My Mom always got excited every time I found a new relative or ancestor, so I decided to display the family tree at her funeral wake last summer, soon after she turned 90. The night before the wake I printed an all-in-one tree, which was at least 12 feet long. It took a few hours to tape 50+ the pages together so it was logical and readable. It was displayed on two long tables at the funeral home, and soon I noticed relatives looking for their names. I always try to include at least two or three generations of spouses and in-laws, and it was fun to see them find their names too. I even included a boyfriend and a girlfriend of two of our kids, and will connect them to the tree at two weddings this year.
Relatives started writing on the tree, adding more information about spouses, and making spelling and other corrections. The wife of one cousin made a BIG correction. She told me the story of how her dad found out in his 60s or 70s that the man he thought was his father, and who died before he was born, was not his biological father. When he applied for a passport they couldn’t find his birth certificate. His older siblings finally gave him the name of his birth father, who had never married his mother. The birth father’s name was on the certificate, along with her Dad’s real surname. Her dad was so angry that he broke all contact with his half-siblings. No this cousin’s wife is trying to make contact with her first cousins not seen for years.
I’m hoping our kids will agree to let me display the tree at their weddings this year.
Kathy Simonik Bevier