This week’s #52Ancestors prompt, “I’d like to meet,” leaves me a bit paralyzed by choice. I’m looking at my pedigree chart and can’t manage to choose someone. I’d love to meet SO MANY of my ancestors! My grandparents on both sides played such a huge role in my upbringing. From them I learned invaluable life lessons about how to treat others, how to set goals and work to achieve them, and how to appreciate the things I have. Who taught THEM those things?
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to sit around the dinner table with, say, all of THEIR grandparents? Did my grandparents’ grandparents have the same type of influence on them?
So I looked at something I hadn’t thought about before: how the birth and death dates of my grandparents and their grandparents (my 2X-great grandparents) overlap. Here’s what I came up with (minus the dates):
What I discovered was only one of my grandparents began life with four living grandparents. Realistically speaking, each of my four grandparents probably only really knew two grandparents. So this means:
- My paternal grandpa, who became the man of his house at age 17 after his father died, never had his own grandfather around to help teach him how to run his farm.
- My paternal grandma lost both paternal grandparents in the same year, but probably never remembered them. I suspect this made her feel more connected with her maternal side.
- My maternal grandpa only really would have known his two grandmothers. Since both of his grandfathers were Norwegian immigrants to America, just imagine the fascinating stories he missed out on!
- My maternal grandma’s living grandparents had each lost a spouse. (I knew that, actually! There’s a lot more to that story…)
Nevertheless, I would like to meet each of those 2X great-grandparents. What expressions or mannerisms might I recognize that I associate with my grandparents? (For that matter, which of those expressions or mannerisms do I or my siblings carry on?) What interests might they have had in common with my grandparents? How did they want to be remembered by their grandchildren?
So here’s a parting challenge to my readers: How many grandparents could YOUR grandparents have known? What does that suggest to you about their influence on your grandparents’ lives?