Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pay Day for Complainers

Who says whining and sniveling don’t work?

Not that I’m advocating horrid behavior, but a well-placed pout can certainly come in handy.

If you’ve been with us for a while here at A Family Tapestry, you may recall my penchant for grumbling about the fact that every genealogy researcher but me seems to have distant relatives nibbling at their cousin bait.

And my complaining ways don’t stop there. Just last week, my ungrateful mouth was running on about how my trip to Ireland ended up keeping me from hearing one of my favorite genealogy speakers at a local seminar. Somehow, my jet-lagged memory had gotten all jumbled up into thinking that Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, had already come and gone from her Bay Area engagement.

I keep thinking I’m missing out, when maybe it’s a case of needing to attain a different viewpoint.

Why would I think that? Perhaps it’s all on account of the fact that the holiday season is now looming into view, and first stop on this wintertime merry-go-round is Thanksgiving. And I haven’t been behaving very thankfully, lately. Witness my barrage of negativity. Perhaps I needed an antidote to this habit of seeing my glass half empty.

That’s what Grace must be about: being large enough to give us what we’d love to have, even if our comportment wouldn’t have drawn it in our direction. I certainly needed to re-install some Thankfulness Radar. Good things are still out there; it’s just a matter of learning how to spot them.

And so it was that my dear friend Sheri Fenley, The Educated Genealogist, sent me a surprise offer: a chance to join a small group for lunch with Judy Russell. Would I care to come to the event as her guest?

Would I?!

Upon my return home from that meeting, I opened up my email to review what I had missed for the day. What should be there to greet me, but a message from a possible distant cousin, responding to a note I had posted on a genealogy forum back in 2003.

Some things just take time.

That email reminded me I have even more to be thankful for. In the rush of packing just before we left for our trip to Ireland, I had been contacted by someone else who thought she might be a distant cousin to my husband. At the time—perhaps owing to the time pressure—I had thought it was an unlikely conjecture. But once my family got to Ireland and began exploring the area where this ancestor’s family once lived—all the while emailing this possible cousin and comparing notes—the prospects seemed to improve rapidly. While we are not totally certain of the link yet, it appears the Distant Cousin Fairy has indeed smiled down with belated favor on this researcher.

You realize, of course, this means I can no longer complain about such hardships. But what do I care? I’d be glad to trade in my grumbling ways for prizes such as these.

flowers growing through rocks in Cork Ireland

  Photograph courtesy Chris Stevens.


  1. Something to be said for the squeaky wheel! smile

  2. While you were away, I was contacted by a cousin - the family tree in Ancestry is definitely cousin bait - the photos of the people especially!


  3. Good things come to good people. The joy of these little gifts will get you through the next dry spell.

  4. Where do I get a Distant Cousin Fairy? I seem to have
    the Distant Cousin Flying Monkey Circus...

  5. A Cousin !!! Finally! I hope she is a gem! :)


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