I have been eager to find the closest cousins as possible but the cousins with the most information have been those who needed to be identified by pulling out the family tree.
I was excited to seeing a posting by a distant cousin on a genealogy forum. The man’s paternal grandmother was born into the same family as my paternal grandmother. Our grandmothers were 4th cousins, leaving our common ancestor as our 5th great-grandpa.
The effort it took to track down my Russian-American 6th cousin was quite the feat. He posted his message on the most popular Russian genealogy forum 10 years ago so the postal and e-mail addresses he posted were out-of- date.
I had to research him on Google and find information on him on Intellius before I called the right house. I knew this was worth all the effort when I uncovered he wrote a book on his southern Russian ancestry in ENGLISH.
Anytime I can find documented research on my Russian ancestors in English, it is a happy dance marathon. This is the first time ever that I had the luck of finding information on my ancestors in English.
The details that my sixth cousin found by visiting archives in St. Petersburg on my direct ancestors, starting from my great-grandfather’s generation, was beyond words. I never thought a sixth cousin would be so resourceful.
The cherry on top of this cake was that my cousin uncovered the full names of 3rd and 4th great-grandmothers, a task that is hardly easy to accomplish in Russian genealogy. Uncovering these surnames proved we are cousins twice, through our 5th great-grandfather and my 4th great-grandmother.
This all opened another door I never expected. Thanks to our Don Cossack ancestry, I was able to find information on my 4th great-grandmother’s family in a genealogy book written by Sergei Koryagin.
So, now I have information on more than 30 relatives of my 4th great-grandmother. Koryagin details the service of the Don Cossacks in my 4th great-grandmother’s family in his genealogy book.
All due to the efforts of finding a 6th cousin, I have more than names and dates on relatives of my grandmother and 4th great-grandmother. This would have costed me thousands of dollars on my own.
Not all distant cousins are filled with family information but it is worth the effort to say hello to cousins who are connected to those great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. The information awaiting you to break down some brick walls could be just an e-mail message away.