Shedding Light on the Family Tree: My Own Little Melting Pot


The sixth in a series of posts about my family tree.
Inspired by Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Prompt: Maps

A quick one this week as life got in the way of my grander plan.

Maps have always been a source of fascination. In practical terms we use them to find the shortest way from A to B or, perhaps, to find the most scenic route. Up until the invention of GPS the map was an integral part of any road trip. I still have my dog-eared map of Ontario stashed in the glove box of my car in case I need it. For me, following a map is not only part of the fun of travel but an intimate way to get to know the area.

When shedding light on the family tree maps can play an important role in understanding our ancestors’ lives and what they experienced. Were they mountain dwellers, or plains people? Inhabitants of cities, or pioneers? Where did they originate? Where did they end up, and what route did they take? Not only does information like this give us a broader sense of our own origins, it helps to give us a more complete picture of who we are. What do I mean? By way of my own (brief) example, I’ll explain.

World map courtesy of map.comersis.com

The red dots on the map above indicate rough points of origin for my European ancestors who eventually through the generations came to North America and, once on that continent, the regions in which they settled for a time or eventually landed. From the Irish Palatines who came to Ontario and New York State (1850s), to the New England colonists (1600s); from the Swedish who settled in Delaware (mid 1600s) to the German, Dutch and French settlers who landed in New York State in the 1700s and moved on from there. From the Scottish family who migrated to Canada under the Soldier’s Settlement Act in the 1920s, to the Hungarians who left their land of origin for Canada also in the 1920s, each has left their imprint on my life. So, when I look at this map I begin to have a sense of being a citizen of the world, connected to a multitude of cultures with the potential to enrich my life experience the more I am acquainted with them.

For in the end while Canadian by birth I am, in fact, a mishmash of nationalities and cultures with different (and often contradicting) beliefs, customs, traditions and prejudice. I am my own melting pot, steeped in diversity and filled with the wisdom of the ancients. All I have to do to become more acquainted with these hidden flavours is be courageous enough to dip my ladle into that soupy mess and taste of its richness.

And so I ask you, what’s in your melting pot? ❦


7 thoughts on “Shedding Light on the Family Tree: My Own Little Melting Pot

  1. Mostly German (both paternal grandparents and maternal great grandparents) with some English (maternal several great grandfather) and Scots or Scots-Irish (maternal several great grandmother) so not quite as many different countries but still a mix. My maternal several great grandparents met, married and started their family in Nova Scotia then migrated to the Chicago area. My late spouse has a far more extensive number of ancestors. Always interesting to see the places they came from (only photos and maps) and wonder what motivated them to leave sometimes places the family had been for many generations.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I find it’s not just about the countries, but the regions as well because with that comes dialect and accent, food, tradition etc. Of course, we won’t resonate with everything … for instance I have a lot of Scottish highland ancestry, yet no taste for haggis. I do love shortbread, however. 🤣

    1. Probably more diverse than you think. Lots of immigration between countries, and of course the Vikings were everywhere. My Germans go back to Prussia too. Still, way to be aware of your roots. 💫😊👍

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