Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tracing Roots

I thought I was a genealogist, amateur at best, but nonetheless, I thought I was doing pretty well keeping up with my father's side of the family. I swear, they drop kids (on Facebook) faster than Italians change governments ... which is rather often! (LOL!)

Unfortunately, my father's family records only go back to when his parents arrived in the United States from Italy (still single, but married soon after arrival) in the early 1900s. Now that's not to say that we don't have a lot of records moving forward! 503 family members (including spouses, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren) have come forth from my paternal grandparents -- and I know who all of them are, and who is related to whom. That's a rather big feat. I do, however, need to make a trip to Italy in one of my spare lives to do some more research.

As I began this post, I *thought* that I was doing pretty well, until...

... one of my sisters started finding all sorts of details on my maternal family. Last week, this sister sent me over 100 email messages with website links that gave me information about my maternal grandparents, and the maternal line of my maternal grandmother that dates back to the year 1330. Wow! Incredible! I have documentation that proves that a distant relative was Lord Mayor of London in the 1330s.

One of the descendents of this line of relatives arrived in America in 1570, long before my country fought for its independence from England. This relative arrived in Maryland, my home state, as an indentured servant. He fulfilled his obligations as a servant, and records indicate that he became one of the largest landholders in colonial Maryland. My gosh... I knew that I had roots in my home state, but I never imagined they went back that far!

Another distant relative was from Bavaria, Germany. He arrived in North Carolina in 1732, and later became a soldier to fight for America's independence during the American Revolution (1770s). He had 12 children, whose offspring formed a long line of relatives in the state of North Carolina (and throughout the U.S. as they moved around with the Westward Expansion or just plain old relocation.)

Another branch of this family intermarried with full-blood Choctaw who once lived in Florida and were forced on the Trail of Tears to relocate to "Indian Territory" -- what is now our state of Oklahoma. I can show lineage in blood to the Choctaw, as well as Germany and England on my Mom's side, and Italy on my Dad's side.

I have produced some charts to share with my siblings that show how we are related to all these people.

What is even more interesting is that some of the on-line genealogical listings provided names and email addresses of the people who posted them. I wrote an email to each one, and now I have "met" two people who are my fourth cousins fifth removed, and one fourth cousin fourth removed. That is, we share a common ancestor of four generations ago.

I have been corresponding with my newly-found relatives during the past week. It has been utterly amazing and fascinating to learn more about the original founding of America through my relatives who blazed the trail.

Life is short: know your roots!

1 comment:

boothawg said...

BDH, enjoyed the site. As a Booted leathered professional genealogist welcome to the obsession. Genealogy becomes an addiction. It's almost as bad as a boot addiction!
There are ways to look into family with out going all the way to Italy, but what better reason can there be.