Monday, July 04, 2011

My America

My earliest known ancestor came to these shores in the 1600s, settling in Virginia. I had other ancestors who came -- some to Pennsylvania, some to South Carolina, some to Maryland, most to Virginia. And south they went, along the Wagon Trail toward Texas. They stopped. Some of theirs went on, and so I have distant relatives who share some of those family names all over the country, if not the world. But mine stopped here. I can drive to any number of cemeteries within a 75-mile radius and find ancestors and other relatives (their siblings or descendants).

My last immigrant ancestor -- at least of which I am aware -- probably arrived sometime around 1820 or so from Ireland. Her grave, within 5 miles of my home, simply states born in Ireland in 1801 and died here in 1870 (if I recall). That's it. Nothing else. I have no idea where in Ireland she came from, how she came, why she came, anything. I often wonder if she bought a ticket, if she stowed away, if she came through New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Philly, or where?

At least as far as I have found, they all came from elsewhere. I keep hoping for some Native ancestry to mix in with the very Anglo-Scots-Irish mix that spawned my particular family -- not even a smidgen of German mixed in, surprising given the number of German immigrants to our area. They all came for a reason. Whether for land, marriage, a better opportunity or just freedom, they all came to the Eastern shores of the US.

And my life is forever better because of that choice.

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