“To know who you are, you have to know where your story began.”

I heard this phrase the other day, and it rang in my ears like the deep rich tones of a large windchime. Clear. Resolute. It really is a true statement. Although I certainly do have my own personality and quirks that are mine alone, there is definitely something to be said for knowing where you have come from. Not just knowing who your relatives are and were in name only, but also in the understanding of the struggles they endured and the successes they enjoyed. This knowledge can give us a deeper sense of our heritage that in turn can be passed on to the next generation. Upon learning of their struggles we may catch the tiniest glimpse of ourselves in them, and understand just a little bit better that we are stronger than we thought. I have discovered for myself many fascinating things about my family members and their history, but now it can be passed down to my children, and their children, and those family members who will hopefully one day read this and discover for themselves the history of where they also came from.

There were many families who in one way or another eventually made their way together and became the foundation upon which my mother’s strength of character was forged – Parrish, Medley, Blaine, Thrasher, Southwick, Carnahan, Stanley, and Linnaberry (just to name a few). These groups were strong farmers, some were patriots, some rebelled against what was expected and held onto their convictions, and yes, there were even a few black sheep. Men and women whom I have heard stories of throughout the years – I have admiration for some, and I cringe with disdain towards the actions of others. But whatever good OR BAD their choices may have been, they were real people, and they were a part of my family. They are all a part of who I am, and I am proud to take ownership and call them mine.

This is why I research and this is why I write about them, because they all have a story to be told.