I have a friend who just loves past life regression. He went to California last month and spent time being hypnotized to do more past life investigation.
I’m not scoffing at this. He says that knowing where he came from in a past life lets him know what lessons he learned and still has to learn. I’m not sure that I agree with him, but I’m equally sure that he hasn’t asked my advice about this past life thing. Since losing Jack it’s harder to leap up and insist that someone readjusts their sails to match mine. I’m not saying I don’t want to; I’m just saying that “live and let live” is more than a motto in the Big Book of AA.
I got to thinking about past lives in a different way and put in for 2 free weeks at Ancestry.com. I did this once before in the 90’s when we first got Internet and the idea of being able to make a country-wide genealogical probe was attractive. The truth? Anything that would permit me to stay up late drinking worked for me and doing “research” was a great front.
There wasn’t much to be found on the Internet back then. Records hadn’t been scanned in and information could be obtained but only via a written request and stamped self-addressed envelope. Too much trouble.
I know people who are fanatics about researching their ancestors. I’m talking about people who plan vacations around cemeteries and courthouses. For some, it seems that their relatives’ successes makes up for some absence in their lives today. But most people are like me. Just curious.
I’ve had lots of stories told to me about my relatives. In my OCD way, I’ve been checking and cross-checking my family tree. And I have to debunk some of the myths.
1. My great-grandfather came from Alsace-Loraine with his older brother during a French-German territorial war, landing in New Orleans. His brother was cruel and my great-grandfather ran away from him to come to Texas.
Not true. He was raised in Louisiana and nobody in his family fled from any place other than Quebec and that was in the 18th century. He ended up coming to Texas to make his fortune and became the 1st postmaster for Loire, a ghost town today just south-east of San Antonio. He spoke Cajun French and broken English til the day he died. In addition to running the post office, he had a small store and a cotton farm and fathered 17 children. Prolific.
2. My great-great grandfather moved out of Texas to live in Mexico after the Union won the war. He wouldn’t live under the “damn Yankee flag.”
True. My g-g-grandfather, Youngs Levi Coleman, did move to Mexico and died in Guerrero. His wife and sons lived and died here so he must have been a miserable old fellow alone in Mexico. Bob asked where Guerrero is. Since I have to look up USA geographical landmarks, I had no idea about where this Mexican location is. It’s in southwestern Mexico on the Pacific coast where Acapulco and Ixtapa are.
3. My great-grandmother came from Ireland to the freedom of America because her family wanted her to marry an Englishman.
The only truth I could find is that she was born in Ireland, according to the census. There was a mass migration from Ireland in the 1850’s and 60’s so I’m not sure how she came here. A little more research is needed since her life dead-ends with marriage to my great-grandfather. Information about both of them is limited to the U.S. census. There’s a little mystery about their household. The 1880 census shows them having 2 spare children older than my grandmother and great-aunt. Nobody’s mentioned that before. Since they were born before the great grandparents’ marriage, I’m not sure what’s going on. They had the Clark last name so that’s a little interesting.
4. One of my great grandfathers married his daughter in law’s sister.
True. I guess women were scarce in the wilds of Uvalde County. My great-great-great grandfather buried 2 wives and had 8 children ranging from newborn to 18. He married my great great aunt who was recently widowed and had 3 children of her own. They had a couple of children themselves. Puts a whole new reality to “I’m My Own Grandpa.”
5. I am George Rogers Clark’s great-great-great-grand niece. (Yeah. The Lewis and Clark Expedition guy) That one did make me feel special.
Probably true. George was probably the grandson of George Rogers Clark’s brother who migrated to Yankee country. According to Clark apocrypha, Jonathan Clark was disinherited for marrying beneath his class. He died in Connecticut and George (the great-grandfather) was born in New York so they never found their way back to the heart of Dixie. I wonder if there were Clarks who fought on the Union side; I know there were Clarks and Colemans who fought for the Confederacy. George Rogers Clark (the New Yorker) is the one who married Irish Margaret.
Having spent the last few days, really, really doing research, I understand how addicting genealogy can be. None of this changes who I am, but knowing where I came from just adds new color and texture to the fabric I already have. Have 12 more days to my 14 free ones. Will have to get to dig hard to find out the unknowns.