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August 26, 2013

Which Ancestor Would You Like to Walk Back Into Your Life?

Which Ancestor Would You Like to Walk Back Into Your Life?
Joseph McGinnis' brother Hugh McGinnis
This morning one of my Facebook friends, Midge Frazel of Granite in My Blood blog, was talking about a book and one of her comments was:  "Think about which ancestor [edited] that you would like to walk back into your life."

What an interesting thought! Which ancestor would I like to walk back into my life....

I was torn between three ancestors - Ots-Toch, my Mohawk ancestor born ca 1634 in New York, Joseph McGinnis my Irish great-great grandfather, and my 4th great-grandpa Jacob Peer whose origins and whereabouts before 1786 in New Jersey are a mystery.  

One thought that came to me was - would I even like my ancestor when I met him or her? I suspect Ots-Toch would be a little rough around the edges for me, and she might not want to talk or share her stories. It's kind of odd to really think about your ancestors because I suspect we all naively expect that they'd be refined and gracious and lovely people and we'd adore them. But I think the reality is that it's just as likely they could be uncouth, unpleasant and perhaps not up to our standards of personal cleanliness! 

Ignoring those extraneous thoughts, I'm going to ask Joseph McGinnis to come pay me a visit. Because my father inspired me to start searching, because he wanted to know about his Irish ancestry so badly, and because he died when I was just barely 14 years old, I am choosing Joseph. Joseph was my dad's great grandfather and I dont' know much more about him than I did 30 years ago. 

I don't have a photo of Joseph but the photo on this post is of his brother Hugh. All I know of Joseph is that he was born in Co. Down Ireland, probably near Belfast and that he married Frances (Fanny) Downey ca 1845 and had a daughter Bridget (aka Delia) born 1846 in Co. Down. Shortly after Bridget's birth he brought his family to Ontario Canada and settled in Puslinch Township near Guelph Ontario. I do not know for sure who his parents were. So Joseph please do drop by for a chat. I'll even offer you a drop of good Irish whiskey!  

I want to hear about the place where you grew up, about your voyage from Ireland during the Famine years to the wilds of Canada and how you coped once you were here. I hope you have a few hours to spend because I want to listen to your Irish lilt and hear you talk about Ireland.  


Anonymous said...

I do wish I could meet my great-grandfather. I've been against a brick wall for over a year. I know where he was for a few years, but know nothing about his life before...his birth, or life after that time...his death and burial place. I remember stories my grandmother told about him, but I was young and stupid and didn't know to ask questions.

Grandma Lorna said...

I would appreciate a visit from my ggg-grandfather George Grant bn abt 1770 location unknown but possibly New Jersey. Would love to know why your son, George Grant (bn 1794) and his family left New Jersey and moved to Ticonderoga, NY. Who are your ancestors, when and why did they come to America? Have many questions which are unanswered and a visit from you would clear them all up.

Marsha Davis said...

I would love to meet my 4x great-grandfather, Andrew Cruikshank, or, as he spelled it Crookshanks. I am writing a book about him and have sooo many questions. He came from Ireland before the American revolution, but his family is originally from Scotland. Why did he come to America? What was his birth year? How did he end up in SW Pennsylvania? A visit would sure clear up a lot of unanswered questions.

Leslie Longoria said...

I would like to meet my 4th great grandmother Greta Larson who was born in Sweden. She had a son out of wedlock and then gave him to a man named Nordberg for adoption. She later married and had two children but the whole family perished when they all drowned. The one adopted son is my 3rd great grandpa.