Sunday, January 22, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 3

Since I have been working on some genealogy recently, it seemed appropriate to choose a question about my roots for this week's story:
Where are your roots? Do you feel strong ties to a particular place, either because of your own personal experience or your ancestry?

house where I was born
Though I was born in Cincinnati, we moved away from the area when I was only a couple of months old. Roots on both my mom's side as well as my dad's side run very deep in Cincinnati. It is where the vast majority of our immigrant ancestors settled and ultimately stayed when they came to America. In fact my mom's seven brothers and sisters, and my dad's three sisters never moved very far from home. We were the only branch on either family tree to break off and set down roots someplace else.

My father took an office job with a trucking company, and we relocated to Chicago. Dad went ahead to find a house, and my mom later took the train with their four children to meet him there. I can only imagine how hard that must have been for her to leave her family and support system - we owned the house right next door to her mom and dad. Add onto that the fact that I was only two or three months old, and it must have been terribly difficult for her.

Mom and dad never forgot that Cincinnati was home, however, and our vacations consisted of driving to Cincinnati to visit relatives. Even when we moved to Des Moines when I was five and the drive to Cincinnati became a torturous 12 hours due to the non-existence of interstates at the time, we still managed at least one trip a year back "home". When dad retired in 1984, he and mom sold the house in Des Moines - the only house I ever really knew - and moved back to Cincinnati.

My husband and I lived in St. Louis at that point, and Cincinnati was a much quicker and easier trip for us to make than going up to Des Moines. We ended up being able to see them more often, and visits to Cincinnati were always filled with family gatherings. Mom and dad liked to organize family reunions, so it was a great way to keep up with the relatives. Mom died in 1989, just five years after they moved back home. So when dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, trips to Cincinnati became much more frequent to try to help him out. Other relatives pitched in as well so we were able to keep dad in his own home until the last month of his life.

For all of those reasons, Cincinnati tugs very strongly on my heartstrings, and my sister and I go over for a visit that often includes a family reunion once a year. Two of my mom's sisters are still living, as is one of my dad's sisters. When I can, I squeeze in a second visit to work on my family history. The Queen City will always have a home in my heart.

Cincinnati skyline

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