I am fascinated with the rich history that makes up my country. More specifically, my family. I started a genealogy project a few years ago and haven’t quite gotten around to it again this summer. I usually find one name and begin to pick away at their story. Two years ago, I found an interesting name I didn’t even have in my notes, and with the help of a distant cousin I have never met, I learned about a whole new side of my family out west. I am made up of English, French, German, and Native American ancestors (as far as I can tell), but I am not ruling out a wee bit of Irish somewhere in there.
I think it would be wonderful to visit all the places of my ancestry. Not saying it’s going to happen, but I feel like it would be a wonderful experience. The story of the 5 brothers from France setting out to make their way in America is an old one in my family. I am still trying to get back to their names and where they set out from. In Germany, I had at least two sets of great-grandparents coming over from there (that might be why I love German food). I have traced my father’s side to mostly all English as far as I can tell. Sigh. We had some manor over there, okay the thing is huge, but the family had so many children that some “lesser” son decided to make his way over to America to make a fortune for himself since it was obvious he wasn’t getting anything over there. Okay, so it doesn’t say that specifically, but I found 18 children on one branch, so I put it together. I’m not going to say the name of the manor as it is still in use today, but I laugh when I go to the website and they list their English lineage back to the 1300’s. Then they have this tiny paragraph on the “American” black sheep of the family who left. It makes me laugh. I wouldn’t have wanted your manor anyway…sigh.
That brings me to the mystery of my Native American great-grandfather. I do not know his story, and I would really like to. I need to dig deeper. I have a photo of him, and he looks quite proud. My grandmother used to say I had Cherokee blood in me and maybe that explains my wild nature (see Young and Reckless post). That brings me to the point of my ramblings. I am a very patriotic person and I have a great love for my country. I know that my ancestors gave up a great deal just to get here, and worked hard to make something of themselves. I cry when I read e-mail forwards about our soldiers coming home and I feel a great sense of pride every single time I stand up to say the Pledge of Allegiance, which in my job, is every single day. We might not always get along as a people, and some might say unspeakable things, but we are all in this together and each time I stand up to salute the flag, I am supporting the decision my ancestors made to come here.
Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. ~John Quincy Adams