Friday, October 30, 2009

The intertwinement of genealogy and history

For all my interest in my colonial roots, I never really look at it in context of American colonial history. American colonial times are not my favorite period in history. Early, early colonial, like the early 1600s and the Pilgrims and Jamestown and the Great Migration, yes. American Civil War, yes. Western European history - medieval especially, the Roman Empire, yes. But 1700s America, both early and late... I know my family were Loyalists. And that's about it. But looking into St. George's Church has awakened some interest, I'll admit. And for some reason I've started to become interested in Washington Irving and his early American (New York State) folklore (he wrote in the 1800s but about New York in the 1700s...). Maybe I should start reading James Fenimore Cooper. I always enjoyed The Last of the Mohicans...

Anyway, the point is, once again, that genealogy is inseparably intertwined with history. You can be interested in history without being interested in genealogy, but if personally, I don't see how you can be interested in genealogy without being interested in history.

While I'm at it, I think I should start looking at my colonial Dutch roots more. I always focus on the English, but the English settlers at Hempstead were actually smack dab in the middle of Dutch territory (the English settled what is now Suffolk County, while the Dutch were in New York out to Nassau County), and the English families invariably intermarried with some of the original Dutch families in the area. You can't look at colonial New York without looking at the colonial Dutch (just ask Washington Irving).

Interesting note that I just learned, as I was writing this entry - Washington Irving is the person who popularized the term "Gotham" for "New York."

Long live Batman!

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