Saturday, February 05, 2005

Discovering My Southern Side

For my memoir writing class, our professor has us reading a book called, "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horwitz. The author has always been enthralled with the Civil War so he decides to go on a journey to battlefields in the South. Along the way, he meets different people who are looking for the spot where their relative was killed during the war; people deep into their genealogy and the connection they have with the Civil War. He also talks to reenactors and others who find themselves still connected and even fighting the Civil War. It has completely pulled me in.

As I was reading today about a battle that involved Stonewall Jackson, everything came full circle for me. I had completely forgotten how my own ancestry was connected to the Civil War. My great-grandmother's maiden name was Jackson and her descendency was tranced back to Stonewall Jackson. I am related to one of the most highly revered Confederate leaders. The man who taught at the Virginia Military Institute was my connection to these people I was reading about in this book.

All day, I have been thinking about a part of myself that is missing now. I am more interested than I have been before to search out my genealogy. I would like to discover my Southern heritage. I have been lucky enough to find out about my family in Switzerland. But, the family that consisted of pioneers and farmers is still a mystery to me. I want to hear more about my great grandmother's life on a farm. I also want to know more about my great-great grandma who traveled in a covered wagon to Republic, Missouri.

It is amazing how one book can open up someone's eyes. Books can be more powerful than expected.

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