Friday, July 15, 2011
Fruits and Nuts...Mostly Nuts
Aunt Betty: "Our family tree is full of fruits and nuts. Mostly nuts."
What's your family tree full of? Do you know your roots? I'm currently working on the trees for both sides of my family. This is something I've wanted to do for a while, but never really got around to it. I just wasn't sure where to start. Enter modern technology, in the form of the iPad and an app called "Mobile Family Tree." I've spent a lot of money this summer, but I think this app is the best $14.99 I've spent in a long while.
I can remember two assignments in school - one in elementary school, and one in high school, both having to do with our family trees. In elementary school it was a tree diagram. It didn't have a lot of branches, but I remember being sad that I really didn't have much information to fill in. I want to say this was around 4th grade.
In high school, it was an 11th grade English assignment in Ms. Gingold's class. I remember her being in front of the class all giddy: "I want you to write about how your family came to be in the United States." Inside my head I was like, "really? OK. Slavery. The end." What the deuce? I remember being so upset about this assignment (I think it was actually a journal entry we had to write), but not knowing how to say, "this is some shullbit! What do you expect the black students in the class to do?" I don't even remember what I wrote. I fudged it and made up some stuff - but I made sure to throw that slavery in there - and all I really knew was that my parents were from GA. The end. But it always bugged me.
Side note: My BFF wrote a "protest" as to why this assignment was not fair to the black students in the class. Did I mention that I love her? She always had the guts to say the things that I was thinking, but couldn't quite articulate.
I don't know if my nieces and nephews have ever been asked to write anything about this. I just know I don't want them to feel like I felt. I felt ashamed that we had no info...and angry...and frustrated. People were coming to class with their stories about family crests and great-great-great uncle so and so coming over on such and such ship. I had none of that. And the ish was not my fault. And I'm sure no one cared, but I just felt stung by that whole situation.
So, I'm determined that we WILL have more information than what I had to fill into my anemic little tree in 4th grade. And THAT'S why I'm working on the family trees.
I hate that we let all these elders pass on in our family and didn't document more information. But it's been so much fun to find the info I've found so far. I didn't find out until our 2007 reunion that my great grandfather was married twice. My grandmother had a whole other set of siblings that I didn't even know about. It's been really hard to get information on them (my great grandfather was born around 1851), but I will do what I can.
And my nieces and nephews willNOTbe without info. And neither will their kids. :)