Advent Calendar 2011 – Grab Bag: Cousins at Christmas

Today, like every Christmas that I can remember, I had dinner with my cousins.  Last year we decided that we would get together the Saturday before Christmas since I live farther away now.  I have three cousins on my maternal side and two of them have two children, a boy and a girl each.  With all of our children, there are 8.  Along with the 8 children at the kitchen table, we had 10 adults for dinner in the dining room.  On the menu was surf and turf, steak and boiled lobsters.   We decided to do something a little different this year because my husband’s sister has a seafood allergy.  Kate made place cards and all the ladies who were not eating lobster sat at one end of the table and all those dining on crustaceans, i.e. the men, at the other end.  Being a vegetarian, I loved the idea of being out of target range of the flying lobster fluid.  A great time was had by all and it was fun to change up our usual seating pattern.

My cousins and I were talking about how our kids, second cousins, know each other so well and how we make it a point that they do.  As long as we are alive, our children and their children will spend time together.  I suspect it was this way among previous generations of our family, long before our time.

Among my grandmother’s possessions was a letter dated December 18, 1949 from her second cousin, Robert Chipman.

“It is the little deeds and kind thoughts all added together that makes the best gift of all,” he wrote.

Yes, Robert.  I agree.

When I first began dabbling in genealogy many years ago, my Uncle Robert asked me to figure something out for him.  He told me of a man who lived in Woodbury, CT who had chickens in his kitchen!  He knew that his name was Robert Chipman or Chipmund, but had no idea who the man was or why they visited him.  A bit of detective work revealed that his mother, Jennie Tufts Chipman, was the daughter of Julia Eliza Collier, sister to my second great-grandfather Thomas B. Collier.  The mystery man with poultry in his pantry was my uncle’s second cousin once removed.

© 2011, Jennifer Zinck. All rights reserved.

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