- This is in answer to:
- Share what you know about your family's ancestry. See all answers
- January 3, 2011 by leggygillin
- Family History
I don't know much about my family's ancestry on either side. I'm told I am French, Irish, and Indian. My great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian, born on a reservation in Alabama. There were no official birth records for her. When she was old enough to draw a pension, she needed a birth date so my grandparents made Valentine's Day her birthday. They also guestimated the year of her birth to be 1898.
I loved listening to her stories about when she was growing up. From her we learned her grandmother was purchased from an Irish man for the price of a horse. She tried a cigarette once, never touched them again. But she loved her snuff. Driving was an accomplishment she never learned. If it was too far to walk, then she took a cab. I went with her often and developed my own enjoyment of walking. Occasionally, she would whisper that she was going to get a little 'hooch'. Then she would go get a shot of whiskey. She was a hard working woman until she was in her eighties. Her failing health finally made her bedridden.
I have several very old family pictures. The one consistent fact in all of them is that they were very poor, hard working people. There is one photo of a cotton field with my great-grandmother. Someone wrote on the back that it was the field she was supervisor over. I also have a photo of the 'old homestead'. It looks like a two room shack.
My father's family also has a poverty ridden theme. I've seen some pictures of some of the homes and people. I don't, however, know any of them. From them came the French blood.
Prior to my generation, both sides of family have a history of abuse, alcoholics, jail birds, and is filled with illiteracy. The highest average grade completed was the fifth grade. I think my generation had the first high school graduate.
In school and in my earlier years, I hated the thought of others knowing my family history. I was embarrassed. I even withheld my ancestry from my kids for years. I used to wonder where some of my ancestors came from, but after a time, I realized it didn't matter. Of course it's nice to know your history. I'm not saying it isn't. However, I have come to learn that it is far more important what we do. Our lives is what we should be judged by.