Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!!!

A photoless blog post...

I've been researching my family history for the last couple of years. When I started, I had this vague idea that my folks all came over in the last 100 year, through Ellis Island, that we were 99% German, that if I was lucky I'd get back to the early 1800's, maybe 1700's. I knew that my last namesakes were here in the late 1700's, in Kentucky, but Philadelphia first. And I knew from my maternal Grandma's research (she was phenomenal with this!) that all of my German ancestors who made a pitstop in Russia to escape Europe made it to North Dakota, and eventually California.


What I didn't expect, but was thrilled to learn!

  • Many, if not MOST of my ancestors were early Colonists!
  • My last namesakes were in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War (even earlier), fought in that war, and were also in Philadelphia when George Washington was made President and our country became an independent country. Cool!
  • I have lots of French ancestry (if you know my last name, you'd so, "no kidding," but my last name is also very common Irish surname)!
  • I have LOTS of more recent French ancestry via Canada -- trappers who married Iriquois women (at least two, maybe three or four), made it to French forts in our country (before it was a country) in "Louisiana Territory," and eventually made it to Saint Louis, Missouri.
  • In Saint Louis, an eventual daughter of that line married a Spanish gentleman, born in Spain, soldier in Spain, came to America in the 1700's, was secretary to the Governor or equivalent in Saint Louis (so there's lots of historical documentation about him!).
  • Their daughter is one of my great great paternal grandmothers!
  • Also on the paternal side, we descend from LOTS of very early colonists, who largely came from Britain, the younger or poorer sons of various British aristocracy. Most of those families are very very well documented way back through the Norman invasion and even earlier. So it's been SO fun for me to find that we're eventually "French" (from France prior to the Norman invasion), meaning that we're really largely descended from Vikings (those ARE the Normans, but that's an entirely separate history lesson), and various groups on the European continent during the middle ages and back through dark ages.
Oh, I could go on, don't get me started, I've already put folks to sleep.

But this to say, Independence Day has taken on an entirely new meaning for me. It's now a day to reflect on what it took for my ancestors who fought for Independence to actually make it to this country. Their ancestors survived innumerable plagues (and there were MANY), the trip across the Atlantic, wars, other assorted diseases, famine, Winter, insurrection (for those who were actually royalty or aristocracy), invasion, the list goes on and on. Not all of my ancestors are "good guys," but it AMAZES me to think of all that happened before in order for me to be born!!!

So Happy Independence Day to all -- your country, lineage, etc. don't matter, we can all celebrate our ancestry, our history, our country. It's a gorgeous day today, perfect for celebration!!!

No comments: