My Tree

Daily Prompt: What aspects of your cultural heritage are you most proud of or interested in?

Photo by L.S Moscoso

A few years ago I signed up for Ancestry dot Com and I have to say, it has been worth every penny.

My Great Grandfather started a family tree in the late 1950’s and I was surprised to see that a lot of his data checked out- he did great work considering he had to do actual research that involved following actual paper trails and having to work with people and not GOOGLE.

For example meet Alexander.

Alexander, 16th of Garthland MacDowall /McDougal 9 ( my 8th great-grandfather )

BIRTH 11 FEB 1670 • Edinburgh

DEATH 18 NOV 1740 • Scotland

Alexander was famous on the family tree that my Great Grandpa Bert drew up because that is as far back in my Great Grandmother’s family that my Great Grandfather ever got. Alexander sits alone at the ” Top ” of the tree of my entire family to this day. I’ve seen suggested hints at Ancestry- but I can’t confirm them with confidence so I haven’t added them.

If you’re wondering, I feel that way because their names were never recorded by my Great Grandfather Bertram and he did see them and left them off. So I have too.

My Mom’s Family are from the Philippines and my Grandparents met in Hawaii.

Looking at the travel records, I was surprised to see how mobile the Godfreys, The Macdowells and the Guzmans were- they saw quite a bit of the world over their life time.

My Grandma Ginger’s family-The Shreves  and The Ross’  have their roots firmly established in th US but they too used to call Scotland  (Ross’ ) and England ( The Shreves )their home. They were here in the States before the Revolutionary War and for their own reasons they never talked about ‘before’ that time.

One notable thing about The Shreves and Ross’ – they had boodles and boodles of children- they were a healthy bunch because the infant mortality rate- which was pretty high at the time didn’t seem to affect them. I mean, during the United Stats early American history there weren’t alot of families that had a half dozen or more babies and had them ALL live to adulthood. But they did. I mean their track record is pretty amazing.

Of course accidents happen, for example my Grandma Ginger got run over by a horse pulled ice wagon when she was about three or four years old. There were even newspaper articles about the accident. I think the mystery was why it didn’t cut her in half when it ran her over. The articles I read didn’t say that in so many words, but the question was there.

She was lucky was the answer, but for all of her life she had problems with her hips. She must have been in a lot of pain at times because they were never replaced. She walked a lot and she worked in jobs that required she stand and lift.  I think that is why at times she drank a lot.

Then there was My Great  Great Grandfather William, who lived in Canada and died under mysterious circumstances. He had traveled to another town for his Mother’s  funeral and disappeared. He was found later floating in a river and because because he had been in the water for some time it was not possible to determine his actual cause of death.

For the most part my family has some great stories to tell, but as I gather ‘my leaves’ I’m a bit ambivalent about the task at hand.

The Godfrey’s and The Mcdowells had a big presence in my life and so were my Mom’s family. My Grandma Ginger’s family , not so much.

 I’ve always suspected was because the Shreves/Rosses had a beef with the Mcdowell/Godfreys and the Godfreys/McDowells were just fine with having me and my brother and sister to themselves. They liked my Mom’s family just fine and that always surprised me for some reason. They were polar opposites in every way imaginable but two of my Uncles told me that they were quite taken with my Nan.

She was smart, scary and beautiful they said. She was also very tall and they said she was stunning.

Apparently she thought that all of my Mom’s brothers were handsome and ‘well raised, they were gentlemen and very intelligent’  so you can see there was a mutual admiration society going on- quite unusual give that this was in the early 1960’s and when white people brought home spouses or even just friends  who were not white, it didn’t always go well for them. My family seemed to skate by that issue.

Anyway we weren’t encouraged to reach out to the Shreves and we didn’t.

So my family were from Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and the Phillipines and I think that if I had to list what I liked about this broad swath of humanity I’d have to say the best part was having all of these resources to  learn how to celebrate holidays in unique ways ( because we did mix them together ).  In addition even our Funerals were interesting because of the superstitions involving death and ghosts that the  Filipinos have. For their own special reasons the Scots and English in my family just LOVED hearing about those things and ate them up word for word.

Let me  share this bit of insight with you, that was the one thing that my Mom and Dad’s families had in common- they were gifted story tellers and if they couldn’t  tell  one or write one ( ahem) they would encourage YOU to tell one.  They wanted to hear a story. I think that’s why certain parts of my family fuctioned better then others- the Godfreys and the Guzmans knew how to tell or story, so they were able to talk to each other more easily.

Anita Marie Moscoso

I can’t pick which ‘heritage’ and which ‘culture’ I feel closer to – I don’t identify with one more then another and this is why- parts of my family were wonderful and some parts were not so wonderful. I was closer to some then others but in the end I loved them all and I would never side with one over the other. Each person gave something to the generation that followed, so I value them all.

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