I had always been told that my heritage was that of the English, Irish, and Native Americans. Growing up I was told to never mention the latter because it was a shameful thing to be. Our family was void of traditions or customs, so I really had no sense of being anything other than me.
Researching my family history has really surprised me and has given me a new outlook into who I am. I can now count England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, France, and Switzerland among my “Old Country” homelands. I have yet to discover any proof that I am Native American, but I am still searching!
Because most of my ancestors arrived in this country in the early to mid-1600s, I feel a tad disconnected from their place of origin. I have however found a few that arrived in the mid to late 1700s and I find myself gravitating to them.
The earliest arrival of those who did not come over in the 1600s was my maternal 4th great-grandfather, Thomas Divine Sr. who immigrated to Delaware from Dublin, Ireland in 1765. He participated in the Revolutionary War and was injured in one of the many skirmishes with the British. He married Jemima Dill on April 12, 1782. They moved to South Carolina then to Tennessee. They had 6 children. He died in McMinn County, Tennessee on June 20, 1840.
The next to arrive was my paternal 4th great-grandfather, John T. McClain who came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Criech, Fife County, Scotland in 1777. He moved to Montgomery County, Kentucky in 1785 and married Rachel Jones in 1787. They had 9 children. He fought in the War of 1812 and his wife Rachel received the pension from his service after his death in 1829.
The last arrival was my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Peter Walt, who arrived in St. Claire Co, Illinois from New Germany, New Brunswick, Canada in 1857. He made his way to Grape Grove, Ray Co, Missouri in 1860 and married Elizabeth Marsh on June 2, 1861. They had 10 children. He participated in the Civil War. His occupation was a wheel-wright.
I sometimes wonder if it is too late to adopt some of the customs or traditions of the various countries that my ancestors came from.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter