Searching for the past!
When I was in junior high we had an assignment to find out our family’s background – what nationality made up our family tree. My parents did not have a lot of information to share, but Dad said his mother’s family was Irish and his father’s family German. Mother was not very clear about her father’s side of the family. He was an orphan and never shared much about his family. She never met any of his parents, siblings, aunts or uncles. What little she knew was that there was some Indian ancestry there. Mother said her mother’s side was English.
Recently I received some genealogy research from one of my mother’s cousins tracing my grandmother’s family back several generations. I was so excited when I found that my great-great grandfather was not English, but Scot-Irish!
Of all my grandparents the only one who really showed any interest in me was my father’s mother – the Irish grandma. She was a red-head and I am also. She loved that I was a red-head and that I looked like her side of the family – the Tates. Because she made me feel loved and proud of my red hair, I have always felt a connection to that Irish heritage and always loved anything Irish.
Knowing that red hair is a recessive gene and required that both my parents pass on the gene for red hair in order for me to be a red-head, I knew someone in the past on my mother’s side had red hair. But I was so excited to find out that only a few generations back was an Irish gentleman. So now I can thank not only my Grandma Tate but my great-great Grandpa “Paddy” Wilson for my red hair. (Fiery Red-heads Have More Fun!)
I was excited to find that second Irish connection, but surprised to find that my ancestors were also French. My great-great Grandpa Wilson married a French lady. And it appears of all my ancestors I have traced so far it is the French connection that is the most interesting.
The Boudinots were Huguenots who fled France after King Louis XIV revoked the decree of Nante and began religious persecution of Protestants. From France they immigrated to England for a short period and then on to North America, arriving just in time to be a part of our early history as a new nation. I’m just beginning to learn more about these French ancestors but it appears they were involved closely with the birth of the USA. Since I am a history nut and have read everything I can find on our founding fathers and mothers, it is so “neat” to find that some of my ancestors were closely involved in that history.
So who cares?
I realize that in one sense it doesn’t really matter who my great-great-great-great grandfather was – yet as I age, I find it more and more important that we do not forget our past.
What other surprises await?
I have traced enough on my Grandmother Smith’s side to feel no more surprises – it’s Irish/French. But a mystery remains on my Grandfather Smith’s side. The only sibling of my mother still alive told me I should not try to trace that side of the family. He was very mysterious as to why I should not. Research so far does appear there may be a secret there. But what?
So – what is your heritage? What interesting stories does your family tree have?