i am a self-proclaimed nut in so many ways: i talk too much about things that happened a long time ago, i do things like get married and then move away and i’m in a very committed – and delicious – relationship with nachos.
all that aside, perhaps one of my nuttiest traits is that i just love all things old.
so while other kids were watching ‘90210′, i was locked in my room reading about the holocaust until 3 am. and when my (idiot) teenage compatriots were getting drunk and making out until their mouths exploded, i was learning about the russian revolution. yeah ok, it’s all very morbid and ridiculous, but it’s the truth: i love history.
but even more than just world history, i am fascinated by family history.
so when former ‘friends’ star lisa kudrow – or phoebe bouffay as i’d prefer we call her thankyouverymuch – produced a show this past winter called ‘who do you think you are?’ – i was immediately hooked.
i don’t know if you saw it, but basically it was all these fancy pants celebrities hunting down some aspect of their family’s history with the help of genealogists. while i initially scoffed and quietly muttered: “oh phoebe, what are you up to now for god sakes…” – it was actually pretty cool! most of the celebs learned about connections to major historical events and got a sense of who their ancestors actually were as people.
now i know you can’t believe everything the tv tells you (although i sort of do anyway…shhh), but phoebe bouffay’s show got me thinking – who do i think i am?
thanks to my brilliant grandfather i know a lot about my mother’s british family. he has kept – and more importantly shared – pictures, stories and family trees with me over the years which has painted a decent picture of who our family was.
but what has always been a complete mystery to me for 27 7/12 years is my dad’s family. it’s been on my bucket list for ages to talk to him about this stuff, but life happens and people move to india (as you do) and then you kind of forget to do things.
well, something interesting happened this week: i accidentally stumbled across my paternal grandmother’s family tree online – don’t ask how. and no joke with just those few clues, i have spent the last 48 hours falling down a veritable rabbit hole of my father’s family history – giddy as f&^k the whole time.
what i have learned (thanks to nova scotia’s amazing virtual records depository) is that on my father’s side – both on my grandmother and grandfather – are among the earliest families to have settled in nova scotia in the 18th century.
my grandmother’s family lived in an archipelago off cape breton island called the isle de madame as far back as 1793, a part of the region’s hardcore acadian history. and on the other side, i learned that my grandfather’s family has been in lunenburg and the small hamlet of martin’s river since about 1750.
wowsers, i say.
honestly, i have always had suspicions about our maritime roots. but learning that we have significant history in the region is something different altogether – i never would have guessed our lineage is so rooted in canada’s early beginnings.
maybe, just maybe, the fact that we are from salt-of-the-earth maritime stock explains why i have always felt such an undeniable pull to nova scotia for as long as i can remember. it’s no secret really that this is where my heart lies.
anyway, all this jibber-jabber is just the beginning. now, armed with a few crudely constructed family trees, i want to know who these people were. what were they actually like. were they nice? did they struggle? what were their joys? what were their tragedies? you know, all the good stuff.
so, next summer – with husband and dog and dad in tow – i will make my annual pilgrimage to nova scotia. but this time we’ll head to the isle de madame and martin’s river to further explore our 5 + generations of history in the area.
and all because i’m a bit of a nut, bitches.