The names on both sides of my family are conservative, partially due to the times in which the individuals were born, but also because both sides are conservative. This conservativeness in part arose from the area in which my family members resided. My paternal family has been in Bedford, Pennsylvania since the mid eighteenth century. They were farmers and members of the Lutheran church thus, the life which they led was conservative by nature. Similarly, the maternal side of my family resided in Utah and Idaho and is still there to this day. Some were farmers, while others lived in the city however; the majority were and are members of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints having crossed the plains with the pioneers. Until my parents married, much of my family hardly, if ever moved. In fact, one of my fourth great uncles on my father’s side moved to Chicago, Illinois and was basically ostracized from the family for moving, amongst other reasons. As can be seen on my chart it is not until me that a new location appears on the family tree. It is because of the military that my family has moved and in fact the reason why my parents met. My father has said if it was not for the military he would still be in Bedford.
Interestingly enough every one of my grandparents was born during an era of hard times. The origins of my four generation chart were born around the time before, during, and right after World War One. The birth of my grandparents fell during the Great Depression and World War Two. My paternal grandparents were the ones born during the Depression and while I am sure it impacted the family, as farmers in Bedford they were already poor. The same goes for my maternal grandfather growing up on a farm in Idaho during the war. I do not know what it was like for my maternal grandmother, but I discovered just yesterday that very few pictures of my grandmother as a baby exist as film was not available during the war and as such the ones that do exist mean so much more. Just as my grandparents were born during times of difficulty and change my parents births occurred in the era of change, the sixties. My father was not impacted as much by this since like his parents he grew up in rural Bedford, but I do know that Star Trek and the lunar landing shaped his love of astronomy today. The same was true for my mother, she jokes about growing up with hippies but I know that this affected her as much as a loose hair on a dog to use a phrase my father’s family would probably use. Like the members of my family I too was born in a time of change as well as on a date connecting me to my grandparents. The year of my birth and the following year saw the end of the Soviet Union and a resolution to some of the lingering tensions of the Cold War which had influenced my parents growing up years. It also saw the third Star Trek series which I vaguely remember watching with my father. The day of my birth was the day of infamy, Pearl Harbor. I feel that this date that I celebrate every year connects my in some way with my grandparents and the era in which they grew up.
Analyzing this chart has helped me to look deeper at the information contained in it. Growing up I have looked at and made numerous pedigree charts, but never before have I considered why the names one there were given to the individuals, or how the place and time in which my family grew up would affect me. Overall, it has given me a better appreciation of what a pedigree chart means, I have a family that I am connected to no matter what time or place they lived in of I live, families speak across the generations.
Dorothy Luella Spiers