An Extremely Short Post about Roots

 The other day I casually joked about my Icelandic-patterned sweater reflecting my “Icelandic roots”, to which Roger responded, “So, what are your roots, anyway?”

Well…as far as I know, it’s mainly German on my father’s side and Irish on my mother’s, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I have to admit that I simply have never had a great deal of interest in the whole genealogy thing, which does make me feel slightly guilty at times, but the whole thing of being able to trace one’s family tree back to Ye Olde Worlde and to the tiny village in East Glumpferjonton where one’s great-great-great-great-grand-blah-blah was a seven-fingered cobbler who fathered eleven children before succumbing to cholera at 36 has never really been an activity that much appealed to me. Which is weird, I admit, because I also have a lifelong love of history and the deeds of the people that populate it.

I know that Americans tend to be very interested in such things–maybe that’s because our country is still relatively young, and in almost all cases you don’t have to go too many generations back to get to people living in Germany or wherever, and I know that this sort of thing commands tremendous interest for members of the Mormon church (I’m not really sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with their doctrine of being able to “save” people, i.e., baptizing them into the Mormon church, after they’re dead). For me, though…I can take or leave it, and I usually end up leaving it. Go figure!

How about you, readers? Are you interested in your genealogies?

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2 Responses to An Extremely Short Post about Roots

  1. Roger Owen Green says:

    Yup. 25% Irish, 25% Nigerian, and a bunch of other things. 42% what one would call white, 58% black.

  2. Jason says:

    As a resident of Utah with Mormon heritage, I can confirm your assumption about the Mormon fascination with genealogy. It is entirely due to the church's practice of "Baptism for the Dead" and the faith's core tenet that "Families are Forever." The idea is that you can be "sealed" to your loved ones through a temple ritual and proper living, i.e., that you will be reunited in the afterlife and then will spend eternity together. Unlike the rest of us poor slobs who, I gather, will be comfortable enough in eternity (Mormon cosmology is… complex) but won't necessarily be spending time with your family. Which doesn't sound like any great burden to me, but hey, I'm a heathen, so what do I know? Anyhow, the idea is that you trace your family tree as far back as you can and then perform temple ordnances (aka Baptisms for the Dead) to get everyone all nice and connected in the hereafter.

    Although I'm non-Mo myself, I do have some passing interest in the whole genealogy thing (probably due to just being surrounded by it culturally as I was growing up), and I have some degree of pride in being able to trace a direct patrilineal line to one of the Mormon pioneers who walked across the plains in 1847, and from whom all the Bennions in this region descend. (My grandfather's grandfather, if I remember correctly, a Welsh immigrant who converted to the church and came over here just in time to make the trek west.)

    And if you're not too bored yet, Anne traced her Scottish heritage before we took our big trip there a few years ago and we spent a pleasant day in a small Scottish village where her ancestors departed from. It wasn't hugely important to her like it is some people, but it was a fun way to connect with a land we wanted to visit anyhow. If I ever make it to Wales (or Norway, where I also have roots), I intend to do the same. Just for kicks. 😀

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