AN ENTIRE FAMILY WE NEVER KNEW WE HAD…
It came as a rather big shock to us when we learned that Jeanne had relatives she never knew of, in fact, a large herd of them. Once we learned of the possibility, we spent part of last year sleuthing the internet looking for clues on how we might find them. Finally, advice came to do one of two things, hire what amounts to a detective for a large fee with no guarantees or take a shot into the dark by posting notices on the internet, so this we did. Through this we got one hit that paid off. A retired policeman from Chicago who himself had looked for siblings wrote to say that he could find the party we were looking for in less than a day for a reasonable fee. The fee did seem reasonable so we took him up on his offer and true to his word, within twenty-four hours we had the name and contact person’s phone number. This fellow had also gone ahead of us and made a preliminary call asking if our call would be welcomed? The answer was, “Yes,” so excited but cautious, Jeanne made the call.
After learning the back story from one of the relatives, we were contacted by others in the Benedict family. Photographs and Facebook chatter were exchanged and arrangements made for us to come to Missouri where we would meet the entire clan.
After arriving in Minneapolis and spending the night with our son, Matt and his wife, Noemi, we took their second car on Friday morning and drove to near Liberty, Missouri where in the evening we met Jeanne’s brother, Gary and his wife Christy and from there went to the farm to meet the others.
We were quite amazed at the warmth of reception we received from people with whom we had nearly seventy years of history but had never met before. It was also surprising to see the similarities in family culture and physical resemblance that had meandered its’ way through the blood line.
Over a table laden with southern cooking we caught up on the names and respective families. In all, we were joined by twenty or more family members on the Benedict side. They were all lovely and it turned out to be a wonderful acquaintance for both sides. I suspect we will stay in touch with these in-laws of nieces, nephews and cousins.