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.