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How I Met My Miles Cousins

Hello All,

Need your critique, it's long, but please help me.

How I Met My Miles Cousins

Connecting with cousins Frances and James Miles from Greencastle, IN has been one of the more pleasant experiences in my genealogy endeavors. Let me describe how it happened.

Attending my father’s funeral in Piqua, Ohio…September 1945, when I was eleven (11) years old was a group of relatives I had never seen before. They included my father’s sister’s, Elizabeth Thomas Forepaugh and Louisa Thomas Miles and Louisa’s daughter, Frances Miles. They were from Greencastle, IN 250 miles west of Piqua, OH and in Indiana. They came in a Taxi-Cab, I wonder what that cost them.
I never saw or heard from these folks again until 1999. A 54 year span of no communication.

On a genealogy research trip to Greencastle, IN (dad’s birthplace) during the summer of 1998 I was able to “collect” many copies of vital records on my Thomas, Forepaugh and Miles relatives (birth, marriage & death), but I was unable to locate any living relatives. We also took pictures at the cemetery and the old “home place”. Well, after returning home (Springfield, OH) and consolidating my newly found information into my genealogy software database I started using the Internet and some recently purchased CD’s looking for any type of connection.

From some of the records collected in Greencastle, the birth records of the Forepaugh children, I was led to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), I found them as being deceased. I then went to the Telephone Directory and searched for Forepaugh’s in the areas shown on the SSDI. My third call resulted in my connecting with the widow of one of the brothers. After overcoming her initial apprehension Mrs, Forepaugh told me I had relatives still living in Greencastle, IN. This was unbelievable, I gave her my phone number and asked if she would have them call me collect, she agreed to that arrangement.

Within an hour I received a phone call from Greencastle, IN it was from Frances Miles and her brother
Jimmy. Frances remembered me from my father’s funeral that she had attended in 1945. After a 2 to 3 hour conversation it was understood that we had to meet, and soon. Fortune smiled on me again, Greencastle was having a “homecoming” in 2 weeks. This was an annual gathering of AA families from the Greencastle area that had been going on for 75 years, or better. She, (Frances) and Jimmy invited my wife and me to attend and to re-new our family ties.

Meeting Frances and Jimmy was and is one of those moments I’ll never forget. Cousin Frances is all of 4 ft. 10 in. tall and weighs in at about 95 pounds. She was 89 years old at that time. Jimmy was not much larger, about 5 ft. 4 in. and maybe 150 pounds, Jimmy was 76 at the time. These were small people, but remembering my father, he stood only 5 ft. 5 in and maybe 160 pounds when he died it must be in their genes. The two of them were and still are extremely active, alert and mentally sharp. Frances just did an interview with the Putnam County , IN Historical Society on her experiences over the last 90 years. A side benefit of Jimmy, he was/is an avid photographer and had several photo albums he shared with me. After two years he trusted me enough to let me bring them back to Springfield, scan what I wanted into the computer and then return them to him.

So there you have it, one of my life’s greatest pleasures, meeting cousin Jimmy and seeing cousin Frances again after 54 years. They found a picture of my father when he was about 26 years old, they had it “re-worked” and enlarged, they presented it to me for Christmas 2000, it is now one of my most prized possessions.

Just a little story to share how wonderful genealogy can be and to show how blessed I have been in meeting my father’s niece and nephew after a lapse of 54 years. We also have a “whole bunch” of new cousins and are waiting (anxiously) for the Miles Family Reunion in Greencastle this upcoming July (2002).

Art Thomas

p.s. Photo of Frances & Jimmy at the URL below.
under the Title " My Indiana Cousins ..Frances & Jimmy Miles (2000)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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