Bloganuary 8: Family Trees

Today’s Bloganuary asks, “How far back in your family tree can you go?” For my family, this question still lacks a definitive answer.  Years ago, my mother and other relatives discovered via a genealogy website that our family’s origins lie in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, although the names of our ancestors are still a mystery. It was a surprise, but it sparked my imagination. I’ve always wanted to travel, and it’s inspiring to know that my ancestors traveled such great distances. A journey to these countries, ironically the places that my ancestors left, would be quite an adventure, a  journey spanning Europe, the United Kingdom, and South America!

However, there are still many missing pieces to the puzzle of who we are, and what our exact history is. My biggest questions are, what was their motivation for starting a new life in the U.S.? Why did our ancestors leave their homelands? Were they moved by desperation, or a sense of adventure? Were they sailing towards a sure opportunity, or willing to take their chances? Did they travel as single men and women alone and find love later, as whole families, as unaccompanied children? Why did they choose the state they settled in once they reached the United States? What kind of work did they do?

The oldest member of my family, my great-grandmother, doesn’t hold the answers to these questions-when she was a little girl in the 1930s, she had no living grandparents to pass down memories of their own lives or those who came before. I sometimes toy with the idea of taking up the mantle of my mother and her cousins and pursuing more research on just where our family tree begins. One day, I may stand upon the native earth of my ancestors, breathing in the salty air beside the oceans that carried them from familiar shores to a new beginning across the world.  

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