American Mutt Takes A Taste From The Melting Pot And Craves More

Peg, at Square Peg in a Round Hole, tagged me for this exercise. It sounded like fun so I decided to play along. It prompts you to tag 5 other people but I’m going to do a broad sweep and encourage all and any of you to play! (I’m all communist that way!) It was perfect for me since I was suffering a bit of blogger’s block. Even if you’re not suffering blogger’s block you can play and then store the post to use later. Perfect for an easy-peasy post sitting in your stockpiles.

Here are the rules:

  1. Go to your first photo file and pick the 10th photo in it.
  2. Tell the story behind the photo.
  3. Tag 5 other people to do likewise (or everyone because you’re an equal-opportunity blogger like me!)

Now, on with the show!

I am a true American mutt. I am Irish, Scottish, German and Polish. Our families immigrated to America between the mid 1800’s and World War II. All were escaping poverty. All were seeking opportunity.

I know very little about my history. All of my grandparents have passed. My parents and aunts and uncles have little interest in our family tree. But my second cousin, who sent me this picture, is very interested. She has been collecting information and searching for new leads. I’ll be interested in what she finds.

The above picture is from a part of my German side. I say part because I have some family that came in early 1900 and some who escaped during WWII. These are my great-great grandparents. Entrepeneurs. Strong work ethic. Amazing role models for my grandfather who became quite successful in business. Once they arrived here to America, they never worried about money again.

My mother brings the Polish side of my family. Fun-loving. Silly. Family oriented. Funny. I remember family gatherings where aunts and uncles would sit around and tell, of all things, Polish jokes – and crack themselves up at the absurdity. My grandfather would enter a contest in the local paper. A cartoon would be shown and contestants were asked to enter a caption. He won so often they limited his winnings to once a month.

One of my favorite stories on my Scottish side was of my great-great-grandfather. When asked the spelling of his name at Ellis Island he switched it to the Irish spelling because he was angry at the Scottish government. I loved that story and likened my rebellious spirit and political activism to his. Alas, that story was merely a myth. My great-aunt set the record straight at a family reunion. When my newly married great-great grandfather and grandmother arrived they were asked their name. The officer wrote it down with the Irish spelling. To honor my great-great-grandmother (she was Irish), my great-great-grandfather let the switched and omitted letters slide. “Awwww, how romantic, ” we all sighed. So, I’ll liken my feminist spirit to that of his, instead.

I wish I had appreciated the many family gatherings and story telling sessions when I was younger when many of these relatives were still alive. I long to ask questions of how we came here to the United States and how we thrived. There seems to be a generation of disconnect between my grandparents and me and my cousins. I’m thankful my cousin is stirring the pot. The smells from the kitchen have piqued my interest. I’ll let you know what I find.


Filed under family

14 responses to “American Mutt Takes A Taste From The Melting Pot And Craves More

  1. angelcel

    Oh. The whole subject of genealogy …love it! Funny, I’d been thinking about a piece to do with my great great grandfather and maybe I will post it sometime soon. That generation disconnect is something I’ve come across elsewhere – I had initially thought it was just my slightly wacky family, but apparently not.

    If I can ever be of any help or give advice on family history research, being on *this* side of The Pond, please let me know. Love that photo BTW.

  2. suzicate

    Interesting post. I thoroughly enjoyed my gnenealogy research. Good luck with yours.

  3. Collecting family stories is a challenge when the people who possess those tales are separated from you by generational distance. I’ve been doing what I can to get as much lore from my grandmother (sole remaining grandparent), who is losing her ability to communicate because of age-related dementia (she’s 93). I see her very infrequently, so there’s pressure at every visit. Props to your cousin for going after the information and to you for encouraging her!

  4. I dabble in our family’s genealogy from time to time. It can suck you in at the expense of everything else (much like blogging), but I love it! I have oodles of paper documents on it somewhere in folders…….. I think we all are Heinz 57 varieties nowadays. As for the tag, I might just take you and Peg up on it someday!

  5. Oh, how I love old photos and family lore! I wrote my maternal family history as my master’s thesis and got to interview my grandparents and relatives and pore over old photos. Exploring their journeys gave me so much insight into my own.

  6. NathanRising

    I have also been studying my family history (Finnish and German.) It’s so interesting and even enlightening to learn about your roots!


  7. I love how families can get all complicated, becoming a genuine melting pot. It can get so frustrating though, to have these little tidbits from the past, but not the whole story available. I have things in my family’s past that I wish I could know more about, but I don’t.

  8. unabridgedgirl

    I’m a mutt, too! (Mostly Irish and German, actually. XD ) What a fun post, and I love the picture. Thanks for sharing, Jane.

  9. Fun and creative post. Your GG-grandfather showed quite the chivalry that day. Great stuff.

  10. Pingback: Strands Through Time « AC's Scrapbook

  11. I’m glad you played along. Loved the old pic!

  12. I will save this for my next block!

  13. Wow. Awesome picture! My dad is convinced that one of our ancestors was a pirate. No, seriously. I should ask him more when I see him this time.

  14. I absolutely love family history – and have researched ours back, with my Dad, to 1615. I have some pictures of my Great-Grandparents – but so much was thrown away in the 40s, 50s and 60s – people weren’t as bothered then. Out with the old and in with the new.

    Some guy has written a book about my family surname – and has (apparently) traced it back to 1200 to a Viking leader called Ralf de Rode. How amazing if that was true!

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