Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Official: I'm "Ancestor Approved."

Thank you bunches to Linda of "Flipside" and Dionne of "Finding Josephine" for honoring me with the blogger badge "Ancestor Approved" for doing my ancestors proud.  Genealogy bloggers are a supportive bunch, and I do appreciate the encouragement. 

As a recipient, I am to list 10 things I've learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me, and to pass the award along to other bloggers whom I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

I was surprised that:

• I have so many French-Canadian ancestors (I grew up in Cajun Southwest Louisiana, so the Acadians were a given, but I wasn't aware of my Quebecois heritage until a few years ago).  They're turning out to be some of my most interesting ancestors, as they were among the first settlers of Mobile, Biloxi and New Orleans.  (Cousins: This is through Marie Octavie McBride Legere's mom's family line.)

• A couple of my colonial Mobile ancestors entered into a business arrangement with the ancestor of one of my good friends from high school -- a mere 280 years or so before we met! 

• I dated my now-husband for 10 years before finding that we're 7th cousins once removed.

• I'm still adding new nationalities to my tree.  I have Dutch ancestors through my Acadian lines (!) and a possibly-Swiss soldier ancestor who came to La. -- but no, I'm not adding any more adjectives to the blog title! (There's also Welsh and French-Canadian -- and Scots-Irish, if you want to get technical.)

I was enlightened and/or intrigued to find:

• I'm related to two U.S. vice presidents, Adlai Stevenson (VP to Cleveland) and Alben Barkley (VP to Truman), and also to the VP Adlai's grandson Adlai (the more famous one) who was Illinois governor and Ambassador to the U.N, all related through Mom's Stevenson lines.

• My "mystery grandpa," Robert Bunyan Hall, was apparently married a couple of times before he married my grandma, which may help explain why he preferred that his earlier life (including his parents' names) remain a mystery to his own family (or may not -- this is my biggest brick wall).

• I have a couple of musician ancestors (I have a music degree): My 5th-great-grandfather Jacques Leger arrived in Acadia in the late 1600s as a drummer in the French military, and my 6th-great-grandfather Claude Desbordes was choirmaster at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans in the mid-1700s.

I am humbled by:

• finding that some of my ancestors held slaves.  Not a surprising find, given most of my ancestors lived in the South, but certainly sobering when one reads the actual names of human beings considered "property" on censuses or wills.  I am still not sure how to reconcile this fact with nonetheless being proud of some of the same ancestors' achievements.  I think it must probably require holding two opposing ideas and/or emotions in one's heart and mind at the same time, though it must be even more difficult for those who descend from both slaveowner and enslaved ancestors.

• the fact that my Acadian ancestors and their descendants in Louisiana, the Cajuns, have maintained much of their culture for more than 250 years, despite being forced from their homes by the British beginning in 1755 and "scattered to the wind" along the U.S. East Coast, in England, France, and elsewhere.

• the fact that whenever I reach out past my own shyness to meet a "new" cousin in person or by e-mail, it is invariably a good experience (whether or not we have much in common besides family), and several have become good friends as well as cousins.

I'd like to pass along the "Ancestor Approved" award to the following bloggers doing their ancestors and/or fellow researchers proud: Anne at The French Genealogy Blog, Felicia at Echoes of My Nola Past, "Hummer" at Branching Out Through the Years, Sandra at I Never Knew My Father, Ruth of Bluebonnet Country Genealogy and Tess of NOLA Graveyard Rabbit.


  1. Bravo, Liz! I am glad for you! Genealogy, what an adventure!

  2. Thank you Liz for the award. Due to some time constraints I have right now I won't be participating this time. I love your list of genealogy growth you have made. Great stuff! Cousins 7th once removed...whew that was close ;) Keep up the good work your blog is great!

  3. Thanks to you both. :)
    "Hummer," no prob. I'm enjoying your blog & understand time challenges!

  4. Congrats to you and thank you again for passing it on to me.

  5. I'm sorry for the late response, but I wanted to thank you for awarding me the Ancestor Approved badge! I'll start working on my list of 10 in the next few days and post it shortly.

    You made my day, even if it is awfully belated. Again, my apologies- I've been away in NYC for awhile and am just playing catchup now, but you're tops on the list. :)

  6. Tess, no prob. Happy to spotlight your blog. :)