Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finding Your Place Through Genealogy

I discovered yesterday, after spending the afternoon on the internet, that my Great, Great Grandfather, David G. Finnemore, came from a remote parish in Devon, England called Pancasweek. From various records, I could see that he journeyed by ship to Canada in the mid 1850s with his wife Harriet, and then journeyed down to Allegheny County, New York to settle permanently and raise an enormous family. I always knew that the Finnemores came from somewhere in England (or was it Ireland or Germany?), but until I discovered the picture of my Great Great Grandfather and learned of his birthplace in a remote Devon county, the fact didn't mean much to me. My descendants were European. Shrug.

The afternoon revealed numerous other facts about my family. Many of our descendants died from appendicitis and lung ailments (interesting, since we still have similar health concerns today) . . . having twelve to fourteen children was common (my relatives still have huge families). . . one branch of our family settled in Wisconsin (ah, yes, didn't Grandpa come back from Wisconsin in the 20s?). . . we're related to the Glyddons, the Honeys, the Moores . . . and wonder of wonders, apparently Finnemore means Splendid Love (fine amour).

I've only begun my family research, but discovering my Great Great Grandfather's name, his stoic picture, and the swirl of other small facts about our family, somehow made me feel more . . . rooted, more . . . connected to my past and to the many other Finnemores alive in the present. I'm beginning to see the Finnemore Family's existence as a story connected to other continents, other states, other families, beginning long, long before I was born. Not sure why, but the thought is interesting and somehow comforting to me.

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