Our small town library has a genealogy room and quite a few years ago, I started doing my husband’s family tree. Amazingly I traced his lineage back to 1595. Mine swam over during the Irish potato famine in the 1850’s.
The most amazing thing that I learned during this process, is that most everyone in this small town is related. It might go back generations and generations, but somewhere the lines are intertwined, either by blood or marriage.
As I grew up all over the United States as a Navy ‘brat’ this was a new thought process for me. Even though when I was fifteen and my mother and I drove from southern California up to Washington state, I was napping in the back of the station wagon, woke up, looked at the two street town we were passing through, and said, “I’ve been here before.”
Mother said, “No.” I looked at the map and memorized the name of the small town. When we got to my grandmother’s house, I asked her about it. I lived with her one summer, and sure enough, we’d stayed in that little town for a week. Of course all of the townspeople knew I was a stranger, and I learned to say that I was visiting Aunt Dot, and that Irma was my grandmother. They would nod, and they knew I was ‘family’. I was free to roam the town on my own, as there were only two streets, no way I could get lost. I discovered Uncle Wally, who had a burro that he would lead into the plains with a sack and had a hidden gold mine. When he needed money, he’d pan the dirt and I watched as gold would magically appear. He gave me a gold nugget, and I’d pull a carrot out of his garden, wash it, and feed it to the burro.
What a memory!
How far back can you trace your roots?
My book, The Devil Has Dimples, has the premise of my heroine trying to find out the name of her birth father so that she can feel connected. When I first moved to this small town, the first question everyone would ask me was, “Who’s your daddy?” I really thought that was odd, but my husband clued me in that they wanted to ‘place’ me by my parentage. He always told them that I was from California, and their interest in me stopped. LOL