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Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Where do you come from?

If you are like me, that question can be a strange one to answer. Are you asking where I was born? Or maybe where I grew up? Perhaps where I live now?

Or are you asking about my heritage?

Some people are lucky enough to know exactly where they come from; like my husband, for instance. His family is from Ireland, and he is first generation American.

He knows for generations back where grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and distant cousins are all “from”. And he also sort of takes it for granted.

I get a little bit jealous at times because if I say my family is from Ireland or Scotland, I have to explain that what I mean is, generations back they lived there. It somehow makes us “less Irish or Scottish”.

My sister, Janet had to dig through mounds of Internet archives to find out where my great, great grandparents lived. And she will have me on a wild goose chase once in Ireland, in two weeks, to track down a few Sayers graves.

I’m determined to find them, because in a strange way it “proves” we were there. She also traced our family back to Scotland and found out we were (are?) part of the Colquhoun Clan.

So of course I’m going to go see the Clan Castle in Luss. But will I feel a connection to them? A part of me feels like it’s a silly American thing to do; claim a connection to a clan from generations back.

Russdhu House, Loch Lomond

But I still want to do it.

I think for so many of us American’s there is a sense of loss of connection to our heritage. Our ancestors came to this country generations ago and intermingled with other cultures and we became a big melting pot.

I believe we have a need to know where we come from. Sites like ancestry.com and 23 and Me not only give us a place to track down public records, but also a chance to have our DNA tested.

Even though my sister already did the work to trace our family history, I had my DNA tested too. I wanted assurance she was right. Funny.

There is a certainty when my husband and his family say they are of Irish decent. They may be Irish, but I’m not sure they know how lucky they are.

My husband and his Dad

Are you lucky enough to know where you come from?

8 Comments

  1. I’m a hodgepodge of German and English but some day I want to do the DNA test too.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      2018-04-10 at 14:26

      It was interesting to see the results. I’ve heard 23 & Me is the better one

  2. My dad’s family has been traced back to Amsterdam in 1600’s, before coming to New York. My maiden name is Van Horn. I did my DNA and I match the melting pot, aka United States, I’m 80% European, 13% African and 7% Asian.

    I find it interesting to know about our past.

    Usually I answer that question with I was born and raised in Florida. 🙂

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      2018-04-10 at 14:36

      It is interesting to know something about where we came from. Looks like your family comes from all over Cindy!

  3. It’s odd, that need so many Americans have, to be able to claim a heritage. I wonder if it isn’t because, like you point out, we’re a melting pot country. And not only that, but so many were forced to leave their homelands and give up their cultural identity, like the Irish indentured servants/slaves who came here, or the Scots forced to emigrate after Culloden, or even the current refugees. So we’ve had generations of people trying to cling to something that was taken away. Of course it might just be that America is such a ‘young’ country. Maybe we’re just kids trying to prove something. Either way, have fun on your travels! And by the way, when my son was little he told everyone he was from Saturn and chose us as parents so he could come live on earth. I was flattered to be chosen.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      2018-04-10 at 14:33

      Lisa, I love that your son said he was from Saturn! You are so lucky 😉

      I agree with all you said. And thank you, we shall have a marvelous time, I’m sure.

  4. My passion was genealogy for 20 years but I had to do it the old fashioned way, traveling all over the Midwest in search of answers! I am 100% European (Irish, German, English etc) DNA sure makes it much more interesting and someday I will get back into it (I hope!) Let me know if there are any Flannerys/Flanerys/Ryans resting next to your Sayers!! Maybe we were neighbors back in the old country! Have a wonderful trip-wish I were brave enough to get on that plane, but then as your previous post indicates, I would probably spend 90% of the time inside going through old records and the other 10% walking the cemeteries instead of really seeing the country!!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      2018-04-11 at 09:46

      Interesting Mary! Good for you for digging and finding your roots!

      I will definitely keep an eye out for your relatives as I search through cemeteries. It will be fun posting photos.

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