Monday, March 28, 2011
Two weeks ago my elder brother called to ask me to subscribe to Ancestry.com and to do some work on our family tree. It seems my other brother told him that I could "make a computer sing!" and that sounded good to him since he could get nowhere with the family tree.
I am a person who has almost insatiable curiosity. That is a positive way of saying that I am incredibly nosey. So, delving into a family tree has been lots of fun - and a huge time eater! I got all the way back to the Revolutionary War on my mother's side - my Great-Great Grandfather. I found pictures of the tombstones of this Great-Great, and his wife, my Great-Great Grandmother. I found a photo of my grandfather who died long before I was born and my mother never really spoke of. He was a wildly successful business-man - which I didn't know. My brother told me that my mother never talked about him because he left them penniless when he died unexpectedly and she had a terrible time with that.
I am the descendent of a long line of huge families - my mother was the youngest of eight. He mother was the youngest of ten. I am the youngest of five. These parents were still having children when they were past forty. My grandmother was 42 when my mother was born. So, my family is very very old.
Anyway, my point is not to advertise for Ancestry.com (but this could be an unsolicited advertisement because I have been amazed by what I could find there), but to tell you what most struck me.
Out of all these lines of family, there was a single little Catholic who came from Ireland in the early 1800s. My Paternal Grandmother's great grandfather. So, this line contained the only Catholics. My grandmother was a Catholic who married an Englishman - Anglican. My grandfather emigrated from Birmingham to the US in the late 1800s. He had traveled the world and continued to do so. When he traveled the world, he found Catholic Churches everywhere he went - and they were all the same everywhere (in Latin). He converted because of this.
My father was raised Catholic (two of my uncles were priests). He married a non-catholic. My mother converted after their marriage. So, five of us were raised Catholic, and remain so. Two of my brothers married non-catholics - who later converted. Their children are Catholic.
I'm not sure I am articulating what I am trying to say.
As I looked at all of these people, I felt like I saw one little seed, sewn 150 years ago, which has now grown into quite a garden! I hope it continues to flourish.