“We are the sum of all the people that have lived before us.”— Meryl Streep
Growing up, I never was a fan of history. Boring, boring, boring. None of those people mattered to me, and remembering dates seemed like an enormous waste of time. And those freaky people who stared back at you in old photos! Could they look any more stoic and depressed? I figured those people never saw a day of fun in their life.
I suppose growing older and wiser (depends who you ask about this one!) opened me to the fact of the rich heritage that precedes us. Childhood, education, falling in love, building a family, religion, careers, struggle, war, growing older, health and sickness, and departing the earth. Times may have changed, but I don’t think people have too much.
Even though world history didn’t intrigue me as a child, family history always interested me. My parents divorced when I was very young. My mother, the daughter of missionaries, grew up in the Belgian Congo and the Philippines, and we didn’t keep in touch with her family regularly as they scattered across the US upon returning. My father came from a boisterous family who settled in Baltimore around the time of WWII. Many happy weekends and holidays were spent at my grandparents’ house with aunts, uncles and cousins.
On my father’s side, no one ever quite knew where we all came from. My maiden name being Stafford suggests England. But there were so many family “rumors” over the years that we tended to have a mishmash of heritages: “Oh, your grandfather’s mother probably had some Italian (pronounced Eye-talian) in her;” “I’m pretty sure we’ve got Indian in us somewhere.”
About five years ago I finally endeavored to research all the questions I had. And that search has brought a richness to my life in ways I never expected. I hope to share my research journey and hopefully encourage others to start a search of their own. I can honestly promise you the search will change your life and cut through your heart in ways you could never have imagined.
I’m calling it Chasing Hannah in honor of my paternal great-grandmother. What I found out about her changed my life completely and opened my heart. And broke it.
I am not a writer, nor do I claim to be. My background is in the theatre. And some experience in photography. I’m a visual person. I hope to include many photographs of my own in this blog. Some will be old, most hopefully come from my eye and camera.
I also love food. Food brings people together in beautiful ways. Laughter, conversation, a way to connect with family, colleagues, and friends old and new. My husband and I have a food blog called The Pêche. Much love has been put into that. Food plays a huge part in our lives, and hopefully a lot of discussion will surround cooking as well.
So I’m ready to start my journey, and hopefully you can start yours as well. Onward. And backward through history!
In the Fall of 2015, I became a certificate holder in Genealogical Research in Boston University's Genealogical Research program. If you are interested in contacting me regarding professional genealogical research, please use the Contact Karen link to get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you!