"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finding Oneself

Life is strange. Did you ever notice how you go on thinking you are one person and then one day, out of the blue, you find out you are someone else?

This recently happened to me through a study of my genealogy. Great things can be discovered through one's roots. We all know that our genetic code was determined by our ancestors but I think it is more than that. I think  we carry a spiritual link with them. While we are all unique individuals, I like to think that many of their characteristics and part of their spirits continue to live on in us. We are their children after all... even if it's a few generations back.

Just a few short weeks ago, on my daily stop in to see my folks I was met with a bit of excitement. Apparently I'm not the 100% Dutch girl that I believed that I was. It appears that my paternal line... with a very dutch name was not always dutch! Nope - our name was Sekkel and we were Jewish! Apparently my great, great, great grandfather decided one day that life would go better for him and future generations if he would just do away with the Jewish handle and adopt something more dutch - so he did. His siblings did the same, with different last names! (Love to know what was going on there!)

Anyway, seems I come from a long line of butchers, merchants and a Rabbi! My great, great grandfather met a christian woman and chose to marry out of his Jewish faith. This caused quite a ruckus in his family and apparently he was disowned for it. His father, a rich merchant left the business to his daughter and her husband and my grandfather was on his own. He raised a family and when his eldest son Sake, was 18, he sent him to the US to search out job opportunities. Sake, my great grandpa, sent back for the family to come to America.

Long story short, they all moved to Michigan and started a new life. Out of this line from butchers, merchants, painters and the rabbi came 3 generations of christian pastors!

Unfortunately for my cousins back in the homeland, the nazi's were not fooled by the dutch name. All of the cousins who stayed back in the Netherlands, were wiped out in Auschwitz! From the very young, to the very old, all accounts of our name were obliterated. 30 years after the war, my grandfather went to the Netherlands to find his cousins and there was no one there. Quite sobering to know that my line was preserved. This gives me a great sense of purpose to really make something out of my life.

And a little more juice - the Marx brothers were my distant cousins... hmmm

That's my story. What's yours? Do you know it? Have you checked out your ancestral line?

Most of us have an old aunt or parent in the family that enjoys the chase... This week spend some time and find out more about your roots. It's a fascinating experience and great for the soul!

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