Tag Archives: Ancestors

The Branches of the Tree

I have always loved history.  If I hadn’t been an English Major, I probably would have studied some kind of history.  The thought of how generations of people before in some way shaped who I am because they shaped the people who shaped me…do you follow me?

Watching Downton Abbey, I sometimes find it fascinating.  My Nana was born in 1920.  Her mother would have been the same age as Lady Mary, maybe a little older and living in America.  But still.  To think about the Great Jazz age and how she lived during that time, I can’t help but wonder what that must have been like.


Then go back one more generation to her parents who worked in the mills of Fall River.  What a life that must have been!  Looking at the family bible, you can see the children who died from illness, the people who didn’t see their 50th birthday because things were just that hard.  Life wasn’t easy. Yet, they were able to shape their children and raise their children in a way that was handed down in some form or another to me.

Going back another step, Canada during the early 1800s – what was that like?  The War of 1812 – which side did they fight on?  Were they even there?  Or were they in France? What about the in-laws who were in Ireland.  What were they doing then?  What about my Polish ancestors?  What were they doing in Poland, had they always been in Poland or did they come from somewhere else in Europe?  Then there are the Italian relatives – how long were they in Italy.  Can they be traced back to Ancient Rome?

Genealogy is a puzzle that reads like an exciting biography.  Kind of a choose your own adventure type of book.  You start out with the corner pieces of the puzzle but as you search and look for more puzzle pieces, this amazing story starts to unfold with each new piece.  A new character introduced, a new story line added.  It’s more than fascinating because when you get the character you then look at the setting.  Where are these distant relatives located in history?  What events did they live through.  Were they involved in those events?

genealogy far side

I am glad that the Husband has been slowly chipping away at the Daughter’s family tree.  He has found some interesting things and it is really amazing how connected everyone is!  Hopefully the Daughter will someday find it as interesting as I do!

This post is part of the June NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Roots.  Today’s prompt was: Are you interested in genealogy?  Do you have a family tree constructed?


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Rhode Island Roots

Rhode Island is a very unique place in our country. If you have never been there, then you really should go, just so you can say you’ve been to the smallest state in the Union. Go to Newport and see the mansions.  Spend a day in Providence walking down Thayer Street.  Get a hot wiener at the Wien-o-Rama.  Sip a Del’s Frozen Lemonade.  Try the pizza strips and for God’s sake, visit a bakery and get some delicious pastries!

Welcome to Rhode Island

The Ocean State is where my family comes from.  Going back three generations, my great-grandparents were all in Rhode Island I believe, making their way for my grandparents and my parents. I wish I could tell you exactly what they were doing, but I honestly have no idea.  I suppose I should ask my mother about that.  She may know.

This month’s NaBloPoMo topic is going to be interesting because as I sit here writing (or attempting to because I’m really drawing a blank with this one today), I realize that there is a lot about my father’s side of the family that I have absolutely no clue about.  I mean I remember some of the things that were told to me as a child but I don’t have a way to get the questions I have now answered.  How strange it is to feel that.  I am interested but I don’t really know how I would even begin to find those things out.

Let’s see if I can get some answers…

This post is part of the June NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Roots. Today’s prompt: “Go back three generations and tell us about where your family lived.”

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I am an Irish Princess

When I was young, maybe 8 or 9, my paternal grandmother told me that I was an Irish princess.  She told me that somewhere in Ireland was a castle that bore the name of my ancestors, Cahir Castle.

Cahir Castle

Cahir Castle

I remember telling my friends at school that my grandma told me I was an Irish princess and yes, they laughed their little third grade faces off at me.  I was devastated.  But as I grew up, I realized that almost everyone in my area of the world can trace some of their lineage back to Ireland and almost all of them can link themselves to a castle or the ruins of a castle in Ireland.  Didn’t matter.  Some days, I still tell myself that I’m an Irish princess.

My aunt (my mother’s sister) was so proud of her Irish roots.  She also had once endeavored to do a family tree of my maternal grandmother’s family.  She got pretty far back, I want to say something like 8 generations and ended up with relatives in France and Ireland.

My mother’s aunt (my grandfather’s sister) did a family tree of my maternal grandfather’s side and she went back to her grandparents but not too much further than that.

When our daughter was about two, maybe three, the Husband decided he wanted the Daughter to see where she came from.  I knew that my own heritage was pretty straight forward.  Irish, Polish, and Italian.  The Husband was more of a mix though.

He signed up for Ancestry.com and began to not only do his own family tree but also did a lot of mine.  It was fascinating the things that he found.  Records from churches, towns, all of the things they say you find on the commercials.  It was pretty cool though.

He traced my family back as far as their countries of origin.  Then, because the international version of Ancestry.com is that much more expensive, he stopped.  On my father’s side, my grandfather’s parents, my great-grandfather came from Poland and my great-grandmother came from Italy. That makes me third generation American on that line.

He didn’t find out too much about my father’s mother’s family and since my father hasn’t said a word to me in over twenty years, I don’t know that I will ever get any of that information.

My mother’s mother’s family was interesting.  There were things that my aunt had found and my Husband found also that said that half of the family was French.  My aunt got back almost 8 generations into France before they came to Quebec and then moved to Fall River to work in the factories during the industrial revolution.  Then the rest were all Irish. I am not quite sure of how far back this line went but I know it went pretty far.

family tree

The family bible from my mother’s grandmother also contains a ton of documents that go back pretty far.  The handwriting is still fairly legible and contains all kinds of dates: marriages, births, deaths.  There are tin photos in there too of men and women with stern looks on their faces.  I still don’t quite understand why people didn’t smile then.  It’s interesting to piece together these small snippets of my ancestors and to discover what is out there linking me to the past.

I can’t wait to keep chipping away at this mystery of where our family came from.  A princess needs to know these kinds of things!

This post was written as part of the June NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is Roots.  Today’s prompt was “How many generations can you go back in your family?  What do you know about your oldest ancestors?”

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