I am sure everyone has read this book or has had it read to them. Unlike the poor little bird in the book, I have always known who my mother is. And I knew who her mother was. And I know somewhere along the lines I am French-Canadian, a little Scottish, some German and maybe something else. I have always wanted to know where, exactly, I came from. I’m not talking birds and bees-I have an insatiable need to find out where I came from, exactly. I want to know why I was brought up the way I was and if there are any queer bits that are unique to make me who I am today.
First, let me illustrate this with finding out the origin of Chinese Pie. Shepard’s Pie, as everyone else calls it, is a yummy little combination of mashed potatoes, corn, and burger. I grew up calling it Chinese Pie. Why? Back in the day while the railroads were being built, railroad companies hired a ton of immigrants including both French Canadians and Chinese. This was easy and cheap to make so voila, Chinese Pie. The French Canadians took this dish back home to their families, they usually ended up in Mill Towns (like my family in Lowell) and you’ve got people like me hundreds of years later calling it Chinese Pie.
This is the kind of stuff I am interested in. Plus the fact that I want to relate to a culture and understand why I do the things I do (pickled herring and saurkraut for breakfast??).
I joined Ancestry.com last spring for a few months and did an ok job finding out some things. Since then, the 1940 census has been released on the site and more and more people have been making family trees. I re-joined again yesterday to see what more I could find and it was like hitting the jackpot! I have only really worked on my maternal side and have traced a couple family lines back to the early 1600s.
Now, I thought maybe I was French by way of Canada-I mean, they had to get there sometime, right? I was thinking ok, maybe they came to Canada before they came to America. Nope. You wanna know who my 11th great-grandfather is?? Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi’kmaq people in Acadia. For real. My mother’s entire side was pretty much the makeup of the new colonies up there. Plus I am apparently very very distantly related to a 17th century super star.
Sidenote: I went to a fortune teller for the first time to get a reading. She asked me if I came from royalty (I wish!) because she felt I had blue blood. My relation to him doesn’t entirely explain that. However, she told me that I have a guardian. She asked if I ever felt that I was in a situation in which I should not have survived. I’ve had some freaky experiences and so I answered yes. She then proceeded to tell me about this guardian. He was very tall and looked native. She kept telling me how he as tall and fit and if I knew him. I don’t know any natives, so I told her no. I secretly thanked this unknown native for his protection and kind of kept it at the back of my mind. Until today! According to wikipedia and other online sources, Jesuit Pierre Biard has described this gentleman the same way the psychic described my guardian. Now, I normally don’t buy any of that crap, but seriously, in addition to this guardian thing, this lady was spot on. Maybe she isn’t full of crap? Just thought it was a freaky-neat correlation.
So, I have traced some of my family back to the 1600s. I haven’t done a ton of research on this yet, but it seems that everyone lived extremely long lives for the time periods in which they lived. I’m going to take this as a good sign. So I have begun, slowly, to see that my family is more or less native to Nova Scotia.I did find that the British sent up some ships of men and threw out a bunch of french canadians off their land (actually a super sad story, see Expulsion of Canadians) in which some of my ancestor’s family members ended up in Louisiana!
Right now I am putting together the people and the dates. I can’t wait to start putting together events and dive into who they were as a people rather than just names and dates.
I haven’t explored my paternal side yet. I am excited to see what that brings. But for now, I have a good base to begin explaining at least some things in my life. Wish me luck on this voyage! It’s going to be quite an interesting ride!
Have you ever wondered where you came from?