Sunday, January 10, 2016

Heritage or Lineage?

Is genealogy about heritage or about lineage?  Short answer: Yes.  It is about both. They are related but not the same. My main interest is heritage.

My ancestors were Polish peasants. For most of my lines, I trace ancestors back to the 18th century. (There are still a couple of brick walls in the 19th century.)  I know who they were and how they earned their livelihood.  I study the history of their times to learn what shaped their daily lives. Their lives then helped shape my life now. As much as I’d like to know the names of my more ancient ancestors, that is not necessary to understand how peasants lived in their time.

There are some gaps that need filling; but my current thinking is that I’ll not try to go back any farther in time with my ancestors now.  I will concentrate on the heritage for now and perhaps get back to lineage some time in the future.

There are stories to write and research to do. Life in Prussian Poland.  Traveling steerage class to the USA in the 19th century.  Settling in a new land.  Life in the US at the turn of the 20th century. Subsequent generations and how they/we fared.

My lineage projects will focus on my ex-husband – my children’s father whose paternal ancestors emigrated from Bohemia. I’ve found no passenger lists, no immigration papers, no nothing before they arrived in Chicago in the 1860’s.

2016 will be a challenge.

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