Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Knew?

I have scrapbooked so much since the first of the year that I ran out of things to scrap! Well, sort of. I have piles of photos that need to be scanned before I can work with them, but the lack of a functioning scanner is prohibiting that at the moment, so I decided to turn my attention elsewhere for a couple of weeks.

If you have never delved into your family genealogy, you really should try it sometime. It's amazing what you can find. It turns out I'm a distant cousin to Booker T Washington, George W Bush, Audrey Hepburn, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Pretty cool, huh?

There are Revolutionary War heros, a former governor of Connecticut, Union soldiers (who lived in the South), survivors of Indian attacks, participators in the Oklahoma Land Rush, British nobility, and even families who were in Salem at the time of the Witch Trials.

My family, no matter which branch I trace, has been in America for a long, long time - some of them pre-date the Mayflower's voyage. It's fascinating to me to imagine the life my ancestors led. Apparently Christmas Day was a popular wedding date at the turn of the 17th century - I lost count of how many couples married on December 25! I can't help but imagine the fear felt by those living in Salem in 1692. Would they be the next to be wrongfully accused? I actually know about the Land Rush, because my great-great-grandmother left behind a memoir of sorts, and she tells of the Frenchman who rode by their side in the race to find a homestead, and the Indians who sometimes visited them.

I wonder what it was like for the Union soldiers who lived in Arkansas and Kentucky at the time of the Civil War. One of them was even killed by Confederate soldiers when he was home on furlough. Someday, if I ever visit Connecticut, I'm going to see the Robert Treat Hotel, founded by my governor/ancestor. He is even considered the co-founder of Newark, New Jersey.

One of the most intriguing parts for me is when I find an ancestor who came from Scotland or England, and it's a town I've been to. When I think of my great-times-10-grandmother walking the streets of Edinburgh, or the hills of Stirling, I get a little excited to think I've been there, too.

Interestingly, there are monuments and graves close to where I live now. I look forward to photographing these places - there's nothing like having a tangible connection to the past. In fact, my search has yielded photos of family I didn't know existed. It's such a thrill to see the faces of family from more than one hundred years ago.

In that spirit, here is a photo of Hezekiah Rose, my great-great-great-great-grandfather. He lost part of a leg in the Civil War (Confederate side). I love this picture - his eyes have this sparkle that makes me think he would have been such a fun person to know.

I hope that I get to spend time with these relatives in heaven. I'd love to hear their stories - and I am determined to leave mine for future generations!

No comments: