My cousin Mary is putting together a treasure chest of old family photographs from the generations who came before us on my father's side. She inspired me to search for my ancestors. The internet makes tracing our roots possible. In a few hours, I was able to find an ancestor born just two years after our country was founded. My grandfather with four greats in his name, John William McCauley, married Nancy O'Donnell and she bore a son on the northern coast of Ireland. Their son left Europe and started a new life as a distiller, hotelkeeper, laborer, and clerk. He came over in a boat to settle in Pennsylvania in the early 1800's. John's future wife, Mary Ann Slater, also came to the new world from Ireland.
I found other relatives with roots in Germany and Canada. It was fun to put the family tree together and discover the cities and towns where these distant relatives once lived. The Mulligans in my past crossed the Canadian border in 1889, the same year North Dakota became a state. They settled in the town of Langdon, North Dakota, just sixteen miles south of Canada.
My mother's side of the family is more difficult to follow. I remember my grandmother telling me there was a French soldier in our family who served in the military when France invaded Mexico. That may partially explain my blue eyes. Not much else is known about my family on my mother's side except that my Grandpa escaped to the United States during the Mexican Revolution.
Tracing my roots has given me a new appreciation for my life. If you are interested in learning about your ancestors, you have many tools at your fingertips. May you find joy as you discover where you came from.
On a special note, I would like to say a special happy birthday to my godson, Nico, who is celebrating his special day today. I can't wait to see you and give you a big hug. Happy birthday to you!