My husband recently purchased a DNA read from Ancestry.com because we thought it would be enlightening and comical to find out about my European genealogy, of which I was 99% certain I was majority German. Albeit to me to find out that I inherited 58% German (Bavarian), 33% Czech (Bohemian), and 9% British, Welsh, and Russian. Conclusively, I am the majority German that I thought I was, but I was surprised to find out that Austrian wasn’t as much a part of my heritage. Upon some searching, I found that about 6 generations prior for one strand of my paternal grandmother’s side came from Austria, but nearly everyone else from both paternal and maternal lineage traversed from Czech and southern Germany. To be honest, having traveled to the southern region of Germany recently, I learned that the Bavarian Alps region, which so closely borders Austria is also not far from the Czech border. So my people were farmers in search of land when they migrated to the United States, and they ended up in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Incidentally, among 1.4 million Germans who evacuated Germany in the 1880s, my ancestors were in search of the seemingly limitless land that was readily gotten in the cold tundras of the northern U.S., and Germans were pleased to stumble upon Wisconsin.
There is one patriarch that is missing from the Ancestry.com suggestions, in my maternal grandmother’s heritage, and that is who is the father of Joseph Warren Jr. The mother is suggested, but one could only imagine that the father of a Jr. must bear the same namesake, Joseph Warren. History tells us that there was a General Joseph Warren of Plymouth, Massachusetts and that Joseph Warren Jr. lived in Plymouth. It is possible that Joseph Warren Jr. had a son, Joseph Warren III who became the infamous General and nearly presidential candidate in early U.S. history; however, it seems that my Joseph Warren Jr. relative had at least another son named Michael Warren in 1796. Great uncle General Warren, perhaps?
Ancestry reveals history and the relationships that ensued to produce the offspring which were eventually to become us, but it says nothing about who we are to become and where we are going based on the choices we make today. My ancestors appeared to remain relatively close to the homogeneity of language and culture while they lived in north central Europe or even after they migrated across the Atlantic Ocean. They unveiled culturally homogeneous communities and embarked on reproducing within the comforts of familiarity. Paradoxically, this narrowness of language and culture is the antithesis of how I have chosen to live my life. If this is true for me, then I suspect this pioneering nature is present in all family trees somewhere. Be the steady and consistent one in your family or be the one who pushes boundaries and explores beyond comfort.