Maritime Monday but Why Do I Love Water?

Most of my life I have spent within either a few hundred yard of water or within no more than a quarter-mile.  Was there a deeper reason for that?  Is there something buried deep within my genetic code that demands that I live near water?  Could it be my own personal Feng Shui? Could be.  I know it had nothing to do with the family I was raised in.

IMG_3474

Fishing for my first time in Alaska, it was not brilliant.

My adopted mom hates water with a passion.  As much as I love it, she loathes it.  So I know it’s not a matter of nurture.  My childhood home had a picturesque trout stream running through the back yard.  I spent humid summer days on the banks and in the spring fed waters beneath the deep green branches over head, lost for hours.  It was a childhood paradise, at least until myself and the other neighborhood kids would turn blue and have to get out.

As I have aged one constant has remained, my love of the water.  I feel at home on it and in it.  I now own a place on the ocean in Alaska.  I take out my skiff to fish by myself or whale watch, it’s where I am at peace.  The blue expanse and the white puff of a bow head chasing a school of fish my way just lights a fire in me.   I watch my neighbors hauling in their nets, the silver flashes of salmon and an eagle guarding over head.  It’s like I was meant to be here.  This seems right, but why?

IMG_4660

This is my Star of the Low Tide  by my house in Alaska.   I love taking photos out my window.  I also sell prints on Etsy. (Shameless Plug)

 

That pesky DNA.  Nag, nag, nag, then an email, “Great News! Your AncestryDNA results are in.”  On March 30 of last year, it would mark caffeine driven ancestry fueled cram fest researching.  Pandora’s box was open.  Where were my sailors and fisherman? Oh! There they were!

I used methods recommended by groups like DNA Adoption to build my tree  I found a member of the Royal Navy, could this also be why I am a devoted consumer of BBC programming?  Then on the other tree I labeled maternal, I found a ship’s captain on the Great Lakes.  This sounds familiar, are these men where my love of the ocean, of being on the water came from? Without solid research, documentation, and fact checking it’s just fancy on my part.  This was a start.  My DNA was yielding a picture of those wonderful people who came before me.  Those sailors, those captains, those fishermen who worked hard to make something in the new world for their families.  I had set out like them on a course that was uncertain looking for discovery and my own truth.

It all started with Spit

The quest for dead relatives have led to a myriad of locations. The curse of everyone with a Southern Mother is the visits to Civil War battlefields, which are rife though out our country. Getting pummeled with statistics and facts that fit with which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you are on is just a given. I walked among the dead soldiers gleaming white headstones wondering if I too were related to any of them? Which side might they have fought on? Did they kill one of Mom’s relatives or did they fight alongside?

I needed to know. It was my heritage, it was my past to document.

For years I only had two sheets of type written paper that told so little about my background.  Non-identifying information.  I was a citizen without a past, it was verboten.  There are others like me denied access to records, to medical histories, to family genealogies, to simply human interaction, mainly because of fear. It is like the scarlet letter but this time that letter A is for Adoption.

All of that is changing with a little spit. Hello Genetic Genealogy!  Goodbye sealed records and family secrets.  I didn’t know what my test would reveal, no one really does, not even people who are certain about their backgrounds.  I did know that I was tired of not knowing.  I spent my whole life watching others research genealogy. Pre-revolutionary war genealogy has always been the subject of family reunions, yet something has been missing.

The “Big Three” personal DNA companies all offer excellent services and I researched before starting with Ancestry, or as I refer to them the GATEWAY DRUG.  I bought a membership and used the time waiting for my DNA to look through records to see if I might narrow the field, let’s just say I was off the mark and should have waited. What my searching did for me was teach me how to use the Ancestry system to my advantage and how to use Classmates to search yearbooks for possible matches.