Have you done the DNA spit test? If you have, did the results surprise you?
Les & I have 2 different family backgrounds. We assumed he was predominantly German, & I was all English. WRONG! We even took our kids, when they were 13 & 16 on a "Roots Trip", doing a week in England (saw cousins there), a week in Germany (went town to town looking for a town named "Detterbeck" or something like it, & ate a lot of brats), & France (because we all wished we had ROOTS here).
Our trips this year were a bit more focused.
We always assumed Les was half German, 1/4 Italian, & 1/4 Finnish. Due to DNA testing, the miracle of the internet, & an intriguing photo, last May we decided to try our best to find Les' long-lost great-grandfather Ike in Vilnius, Lithuania this summer. See our album called "Finding Ike" if you are interested in the story about how we did find him, with the help of interested tour guides who supplied the back history, & an incredible researcher. Our 5 day stay in this beautiful city was packed with excellent tours, fabulous museums, & delightful people. We have 5 other albums that feature Vilnius: Jewish Vilnius, Soviet Vilnius, KGB Horror in Soviet Lithuania, Lithuanian Food, & Rumstikes, a Created Lithuanian Folk Village.
Regarding my "Englishness", my DNA showed I was 37% Irish! Both sides of my family have recorded everything: births, marriages & deaths, along with wills, documents, family stories, & whatever. Last Halloween, my sister, brother & I came up with the idea of an English Roots Trip. Calling on a cousin who'd spent time with our genealogy & had visited England last summer, we had contact information, & knew where we wanted to go & what we wanted to do.
Our first day was to "Pilgrim Country", in South Yorkshire & Nottinghamshire. Led by the effervescent "Pilgrim Maid", we visited Scrooby Manor, the home of our Pilgrim ancestor, William Brewster, the spiritual leader of the Mayflower people. Our albums "Our Elder William Brewster" & "Pilgrim Steps" describe this incredible man, & his journey from old England to the New World.
We also spent time "In Search of Jane's House", in Cawood England, stumbling across a woman who has agreed to help us zero in on the house where she lived until 1830, when she, her husband, & their 9 children changed their lives forever by emigrating to American via the Atlantic, the Hudson River, & the Erie Canal. I think, with her help, we will find Jane's house!
On our father's side, we visited the Old Revolution House, where the Glorious Revolution was plotted out in 1688. Our great-great grandmother lived in that house, with 6 or 7 of her 14 children. She was called "Mother Revolution" (she showed it to whoever arrived at the door), & we've named that album in her honor. Another album related to that is "Chatsworth House", as one of the Dukes of Devonshire, owners of that house, was part of the trio who plotted the demise of James II, & invited William of Orange to take his place.
"Tea at Cousin Susie's" has pictures of our "cousin tea" nearby. It didn't take long to realize that my 37% Irishness was totally logical-- Susie's husband Bert is Irish--it's so very close to England! Duh! The "National Coal Mining Museum of England" album features our visit underground to see what our coal miner grandfather endured, & why he decided to emigrate to the US in 1904.
Another connection to my parents was a trip to Liverpool, where we visited the Immigration Gallery there, right on the site from which our grandparents left in 1904, & 1905. But the big thrill there was the Beatles tour, where Ricky, who grew up on Penny Lane, & knows McCartney, showed us where they all were born as well as anything connected with either them or their many, & much loved songs.
Our last stop in England was Cambridge, which brought us full circle, as our Pilgrim ancestor absorbed the Puritan, then Separatists leanings that caused him to risk his life repeatedly for his religious ideals.
From England, we all (my brother, his wife, mysister & us) flew back to Nimes, & spent an action-packed week, much less focused, but just as fun, here in Villevieille. We did the Roman thing, the Crusader thing, the market thing, & the hiking thing, laughing our way through it all.
We even harvested my lavender, which, I'm happy to say, has created super ROOTS here in Villevieille, like we have.
Happy End of Summer to all of you, wherever you are.
Elise & Les