It was surreal. There I was, looking into her eyes…my eyes!
Growing up, the desire to know who my Hummel family was and is was always important to me. And as I research I have been blessed now to have not only discovered the treasure of discovering my ancestors, but now also the treasure of discovering living relatives.
After numerous conversations over the ancestry.com message board and email, Ann and I finally arranged to meet at the local McDonalds, from where I was going to take her to Jacob Hummel's grave, followed by a joint researching session at the Berks County Historical Society Library.
We hit it off right away, like we had known each other all our lives. Like me, Ann is very extroverted, animated, and loves to laugh. Too see the two of us together one could tell that we were related, even though our latest common ancestor was born in 1778!
Genes run strong in the Hummel family. But the eyes…
It was Ann who said something first. As we were talking, she suddenly stopped and asked, "Have you noticed how similar our eyes are?" While she was asking, I was thinking the same thing. Yes, brown eyes are common, but this was exact: Same color, same shade, same contrast between the iris and the whites, even the same little vein in the right eye! It felt like I was looking back at myself! She felt the same way!
The day was over before it began. We spent some time with my dad, discovered birth and baptismal records for a number of Jacob's older children in the Allegheny Lutheran Church records, and visited the churches Jacob attended.
From Berks County, Pennsylvania, to Missouri, two branches of the Hummel family separated. Now children of those brothers, 5th cousins, have reunited.