Friday Five: Family Trees

Sophia writes:

I moved across country for a college teaching job last September, and my mother came to visit for the first time last week. We had a fantastic genealogical adventure tracing the family roots of her father’s grandfather, who moved away from this state sometime between 1887 and 1891.

We drove a few hours to their county armed with some names and cemeteries, and wondered if we could locate anyone. It turned out there is an awesome local history room in the public library, with a very skilled librarian library, and with her map and a pile of copied records we struck gold! We found, cleared, deciphered and took pictures of old weathered stones marking members of several family branches in four tiny country cemeteries–the one above is my fourth great grandma. Of particular RevGal interest, we spoke with a friendly and helpful pastor at the United Methodist Church (window above) on the site of the Presybterian church my fifth great-grandpa helped found in 1814!

1. Do you have any interest in geneaology?

I actually do have quite an interest in geneaology. My dad’s side of the family is Mennonite from way back. I feel like it’s so fascinating to see the journeys of your ancestors because we end up repeating some of the same patterns of behavior whether we know it or not. I also love knowing where I’ve come from because it gives me a rootedness, particularly spiritually, from that side.  One of the things I’d love to do is go on one of those Mennonite Heritage Cruises through Europe. Fascinating.

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?

Dad’s family came from what used to be Prussia. Before that they were in Germany and Holland. Then they came over to the US in the late 1800s.  Mom’s maiden name is Smith, so who knows. England, I think.

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know?

I don’t know it off the top of my head, but we have documents on a cd rom of boat passages and land ownership in the 1700s.

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?

I wish I knew more of their stories. I have documents and official information but I don’t have anything anecdotal and I wish I did.

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you?

I’d like them to remember that I was passionately compassionate, that I stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves, and that I was a good friend.

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