Ancestors

Today we drove the 2+ hours to Salt Lake City to worship our ancestors.

Well, not really. However, that theme did come to mind. I’ve been doing some things with the kids recently about Chinese New Year–making Chinese food, crafting red paper lanterns, learning about the amazing terraced rice paddies, and even trying our hands at some Chinese characters.

I mentioned the other day to them that one important concept in Chinese culture, from Confucianism, is honoring one’s elders and one’s ancestors. They seem really fascinated with China right now, so maybe this concept will sink in and we’ll see more respectful behavior from them…. maybe.

Anyway, we had gotten a reference from one of Anthropapa’s co-workers to a good dim sum restaurant in SLC.

There is no dim sum in Pocatello.

So, we had to go. Had to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit by stuffing ourselves with shu mai, char siu bao, har gow, and chicken feet.

Yes, we ordered the chicken feet. I told the kids that there would be lots of bones and that they were honest-to-goodness feet of chickens. After confirming that yes, they do clean the feet before they cook them, we chowed down. The girl declared that the sweet bean-paste stuffed sesame balls, and the chicken feet, were here favorites. I declared that after my second taste of them, I can honestly say that while not horrible, they are not a favorite.

Then, I went to the amazing Family History Library, run by the LDS church, to do some genealogy research. I could have spent days there and only scratch the surface, but I had only a few hours this time while the rest of the family went to explore the Children’s Museum. I concentrated for the most part on the illustrious Blood family on my father’s side.

I discovered that Nathaniel Blood of Groton (1680-1756) was a member of the Expedition of the Showshoe Men during the French and Indian Wars, which “plodded up the valley of the Merrimack, up past the falls of the Amoskeag to the rendezvous of the Indians at Pequawkett” and brought back five scalps worth forty pounds apiece. Nathaniel and the other survivors of this expedition were later awarded land grants in Tyng Township, which is now Manchester, NH.

I also read of General Francis Blood of Temple, NH, who pursued some horse thieves to Keene, where they had stopped for the night. He planned to sneak into the barn of the inn, identify the horses, and at dawn apprehend the thieves. To his dismay, the innkeeper showed him to the very same room that he had given to the suspects. What to do? How to justify leaving the room in the wee hours without raising suspicions? Feign the onset of cholera, of course, with attendant “sighs and fearful groans.” The thieves were only too happy to see him stumble downstairs to fetch some brandy, and Gen. Blood was successful in identifying the stolen horses and arresting the criminals at daybreak.

This same General Blood was also recorded as one of only four people in the town of Temple to own an honest-to-goodness clock in the late 1780’s. “Most people used the hour-glass; all schoolmistresses had one; some of the masters carried those exaggerated watches. . . . Some people used sun-dials, and all had their “noon-marks.”

Another time, I will go to the Family History Library and look up much less colorful census, birth, and marriage records. Today seemed all about bringing some of our ancestors alive within the colorful history of our country.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Ancestors

  1. I have an interesting little story about ancestors: as you know I was born and raised in the US with the nigh unpronounceable name of Gudrun, the inspiration for which probably came from my German-born mother. My whole adult life however, I have spent in Norway fielding the question: why do you have a Norwegian name? Do you have Norwegian ancestors?

    As a matter of fact I don’t. The closest to a norwegian ancestor is that my german aunt, my mother’s sister married a man of Norwegian lineage, though he was born in Chicago, raised in Canada and they lived in Germany for most of their marriage (they did spend a few years in Norway and Denmark early on, and sport Norwegian passports).

    Anyway, a few years after my uncle-by-marriage died, my aunt came to visit me. She brought a the results of some geneology research that one of my cousins had been doing on his fathers family. It turns out that in the cencus of 1700 my uncle’s family could be traced to Stange, the area in Norway where I have been living for the past 15 years.

    So it turns out that I am living in the land of my Norwegian ancestors-by-marriage.

  2. Amazing how these things happen! Anthropapa and I are possibly related way back when, somewhere in the 1700s or early 1800s, by two women with the relatively unusual last name of Badger who lived near enough to perhaps be cousins. Tracing female ancestors can be more difficult because of changing surnames at marriage, so I haven’t been able to confirm their relation.

    My mother’s mother’s family all died in WWII and there are apparently no surviving records of any of them. Possibly if I could go research in Germany, I might find a little bit more.

  3. Hi Anthromomma,
    I was class of ’78 at Green Meadow. I noticed you said your kids are into Chinese culture lately. You should definitely check out the following show:
    http://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/
    It’s bringing back all the 5,000 years of ancient Chinese culture that got destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party. Very beautiful. Very Waldorf, actually. Highly recommend it! :)
    best,

    Mark

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