Saturday, January 28, 2012

Follow Friday: Ignoring my "ethnic" heritage

   Marian Pierre-Louis's post of January 26th on her Roots and Rambles blog sounded very familiar. In it, she wrote that she had been ignoring some of her "ethnic" ancestors because a) they were harder to trace and b) she had all those good colonial ancestors on the other side. I was guilty of the same thing until very recently. In my Explorations in Connecticut Genealogy blog, I've written about my colonial New England ancestors. I've been reaching the same line for over ten years. They were easier to trace (thanks to my ancestors' interest in the DAR/SAR), relatively local, and "more interesting." This was, of course, the line with the pilgrims, Revolutionary War soldiers, etc. It was only a research report on Luxembourg immigration that made my interest in my Luxembourger ancestors take off.

   Fortunately, a few of my immediate relatives were smarter than I. I inherited labelled family photos, obituaries, school newspapers and more. With very little work, I was able to trace my family back to their arrival from Luxembourg in the 1860s. Thanks to the family trees I inherited, I can actually go back much further... but I want to double check their work myself!

  The lesson I took from all of this: ask questions while you can. I was just lucky that my ancestor decided to make sure his descendents knew about his family. Not everyone will take those steps. Interview your relatives to see what they remember. Copy family photos and label them. Visit cemeteries together. The more you ask now, the less you'll wonder who this later.

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