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October 23rd, 2009

Family history week

I spent this past week rooting around my family tree. I was curious to confirm what I always used to tell people: that I am half German (my mother's side), a quarter Irish, and a quarter English (my father's side).

Well, it was a lot harder to calculate than I anticipated because nearly all the family lines on my father's mother's side came to America in the 1700's or even as early as the 1600's. In the case of the Bonnells, I had to go back over 12 generations before I reached the European emigrants! So, needless-to-say, I didn't reach an estimation of my overall heritage composition.

Of the "known" emigrants on my paternal grandmother's side, I found that they came from various countries:
Ireland (Carson, Callahan)
England (English, Whitehead, Wilmot)
France (Boatman)
Germany (Tomb, Wolf)
Scotland (Campbell)
Netherlands via England (Bonnell)

Many of these families first settled in Southern PA and then moved into Northern PA to settle that area. The English brothers were the pioneers of Little Pine Creek, and they each married one of the Boatman daughters. My ancestor, Fanny Boatman, was said to be a nurse/physician and her father lived to be over 100 years old, having fought in two wars. These early families cleared the land and had some encounters with the Native Americans who were living in the area. One of my Carson ancestors had an Indian trading post and was called "Trader John." After reading all these old snippets of stories, I feel like wandering around through the old cemeteries to read the stones and see the places where these ancestors lived and died among the pines.

And after all that, I didn't even get to my paternal grandfather's line. Whew, genealogy is a full-time pursuit! I guess I'll have to be content admitting that I don't know what percentage of my blood is what. In the end, I guess I am...an American :)

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