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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Family Ties
By PamFord Davis


A heart needs a place to call home. Where did I come from? Where did it all begin and when? Hushed whispers in our minds, place an ongoing curiosity about our ancestors. Each person who blazed the trail before us, coming to America, make up parts to the puzzle of who we are.

During our childhood, we do not have concerns about genetics or heredity. Our family-circle security with parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is all the world we know or need. Gnawing questions about our family backgrounds usually arise in our mid-life time span, as we face our own frailty. We wonder if we will leave behind any mark on society. Did we really accomplish anything of lasting value? Another common reason that a spark of interest in our family heritage ignites, is a growing appreciation of relationships with family and friends.

The only citizens of The United States that can trace their roots to our native soil are the “American Indians.” Europe is where my genealogy story began. Family history is more than a hobby. To many around the globe, it is an unquenchable thirst for family knowledge. I share in that excitement, in part, because of my husband's deep involvement. He began his information gathering about 12 years ago. It has led him to a closeness with relatives he never even knew. Now, he has organized annual family reunions and is sharing history as well as current information in family newsletters on his Internet site. His Davis family line likely traces back to England and Ireland. His search continues with hopes to one day discover the identity of his great-great-great-grandfather, Loughton Davis' parents.

As a young girl, my ancestry was not discussed very often. At school, we were asked what nationalities were included in our families. I do not remember many specifics, just my Mom's quick response of, “English, Irish, French, and Dutch”. Today, that impresses me as a patch-quilt representation of Europe. It would be fascinating to learn the circumstances leading to the risks of leaving their homeland to begin new lives of adventure in the strange land of America.

It is said, “You can take the man out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the man.” That truth is demonstrated and revealed with traditions and customs of Europe, now shared in small towns and large cities across our nation. Some holiday traditions are explained to each generation and respected. To carry on these observances is a way to honor our ancestors and our heritage. Sadly, some customs have lost their true meaning and are now just meaningless habits. Maybe it is time to unlock those mysteries as Americans.

Europe's appeal to tourists has been a magnet for centuries. The sights, sounds and fragrances in each country are unique and varied. In America, we have sampled those delicacies from our great “melting pot”! The blending of spices in a favorite recipe brings out a zesty flavor. The mixing of styles of music, literature and artwork from Europe is transported to us. It creates a fresh new specialty! When certain arts are held separate, such as a great Italian opera or a French ballet, we are transported straight back to Europe!

Europe and America have been allies through the tragedy of wars that marred their landscape and scarred the lives of soldiers. Today, we face common challenges against terrorism and facing an economic crisis. I hope our trials will strengthen old relationships and build new ones. Remember, hearts need a place to call home. Many hearts beat with memories of Europe.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Yvonne Blake 03/02/09
I, too, am a mixture of many nationalities. I wish I had studied more of my heritage.