I used to wonder, who am I?
My father’s siblings told me, “Ma and Pa came here in the 1880s. We still talk Deutsch at home, but we are Americans.”
After the Internet arrived, I searched names and addresses from old envelopes found in a trunk and traced the family to Galicia. It lies in the northwestern part of Spain, but they speak Spanish there!
However, the old kingdom of Galicia (spelled the same but pronounced with a soft G, or a J) lies just east of Prussia, south of Poland and west of Russia. My father’s family homeland changed from time to time, according to which army occupied that prosperous little farming kingdom.
Furthermore, the middle initial of my grandfather Davis was “P,” as was my father’s and a couple uncles.’ Eventually I discovered that it was for Pessos, a Greek family name. It seems that Europeans move around a lot and marry people of different ethnicity.
“But we are here, and we are Americans.”
My mother’s mother came from Ireland, and that is that.
Her father held a card from the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs; the last one issued in our family. Grampa’s Mahican family never lived on a reservation. He told me that when the Dutch came to the Hudson Valley, they became tradesmen and manufacturers of brooms, brushes, leather aprons and gloves. They moved out of wigwams, built houses and factories. Grampa was a travelling salesman.
Without DNA Testing, I know that I have family connections right here, dating back to the Ice Age.