Thursday, November 30, 2017

So many Elizabeths

Joanne, Marilyn, Jessie, Ethel, Jennie, Lottie, Mary, Nettie, Salome, Theresa, Carmella, Catherine, Elizabetta, Maria, Elizabeth, Sarah, Anna, Isabella, Rosa, Isabelle, Anna, Mary, Anna, Freny, Anna Maria, Maria Elizabeth, Martha, Lillian, Elizabeth, Abigail, Elizabeth, Abigail, Louisa, Lydia, Experience, Mary, Elizabeth, Margery, Mary, Rebecca, Phoebe, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Elizabeth, Ann, Martha, Louise, Caroline, Barbara, Sarah, Cristina, Brita, Maja, Johanna, Kjersten, Lias, Anna, Elna, Anna, Catharina, Butvi, Lisbeth, Gertrud, and Catharina...

I'm all about connections to the past and how they relate to our present. I gave myself an early Christmas present of a renewed subscription to Ancestry.com. This month has been spent diving into the files upon files of antique cursive where forgotten ancestors' births and deaths are recorded with startling lack of penmanship (I mean, seriously? Can you not separate and define your letters?). My house has been filled with my shouts of  "Oh my gosh! Look! Here is the actual town in Sweden your 4th time grandfather was born in!" or "Both the father and mother died on Christmas day after drowning in a river crossing...how horrible!" Responses to my exclamations are met with every type of response from "That's so awesome, Mom," to "You can't cry for everyone, Mom. They've been dead for over 2 hundred years."

Those names up there? They belong to my mother and to all of the other mothers of everyone that has led to my existence (that I can find so far). These women all loved and hoped and dreamed for their babies. Some were probably amazing mothers and others may have lacked, but each and every one of them holds a link to my past. I cannot explain how important it is to me, right now and always, to feel this connection to the world. Continents are crossed and centuries are spanned and it all still leads back to me, sitting in my kitchen in Illinois, raising my own 3 children. Living for a moment before I also pass on into what will someday be thought of as the distant past...

It's incredibly humbling.

*"Experience" wins for the most awesome name of all...so far.


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