Can You Prove Who You Are?

For the most part I have been avoiding social media today. I’m furious at the world at large, but mostly at the hatred currently being spewed in North Carolina. Just from skimming headlines I can see that two troopers are dead when their helicopter fell out of the sky while attempting to get order from the chaos of hate fueled anger. I also see that one man is in custody, allegedly plowing his car into a crowd of people, killing at least one person.

Why does it matter? White Supremacists? Black Lives Matter? Gay Pride? Etcetera?

Often times we base our beliefs on our culture and family tradition. Few of us hate people based on outward appearance because that person did something to influence that hatred; rather we base our anger on what someone else has done to us or our forefathers. In these instances we no longer see individuals, we see blind hatred, infuriating anger, maybe even murderous intent!

How is it okay to do wrong to a great part of society for the wrong of one individual? How can we accept wiping out certain races because a hundred years ago one person did wrong by another person?

For a majority of my life I believed I was a good portion of Irish. Recently my sibling showed me her DNA profile:

Genetic Ancestry Estimate

As you can see, I am about as Irish as the Lucky Charms Leprechaun!

Clearly, I am not as Irish as I thought, or as I was led to believe by my ancestors! Here I was, thinking that the Great Potato Famine nearly wiped out a majority of my ancestors and in a rush they managed to defy the effects of poverty and starvation to come to this great nation!

Worse yet, I was lead to believe that my father’s great aunt was the cause of the Great Chicago Fire that wiped out a large portion of the city. The result was for Mrs. O’Leary’s brother-in-law to flee the city and head for the hills of West Virginia to keep his own family safe from the anger of an entire city. As the family fled they dropped the “O” from our last name and would forever be known as “Leary” with no relation to the family whose cow destroyed a city.

Research (and lots of it) has taught me that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow most likely did not start the fire. There is also a great chance that some neighborhood boys accused of smoking cigarettes in the barn did not start the fire … there is a possibility that the fire was caused by a meteor shower which covered a good part of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana on the night that changed Chicago forever. This is neither here nor there, as the same research taught me that Mrs. O’Leary’s husband did not have a brother that ever lived in Chicago as family folk lore taught me to believe!

My family was never known as O’Leary, at least not in recent history. Moving forward in my quest for genealogical answers I now know that I am searching for the family of “Leary!” What a relief, I am no longer living a life of deceit of my heritage! Am I really free from the unknown, though?

The search continues, briefly, my research came to a slamming halt when I discover that my ancestry comes to an end in Canada in the mid to late 1800s. There it appears that Daniel Leary has a live in maid and the maid’s three children. The maid and her children have the last name of “Harris.” Within a decade of that discovery it seems that Daniel and his maid, “Mary,” get married, move to Pennsylvania and either Daniel adopts the children or they assume his last name.

If this is the case, I’m a Harris masked by a Leary! This doesn’t change the fact that my last name is Leary, but having a distant cousin come to the same conclusion leaves me to wonder … for 150 years we are Leary’s, we live and die with this name … prior to that our family history is quite elusive … obliterated really.

When my sister showed me the DNA results I hurried into the app to search for possible relatives. My hits for “Leary” equaled exactly “ZERO!” However, my hits for distant “Harris” cousins proved to be numerous.

With all of this information I can sit in turmoil and hatred because I don’t know who I am anymore! I can’t do that, I just can’t! Who cares if family folk lore was wrong? Who cares if I’m a “Leary” or a “Harris”?

This all as no impact on my life, because I am me, a child of God. A daughter of two amazing parents. A sibling to the best five siblings a girl could ask for. A mom, a girlfriend. I am me!!!

If you are so sure of your heritage that you are willing to kill in the name of your forefathers, in the name of your skin color, in the name of your religion, in the name of anything that matters to you; I ask you to keep one thing in mind: YOU were most likely created behind closed doors … when it comes to it, there will come a day that only God will know of the true parentage of you and all of your ancestors!

Is it really worth killing and/or dying for beliefs that have changed and will continue to change from one generation to the next? Does it even matter!?

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