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When I was growing up in the Family Shea I was taught that somewhere back there in the family tree was not merely a Blackfoot Indian, but a Blackfoot Indian princess. I did not question this particularly, being 12 or so, but neither did I dwell on it much. It was a factoid, one of those things you squirrel away in memory but which you don’t think about since… so what? It did occur to me to wonder what an Indian princess might be like and how different she might be from a regular Indian (vague images of Princess Tiger Lily from Peter Pan are mostly what floated through my head on the extremely rare occasions I thought of her):
But mostly I never thought of her. Her existence was less important to me than the existence of Godlove Michael, a seventeenth century ancestor of mine my brother–a passionate genealogist–discovered. And even he and his cool name were less important than the German Protestant ancestor (whose name I forget) who came to the New World fleeing religious strife in the Old World. He and his people had made a living in German Protestant lands making tar from tree pitch to seal the hulls of German ships. They had fled to England as brother Protestants but the English didn’t want a bunch of lousy Krauts, so they were packed off to the New World to make tar for the British fleet.
Problem - Trees - New - World - Ones
Problem: The trees in the New World were not the same as the ones back home. So their tar was worthless. Result: My ancestors, who were indentured servants, could neither leave nor work. So they became the first people in the New World to go on the dole.
Such a proud heritage.
Brother - Genealogy - Work - Results
My brother’s genealogy work has achieved many interesting results. But the most...
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