Life is now more a quandary than a mystery

So there was this post.

To explore my roots or not…

To dig into my familial past and try to answer some questions that have plagued me for years because of so many conflicting stories.

Alison jumped into the quest with metaphorical guns blazing, shooting rapid fire internet searches to here and back and in the process she began to uncover my/our history.

So far we know these facts, which are actually more additions to existing knowledge rather than brand new information:

My father’s paternal family has been dated back to 1600’s Denmark. I forget just how many great grandparents we’re up to now. It was fun to see how my maiden name came to be. There’s that quaint ritual of taking a father’s first name, such as Frederick, and when a son is born that child then becomes Hans or Paul or Whatever + ‘son’ – Frederickson — son of Frederick. Every generation with a male then grows a new surname. My maiden name was born from the son of Poul, and quickly took on a more familiar spelling Paul-son. Somewhere down the line we changed the -son- to -sen and thankfully stopped the tradition, or I likely would have been named Edwardson instead.

My father’s maternal family was from the south once they settled in the United States. Tennessee and South Carolina were predominate. Charity Broadstreet, (I love that name) just a few years prior to the Revolutionary War, married a man born in Ireland but who, with his family, emigrated to the colonies.** We’ve been able to trace that line to his parents, both originally Irish.

**Or is it immigrate? Not sure which one to use in this situation…Dear TDP if you are reading this – comments are welcome.

Alison has managed to update and even add to information already established about my spouse’s family, so for her and her siblings there’s a good record forming there of her fathers ancestry. That side has deep Italian and German roots, huge families, and even some name changes on the paternal side. I remember someone telling us once that the Italian ancestors were shoemakers and their name actually is a reference to their occupation. Who knows if that’s true.

I believe so far, that on top of the heritage already mentioned, there is Dutch, French Canadian, British, perhaps Spain and/or Portugal, possibly Native American…and others I have forgotten.

As to my own mother’s heritage, because those questions were really the impetus for this search, the quest is a tough one. The abundance of last names is throwing off the search. Discrepancies in birth years aren’t helping much. Census records have helped to establish some familial ties associated with my grandmother and various people who aren’t exactly related to me in the way I believed them to be. Siblings to my grandmother have been discovered.

Finding the man listed to be my mother’s father is still a work in progress. A middle name would definitely be helpful, but we don’t have that. I am becoming even more suspicious that my grandmother was never married to the man listed as my grandfather. We have requested a copy of my mothers birth certificate. Perhaps, if his name is listed, we can then have better luck tracking him down. If no name is listed, and the law was the same in the 1920’s as it is today, then likely he either did not give consent to have his name on the record, there was no marriage, or perhaps he never knew he had a child.

Then we run up against the issue of the third last name my mother would occasionally use, this one on top of two legally married last names. Alison found a yearbook, from a high school in this state, where my mother is using this additional last name – Mc****. My grandmother used that name later in life, but again…we can’t get a handle on marriage records, or even a first name at this point.


It appears that the women in my recent maternal ancestry seem to enjoy picking up and discarding names almost on a whim if you will. So we wait and we wonder and we keep following other leads and discovering bits and pieces. Fingers crossed that the birth certificate will tell us something when it arrives.



4 thoughts on “Life is now more a quandary than a mystery”

  1. That’s fascinating, and what an adventure it must be to research it. I’m excited for more mysteries and maybe some answers now and then to keep your spirits up!

    And in that situation my first impulse is ‘immigrate’, since you’re implicitly highlighting the destination by using ‘to’ – versus ’emigrate from’ — but I don’t think either is wrong, actually, it just has to do with where you’re putting emphasis: ‘immigrate’ emphasizes the adopted land, ’emigrate’ the old. I’m not 100% sure on that, but I *think* that’s probably right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I knew it wouldn’t cause a ruckus on the blog with the whole ’em’ versus ‘imm’ thing, but I do now have a clearer picture of each from your example: immigrate=to and emigrate=from. Nice.


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