It's All About Me

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Nashville, TN, United States
Primordial hardcore PC gamer, Love the FPS genre in video games such as Medal Of Honor and Call Of Duty, Artist, Musician(drummer & guitar), photographer, aquarist, non-sweater of the small stuff and lover of life! There are always weeds between the with it!


Friday, April 30, 2010

Those that came before us...

 "If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
Yhich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer. b. 1926)

I've been on a journey of self discovery over the last couple of months...a journey that my father started about 20 years. 
In 1982 he showed me a genealogy chart he had been working on since he was a young man. Back then, he would have to go to the courthouses and browse through the archives or visit the old public and family cemeteries for names and dates of past family members. Most of the entries were handed down orally from my grandfather and other relatives.
He sparked an interest in me about our family tree. He always told me stories of his grandmother Simmie who's family tried to scrape together a living during the hard times of  the Civil War.
Their family would have to hide their livestock from Confederate and Union troops and deserters from both sides passing through their farm.
More then once their would go out in the morning to milk the cows and find a slaughtered carcass in the field with flanks of meat craved from the hind quarter of a milk cow or steer. They began to hide the cattle a night in several of the deep hollows and caves around their farm. Chickens and the other smaller livestock would have to be under lock and key to prevent their disappearance during the night.

Stories from my mom's father of his experiences in Paris during World War I or their struggle during the Great Depression.
(btw...that's not my grandmother in the photo, it was my grandfather's girlfriend he met in Paris before he knew my grandmother, she always hated that photo!)

My mom was adopted by my grandparents in 1935 but never had an interest in learning about her real mother.When she learned I had started to pick-up where my Dad left off researching the family on, I was surprised when she asked me if I could find out about her mother.
She was born in 1934 in Richmond, VA. 
There was not a father listed on her birth certificate but my mom indicated that she overheard my grandmother telling her aunt that she was around 16 or 17 years old will my mom was born.
But so far my research has not turned up much as to where she ended up or what happened to her.

(my mom at 3 years old)

On my father's side of the family, we go back all the way to 10th century Scotland. Then on to Ireland in the 14th century, then we left Ireland during the Ulster migration of the late 17th century to America. We made port in just about every major harbor on the eastern seaboard form Maine to South Carolina. 
Our branch of the family came in through Virginia and the Carolinas, through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and Tennessee. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War from the Battle of Lexington and Concord, to the Battle of King's Mountain. They fought in the War of 1812, on both sides of the Civil War, World War I & II, Korea & Vietnam and finally the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.

 The one thing I've realized from this little journey is just how short amount of time we really have on the earth. I look back at the names and dates of my ancestors and think about what these folks lived through, not to mention the infant mortality rate of the babies born that never lived to be teenagers or much less adults.
Look into your family will tell you more about yourself than you may realize!

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