On July 5, 2008, I received this message on ancestry.com:
Diane: Small world!! Ethel E Pollock was my Aunt whom I never met. My Dad was George F. Pollock 1916/1943 whom I also never knew because he Died when I was only 6 Months old. I have just this week joined ancestry.com and began researching my roots. Perhaps we could share some info. Just got a copy of my Dad's and Granddad"s death cert, they were both George F Pollock. I also have 4 siblings (three in Mass and one in N H) one brother is also George F Pollock (the third).Long story short - Victor is my first cousin once removed - his father and my grandmother were siblings. I didn't know that his father had even existed because, at that time, I didn't know a whole lot about the Pollock family. The more we talked, the more I learned about Victor and his four siblings. Their father, George, had died of heart disease when they were very small children. Their mother, Ruby, had given the kids - Victor, George, Reggie, Marion and Ruby - away to foster care and had walked away, never looking back. The five of them lived horrendous lives, going from foster home to foster home, suffering terrible abuse. The whole time thinking that the only family they had in the world - was each other. George has written about their experiences in both his blog and his book, State Kid.
Got to go, perhaps some time we could share info. I live in Mass.
Victor F Pollock
Fast forward. The 5 siblings are now all in their 60s and 70s. They've all been successful in life and have great families. Still, something was missing. Victor decided to start researching his roots and that's how he found me. We talked online and he was ecstatic to know that he still had a living aunt, his father's sister, Lillian. We made arrangements to meet at her house. What an incredibly moving experience that was! The most poignant moment was watching this man in his 60s reach out and touch his aunt's hand for the first time and say: "I can't believe I'm actually touching someone who once touched my father."
Victor and Aunt Lillian
Later that summer, there was a family reunion where the 5 siblings met other family members for the first time. That was my introduction to the 'character' of the family - cousin George! Or as he now prefers to be called: George Francis Pollock III, American Royalty. The American Royalty part was added after he learned he was no longer just a State Kid, but related to, among others, several Presidents and he is the 9th great-grandson of William Brewster, Mayflower Pilgrim. As he says - 'not bad for a State Kid!'
Victor, George and their siblings have gotten very close to Aunt Lillian and her family. The 'girls' went on a trip to Aruba together! There was a big party for Marion's 70th birthday and for the first time in her life, family other than her siblings attended. Here are the 5 of them having a blast!
Reggie, Ruby, Victor, Marion and George Francis Pollock III, A.R.
Shortly after the reunion last summer, I got an email from George. He talked about how "after living our entire lives thinking we were alone in the world, we finally have what everyone else has - a family."
Things like that last sentence are what make all the hours and hours of research worth every second.