Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It has been my favorite holiday since I was 10 and found out there wasn't a Santa Claus. We learned in school of course that we might not be here if it weren't for the Pilgrims, but that took on a very personal meaning for me when I started doing genealogy research 30 years ago and learned I am a descendant of four of the Mayflower passengers: Isaac Allerton, his wife and daughter, both named Mary, and Richard Warren. Daughter Mary married Thomas Cushman and one of their descendants made his way to the Barnwell District of South Carolina about 1780, and a few generations later, here I am.

I resisted the pull of genealogy research for many years. My paternal grandparents tried to convince me, while I was in high school, to write down our family stories and to go with them to visit cemeteries and dusty, musty old records depositories. Of course, at 13, I couldn't be bothered, and now they are gone and I would give anything to have them back so I could sit at their feet and listen again. So, I urge you to talk to your older family members, learn your history, as much as you can from then, and then start your own journey in genealogical research.

Tomorrow, while I am chowing down on turkey and cornbread dressing and all the fixins' that make a Southern Thanksgiving meal not to be missed, I will remember and honor my Mayflower ancestors, and the sacrifices they made to leave their home in 1620 for a wild new world.

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