Monday, July 4, 2016

Mortgage Monday: Home For Independence Day

I have watched or heard the fireworks on Independence Day in a variety of different places throughout my life but, despite the silence filling the night this year, this was the first year that really took on a deeper meaning for me. In addition to being able to trace back my family to that time in United States history, there is a much more basic connection to the 4th of July that I now carry with me. I now own a piece of that very land over which we fought the British Army.

As far as I know, there weren’t any great battles or notable residents on my land but it was nevertheless, a small piece of the colonies which was liberated from tyranny. The details remain unknown to me but the fact of the matter is that whomever live on this land was set free with the passing of this “radical” declaration of independence. It is with this in mind that I think about all that could have possibly transpired among the trees that fill my property. There is even the possibility that, while unlikely, one or more of my ancestors could have set eyes on this land.

This is one of the interesting aspects of researching this period of time in my family’s history. While the bulk of the research consists of tracing back, generation by generation, to the time of the revolution, there is also the research into where those ancestors lived and, when applicable, where they served. It is in this further reading when we get a much better sense of the lives that our ancestors lived but knowing where they traveled before, during, and after the war.

While I have been able to trace back to the Siege at Yorktown, the Battle of Brandywine, and the Battle of Long Island, there are still other journeys which remain undiscovered and many lines that need to be investigated further. There are also questions that still endure both in the service of individuals and in the subsequent generations many of which, ironically, tracing back to the land in which they lived and the shifting boarders that are prolonging the research process.

In the end, most of the lines in my family came to and/or fought for this country/colony because of land and identity. They needed to find a place where they belonged, somewhere that could provide them with a home, and where they could enjoy the freedom of personal identity. And while much of this history had been lost for decades (sometimes longer) we are now rediscovering this national and family history. For me, it is a great feeling to have somewhere that I belong, a home and land that I own, and an identity which acknowledges both the past and the present.