There are many many reason why I tend to do this crazy thing. Some I have written about in my past blogs, but I will recap...
1. All those family trips we took as little kids and the love of history.
2. All those great family stories my Mom used to share.
3. All those great stories my Dad used to tell about his Grandparents and his Mom
working during the depression, and the curiosity of his not wanting to talk about his Dad.
So where does one begin....I would have to say, because of all those great family stories that my Mom
told me about her father, my Grandfather, who I never met because he died prior to my birth. My Grandfather "Swede" who was not a Swede but of Norwegian heritage, played semi-pro baseball during the depression, he also played, according to family lore for the semi-pro football team called the Staleys. For those football fans the Staleys later moved to Chicago and became the Chicago Bears. As of this date, I have not been able to verified that he did played for the Staleys. And how that during the depression, my Grandfather Swede, took care of not only his family but offered his brothers a way to take care of their families. How when my Mom moved back to Rockford, a lot of the extended family would gather over at Swede's and Mina's house to play cards and just have a great time. As I got older, I noticed that these values passed on to my Mom who always welcomed not only family members, but really anyone into our home. Ours was the neighborhood gathering place. Where the neighborhood kids would ask my Mom and Dad to come out and play.
On the other hand, my Father would often talk about growing up with his paternal Grandparents, Great Grandpa and Grandma Crosby and his Mother, my Grandma Carolyn. His father left his family when my dad was a very young boy. So growing up I would hear about how hard his Mother and Grandfather worked to provide for their family. My Father never would talk about his Dad, so there was a curiosity that I craved to be satisfied with finding out more about this man. Every once in awhile I would ask my Mom a question about this stranger, but my Mom had no knowledge about him what so ever. I firmly believe that because of this experience of my Dads, he did not want us to ever feel abandoned. I believe that combine my Dads desire to be the "Worlds best Dad" and my Moms experience is what made my childhood the best.
And mix all this with my love of history, received my BS from Kansas State University in History with a emphasis in Colonial American History, that I wonder if my family help shape this great nation we call America. All that time in the family car traveling out west wondering if anyone of my ancestors traveled by covered wagon. And for one of my class, The History of World War II, interviewing my Uncle Pete, my Moms brother, about his experiences in the Battle of the Bulge or when he liberated a Concentration Camp.
So imagine my surprise when I found out that I can trace with sources, that on my Dad's side, I am a Mayflower Descendant, I can be a DAR, that on my Mom's side someone fought in the War of 1812,
the Spanish American War, so many historical events that shaped this country. WOW. We were not famous, but average Americans that had a sense of duty to God and Country and Family. That we are shaped not only by the major events but things that occur during everyday experiences. That I have this craving to discover where my ancestors were located and what motivated them to move out to the midwest.
So, my door is always open, where as my brother Marks house is the house for all the neighborhood kids to gather to play and where the adults all gather around to laugh and play cards. What a great family I have, I only can hope that my nieces and nephews understand the importance of our history and the history that they can make.................Happy hunting for those Ancestors.