It was the beginning of March and, as soon as I could, I opened my RootsTech account, even before the first session had started. Why? I was curious about my results from Relatives at RootsTech.
Even though I know the app bases its connections on the universal family tree at FamilySearch.org—and I could already spot mistakes in my own part of the family lines there—I was curious to see what the program would find. I am, after all, consummately curious about all my distant cousins, wherever they are.
Like anyone else, I was hoping for those elusive cousins to materialize—you know, the ones who hold all the intel on what became of that disappearing great-great-whatever-grandparent that nobody can trace on paper. In my case, I was hoping for a Polish connection to my mystery grandfather, known here in the states by the sanitized American version, John T. McCann. Yeah, right: Polish.
Instead, one of relatives rising to the top of my Relatives at RootsTech list was a fourth cousin once removed. Looking at the readout comparing our two family lines, I could see she was descended from my third great-grandfather George E. McClellan's oldest daughter. Looking at my own family tree, with its multiple collateral lines extended all the way down to present-day descendants, I realized I had this relative's mother in my tree.
Both of us must have simultaneously realized this, and rushed to send each other messages. She messaged me on the FamilySearch system, while I, realizing she is also on my DNA match list, sent her a note via Ancestry. Each of us independently realized the other had used a different messaging system, and responded there. After this comedy of communication errors, we ditched both systems and opted for the straightforward connection of email.
That turned out to be a good thing. After all, we may end up being the first of this year's new cousin discoveries through Relatives at RootsTech to become Relatives face-to-face. And we couldn't have planned this any better than it "accidentally" turned out to be.
You see, I'm not on the opposite side of the continent right now—you know, that home from which I always moan, "oh, if I were back east, I could look up that record in person." I had already planned to accompany my husband on a business trip to Florida. While there, we also planned on meeting up with family members in the area, including a special trip returning to Wellborn, the Florida home of my third great-grandfather, George E. McClellan.
It just so happens that my newfound Relatives at RootsTech cousin lives a ten minute drive from Wellborn, and goes there often to keep up the McClellan cemetery, once part of the McClellan property there. She offered: "I'll be happy to meet up with you there."
If all goes well with travel plans, and a thousand different variables all fall into place for five relatives' separate itineraries, that is exactly what we'll be doing...today.