I am a very early morning person – as soon as my eyes open I am awake, doesn’t matter if it is still dark, I am up, hubby on the other hand tends to get up around the same time each morning. Because of this, quite often I am up several hours before him and either have to read or watch TV, so I recorded several of the “Who do you think you are” episodes to fall back on. This morning I watched the Jason Sudeikis episode and he said that he was at the point in his life of “looking back“. His story had some not so nice realities to it but still his story to know. I think everyone can benefit by knowing their family history – both the good and the bad – it shows why people did the things they did, and what made them who they were.
That “looking back” time in life he referred to seems to me one that happens at different times for different reasons – most basic of all – your own mortality. For adoptees I think there are many points we come to that we can feel the need to know more of our history – regardless if we have searched in the past, or not, or made the conscious choice not to search at all and made peace with that. I always wanted to know my history and at the same time, I was always the one listening to dad’s stories or pouring over his family tree created by his dad. I loved the sense of connection he had to his ancestors, and because of my connection to him – that was all it took for me to be interested.
I have done my maternal family tree and learned a lot about myself in the journey, and am still waiting to do my paternal family tree but that requires the 1940 census to be indexed completely…sigh…
But getting back to dad’s family tree – I still continue to research it and expand it past that family tree created by grandpa – linking newly added source records, confirming my work to date as correct. It still fascinates me simply because it’s dad’s family tree. His ancestors passed on their genes and how they lived their lives to each new generation, including dad who shared with me how to live my life by working hard and helping others first. I spent several hours yesterday linking up birth records from the 1700’s, finding new siblings to add to his great-great grandfather’s family, adding war records from both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, grave stones, places, occupations. My next project is to create an actual map of migration that will include who migrated, where, why, when, starting from where they came from across the ocean to where they lived in Massachusetts in the 1600’s to their journey across the states to where dad grew up and lived out his life – a journey travelled over many generations. I am doing this for is simply me as dad was the last male in his family line.
At the same time I will still work on my maternal tree as well, filling in gaps, confirming more details with source records, and will create a migration map as well, but it won’t have the richly told stories that dad had for his dad’s side. Yet even dad’s tree is missing stories – my grandma’s family story that no amount of searching can confirm some of the details she talked about, where her family lived because things don’t match up except for one brother who I met as a child. I suspect she had some skeletons in her closet she didn’t want known to those who might judge, but it leaves a visible hole in the story – a mystery that needs to be solved so the tree is complete.
I value all my family trees…I am linked by nature to some and nurture to others – all part of who I am, all important to me, together they tell my story of who I am.
All adult adoptees across the US deserve the right to know all of their story – please support Adoptee Rights – write your legislator today – it only takes a small amount of time and it is the right thing to do…who knows it may be your letter that gets your representative to visit the Adoptee Rights booth at the National Conference of State Legislators Convention in Chicago this August 2012…