Characters on the Branches of the Family Tree

Three of my more colorful relatives

Three of my more colorful relatives

One thing I have learned about my mother’s side of the family is that there is a character on just about every branch of the family tree.  It is not unusual for family members to ham it up with silly hats, glasses or props. Once a birthday party was held on a beach with a coffin with a live, but playing dead relative in it. The picture above is my mother her Aunt and her mother, caught in an impromptu moment of silliness during a visit.  I actually keep this photo on my desk at school to remind me not to take things too seriously. This summer while visiting my parents I helped my mother clean out a room that had become the dumping ground for everything from seasonal décor and memorabilia to craft supplies and unhung art work.  We corralled the memorabilia together to be sorted and organized at a later time, but while sifting through we enjoyed looking over some genealogy and family tree data that had been passed on to us.  I knew my mother’s family had been around at the time of the American revolution, but I was surprised to learn we arrived on the scene in the 1630’s through the Massachusetts Bay colony. I found some family members had been Quakers and a few had the moniker Hateevil to bear through life, really? What about a good old testament name instead.  I had one relative that was documented to have served seven years during revolutionary war and another who only served twenty-one days, however he did help turn away the British from the harbor in Machias, Maine.  Then there was the fellow who fell ill at the age of eighty-nine and everyone was convinced he was dying.  He declared he could not die until he could go to visit his family members to say good bye. True to his word, shortly after his ninetieth birthday he had recovered enough that he climbed on his horse and rode hundreds of miles to say good bye to family, then on returning home, climbed back into bed and died.  I see my determination and will power are traits passed down in my genetic material. Not just on my mother’s side, on my father’s side there is an ancestor who served in the revolutionary war and was wounded, then discharged from his regiment, but instead of going home he just found a new regiment to serve in.  Maybe some of these ancestors will become characters in a book, although I had not considered historic fiction as a genre, The tidbits about the personalities and escapades of various ancestors make the idea appealing. It is fascinating to make connections with your ancestors, to learn about how they lived and what you have in common with them.  I am proud to have my leaf on the same tree as the zany, colorful and determined people that came before me. I hope you might be inspired to dig into the characters in your family. Now I must set aside my writing, don my tiara and get back to the housework.

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