Building a family brick by brick


I think I have mentioned before that I enjoy spending time working on my families genealogy using The oldest relative I have been able to document to date is a 13th great-grandfather named John Bodley born in 1518 in an area called Exeter, a cathedral city in Devon, England. In this same branch of my family tree, my 8th great-grandfather was born in 1648 but in Castlefin, Ireland. Somewhere between 1760 and 1775 these relatives arrived in America and my 4th great-grandmother was born in the North Carolina colony.

In every branch of my family’s tree this story is played out time and time again. People leaving their homes and their families in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and Greece and settling in Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and North Carolina. The unfulfilling part of this for me is that I don’t have the stories, the whys. Names, dates and places only tell me so much. But they do tell me this, I am here because each one of them got here. Take one piece out of the puzzle, just one great-something and I don’t exist. If my 4th great-grandmother’s family had not immigrated from Ireland and settled in North Carolina she would not have met my 4th great-grandfather whose family immigrated from Scotland and settled in the same North Carolina county. If that union had never occurred, my Dad wouldn’t have been born, nor would I.

Building walls doesn’t solve problems. Building walls doesn’t make problems go away no matter how tall, or how wide, or how long you build them. Sure it makes for great sound bites and stirs up some perverted sense of patriotism but honestly is it really a solution?

Unless you are a native American, your feet are on this soil because someone before you or maybe even you, got here by ship, train, plane, car, raft or maybe even scaled a wall. I am glad my 4th great-Irish grandmother Mary met my 4th great-Scottish grandfather John in North Carolina and had a daughter Louisa (my 3rd great-grandmother) in 1807. I am glad there wasn’t a wall to have kept them apart.


About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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5 Responses to Building a family brick by brick

  1. manqindi says:

    I am an African in Australia of Irish, English, Scottish, Afrikaner, Dutch, German, Indonesian, Guinean and Bengali extract, so I can share your love of inclusive walls

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty says:

    So true. Walls don’t only keep people out, they isolate the people within too 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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