Where does the summer go? Here we are at the beginning of July! I have always thought of the 4th of July marking the middle of summer. Of course the 4th is much more than that to Americans––our official day to celebrate this democracy that we have inherited from our immigrant relatives.
There are many of you who have Native American lineage and that is definitely something, I believe, to be proud of. I have a handwritten family tree done by the oldest daughter of my grandparents and it states that six generations back we have a “full-blooded” Chickasaw grandmother. There is no DNA that proves that, so is it fact or fiction? The jury is out so to speak.
As genealogists, we trace our lineage back to the immigrant who traveled to the United States from another part of world. There are many reasons to have made the long journey to an unknown land where the dream was and continues to be freedom. If you get to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you come away with both a chill and a thrill.
All immigrants did not stay in the place of their arrival. Mine migrated from Virginia, New York, South Carolina, and Maryland to settle in Missouri. My Maryland Catholic immigrants came en masse to settle along the Mississippi River just south of St. Louis in the early 1800s. It has been quite the adventure to research and discover the facts about the past. Mostly they are positive, but we all have a few that we would rather not brag about.
This is what we do as researchers. A name is just a name until we find the facts behind it. Who knows what we will find as we start our research but each and every discovery is meaningful and important.
I can not compare the relative who left his home to be part of the great Oklahoma Land Rush only to have both he and his wife meet death suddenly as they settled this new territory, to the band of families who left an established comfortable life in Maryland to find a new home on the frontier, or to my Frenchman who came alone to the U.S. in the mid 1850s. All their stories are important and it has been a great adventure to seek the truth of these immigrants who became settlers in this country. I love the words from the song “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie––"From California to the New York Island . . .This land was made for you and me."
So Happy Fourth of July to all from StLGS.