Ancestry: A Treasure Hunt
I’ve always been interested in the past. History was my favorite subject in school. Now the reasons for my interest weren’t always of the most constructive nature. As I’ve said in a previous post, I was always attracted to the romantic fantasy of fairy tales, as most preteens are.
Over time I learned the true beauty of history. The documentation of events that have shaped our world today. I’m intrigued by the callowness and atrocities that we have grown beyond and the sad truth of the ones we still have to overcome. My heart is softened by the actions of men and women that have stood strong to protect, better, and enrich their countries and country-men.
For the past few years my interest in the past has shifted (not completely, but significantly) into interest of ancestry. My ancestry. Now, I don’t spend an abundant amount of time in my research but when I find a nugget of information I place it where it needs to be and look into expanding on it when I can.
Recently, I was asked a very simple question while talking about this interest.
“Why do you care?”
At first I was taken off guard by it, not because it was said in a negative or confrontational way. No, it was a very valid question which someone honestly wanted to know the answer to. Realizing that this particular person didn’t have the same interest in the topic that I had, and I wanted her to comprehend my thoughts, I simply gave the only answer I could. “It’s a treasure hunt.” She was satisfied and nothing more was said.
A Treasure Hunt? What kind of treasure was I hoping to gain? To be rich? To find myself the heir to a European throne? It was such a quick response that I didn’t even know why I chose that description. No. No. Of course I wasn’t expecting anything like riches or fame. The treasure I seek can not be assigned a value. It’s worthless to anyone other than me and my older brother. The treasure I am after is knowledge.
Knowledge of who I am.
To clarify that a bit more, I am looking for where my DNA comes from. What experiences that my forefathers and foremothers lived through that shaped their mentality, drove them to the decisions they made, and passed it all down to the next generation. How that next generation used that knowledge, added it to, reshaped it and passed that on again. Eventually, all those pieces to the puzzle developed and rested upon me. And I will do the same.
It’s a treasure that only I and my older brother can share, because there is no one else in this world that fits our exact family tree. That Treasure Map.
So far, I have found out about my past that:
- I am a descendant of Matoaka (Pocahantas) and John Rolfe
- John Rolfe is responsible for cultivating a sweeter tobacco in Virginia which began the success of the british colonial, eventually US, tobacco industry. (Well can’t be proud of everything)
- My surname can be traced back to Bradford, England to a house that still stands and is a museum today, Bolling Hall. (One L was dropped in the mid 1800’s due to a census spelling error and stuck)
- I come from wealthy people which didn’t make it’s way to me.
- I am just a few generations away from full Cherokee.
- Judging by all the children of my grandfathers and grandmothers they were quite a randy bunch.