one of my great-grandmothers (center) and two of her sisters
I also like studying my ancestors because I get to place them in the events of history, and in a way it makes me feel that I was there. We have a right to the glories of the past through the participation of our ancestors.
Beyond that, though, all of us can find inspiration from our ancestors’ lives for our stories! My work-in-progress The Alice Quest explores ancestry and how we interact with it, and I draw from my own experiences and love of ancestral history as I delve into Amy's, my MC.
So what fascinates me from my family history? First of all, where my ancestors came from.
My dad’s dad’s family has been in America for a good long while. Before ending up in Michigan, where my dad, grandparents, great-grandparents, and most of my great-great-grandparents were born, they lived in New York and Massachusetts, and their ancestors came from southern England in the 1600s. I find it exciting that they pioneered America and saw or even fought in the Revolutionary War. My dad’s mom’s family emigrated from Sweden in the 1880s and settled in Michigan; my great-grandmother spoke only Swedish until she went to school.
My mom’s mom’s family also came over in the 1880s, only they emigrated from Holland and put down roots in Chicago. My mom’s dad’s family came from Germany around the same time.
my great-great-grandmother who came from Holland (her daughters are in the previous photograph)
Because of my ancestry I feel a connection to and special fascination for the cultures of England, Sweden, Holland, and Germany – as opposed to, say, Italy, Spain, Russia, and the Native Americans. Is that exclusively conscious, i.e., I take more interest in them because I know it’s in my blood? Or is there something in my genetics? I don’t know if I can ever know for sure.
In part two of this post (which will emerge next Friday if I can manage it) I’ll tell you a few things about my family that inspire The Alice Quest. On Tuesday, however I’ll be doing a special Jane Austen post in honor of her birthday, December 16th.
What is your family’s ancestry?