Twenty five years back I enjoyed the company of houseful of people during my vacations. All of us staying in various cities assembled at our grandparents house in Chennai. My cousins along with our parents, grandparents filled the house and each day was like an occasion.
The visits of our parent’s uncles, aunts, second cousins and third cousins and our visits to their houses and other family ocassions completed our vacation. These get-togethers forged a strong bond amongst all the relatives.
Weddings planned during holidays added more fun and if it was planned away from Chennai then it was more merrier. Travelling by trains and buses to the wedding venue with an army of relatives blocking a whole compartment/bus was absolute joy. I have enjoyed many such wonderful moments with my folks. One such cousin was Radhika (Her great grandfather (GGF) and my GGF were brothers)and that makes radhu my third cousin.
With passage of time, I lost contact with her though our mothers met during some Chennai weddings. I recently pinned her on a social networking site where I placed her through a display photo (surnames have changed and is now based in Atlanta). We immediately exchanged mails and now share all those beautiful memories over mails and during our telecons. She introduced me to our family tree on Geni.
Geni, again is a networking site connecting relatives with a family tree. It displays the relationship at the top of the tree and has a news wall where you can share information and photos with relatives who are in the branch. I have also appended my father’s side (edakkudi branch) to the tree. We are all scattered all over the world while rooted to Edakkudi, practically this whole village (3kms from Mayavaram) belonged to my GGGfather.
Today , Geni tree shows that I have 900+ relatives(500+ blood relatives) and it is still growing. To this tree I have also appended my MIL(lalgudi) and FIL( tiruvaiyaru) family and so I am still counting.
In modern society, generally most of the families have single/two children. Children of the next generation miss the pleasure and warmth of extended family members during vacation and also work and other priorities are grounding most of us and we are unable to attend many family functions, though here i must admit i never miss an opportunity and take my children to their maternal and paternal homes on all vacations.
Geni has helped me connect with so many relatives and it is really nice to see the shastiaptha poorthi(60th birthday) and sadabhisheka(80th birthday) photos of senior relatives, the birth announcement of young ones etc. Old people also share and record some important incidents , anecdotes and sepia toned photos of their youth which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. It also gives moments of pleasure to old people who are unable to meet their relatives in far away places.
People who are interested in connecting with relatives should discover Geni and build their tree and this will also serve as a gentle reminder for our next gen to know about their ancestors.
This is my golden post(50th post) and I dedicate this to all the people on my family tree especially the elders.