It's in My Blood
It’s a funny thing to find out where you come from, ancestrally, ethnically, genetically; to discover stories from the past that unlock a mystery within you.
Genealogy became a passion of mine a little over a year ago. I went from caring very little about my family history to becoming fascinated, building my family tree on some branches back to the 1660s. I discovered the small European towns where my long ago ancestors originated and then studied those towns to find out what life was like in those days for them. A lifelong history buff, I was now seeing my own family history come alive within the stories of the real people who lived and thankfully had children that ended up leading to me!
It can be a risky thing, too. You can discover very unpalatable truths when getting into the details of the family history. On one side of my family, several generations back, we are the result of a religious figurehead’s secret affair and the love child that produced. On another, I descend from a family of decorated Nazi pilots. Going much further back, a scallywag who married a woman and then ran off to sea and eventually died there, left behind one single son, from whom our North American family line was sprung.
However, I also discovered the endurance of hard working people, adventurers, and entrepreneurs in the early settlements of North America. On my mother’s side, we are only very recently North American and have strong German roots, and I can see the tidy penmanship on many documents of my German ancestors in the towns in Mecklenburg. I even found the handwritten passenger list from when my great-grandmother left Germany for her arranged marriage here.
After extensively researching and working on my family tree, I took an ancestry DNA test, which then confirmed everything I had researched. I confirmed just how strongly western European I am, was surprised by the Irish percentage and was even able to see the genetic communities where my ancestors thrived!
I have never believed that we are tied to the legacy, expectations or the bad behaviors of those who came before us. We are free to make our own choices and become who we want to be. However, what a delight it has been for me to unearth all of these little stories and secrets, and to see the passionate and hardworking people that I come from.
“If your descent is from heroic sires, show in your life a remnant of their fires.” – Nicola Boileau-Despréaux