Somehow, knowing where I came from has helped me to understand who I am now. It’s helped give me a sense of place.
For me, the search for ancestors is like the unfolding of a great epic novel. With each new branch I discovered on my family tree, a little piece of myself became clearer.
Growing up, I felt like I must have been descended from Gypsies. My parents moved around, it seemed, every two or three years. I moved a total of twelve times growing up, and of those twelve times, six of them were moves out of state and/or across the country. Neither of my parents were in the military, they just had the urge to move, I guess.
When I have studied my genealogy, I found that, for the most part, my ancestors on my mom’s side lived in the same town for generations. My mom’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents really had a sense of place, of laying down their roots.
They all grew up together in the same small community. Knowing that my ancestors had a place with deep roots helps me to feel more connected.
Before I studied my lineage, I felt as if I didn’t belong, and a little bit lost.
Now, when I go for visits to the small town where my mom grew up, I feel connected to my family’s history. When I’m there, I know I am in a place where others in my family have been before me, and through this place, this community, I am connected to my family.