When I was growing up, while we were in evangelism, my Dad enjoyed tracing our family tree. We would go to libraries in lots of little towns as we travelled and Dad would continue his search. Sometimes he would come out and tell us about the person he'd learned about. I always thought it was so neat.
Now that I'm older, I decided that I wanted to trace it too. So, several months ago, I asked Mom and Dad to help me start the tree and they gave me all the information they could remember about their families and I put the information on a tree at Ancestry.com. This week, I decided to really start looking harder and it has been an amazing journey...with much more to learn. However, so far, this is just a bit of what I've learned...
On my Mom's side, I have traced part of the line back 21 generations to 1328 in Scotland. Along the way, I've come across that we have a line of Lords and Lady's that begins in 1358, a minister in the family (born 1789), we also have relatives from Ireland and England, and sadly I have an Uncle who was drawn and quartered in 1548 though I don't know why. Now that is just disturbing! Looks like the first Barrett (my mom's Maiden name) to come to the US was James Barrett who was born in Ireland in 1715 and his wife Hannah who was born in Scotland in 1720.
On my Dad's side, I've traced part of the line back 18 generations to 1378. We are from Welsh and English descent on the James side of the tree. Looks like the first James to come to the US was John James in 1673 from Wales (found his travel papers). Since Jamestown was founded in 1609, that means my family was here almost at the beginning of the United States. That's pretty cool! Though...oddly enough, there don't seem to be any actual James' in Jamestown. :-) At least not from our line. I also found the Last Will and Testament of Captain John James (died 1778) and it was quite and interesting read. I believe he was in the Revolutionary war, but I'm not certain, though I'm pretty sure some of his sons were.
I've also discovered that my family seems to have the travelling bug from WAY back. No wonder we've still got ichy feet. It's literally in our genes to travel about it seems. :-)
If you've never traced you tree, I would encourage you to do so. I've still got a long way to go, but WOW, I find something new out about my family nearly everytime I look.
We study the history of our country and of the world in school, but we often lose track of our own personal history. That seems so sad to me because we can learn an awful lot from those who have come before us. So, I'll keep digging! Who knows what I might find. Some of it may be exciting, some it will certainly be sad (like some things I've already found...I'm not at all proud that some of my relatives were slave owners...turns my stomach to think abou that.), but it is all my history and it has all gone into the forming of the person that I am today. So, the search continues!