Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Other Little Obsession:
Where Did I Come From?

Shawn was returning from the "old" hometown one night a couple of weeks ago. I sat down on the couch to watch TV and await his arrival.

(Does that give you images of a captain's wife looking out to sea anxiously awaiting any sight of her beloved's ship? 'Cause that's kinda what it was like. Only a lot less dramatic. And, no anxiety. And, a lot more TV... Anyway, I digress...)

I have no idea why - I've seen a thousand commercials - but, the one that came on that night totally sucked me. I just thought I would log on and see what I could see. Without "joining," of course.

I "joined," of course.

Three days later I emerged, after totally bingeing on census forms and birth records. I didn't know as much about my paternal grandmother as I should have, though. So, I shot my Aunt Pat (my dad's sister) a message - because, come on, we all know dads don't pay attention to stuff like where their moms were born!

Holy-wealth-of-information, Batman! I'm pretty sure this is what they mean when they say you should ask questions of your elders. Aunt Pat knows everything - at least everything I needed to get me off and running up the family tree again!

But, as quickly as I got sucked in, I lost interest. I got back to people being born in the 1700s, but there was no way to know if the information I was gathering was accurate; if the John Bassett born in 1770 was really my grandmother's great-great-grandfather. Especially, since a lot of the information you find is other people's family trees - subject to their own mistakes.

That. And, my paternal grandfather's side quickly jumped across the pond to Sweden. Turns out I can't read Swedish. So, their official documents were a little less than helpful to me.

But, my main conclusions?
  • If I have any hope of tracing back to the Mayflower (P.S. I don't.), it would be through my paternal grandmother.
  • My paternal grandfather - well, he's Swedish. (But, I did figure out through my own deduction that there must have been a settlement of Swedes in Iowa. Not only was my grandpa's dad born in Sweden, but so was his mom's dad. And, Aunt Pat told me I was right. I'm a total history detective!)
  • And, my maternal side? Um. I don't know how to say this, but there's a small chance we're a bunch of hillbillies. As in, the guy who kept marrying twenty-year-olds when his wives died - even when he was 54 (which was, like, as good as dead in 1884). He married three of them. And had 15 kids with them. So. I don't know. Maybe he wasn't a hillbilly. Maybe he was was just a dawg. But, most of these people were born in the hills of Tennessee. Isn't that, by definition, a hillbilly?

So. My heritage. I'm a Swedish Hillbilly.

But, now. I have a confession. I've been clicking back over there as I typed this post. I kinda want to start searching again. They have this little leaf that shakes at you if they have documents that they believe pertain to a person in your family tree - and I have a lot of leaves shaking over there!

Alright, I guess this is goodbye. Between and Spanish, when will I possibly find the time to blog?!


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