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Archive for March 1st, 2015

Do you have a well-documented pedigree? Are you from high quality stock? Maybe you descend from kings or royalty… I think there are plenty of skeletons in our closets and if we knew how bad they were, maybe we would take a different approach to people. Maybe we would be more accepting but we pride ourselves of our prized pedigree building walls between those who we believe are of lesser importance when we should open our arms and welcome them.

 

I have spent years doing genealogy research—some on my family lines and much about others. I have learned a great deal about people in general and I have learned much more than a history book could ever teach. Some people seek pedigrees that others will marvel at. I remember back when I thought about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution…I have several ancestors who fought in the war that broke our chains from the mother country. I was doing it for my daughters’ benefit more than anything else. I wanted to leave some sort of ties to their legacy on my side of the family since there is no real family to help them when they get interested in my family’s part of history. I eventually declined the invitation in the end because I was living too much in the past and I wanted to live in the present and future. That sounds awful but here is a part of my past and why I cannot judge anyone due to race. 🙂

 

Much of my dad’s family was fairly easy to trace. His paternal line came out of North Carolina and the surnames are all related. Looking at historical records, it is believed that there was a single progenitor who settled here in North America but from where he came is of question. Many believe he came from England before 1700. Oh, again, I don’t know of any ancestors coming to America after 1800. There is more about this line but I won’t proceed right now.

 

Emotions get caught up in the tales for me because I like to experience and see through each person’s eyes and speaking of eyes…my eyes are bluish greenish with brown spots. My mom’s were darker blue with brown spots and my dad’s eyes were lighter blue—almost silver with brown spots. You would never know that I have Native American blood—actually from both parents. Weird to me. Most of my dad’s family line hails from the British Isles…Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England but there is one family who has been traced to Germany. The Hillis family—my dad’s maternal line and the line that owned the farm on which I grew up were from Ireland but before 1785. I really wish I could get them back across the sea but there are no records of detail that have been found in Ireland and to my knowledge they were not Catholic so I think I am out of luck.

 

As for my mom’s family…before they settled in Alabama, they mostly came from Virginia through Tennessee. Most were US Revolutionary soldiers or descendants so many of them have left a mark in the historical records such as land grants, etc. I had good times (and bad) locating family ties—connecting with long distance cousins and talking with people. My grandfather—let’s get him out of the way—his line is the most problematic. There is a DNA surname project that is ongoing but his line of DNA markers show his haplogrouping belongs to that of the Nordic tribes while most of the surnames are connected (not his) and they are not Nordic. That would be par for my grandfather. He also had French ancestry that has been hard to prove because I cannot establish who the woman’s father was due to missing records. I cannot establish the validity to the Native American ancestor in his line nor if it is true that there was also at least one African American but odds are good that both are part of my heritage. I laugh at this because my mother’s mom was really racist and she had absolutely no reason to be. Sad. Really sad.

 

My mom’s mother’s line is the one I know most about. She had a Native American ancestor so I have nothing but mixed blood all around…lol. This same line is where the Huguenots tie in. My maternal matriarch—as far back through the female line as I can go with any certainty—married a third generation Huguenot descendant. You want to talk about religious persecution…the family that came over in 1700 were trying to escape so that they could build new lives here. They were first uprooted out of France into other parts of Europe as they sought freedom but when the influx of refugees disturbed the status quo, they were sent to America–not totally of their own free will.

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Four generations of my female line–Mom, me, my grandmother and my great-grandmother.

😀

 

There is a lot I know about my mother’s maternal line and I have had to fight over it because I was told I didn’t descend from the very line I descend from—even though I had things passed down to me from the 1800s. In fact, the person who told me this made me caused me to dig that much harder to prove what I thought I knew but I filled in a lot of blanks and documented much of the information with historical records that were not in my possession. He even published a book with the wrong facts which he still makes money from. I was kind to him and tried to offer to share what I had not because I knew I was right but because I wanted to share (he had posted a note asking for help–if that doesn’t beat all) and his last response to me was that he felt sorry for me. Please. He was extremely disrespectful. I thought he wanted to know the truth. My mom would have loved to set him straight and she might have known him—I don’t know. He is probably distantly related. See…we don’t get to choose who we are related to.

 

There is a mindset that tells people they are right and they believe it even when the differing facts stare them in the face. In the case of the person who told me I didn’t belong, the proof was in my family’s cemetery lot–believe it or not. You see, my family always took care of one another. After a sister’s husband died and she was not able to care for herself, my ancestor took her sister in to care for her. The sisters in this generation were very close and remained close no matter how many miles apart.

 

It turned out that the sister who was taken in outlived the one who took care of her and she is buried in the family plot in Alabama. I had visited it many times but I didn’t know all of the story until several years ago. I was disowned by extended family and believed the guy who failed to do his research because of his title–he is a bigshot genealogist. Her grave and the historical records are there that show what is truth. Census data, pictures, etc. I cannot make him believe it is true–he holds onto another belief and he doesn’t accept me. Is that how we are to treat family? I don’t think so.

 

What does this say about who we are? Don’t hide behind someone. Don’t hide behind your beliefs. Reach out to those who need. Accept others with love in your heart.

 

May your gardens grow with great beauty and tenderness! 🙂

 

A variation of this post has been waiting since last year to be posted…I might catch up one day. 😀

 

 

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