For a while now, I have been tuning into TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” where celebrities explore their family history and background. If you have not seen it, it is really intriguing and I highly suggest that you tune in for an episode or two. Although it is rather amazing what the experts on the show come to find about past relatives, it made me wonder if this information could we easily uncovered by an everyday person. Since I am not quite famous yet, my chances of getting on that show are rather slim so I decided after seeing the many endorsements of ancestry.com, I would give it a whirl.
Let me just say that history has always been exciting to me. If I had to go back and change my career path, I would probably be a history teacher because I enjoy it so much. Once I logged onto ancestry.com, I was immediately hooked and found myself wanting to go further and further back into my family history. Everything from the old census to photographs to my great grandfather’s citizenship card were things I probably would not be able to view without the help of the website. Although all are very interesting, it made me feel sad that I am not able to share these newly found documents with my grandparents. My grandmother passed away in 2005, which now seems like a lifetime ago. Exploring where she and her ancestors came from (we were not really clear on my grandmother’s heritage), really makes me regret not spending more time with her. Her husband, my grandfather, passed away in 2009 and we were very close. I even wrote a few papers about him and his life in Ireland when I was in college but being able to view the journey of his family, makes my heart feel heavy.
If anything, all of this has shown me the importance of not only knowing where you came from but who your family really is. I’m Italian, Irish, and may possibly have a hint of English pumping through my veins and I’m proud of that. I feel lucky to have come from a line of people that made the journey across the Atlantic and settled in Boston. I hope I do enough in my life to leave a mark or at least some sort of impression on the next generation.