Down the Rabbit Hole

I’ve been researching my heritage… well, nearly all of my almost 60 years. Being adopted means being loved… but also facing a blank wall as far as ancestors go. Who were they? WHERE were they??

I always assumed mine had to be bank robbers and horse thieves.rabbit

Well, thank goodness for Ancestry. The DNA testing found my half-sister (she hasn’t been back to the site since October, so doesn’t know I messaged her in return. I wish the service would email if there’s a message!) and from there my family tree started, buoyed by other member’s family trees and documents.

I now know my father’s name, and surprise!, I’m not a bastard. My mom married him. Briefly.

And so far, through my maternal grandmother’s branch of the tree, I’ve been able to go as far back as Ireland, 1599. Now… I have to go over all this a million times before I really believe it… but the magnitude of it is kicking my butt. I have ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the War of 1812, WWI and WWII. The phrase ‘Fighting Irish’ now holds new meaning.

Not horse thieves, this clan – O’Rourke – seemed to be leaders instead of wastrels.

Of course, other branches have led back to England. Nothing yet from Scandinavia, but maybe that’s my father’s side.

Here’s where the going gets sticky… a few times in documents I’ve read that my ancestors owned slaves. It was a kick in the gut. Seriously; one woman being willed to a surviving wife was called a ‘negro wench’ and upon reading that my lunch nearly came up.

No, I’ll not be paying reparations. No, I don’t feel guilty; I’ve never owned slaves and it’s been a damn long time since my family has. But it did put a damper on the joy of finally having a family tree.

 

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