Well they say we American's are the true mutts of the genealogical world and after today I know I am. I knew of my French and English and Irish and Scottish and American Indian lineage... well today, digging around on my paternal grandfather's line - I get to add Dutch and German. I found a new Founder Immigrant - Jurien Westfall who came to New York in the early 1600's. That gives me a couple more lineage societies I can join!! :-)
It is truly fasicnating to read about these people. How they risked everything to come here - for the chance to be free and to make something of themselves. Jurian was a young man with nothing when he came. And now there is a long legacy of us that owe our existence to his perserverence. Rather humbling. Like another one of my founding immigrance ancestors. He was 10 when he came to America. His father died during the crossing... so in 1638 John comes here as an indentured servant to pay his way. I can only fathom what that 10 year old was thinking. How terrified he had to have been. But how strong at the same time. And then to be the founding father of the New England line of the Branch family. Makes me darn proud.
I also wonder - would I have had the strength as a 10 year old to do what he did? I used to take some of our holidays for granted until I did genealogy. Now I have a much deeper and clearer understanding of what they went through so that this country became what it is today. Huge prices they paid. But they had a belief and a goal. Nothing was going to stop them.
Genelaogy gives me a sense of belonging. To know my heritage is to know a part of me. And when things are rough, I can resort to that inner strength - knowing what my ancestors accomplished gives me the strength to carry on. Afterall - they overcame so why shouldn't I?
A profound and powerful message Suzanna!! I believe had you been there at that time you would've persevered. In fact, this story may explain why you have the tenacity of a pitbull. I would bank on you in any situation and I believe that stems from your persistent ancestors.