the stories into a family history book.
On our bus ride, traveling with two dozen cousins from the hotel to NASA, one cousin arranged a game to entertain us for the trip. We were to write something that no one would know about us. Someone in the group read the answers as all the cousins on the bus guessed at the writer. We now know even more about our relatives than we would have ever imagined. And, since one of those cousins is married to a retired lawyer, who worked for NASA, we were given a private tour starting at the Mission Control Center. One more family venture enjoyed while learning more about our relatives; one more real-life educational experience gained.