Hodgepodge of ancestry
byon 31-01-2010 at 3:04 PM (2157 Views)
I am a mutt genealogically speaking. Though I subscribe to the belief in canine's, mutt's are sometimes the best, prettiest, and healthiest of the animal, I am not so sure about the human correlation. I am a rather proud mutt, but my family history is a varied mixture of heritage that makes me envy those who can trace their trees back 400 or more years. I can tell you with all honesty, I will never be able to do that. Nonetheless, what I have found has been astounding.
My paternal grandfather was part Choctaw (proven), and part Cherokee (not proven). Once he said his grandpa was part Scot's Irish, funny he was right. Funny because Pop never spoke about his family, in fact, felt he was orphaned, when he had a passle full of cousins and a few Aunt's running around that he missed way too many years with. His father who died in prison was Cherokee per his grandmother, and given her heritage, I tend to believe it. You see his mother's mother was Choctaw, and what little I know of her, that was the last thing she would lie about. In the last few years of her life she refused to speak English, speaking only Choctaw. Oh, how I would have loved to have met her. Margaret's relations are rich and deep in the Choctaw tribe, two of her great grandmother's were the nieces of Chiefs. In the Choctaw tribe, the maternal Uncle was the authoritarian, and once, in the family these two men, among the most renown of the Choctaws, were once the men who decided the future of these ancestresses of mine. The males in this line, well, some left alot to be desired, but boy did the women accomplish alot. I admire them. Because of his ancestry, my grandfather was rather dark skinned. Folks in New York didn't know what he was, they thought he was Italian. In California, they thought he was mexican. When my blond and blue eyed grandmother married him, it raised alot of eyebrows. My grandfather died feeling her family never approved of him. And honestly, I think they didn't.
Though of a working class family, the Hinds' have been in the states since sometime in the 1600's. Before settling in Syracuse, where my grandmother was born, they were farmers, but the history I always heard made me think they kind of thought they were superior to my grandfather. His poverty in his youth was so much more pronounced than the struggle of the working class Hinds. Grandma's mom was a first generation American. Knowing she was raised by a widow, I imagine she knew tough times too, but it was different. G.G. (what us kids called her, because there were too many Grandma's around, it stood for Great grandma) was opinionated, outspoken. A real spitfire of a woman, and boy could she cook. I used to love to sit and watch her in the kitchen. From pictures I see her children, with the exception of my grandmother, resembled her. It's a pity she never knew her father. I wonder what drove him to suicide, leaving his very young children and wife alone in a foreign country. What must it have been like to have grown up like that? Needless to say, my grandmother, of all English heritage, is the only Yankee ancestry I have. I say Yankee, because well, the East coast is an entirely different animal from my southern ancestor's, and well they were different types of people.
My Dad's family were southerner's through and through. I have found one family member who was a Union soldier, but the rest were Confederate. Never mind that they didn't own slaves for the most part, they were what in the south were called Cracker's. Compared to the glorious plantation owners, they really didn't have much. They scraped by on their land. Most worked in the lumbar industry. They had large families and lived in communities of other immigrant families who had come to the area by way of South Carolina. They intermarried, and these communities have a rich history. Many of the descendants still live in the same area, most had branches move off and go to Texas, and became pioneers of that great state. They lived in rural areas, still covered by dense forests to this day. They were poor, and often could not read or had very little schooling. They were proud of their Scottish heritage. The English families of this side were quite the same, but they didn't come as late to the states, they were among the earliest colonists, and fought in the American Revolution. Many I believe ended up in Alabama and Florida because they were Tory sympathizers. It wasn't a good thing to support Britain back then, so they came to a wild country filled with Indians and the Spanish government. The same indians incidentally that were my maternal grandfather's relatives and neighbors. In the states we call them the Scots Irish, or sometimes the Ulster Irish, these Scottish immigrants, who weren't Irish at all. They are however the backbone of our early pioneers here in the states. Some of our best known men of history are from the same background.
I suppose compared to being able to say my family has been here for hundreds and hundreds of years, my families presence in the south for 225 years is small, but given that the country itself isnt' that old, I am proud of it. Proud of all of my family, of all that they accomplished, even if it isn't the stuff of history books.
Part English, Part Scottish, Part Welsh, Part Choctaw, Part Cherokee, Part Creek, yes, I am truly a mutt, but a proud one. I feel fortunate that I have found so many of my family, and all that it has taught me.