Ancestors Who RockPosted by Administrator on August 22nd, 2009
Last time, I blogged about the kind of ancestors you don’t like to bring up- "bad apples in the family tree" I called them. The coolest thing I’m finding about genealogy- or family history, if you prefer- is that every now and then you find someone in your ancestry who gives you an automatic boost in confidence. Every now and then, you find an ancestor who rocks.
Take my great-grandfather. When I met my great-grandfather, he was a frail 98-year-old, not more than five feet five inches, wiry with skin leathered from years of work in the sun. It was the one and only time I would see him because he passed soon after.
Ten years later, I found out that he had come West in the 1920s and found himself on a chain gang under an abusive boss. Day after day, the boss would lose his temper and beat the men. Finally, one day the boss went too far and beat one of the men within an inch of his life. My great-grandfather got his hands on a pistol and shot the boss dead. He fled to California and struck oil in Orange County, making his own small fortune.
It’s not just the Clint Eastwood vibe I got from this man that I found admirable and even empowering. It was his no-nonsense way of standing up to injustice. He was the guy who said enough is enough. Suddenly, I was proud to be the great-grandson of the short, wiry, old, sun-leathered man. I hoped his gumption had somehow passed on to me, that, when the time came for me to stand up against wrong, I would have the guts to do the right thing.
I’ve also found out I may be related to William Wallace of Braveheart fame, the last king of Hawaii, and even Charlemagne himself.
What rocking ancestors do you have? How does it change the way you view yourself?