Once again the genealogy gods are playing with my mind and convincing me that I must somehow be related to everyone I know.
This past weekend I was texting my friend Marlene to make plans to get together for dinner. We were going back and forth, trying to find a restaurant that has outdoor seating and that will take a reservation. Then Marlene texted, “I have a cousin who owns a restaurant in Northampton. I’ve never been there though.”
I texted back, “That’s funny. I have a cousin who owns a restaurant in Northampton, but I’ve never been there or met him.” I couldn’t remember his name or the name of his restaurant at that moment, so I went to my Ancestry app, knowing that he was a nephew of my cousin Roger. Roger and his husband David have been tremendously helpful to me in my genealogy research, as readers of my blog know. Roger is my third cousin, once removed, on my Katzenstein-Goldschmidt line. We are both descended from Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt.
After checking my tree and finding the right name and the name of his restaurant, I texted Marlene, “My cousin is Jeremy Werther. He owns the Homestead restaurant.”
Much to my amazement, she responded, “He’s my cousin also!”
It seems Jeremy is Marlene’s second cousin, once removed, on his father’s side, and he is my third cousin, twice removed, on his mother’s side. We were just blown away. I’ve known Marlene and her husband Jim since 1982, and certainly as far as we knew, we had no relatives in common. How could it be that after almost forty years we had just discovered that she was the second cousin of the father of my third cousin, twice removed? We both just had to laugh and marvel at what a small world it is.
And, of course, that sealed the deal—we were going to Jeremy’s restaurant for dinner. We made a reservation at The Homestead, and I prepared various family tree charts to share with Marlene and with Jeremy.
It was a fabulous meal. Everything was so fresh and beautifully prepared and presented. We had two different salads, a roasted carrot dish, a bluefish dish, and two pasta dishes among the four of us. We shared most of the dishes as they are served as small plates to be shared, and it made for a very relaxed and enjoyable meal—each dish better than the last. And the service was stellar—friendly, efficient, and attentive without being intrusive.
Although I forgot to take photos of our meal, Jeremy gave me permission to include a few photos from their Facebook page. This is just a small sample of Jeremy’s artistry.
But the best part was meeting Jeremy, who seemed amazed by the fact that two of his cousins had shown up at his restaurant without any warning—two women he’d never met before. He sat with us as we explained all the connections and shared the charts with him. He was as gracious as one could imagine—all of us sharing in the crazy joy that comes with discovering the magic of family history.
If you live in the Pioneer Valley, or even if you don’t, be sure to visit The Homestead at 7 Strong Avenue in Northampton, Massachusetts. You won’t be disappointed.