The Accidental Finding of a Long Lost Relative
I’m sure most - if not all - people interested or acquainted with the field of genealogy have experienced that moment of surprise mixed with a bit of excitement when they discover that someone who they already know is related to them. With my interests lying in history, not genealogy, and my heritage still waiting for proper investigation, I had yet to experience such a classic moment. My attempts at discovering my family tree have been minimal at best and my knowledge shamefully limited of whence I came. That is, until 2 days ago.
I am proud to announce that I now have a third cousin, and what is more, one who happens to already be a friend of mine. The light-bulb appeared as I was chatting to my friend’s mother on a bus and she mentioned that her mother-in-law was visiting from the South Australian town Cowell. I remarked that my Nanna also comes from Cowell, surprised to hear of another from the same town for it seems such a small place for so many people to hail from (at least, in my mind it is, though admittedly I have never been there). Thus whenever Cowell is mentioned I always say Nanna’s name by chance she is known. After a few moments of straining to recall my limited knowledge of the family history we discovered that there was a definite and unexpected connection between myself and this lady on the bus. It turns out that my friend’s mother’s mother-in-law – that is, my friend’s grandmother – is also from Cowell and is also a Venning! At this point the light-bulb shone so bright that it also blew: the grandmother is cousin to my Nanna. That would mean that my friend is third cousin to me. Amazing! I also discovered that Nanna and her cousin, both being in the upper-end of life's age bracket, had not seen each other for 11 years.
As the excitement (though not the shock) of this new found discovery settled, thoughts turned to organising a meeting. But there was a catch - the grandmother was only in Adelaide for a couple of days, leaving the day after next. Chances were that if they did not meet now then Nanna might never see her cousin again. After a few quick phonecalls, including introducing myself to a woman I had never met as her distant relative (an awkward conversation to be sure), a reunion was arranged for, and successfully executed, the following afternoon.
So in the last two days the darkness surrounding a section of my heritage has been lifted and what can only be described as a new ‘awareness’ was found. Light was shed on the unknown and I too experienced that moment of excitement and surprise (not to mention shock). My interest in genealogy has certainly increased considerably, a potential hobby which no doubt will be assisted by the considerable resources held by Gould Genealogy & History, conveniently associated with Unlock the Past - my workplace. Still, not being overwhelmingly passionate about the field I am pleased to say that the Vennings book has already been done and editions appearing every dacade or so. Through a brief viewing of the book it quickly became clear that Vennings were quite prolific breeders in South Australia, so if you have the Venning name then there's a very good chance that you are somehow related to me.