It all started out so innocently. While cleaning out my inbox, I came across an email from almost a year ago that I had neglected to answer. I took a few minutes and answered it. Little did I know that it would lead to an evening that felt like falling down the rabbit hole.
Hubby does not have many living relatives, that he knows of, and the past is kind of vague due to a million little reasons. The email came from the St. Louis Police Department, they were working on a bit of research on their fallen officers, his grandpa had died in the line of duty. It lead to me logging back on to Ancestry.com.... yikes, that is dangerous!
When you are a military brat, your roots feel frayed, whether they are or not, you have a strong feeling of being disconnected. I guess because of that I have always wanted to know how deep my roots go. Where did my family start, how long have they been here, had I ever walked in their footsteps without realizing it? Was the tree planted long ago, or were we recently transplanted? Are we originals or late comers? Those things drive me crazy with wonder, they have since I was a little girl.
Back in 2008 I had played around a bit, but being far from home and not knowing the stories, etc, it was frustrating not rewarding. So I stopped. Several of my aunts have tracked our tree back across "the pond", as I grew up calling it. And I know bits and pieces of it. On my Mom's side there appears to be a solid trail. I know that my Dad's mom had followed that tree way back, I've seen the book, but sadly I never got a copy of it and have no idea where it ended up.
Hubby's branches were a bit frayed also. How I long to know who those mysterious tomb stones that rest near his family were. He knew they were sort of connected to the family, but didn't know how. He always assumed that blood relative wise his sister and niece were the end of the tree except for his girls. After last night, it seems there are far more branches to the tree. It's amazing how folks are connected and to whom.
I spent about 5 hours digging through the past last night. For someone like me, that is incredibly fascinating. I don't live well in the present as it is, and I am deeply connected to those invisible roots, I feel them pulling at me, even though I do not know where they go. I know my family are true Yankee's. We are as Northern as they come. Good strong New England stock. I know I have roots in upstate New York, and that our family "migrated" to Pennsylvania a few generations back. But further back is hazy, I will have to look deeper.
My family came from Europe, on mom's side I am a pretty healthy mix of English, German and French. From dad's side I know that maternally we have a lot of French, and paternally they were fairly recent immigrants from that area that often changes hands... Czech, Polish, German... it's a unique area. Somehow they ended up in Emporium, Pennsylvania. A place I have only been to once.
Hubby seems to be from strong German stock, and ironically it appears great grandpa was from Bavaria. When we were there last year, roaming through Bavaria and the Alps he kept telling me how much at home he felt. Like he'd been there before. Do our gene's remember? Do the memories of the past carry forward?
I will have to limit my browsing, I will never get anything done chasing those memories of the past. Looking for those links and pictures that connect the present me with the ancestor's gone before. I don't know why I have such a strong desire to find those pieces, to put that puzzle together. I want to know, I need to know, I want to follow those wispy strings of faint memories... those snippets of the past.
Who do I look like? Where does the strong need to be creative, thrifty, green, etc come from? I want to follow the bits to hubby's past, I want to know where his love of animals originated, what did they do, what brought them to the mid-west.
I guess growing up seeped in history older than memory makes me need to follow that path backwards. I want to know where my family seed started... where did the sapling begin...