Where the heck do I come from?

I’m on a quest to find my roots.  Not so much for myself, but for my two daughters.  I’ve had a family life filled with divorces, disconnects, relocations. I really didn’t have much of

a connection to where I came from or how I got here.  Both of my daughters know quite a bit about the paternal side of their roots, the maternal side–frankly it’s a hot mess.  My oldest daughter, Shelly started to try to put things together on Ancestry.com. She connected there and was able to find a photo of my mother’s parents on their wedding day.  I remember my grandmother, she was always in the kitchen cooking.  My grandfather, I don’t remember much at all.  But the names were familiar and I encouraged my daughter to continue and even offered to pay for a gift membership for her to continue the research.  But she’s working full time and going to school part-time and her plate is pretty full.

I’m not sure what nudged me this week to pick up this task and continue on. Maybe it’s having a birthday, maybe it’s seeing friends dealing with medical issues and knowing that life can be short and can change in an instant.  This week I decided to do the DNA testing on Ancestry.com and I ordered the kit.  I am not sure how much information I will get from that.  But decided that one day I want to visit Denmark, where my family is from.  When I visit, I want to know where they lived and visit that part of the country.

My parents divorced when I was 12.  My mother’s mother disowned her for divorcing my dad, so ties with that part of the family were severed.  So I have to go back 45 to 50 years in my brain to try to remember names of aunts and uncles and cousins.  I have some fuzzy memories, and family lore to go by.

Like most projects it starts with that first step.  I filled in the blanks that I could remember. That wasn’t all that much.  I’m on the 14 day trial of Ancestry, but will probably continue on until I find some more pieces of the puzzle.

So far I have discovered:

  • My paternal grandparents did not come over from Denmark, they were both born here in the US.  Their parents did travel here and one of them was born in Lonstrup, Denmark
  • My maternal grandparents, who I always thought came from Germany actually had roots in Romania.
  • My older sister who I haven’t seen in years died in 2010.
  • I was able to track down information by looking at obituaries of favorite aunts that had died. It made me sad, but I know that all three of them would approve of this project that I’m working on.

It’s like a giant puzzle.  As you snap in a piece the little leaf lights up and you see more clues and more pieces to the puzzle. I’ll see familiar names and memories will pop into my head.  Most of the families were larger than I remembered.  It’s so much easier to do all of this online with the technology.  As a name comes to mind, I enter it in, or do a Google search and another layer of my family, my background appears.

I like to think that my legacy to my children will not be measured in dollars and cents, or large parcels of land.  I know that I’ve shown them some things by example.  They both have a creative streak, a giving spirit and are both strong independent women.  That’s a trait that was handed down to me by my mother.  It’s important to them, this family connection.  I’m realizing as I work on this it’s important to me too.

As time allows, I plan to take some time to upload photos and to share stories that I remember about my relatives.  You know I love to write… I think what is driving this is that so many of them are gone, and sadly their stories gone with them.  I want to be sure to leave a footprint when I am gone so one day if my great great great grandchildren decide that they want to find out more about me, it will be available.

Hey…it could happen.  🙂

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