I have the Internet to thank for solving a longstanding mystery in my family. For decades, we have never known the biological family my grandmother came from. All we knew was that she was adopted, but that was it.
My uncle David loves genealogy. The guy gives the gift of a family tree to people as a wedding gift. He loves looking up people's history, but not knowing where his mother came from always made him wonder. He finally got his answer this year.
Mainly in part to the Internet and a lot of research, he found out that my grandmother had five siblings she never knew existed. Two of them are still alive, and they don't live too far away from where I live. Since a lot of the family was in town last weekend for a cousin's wedding, a group of us went down there and met as many as we could.
With plenty of barbeque and desserts (including a delicious banana pudding), there was no shortage of people to talk with and share pictures. I freely admit that the experience was overwhelming due to the amount of people involved. I knew there would be a ton of names and faces to remember, something I'm terrible about, even with people I see out and about in the music scene. But I figured I should share my interests and personality and hope I'd meet a few who shared them.
Not only did I meet a few who knew me from my traffic reporting life, I found out that there is nearly 30,000 vinyl LPs behind the house where we all met up. Taking over an old record store from a family friend, some of my relatives have cataloged a bunch of these records and sell them online. Since I have a library of music in my house, I was more than happy to see a library that greatly dwarfed mine. I've been asked to come back and help catalog the records, and I'm up for it.
Coming away from the experience, I'm quite happy I went. I hope I can go back soon. You can learn so much about your family from older generations. We aren't the products of strangers, and whatever older generations have overcome before, those solutions certainly can help the younger generations.