In March of this year, I changed careers and left a company that I had spent almost 33 years at. My new career is with an I.T. firm, and one of the many things that we are involved with is communications - more specifically, political messaging. I have spent the past 6 months working with various US political teams assisting with advertising, marketing and getting their political messages out to millions of eligible voters. It was a hectic period, but given the gravity of the situation in the US, one that I ultimately found rewarding.
Although I am Canadian by birth, my ancestral roots run very deep in the US, dating back to the early 1600's. Many of my direct ancestors were among the earliest settlers in America, and it is only by a twist of fate that my branch of the family ended up in Canada. This startling discovery took years to uncover, and the journey has been one of seemingly endless surprises.
My paternal ancestors who started off in America have left a vast legacy that has helped shape the United States of America. From the first President of the United States, General George Washington to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, many of these great men share common ancestors with yours truly.. At last count no fewer than 14 of the 46 (soon to be 47 with President Elect Joe Biden) are my direct cousins, and several more of the past US Presidents were married to my female cousins. Thankfully "you-know-who", who has been causing so much turmoil for the past 4 years has not appeared in any way to be related to me - at least not yet!
Like most of my other famous relatives, I don't personally know any of these former leaders of the United States of America; our relationships are simply too far removed for any of us to have known each other. I highly doubt that I will ever be in direct contact with any of my famous distant cousins, and I am very certain that I will never meet former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush or Barack Obama.
With almost 20 years of family history research now under my belt, I have contacted, and have been contacted by several previously unknown distant relatives. The majority of those meetings, whether they were simply through correspondence, or took place in person, have gone well. Some have even resulted in a newly formed bond with our respective branches of the family. My attempts at contacting my more well-known cousins has been met with silence. It's not only my famous distant cousins who have not responded however, and the great majority of people who post their DNA test results and their family trees simply are not as enthusiastic about being contacted by someone they don't know, even if they do share genetic and ancestral bonds.
While it is and would be nice to make contact with more of my long-lost relatives, it is not the driving factor behind my research. I simply have a deep need to know more about my ancestors - who they were, where they lived, and what their lives were like. To that end, my research has been a great success, and it has provided me, and hopefully future generations, with a better understanding of our capabilities. We just need to believe in ourselves.