faces of the past
I don’t know much about my ancestors on my dad’s side. No one has ever talked about them; I don’t think they know much either. This past Labor Day when I was in Orlando, my aunt brought boxes of photographs and documents that had been my grandfather’s. We then spent most of the weekend going through them, diving into our family history.
It was fascinating. I learned more about our family than I had ever known before. Some of the most fascinating were the documents from the mid-1800s. Land deeds (3 acres for a dollar), old receipts (my great-grandfather owned a store), and some teaching certificates. We found old letters – including the one my grandfather wrote to my grandmother’s parents, asking for her hand in marriage. We found old pictures, of my father and his siblings growing up, and my grandparents when they were younger. We had those old sepia-colored photos of stern faces. There they were, my ancestors, in a time long ago. They lived, loved, laughed, cried, married, and died. They provided the foundation that my family rests on today.
I wish I knew more about them. I would love to know who they were, the stories, the legends. Apparently my original ancestors came over on the Mayflower way back in the 1600s, and eventually settled in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting, because my mom’s side of the family is from Pennsylvania as well – but those ancestors came to the States in the 1800s.
I am curious where they came from, before the United States. The Mayflower – they were probably British. Was their name always the same as mine? Are there other nationalities mixed in too? Perhaps Dutch? (Since the Pilgrims spent some time in Holland, if I remember correctly.) I’m sure there is some Scottish blood in there too, due to the hair color. Why did they come to America? What kind of lives did they lead? What occupations did they have? Were any of my ancestors leaders – mayors, governors, congressmen? Were they poor or rich? How were they affected by the great events of history that we read about today?
My great-grandfather’s store. I’ll have to check with my dad to find out which one he is, and who the other guy is.
I think I’d like to trace my geneology, and maybe answer some of those questions. My goal is to track the stories and information I uncover on our family website, my latest web project.