The research for the Ripley side of the family a product of timing more than anything else. My father had died and his only sister was needing care that she couldn't get at home. She and I decided that an assisted living situation would be her best solution. In the moving and getting her settled, I discovered that she had all the family deeds, wills, pictures, diplomas and mementos. What a treasure she had.
I found a letter from a cousin I didn't realize existed and he lived within 15 miles from me. I called him immediately and found that he was 84 years old, had a daughter who lived around the corner from him and a son in Seattle. One of the first things he said to me on the phone was, "you need to get in touch with cousin Nancy's daughter in California, I'll do it for you."
Three days later a package arrived for me an it contained at least two hundred pages of wonderful research on the Ripley family. Along with this package was a letter saying, "Hold onto your hat!!!! You are a descendant of 12 Mayflower families and here is the documentation."
Mother's side of the family was not so easy as she was adopted as an infant. I wish that I had not waited until Mother was 77 years old to talk to her about what she knew of her biological family because, when I had the information from her, it took me one day (well, two days, really) to find that family.
I thought that nothing could surpass the specialness of Dad's family, but Mom's did. Her great-great grandmother, Mary Richardson Walker, was the third white woman to cross the Rockies, being after Narcissa Whitman, and Eliza Spalding. She left Baldwin, Maine, a bride of one day, to be a missionary to the Indians in the new Oregon Territory with her new husband. The trip was almost entirely on horseback and Mary became pregnant the first week of the trip. Three other newly married missionary couples shared the adventure with Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker, my 3rd great grandparents. Much is written in Oregon history books about the Walkers.
I am a member of the DAR in the Mary Richardson Walker Chapter in Longview, Washington.