I am fascinated by genealogy. I want to know where myself and my husband come from. I want to know more than the areas of the world, which we hope to learn by a DNA test, but I want to know the people who came before us. I want to know their stories and what events led them to become our forefathers.
What we know right now is that William’s paternal grandfather’s family has lived in the same Alabama town since before the Civil War. We know that on his maternal grandmother’s side that someone was a member of the Seminole nation. We know that other individuals in the family came from France, Switzerland and Canada. We know that his family has deep roots in England and later colonial America. I want to know more than names and dates though – I want to know professions too so that I can piece together a more comprehensive story. Blame it on my love of Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots and Genealogy Roadshow. Blame it on my love of history and storytelling, but I have a deep desire to feel like I know our ancestors.
When I look at my own genealogy, I can trace deep roots to colonial Virginia and what would become North Carolina. I can identify individuals from England, Ireland, Poland, Croatia, Austria and Italy. What I want to know though is who these people were – especially my maternal great-grandparents who immigrated to America around the outbreak of World War I. I want to know what brought Matthew and Pauline over here. I want to know if Matthew was Austrian or Italian. I want to know why, at such a pivotal time in history, they made the choice to leave everything and everyone they knew and come to America. I want to know how they met and their love story that produced some of the strongest women I know – my grammy and her sister Rose. I want to know the person, not just the facts.
My ultimate dream would be to gather enough information about the people who came before me to write a book. Maybe that book would simply be a nonfiction account of facts that I can find for future generations to refer to, or maybe that book would be a work of fiction inspired by the people whose choices led them to be my ancestors. I already want to write a book inspired by my paternal grandparents and how their love story began as pen pals during the Korean War. I find that story so interesting and human and want that knowledge about other generations of family.