Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Kiss me, I'm er, American of distant Irish heritage! Anyway, Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone, regardless of your ancestry. Speaking of such things, researching genealogy can be very addicting. Over the years I've gone back and forth between obsessing over my family history and it had been awhile since I had delved into it. That was of course before seeing that new show on TV called "Who Do You Think You Are?" For those of you who aren't familiar with the show, every week they have a different celebrity on there and they basically follow them as they research their family history. Last week was the first show and they were showing football player Emmit Smith research his family roots. It was really heartbreaking to see him discover all the horrible things his ancestors had to endure from slavery to segregation. Granted, I doubt my family history could compare, but it lit that fire back in me to look it up again. Anyway, I started to build my family tree again based on the knowledge I had from previous research I'd done and it's unbelievable how much more information I was able to come up with! First, I was able to trace the Millen line (my surname) to a specific town in Kent, England. That's not even the most fascinating stuff I found though; my paternal grandmother's lineage, the Yates family, I was able to trace back to this county in Virginia called Pittsylvania. They were the first settlers in the area after receiving a land grant from the king of England in the late 1600s. One of my direct ancestors even opened a tavern that was used to hold secret meetings against the loyalists during The Revolutionary War which is now a bed & breakfast and also the oldest standing historical landmark in Virginia. Crazy stuff, eh? On the down side, given that this family was a large land-owning family in the south, that also means that they were slave owners. It's pretty sobering to read copies of the wills of my ancestors and seeing with my own eyes their words promising people to their children upon their death as if they were giving away pieces of jewelry or land. Words can't describe how to come to terms with that kind of feeling. All in all, genealogy can be both a very exciting yet heartbreaking experience - I think I'm pretty tapped out for now, but I doubt that I've reached the end of my search for my family's story in history :)

On a different note, finally did my taxes today! I really shouldn't have been drinking though, entered one of my figures two decimals too far to the right and about had a heart attack when I saw that my taxes were calculated as me owing $438,000 to the IRS! LUCKILY, I caught my stupid mistake and am in the clear and have a decent refund coming back, PHEW!!!

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