If I didn't have to work for a living, I think I could happily spend 8 hours a day trying to discover more about my family history. I've shared on this blog before about my maternal great grandparents from Sweden, how they married in Stockholm and then sailed for America where their 13 children were born. (When doing the family tree, I discovered that Great Grandmother Johnson was either pregnant or nursing for 25 years!!!!) That's the Swedish, blue-eyed, blond-hair part of me.
The Irish part of me (any guess what I inherited there?) comes from my maternal great grandmother, Mary Emeline Malone. That's her picture at right in 1869. Don't you love her name? Let it roll off your tongue. Hear the Irish brogue? In fact, everything I'm typing now comes through my fingers with an Irish accent. Mary Emeline Malone was the mother of Madge Ruth Ashmore who was the mother of Lucille B. Johnson who was the mother of Robin Lee Adams (yours truly).
As a child, I loved to hear my grandmother (Madge Ruth Ashmore Johnson) tell the story of her grandfather Gideon Ashmore, an abolitionist from Illinois, who hid some runaway slaves in his store and who then attempted to hire Abraham Lincoln to represent their cause. Carl Sandburg wrote briefly about this incident in The Prairie Years, the first volume of his two books about Abraham Lincoln. Only according to my grandmother, Mr. Sandburg got a few of his facts wrong, and his version only mentions Gideon Ashmore in passing. The Ashmore version has a great deal more detail in which Gideon Ashmore plays a starring role. Knowing my grandmother, I believed her version. Still do. (And how cool is it that my great-great grandfather knew/met Abraham Lincoln, my favorite US President?)
I would love to know for sure when the Protestant Malones (Scotch-Irish, as my grandmother made certain we knew) emigrated to America. When I was researching my novel In His Arms, I discovered that most of the Scotch-Irish came to the colonies prior to the Revolutionary War. This flag-waving, red-blooded, baseball-and-apple-pie American gal absolutely loves thinking that her ancestors may have fought in 1776 for the freedoms she enjoys in 2010.
But you know what I love most of all? That along with the family history and lore, my ancestors passed along a legacy of faith. Now that's something to treasure for eternity.