Originally Posted by buckytom
well, i've asked this before, but so far the responses seem to pass on some sad memories, which i don't fully understand yet, but hopefully you can redeem me, pag/jess.
what is your ancestry, and do you know your family's history?
Well, as Sprout mentioned, we're mutts.
I know for sure we have ancestry amongst the English, Irish, Scottish, German, French and Native American.
I'm part of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. I believe it was my paternal grandmother's grandfather that was a chief of an Ojibewe tribe, I think up in Canada. I know she was adopted by her uncle and worked small jobs as a child during the Great Depression to help her parents out. She divorced my paternal grandfather and remarried. My dad has always spoken very fondly of his stepfather. I didn't get to know him well because he died when I was still in grade school and we hadn't live up here that long, but I learned quickly that he was a very kind man.
My paternal grandmother didn't like to talk a lot about her family or ancestry. I always got the impression that it made her sad. I don't think life was easy for her or her ancestors. I had the chance to work with her right after I graduated from high school and we talked a lot when things were slow. I got to go to lunch with her a few times on our days off and that was when I learned the most about her. It probably sounds strange but I was surprised by how human she was. I guess as a kid I didn't see my grandparents as people, they were strange mysterious beings that I put on a pedastle. I mean, they were my parents' parents, so that seemed like a pretty big deal. Learning that they were human was an important part of growing up for me because it made them more real. I appreciated the good in them more knowing that they had their own weekness and trials to overcome. She passed away when I was twenty-one. I'm glad I got to know her better before that though.
My dad's always told stories about his paternal grandparents. His grandmother was always trying to fatten him up because he was so skinny and was always trying to slip aspirin in his milk because she thought he was sick all the time and that aspirin would fix him. His grandfather made huge breakfasts that, of course, included pancakes and a song about pancakes being delicious.
A few years back my parents and one of my paternal aunts were doing research into my paternal grandfather's history and found information suggesting that a major rift in his family occurred when one of his ancestors married a Native American. So it's possible that my paternal grandfather was also Native American.
My paternal grandfather never talked to me about his family. He was a very chauvinist and prejudice man. He was nice enough when I was in grade school but he said some very hurtful things as I got older and I never bothered to interact with him much because of it. The closest thing to anything nice he ever said to me after I was about eleven was "I guess you're not too bad for a stupid girlie." He died in my early teen years, I think I was thirteen or fourteen so I didn't really get past it until after he died, and even then it wasn't until about a year after I graduated from high school. It took me a while but I eventually realized it wasn't that he didn't care, he just couldn't get past his own hurt and sourness to show it. I mean, he gave each of us grandkids $50 every Christmas and helped my parents financially while my dad was in college (with four kids and a wife). Yes, he gave them a really hard time about it but if he hadn't cared at all, he wouldn't have helped them.
My maternal grandmother was from Utah. Her ancestors had traveled there with the pioneers. She's done a lot of research into her and my paternal grandfather's family history. She made a book up with stories about some of our ancestors for each of us grandkids. I need to find that book again. I think it's in one of the boxes of books we never quite got unpacked. It had information about our family coat of arms and colors from Ireland and stories about some of my pioneer ancestors. She's found a few people in our ancestry that were related to some famous historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Jesse James and Joseph Smith. She met my grandfather when she started babysitting for him. He was a single father at the time. She playful tells people she married him because she fell in love with his son. She ended up adopting the boy as her own and was his only mom.
My maternal grandfather grew up in a Catholic run orphanage. He grew up working on the orphanage farm. One of his favorite stories to tell was about how that's where he learned that cow diarrhea was salty.
I kind of remember hearing about them changing his name several times when he was first there to make it more "Christian". He was in the military and almost made it onto a pro-football team. He was a police officer and used to tell petty crooks that he'd let them go if they could punch him in the stomach and knock the wind out of him. He never let a crook go. He divorced his first wife because when she got pregnant she wanted a little girl and when she had a boy instead, she refused to take care of him. The little boy's legs weren't properly developed and doctors told my grandfather he'd probably never walk and always be "crippled". My grandfather worked with him every day and my uncle learned to walk, run and was an athlete in high school.
I admit, I haven't done much personal research into my family history. Most of what I know is stories from my parents and grandparents. What I do know is bittersweet, fond memories and fun stories mixing with the sad. I think that's just life though. I know this was a long answer, and I'm not sure it was the redemption you were looking for, but I hope you liked reading it.