ORIGINS AND FAMILY

A few years ago, I briefly had access to Ancestry.com. I traced my family back to the census of 1910, at which point, it ended. I could have pursued it further using other Jewish ancestry sites, but I knew where they would take me.

On my father’s side, the trail would end in Minsk around the turn of the 19th century. On my mother’s side, the trail would go cold in Tarnow, Poland at approximately the same time.

Bonnie and friend on the dirt path

We were neither important nor prominent. Not rich, famous, or especially learned. Regular people, trying to stay alive and out of the Czar’s army. Put food on the table. Occasionally have a belly laugh with friends and family.

Even if I could trace back another hundred years, it wouldn’t answer the real questions about where we began.

When Genghis Khan invaded what is now Russia and eastern Europe, how many babies were left in the wake of the Golden Horde? How many were left by Crusaders as they pillaged, raped, and plundered all the way from Britain to Jerusalem?

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So many invasions, ejections, wars, migrations. How can anyone with even a trace of European or Asian ancestry think they are pure anything — other than human? Assuming current thinking on the origins of mankind are at all accurate, we all came from somewhere else in the beginning. Asia or Africa. Both, perhaps.

Or, somewhere else entirely?

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Thinking about this brings me back to the current sad state of geopolitical mass hysteria and stupidity. We are — all of us — family. If we could trace our roots far enough into the mists of time, we would find each other. Cousins, even though many times removed.

We are one people. Despite skin color, eye-shape, and other “race” and “ethnicity” surface markers, we are enormously more the same than different.

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So how come we hate each other so much? Why? What makes us want to hate one another? Why build walls instead of bridges?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

12 thoughts on “ORIGINS AND FAMILY”

  1. That is what we have found with our travels. We are all part of the human condition. We were walking in a park in Beijing and a father with his little baby were walking there too. He asked me to hold his little baby while he took a picture. Those little things stay in ones memories.
    Leslie

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  2. Good stuff, Mi Amor.
    I echo your concerns looking at how Trump and company are able to tap into public anger with the status quo. We’re better than this…or should be.

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  3. It’s not just in the U.S. Racism, tribalism, us vs them seems to be increasing all round the world. You’d think as a species we would have improved past all this by now. Good luck with Trump.

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  4. I saw an interesting TV documentary a few years ago where researchers had taken a group of people, from New York I think, of different ethnic origins and traced their DNA as far back as they could go. When they had the results they had everyone gather together and put them in groups according to their area of origin. It was fascinating to see that people of different races and colours often had the same DNA as each other and it was not alway what you would expect from their outwards appearance. I would like to see it again as I think I only saw the second of two parts.

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  5. I love those pictures. This post was wonderfully written and echoes some of the thoughts I have had since I began researching my father’s and my mother’s past. I have African and Italian roots and census records for Blacks in America only go back so far, and our Italian name is as common in Italy as Smith is in America. I’ve stopped with Ancestry also, but it was fun while it lasted.

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