Saturday, January 31, 2009

Knee Deep in History

Miley is doing an ancestry project for school. No problem. We have the records from both my side and Mike's side. I saw this as a quick one hour project we would enjoy together.

Not exactly.

Think your mom's dad's dad's dad's mom's dad's mom's dad's dad's dad's mom dad's dad's dad and then think of all their spouses and their moms and dads. Now add in your mom's mom and repeat. When done, move to your dad's mom and dad's dad. 

And then do the same thing on your husband's side.

I am not kidding. I have managed to trace back 8 different lines to the early 1700s in York County, PA and King George, VA. I even managed to find the name of the boat my ancestors took in the late 1600s. 

We found the militia of our fore fathers in the Revolutionary War and the companies in the Civil War. We discovered a great great grandmother who died in childbirth, a dad who died a few years after his son was born and parents who had 2o children.

We even found pictures, wills  and census sheets. 

Miley and I managed to fill six poster boards for the tree and then some.

Seven hours later, I was done. I looked at our taped together poster boards and declared 'enough'.

"But what about his wife and her husband? What about her parents?"

I glanced at the boards. There were lots of missing spouses and parents from different lines on the board. It wasn't that we didn't find them. It was that there literally was not enough room and when you get so far in the past, you tend to focus on the main line. I stared at those names, the names of people whose actions made me, me. Looking at the tree, Mike's family combined with mine and my children were a result. And it broke my heart that I did not have the names of their spouses, their parents and their parents. That I did not know what color their eyes were, what they liked to do on Saturday night.  That these people were family, my blood, my daughter's blood and I could not fit all of them, every single one of them on the tree.

And then I thought about my own legacy. 250 years from now, would one of my heirs spend a Saturday afternoon with her child marking my name, date of birth and death? Would they know I liked to cook and eat entirely too much pasta? Would they wonder what life was like in 2009? Would they know it was my dream, my goal, that my grandchildren's grandchildren be happy, safe and loved? 

I hope they will know. Looking at the names on the list, I am thinking they too shared this dream. Well Peter, Mary and everyone in between, your dream is true. Thank you for the life you shared and the gifts you have given us.

But as far as the pasta, I don't know. Maybe, they'll know.  If they still have access to my blog.


Amanda said...

I know it took a while to do, but how facinating! I would love to take the time to do a similar project.
Hope you had a great weekend,
Amanda x

Susan said...

Ahh! That really touched me. How did you look up all this stuff?

dani said...

wow, lisa, that was a task!!! i'm sure it was very interesting and fun, though:) i hope that nothing will ever wipe out our blogs???
i'm thinking now that i should maybe back it up somewhere.
ps when i was reading i came to "king george VA" and was like, "wait a sec, "A" is not a roman numeral???". what a dork i am:b

Elizabeth said...

oh, what a nice post! i love history and personal ancestory even more. i wish i knew more about mine...all i know is that before my parents generation both sides have been amish for generations and generations...

very nice post. leaving a legacy is something i've been thinking about a lot since i was with my whole fam over Christmas...leaving a good, Christian legacy.

Elaine A. said...

That does really just blow your mind, doesn't it? That's so cool that you were able to go back that far!

Brian and Staci said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!???!! I barely know my Grandparents names :( I dread this when it comes around...although, like you does make you think about all those people and what they loved. Your blog will be a great find for your great great great great grandchildren one day :)

Jules from "The Roost" said...

That is amazing that you found all that! You do wonder who will really remember you don't you. I bet you both learned alot :)

photomama said...

I am amazed you did all that in 7 hours. How and what tools did you use for your research? said...

It's amazing how far you can go with the internet's help, isn't it? I think it's the Kenos who are always saying you need to mark things with provenance. You should make a little hope chest type thing with all those likes and dislikes and hand them to your grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness Miss VBMW4, this is just the coolest project! We did a similar with both my side of the family as well as The Consort's, and his family was able to go back to the 1700's!

It was neat to see York County, that is where our placemats are made!

Great post,

Purple Teacup said...

Lisa- can you send me resources you used? I get overwhelmed....