Last year my lapsed membership to Ancestry.com yielded a couple of pleasant surprises.
First a collector of unpublished manuscripts contacted me about publishing Horace B. Fyfe's works. John Betancourt of Wildside Press sent me a random message asking if we had any of his works and could he publish them. As luck would have it, mom had a trove of his books sitting under her guest bed for nearly a decade since Horace's second (?) wife passed away. Many of his books were in the public domain, but others had not yet been published. He died without heirs, so my grandmother (who died in 2001), her sister (who died before that), my Great-Aunt (still alive), and Cousin Diane (still alive, but I keep forgetting her tie) are the closest family members he has left. Mom is happy to have his books see the light of day. John is happy they were not thrown out. It is John's calling to bring science fiction works back to life, especially estate books.
Ironically my parents found a copy of a rejection slip from Wildside Press from the mid-20th century. She gave a copy of that to John, too, along with some other materials she thought he would enjoy. The plan is this will be published in time for his 100th birthday in 2018.
The more recent find was of new cousins. Now known as New Cousin Barbara (NCB for short, since we have two other Cousin Barbaras and an Aunt Barbara), Barbara contacted us to learn more about her great-great grandmother, who was siblings with my great-great grandfather. The story is far more complicated than that. Since all I care about is we have have new cousins, and not how they connect to branches on our tree, I zoned out on the details. Turns out Barbara lived a town away from us in North Jersey. She went to high school with a friend of mine. Her family is buried in the same cemetery as my family members. Total Small World moment.
Last week we met Barbara and her boys. I felt like we had known them our entire lives. She has two boys. One the same age as Ashley, and a huge Gamer who hung with 7 year old Danny. The other closer to Hayden's age with an infectious laugh and smile who seemed to enjoy being with us. We love having new family members. Through the magic of Facebook we have been able to keep in touch and learn more about each other.
Happy New Year! May all your surprises be pleasant ones.