I realized something about myself just 6 months ago, that astonished me...

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    Mar 28, 2011 12:00 AM GMT
    I already knew that not only had my family been in this country for over 370 years, but I learned that every one of the men had worn a military uniform. All my direct ancestors, my great-great-greats etc.

    I calculated that I was the 17th generation that had worn a uniform in this country, colonial or US, and that my oldest son is the 18th, serving at this moment in the US Air Force. They were in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, all the World Wars, everything.

    I never knew that when I enlisted myself, had no idea of that family tradition. No one told me, or encouraged me. On the contrary, my parents were horrified when I told them what I had done when I enlisted without their knowledge. Despite both my Father and my Mother wearing uniforms in WWII.

    But what an odd thing. 18 unbroken generations of military service in this country. It kinda disconcerted me when I discovered it. I never knew I had that in my background. I guess genes are stronger than we realize, and we are who our parents, and our ancestors, make us. I remain amazed by this discovery.
  • swedeinusa

    Posts: 285

    Mar 28, 2011 1:04 AM GMT
    Beastly.
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    Mar 28, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidI already knew that not only had my family been in this country for over 370 years, but I learned that every one of the men had worn a military uniform. All my direct ancestors, my great-great-greats etc.

    I calculated that I was the 17th generation that had worn a uniform in this country, colonial or US, and that my oldest son is the 18th, serving at this moment in the US Air Force. They were in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, all the World Wars, everything.

    I never knew that when I enlisted myself, had no idea of that family tradition. No one told me, or encouraged me. On the contrary, my parents were horrified when I told them what I had done when I enlisted without their knowledge. Despite both my Father and my Mother wearing uniforms in WWII.

    But what an odd thing. 18 unbroken generations of military service in this country. It kinda disconcerted me when I discovered it. I never knew I had that in my background. I guess genes are stronger than we realize, and we are who our parents, and our ancestors, make us. I remain amazed by this discovery.


    I love it! Great story. How do you research it?

  • coolarmydude

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    Mar 28, 2011 6:18 AM GMT
    Growing up in south Louisiana, I always though my mother's mother looked like a full-blooded Spanish woman. It turns out that her mother was a Romero and that the Romero link has been traced straight back to Spain!

    And then last summer, on my father's side, we discovered that part of our ancestral link might lead to Sweden. We have some Johnson ancestors and we came across a family story that claims that the original Johnson of our family was a Swedish immigrant whose name was Johanson.


    I love genealogy!
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    Mar 28, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    I'm adopted.
    2s9ua0n.jpg
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    Mar 28, 2011 6:40 AM GMT
    http://www.ancestry.com/
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    Mar 28, 2011 9:15 AM GMT
    With my family having a very long history, in the US too. Where we have towns names after us, roads, streets, State Parks, we have produced democratic senators too; shame I know, and the list goes on.

    But being European Aristocrats, we have a very long line of success. But then I being the first son, of a first son, of breeders. I broke that chain; but still one has the breeding.
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    Mar 28, 2011 11:48 AM GMT
    DJdorchester saidI love it! Great story. How do you research it?

    A friend of mine, now living in another State, did much of it on his own, he's into genealogy and family histories, simply decided to explore mine because he knew it was old in this country. But I actually already knew much of it myself, just never really thought about it from the military aspect.

    My late mother had told me some of the family history. She'd say which one had been in the Revolutionary War, or the Civil War (several, actually, and one never came back, was never heard from again, don't know if he was killed on the battlefield or deserted), but I never really connected all the dots, never thought to myself: they ALL wore a uniform at some point.

    My very first Dutch ancestor's farm in northern New Jersey is a museum today, and it mentions that he was involved with the colonial militia, as most able-bodied men of that time were. In their case it was to deal with the Indians and oppose the English, though when the British ships sailed up the Hudson River the Dutch promptly surrendered without a fight, negotiated trade deals and quickly went back to work making money. LOL!
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    Mar 28, 2011 11:57 AM GMT
    That is really cool. Many thanks to you and your family for your service to our country!
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    Mar 28, 2011 12:00 PM GMT
    ErikTaurean saidhttp://www.ancestry.com/

    I recommend it. I started a couple weeks ago and it's pretty engrossing. Once you start, it just explodes with more information to go further back.

    It was very cool seeing the scanned image of one of my ancestor's Veteran's card from the Revolutionary War. And then when you find people with names familiar to you (say friends' last names), there's the possibility to go forward and see if you're related.

    With Art_Deco's military family, there will be LOTS of records available.
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    Mar 28, 2011 12:09 PM GMT
    heybreaux saidWow, that is an amazing uncovering of info. Quite a track record especially since it wasn't some silly tradition that was knowingly passed on--that it just happened that way. Pretty cool indeed.

    That's what astonished me, when it suddenly hit me. I kinda knew much of it already, but just never really thought about it that way. We never considered ourselves a "military family" and indeed, my 25 years is the only example I know of an actual career in the service.

    The men served when they were called, but not an actual occupation in peace time. Instead, my Father initially was appalled at me, thinking I had gone totally blue-collar trailer trash, and it wasn't until I became a Major that he finally began to accept the idea.

    At the same time, a framed photo of my late uncle in Army uniform, my mother's brother who was killed shortly after the Normandy invasion and for whom I named, was a constant presence during my childhood. And I'd flip through my Father's photo "yearbooks" they published of his Army Air Corps unit during WWII, and see him in uniform, too. And upstairs in the attic, preserved in mothballs and hanging in special cases, were his uniforms I'd sometimes see. And also my Mother's from the Civil Defense Corps, along with her "CD" helmet.

    So I guess I was in fact being influenced, you just don't always realize it as a kid, you don't think that's anything out of the ordinary if that's how you grow up. Not surprising, really, that I later put on a uniform myself. Still, the full extent of the family history was a jolt to me, when I realized it. And then my son does it, too?
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 28, 2011 12:30 PM GMT
    Congrats on the service, Bob.. we certainly appreciate the time and dedication your family members have given to the US for so long.

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    Mar 28, 2011 12:41 PM GMT
    HungGarSig saidThat is really cool. Many thanks to you and your family for your service to our country!

    You are very kind, but I hardly think of it as "service." If you knew the unbridled fun I had for 25 years you'd be more jealous than thankful. I only do things I like.

    More credit goes to my family before it goes to me. Like my Father who had lost fingers from his hand in a childhood accident, and was classified "4F" during WWII and didn't have to serve at all. But he managed to get a waiver because he wanted to be part of the "effort."

    Or my Mother, who joined Civil Defense for no pay, when she didn't have to do anything more than remain a housekeeper at home. Like her own Mother, who went to work in an aircraft plant. Not as Rosie the Riveter, just secretarial work. But as she later told me: "I had to do something, when my son [my namesake uncle Robert] was fighting in North Africa." When he was killed in France she became a Gold Star Mother, and always marched with them on Memorial Day, when that was still done in the 1950s.

    And I'd be on the curb as a kid, as my Father marched by, and my Mother in her unit, and my Grandmother in hers (my Grandfathers both dead by then). Then we'd congregate at the city park, and I'd hear the names of the town's fallen heroes read off, my uncle's, of course, and also my Mother's Father, who had done important stateside war work himself, and died in 1947.

    So you make me think about things I usually don't think about. Maybe it isn't so strange after all, that I found myself in the Army. I never thought of those influences on me as a child. But it remains my family, not really me.

    I was just fortunate to have been raised in a tradition of service to our country. That makes me drawn to it, rather than avoid it. But again, that's my family history, I guess, of which I never was full aware on some level. I give them the credit, not me.
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    Mar 28, 2011 12:43 PM GMT
    1969er said
    ErikTaurean saidhttp://www.ancestry.com/

    I recommend it. I started a couple weeks ago and it's pretty engrossing. Once you start, it just explodes with more information to go further back.

    It was very cool seeing the scanned image of one of my ancestor's Veteran's card from the Revolutionary War. And then when you find people with names familiar to you (say friends' last names), there's the possibility to go forward and see if you're related.

    With Art_Deco's military family, there will be LOTS of records available.


    I've always thought it would be cool to research this for my family. The problem is that it may not be very revealing, because on my mother's side, both her parents were poor immigrants from Italy in the early 1900s and on my dad's side, both immigrated from Germany around the same time. I have a feeling that records will stop with immigration documents and I won't find anything much earlier than that. Anybody have experience with that?

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    Mar 28, 2011 12:45 PM GMT
    HungGarSig saidThat is really cool. Many thanks to you and your family for your service to our country!

    Thanks! My extended reply is in a post above, which I answered first, no offense.
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    Mar 28, 2011 12:59 PM GMT
    yourname2000 saidGeez, any chance your first relatives in America lived in Boston???

    Anyhoo, very cool! Thanks to you and your family for your service!

    No, they were Dutch in New Amsterdam, later New York when the English captured it. They finally settled in northern New Jersey, just across the Hudson River, and founded a couple of towns, where I was raised.

    No need to thank me for my service, I was having too much fun, as I posted above. But thank you for my family, they really did make sacrifices. One of my great shames is that I never equaled, much less surpassed, those previous generations during my own life. That's one of the burdens of having a prominent family -- when they set a bar you fail to clear. icon_sad.gif
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    Mar 28, 2011 1:07 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    yourname2000 saidGeez, any chance your first relatives in America lived in Boston???

    Anyhoo, very cool! Thanks to you and your family for your service!

    That's one of the burdens of having a prominent family -- when they set a bar you fail to clear. icon_sad.gif


    Nah, you get your own bar the day you're born... and from what I know, you've reached pretty high.

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    Mar 29, 2011 12:29 AM GMT
    DJdorchester said
    Art_Deco said
    yourname2000 saidGeez, any chance your first relatives in America lived in Boston???

    Anyhoo, very cool! Thanks to you and your family for your service!

    That's one of the burdens of having a prominent family -- when they set a bar you fail to clear. icon_sad.gif

    Nah, you get your own bar the day you're born... and from what I know, you've reached pretty high.

    You're very kind. But no, I'll never reach as high as them. I'm sorta the family loser, the failure, and I know that. Maybe my 2 sons will restore the family reputation, I dunno. They're both certainly smarter & more talented than me. Sometimes these things skip a generation -- it certainly skipped me! LOL! icon_razz.gif
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Mar 29, 2011 12:34 AM GMT
    Congratulations, that's really wonderful and interesting!

    We've been here since 1680-something, and one ancestor was on Washington's staff , while two others were Declaration signers - but nothing like your family's record of service. Most admirable.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Nat
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    Mar 29, 2011 1:13 AM GMT
    tazzari saidCongratulations, that's really wonderful and interesting!

    We've been here since 1680-something, and one ancestor was on Washington's staff , while two others were Declaration signers - but nothing like your family's record of service. Most admirable.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Nat

    Here's something I found online about my direct Dutch ancestor Jan Speer (it says "John" but that's Anglicized), who founded what later was renamed Montclair, New Jersey, after he left New Amsterdam (becoming New York after the English captured it):

    In 1679 Dutch settlers acquired land from the Lenape Indians west of the Passaic River and north of Newark, an arrangement later confirmed by the British government. Early in the 1700's John Speer, a member of the Dutch community, built a home that stands today on Upper Mountain Avenue just north of the Montclair border. Other Dutch settlers established farms in what is now the northern half of Montclair. This community became known as Speertown.

    Jan Speer's descendants later founded the neighboring town of Little Falls in the 1860s, by then the family name having changed on the female side to Van Winkle. That is the line from which I am descended.

    BTW, I've been to that house, and stood where my ancestor did over 300 years ago. Not unusual for our British and other European friends here, but kinda unique for most White Americans, with our relatively short history on this continent.