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Who am I? Day 7

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

A number of years ago my family was contacted by a cousin of my father’s we knew nothing of. He was very interested in genealogy and tracked us down. That sparked my interest in writing down what I knew of my genealogy.

At my daughter’s request, my father had written down a brief history of his family, but none of us had thought to ask questions about it. We were just delighted to have it and didn’t dig any deeper. We repeatedly asked my mother to do the same, she promised to do so but never did. After her death, I set out to try to construct a family tree, with little success.

With the advent of widespread genetic testing, I purchased a kit and sent it off. This yielded information about my mother’s family that enabled me to trace back two generations, more or less. What made it especially difficult is that in every generation of an Irish family you see the same names over and over! Actually, in the same generation, as each sibling may use the same names for their children.

With my father’s family it was difficult for a different reason: one set of grandparents was from “Russia” which could cover anything at all in Eastern Europe. The other side came from Sweden. At the time they left Sweden, Jews had only been allowed in that country for about 50 years, so the question is where were they really from?

Answers may be revealed over time, or perhaps not. It thrills me to see that I have distant relatives all over the world.

What prompted this random string was catching sight of my reflection in a window, and realizing once again what nice legs I have. No matter my weight, that has always been true, and I have both my parents to thank for that – the genetic lottery was kind.
I also have my mother’s blue eyes, my father’s barrel chest, and my mother’s broad back. I got the short gene – my three brothers were spared – and I’ve passed it along to my four children. Sorry about that!

I’m an introvert like my father, but my mother comes out sometimes when I open my mouth.

With all that, I’m uniquely myself, though I share genetic material with my parents and thousands of people out there that I’m aware of, though I can’t trace how. At best I can figure out whether they are from the paternal or maternal side, since those are so distinct. Sometimes not.

Somehow it centers me to be part of this vast web of humanity. I'm sometimes alone, but I'm rarely lonely.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MIRAGE727
    I totally feel ya, Dee. My Sister did the same thing as we have my Father, who has the Rainbow Coalition Mix & My Mother, a simple Dutch/English Mix. We're finding out our past is not what it seems.
    1241 days ago
    emoticon how interesting!
    1252 days ago
    Very nice... the vast web of humanity indeed.
    Thank you for this lovely mental image!
    1253 days ago
    .... Germany it would be difficult. I was always intrigued about the scanty stories of empoverished gentry and a Rudolphs Castle. Which no longer exists. So I am happy that you have been able to find out a few things.
    1253 days ago
    Having grown up in a divided Germany we never met a big part of my father's side of the family. All of grandfather's sibling were in the East and it wasn't much talked about. I would have loved. I would love to find out more but not living in ....
    1253 days ago
    A similar thing happened to me - a cousin getting in touch and saying they were constructing a family tree. I now have my own family tree on Ancestry and can go a long way back. I've also met relatives I didn't even know I had and I write regularly to some of them. We even had a family get together at one point. Great fun!
    1253 days ago
    Ah yes, the Russia thing. My grandfather said he was born in Poland. Now, the same town is in the Ukraine. Prior to that, it was Russian.

    Makes it hard to keep track of where our ancestors came from!
    1253 days ago
    I'm wanting to have genetic tests done but am not sure of the best one to use.
    1253 days ago
    1253 days ago
    Here is a good idea for you, ancestry DNA kits ,readily available.There are several companies that do this, and prices really vary so do some research. Good Luck. emoticon
    1253 days ago
    I asked for ancestry DNA kits for my husband and I for xmas. Not sure we'll get them but I think it'd be neat!
    1253 days ago
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