The excitement of discovery – I think that sums it up! I have certainly felt that excitement as I have broken through to a new generation of ancestors and all the associated family discoveries that may promise.
This week, Who Do You Think You Are?, NBC’s genealogy based hit (I don’t think based on the ratings so far that it is premature to call it a ‘hit’) took actress/model Brooke Shields back to her royal ancestral roots. While I may not be able to fully relate to the royal discovery of a direct line ancestral connection to French aristocracy, with the historical close ties between France and Scotland, who knows? Maybe, one day? Maybe not, but I’m happy enough to settle for many of the discoveries I have made to date, especially on my wife’s side with a direct United Empire Loyalist connection, a connection to the Paul Revere ride, a vice-regal appointment in Ontario, Canada and connections between her family and mine that date back more than fifty years ago but which were totally unknown to us.
I’ve discovered Scottish ancestors with Irish roots and Irish ancestors with Scottish roots and for me, most importantly, come to appreciate the sacrifices of my ancestors that landed me where I am today.
Perhaps I could get back more than 400 years in my family history with the aid of a team of professional genealogists and historians but I would have missed the voyage of self-discovery that so fascinates me. My team is made up of fellow researchers who work collaboratively, sharing tidbits and clues that can be woven into the fabric of the family. Like Brooke Shields’ family, my family history contains stories of tragedy that help explain family decisions made long before I was a ‘twinkle’ in anyone’s eyes! War heroes making the ultimate sacrifice, a family drowning – these events have shaped my family, have given my family texture and character.
I cannot yet relate to a royal mansion in Europe but would easily settle for an ancient castle in the Scottish highlands!