Thursday, July 31, 2008

From Whence I Came or Alpha

For about the past twenty years, I have periodically immersed myself in family genealogy. I began with notes I took from my paternal grandfather when I was in high school. I had the names of his parents and his grandmother, as well as my paternal grandmother's parents. Also, they both gave me names of their siblings. Most of these names were familiar to me, as I heard my grandparents talking about family members over the years. I found out a book had been published about my grandmother's paternal ancestors, so I went first to the Armstrong County Library and copied all the book pages. (It took forever!).

As I began to trace my grandmother's family, I soon discovered that my grandmother and my grandfather were the descendants of the same couple who came to America in 1731 from The Palatinate in Germany. They were of the Dunkard faith. Needless to say, the blood connection between my grandparents goes back many generations and so I cannot blame my sometime weirdness on that!

As I gradually searched out more and more, I found that on my father's side, most of the ancestors came from The Palatinate in Germany, all around the same time. There were a few Irish ancestors, as well, and my surname comes from one of them.

The Dunkards were an Anabaptist sect, closely related in faith and nationality to the Amish. So I could just as easily have been Amish. I don't think I would have remained welcome in their community, though, and would have been shunned early on.
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