03 July 2013

In Defense of No Revolutionary War Ancestors

As of the writing of this blog post, I have no ancestors who served in the military during the American Revolution. I also have no close family connections with anyone who was "famous" during the Revolutionary War era.

And that's ok.

Part of it is sheer numbers. My maternal ancestors did not arrive in the United States until the 1850s and after when Prussia's takeover of the area of northern Germany in which they lived. My great-grandfather Neill's family were 1860 era Irish immigrants. My great-grandfather Trautvetter's family were 1840-1850 era German immigrants. That only leaves my paternal great-grandmothers' families as those with ancestors in the "United States" before the American Revolution. And few of them seemed to have been actively involved.

I do have an ancestor who signed the Maryland Association of Freemen (James Rampley, Harford County) and one who gave wheat to the revolutionary cause (John Tinsley, Amherst County, Virginia), but none of my ancestors were in the revolutionary military.

And that's ok.

Genealogical research is about determining who our ancestors actually are. It's not about proving connections to people to whom we want to be connected or how many well-known kin are lurking in our family tree. It is about being as accurate as we can and accurately representing those individuals we are fortunate enough to locate.

In the spirit of the July 4th holiday, a low-German "motto" and response is particularly appropriate:
"Eala Frya Fresena---Lever dood as Slaav"
 Just a little something to think about.

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