Greetings from Brecksville,
This is the toughest year-end letter I have ever written. My trusted proofreader is not available to give her stamp of approval. It has been seven months since MJ passed away after a lengthy period of declining health. Fortunately, she was able to spend her last days at our home with family members. We were assisted in making her as comfortable as possible by a team of very caring professionals from Cleveland Clinic Hospice-at-Home. A few days after her passing, relatives and friends gathered in Brecksville for a Celebration of Life service for MJ. We miss her love and companionship every day.
But life goes on. I have been able to re-join many of the genealogical organizations that I belonged to before devoting full time to caring for MJ. Late in August, I traveled to Pittsburgh for a three-day conference held by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. In September, I traveled to Minneapolis for four days to participate in FinnFest 2017, which had the special theme of celebrating the centennial of Finland’s independence.
Also, I have been learning what’s possible with DNA testing. Based on shared DNA results, our family has made some connections with present-day cousins here and overseas, and we have exchanged information about common ancestors. I have tested with AncestryDNA, MyHeritageDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA.
I also have given presentations about genealogy and family history to four different groups. At a presentation in Geneva, Ohio, a cousin and his wife showed up and introduced themselves. I was aware of them from my research, but I had not met them before the presentation.
In October, I traveled with Son Kurt and Granddaughter Kayley to Cincinnati to visit Grandson Korey, who is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati. As part of the visit, we toured the Cincinnati Zoo, which is very nice. Also, Korey led a walking tour of the UC campus, so we could see where he is studying for a degree in computer science.
For the week leading up to Thanksgiving, I traveled to the Rochester, New York, area to stay with Daughter Karen and her family. It was a bonding experience with Grandkids Maegan, Kaelyn, and Matti. Karen and her husband Matt hosted a fine Thanksgiving dinner for their family and in-laws.
I am applying for a passport for possible foreign travel in the future. FinnFest 2018 is one possibility. It will be held in Tampere, Finland, with the FinnFest organization putting together a week-long group tour from the U.S. It would be in June, which is a great time to visit Finland. If I do go, it would be my third visit to the homeland of my paternal grandparents.
In closing, I hope this finds you in good health and spirits, ready to experience whatever is ahead for us all in 2018.