Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So, I Get This Phone Call From Florida......

I get home from working at the History Center on Monday, and there is a message on our answering machine from a woman named Marla (I am not going to use a last name here in deference to her, as I am not sure if she would want me to do so).  Anyway, she asks me if I might be the grandson of William Ambrose Madden who was born in Braddock, PA.  There was more to the message, and it was enough for me to return her call.

Turns out that Marla's grandfather and my grandfather were brothers, which would make she and I full second cousins.  It seems that she has spent a good deal of her time doing genealogical research into her family tree, which is how she came upon the Sproule Branch of this particular family tree.  "Stunned" is probably too strong a word to learn about the existence of a cousin that I never knew I had.  "Oh, you have more cousins out there than you realize" is now she put it.  She even told me about another cousin, Casey (again, I'm withholding the last name) who lives here in Pittsburgh.  Casey's grandmother is the sister of our (Marla's and me) grandfathers.

I know that some may be thinking "Internet scam" here, but I am convinced after talking with Marla and looking at both Casey's and her Facebook pages I that there is nothing of the sort going on here.  

Again, I am not sure exactly how to describe how I feel about this.  It seems like something that you would see in a movie or a TV show.  I find that it is kind of a cool experience to learn about family members that you didn't know that you had.  Not sure where this will lead, but I have to tell you, I'm happy about the whole thing.


  1. My experience and reactions are very much like yours, Bob. One morning last month, when I walked into my office, I saw the message indicator light blinking on the desk phone. It was a voice mail from Marla, asking if might be the granddaughter of Marie V. Madden who was born in Braddock, PA. All these years I thought I was the end of the family line and now, suddenly, I have all you Madden cousins!!
    I am sorry we didn't get to grow up together. We have a lot of catching up to do. Sharing photos and family stories will be fun

  2. So, I am Mystery Marla. Indeed, for years I have been reaching out to relatives I never knew I had. I get mixed results. Some are happy to hear from me. One old fart (can I say that on your blog?) was mad at me for being a Republican and hung up on me. He was from the other side of the family. brownbat has the most amazing treasure chest of wonderful family pictures and documents! We have a huge and wonderful family that makes up a part of American History. Through me you are even related to a winner of the Kentucky Derby, a soldier buried at Gettysburg, and an early inventor of the electric car. There is murder and intrigue, and just the story of the American family in our history. Thank you Bob, for not deleting that phone call. I look forward to being your cousin!