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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0887319253

From: Jim Wiley <>
Subject: Pardon my Digression?
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 16:34:13 -0500

My Scots-Irish heritage:

My interest in genealogy began simply and naturally, born of
curiosity. My mother was an only child, and my dad seemed like an
only child to me, since I'd never met any of his family. Of aunts
and uncles and cousins, all I had were great-aunts and
great-uncles, and second cousins aplenty. Like many kids,
sometimes I wondered if mine were my real parents. Sometimes I
wished they weren't, and there were times I probably caused them
to wish something similar. I was naturally curious and wanted to
know more of my ancestral history.

It was great to discover more and more ancestors, as if I were
the only one who ever had them. Well, I thought, at least they
were *my* ancestors! I learned that even that's not completely
accurate; they are not my ancestors alone. I even discovered that
I had my very own first cousins, something my father had kept
from me. Even better, I discovered that they are really nice
folks, too. Whatever enmity my father and his brother had is not
visited on their sons and daughters. I chuckle to think how Dad
must be grumbling in his grave to know how my cousins and I have
reestablished the family. So much for the absurdity of
long-standing feuds.

As much as I try to maintain humility, and I have a lot to be
humble about, I admit I find pride in my ancestors and their
accomplishments, as if they somehow reflected on me. They simply
struggled to live, to survive, and raise families. They lived in
incredible conditions that make a camping trip seem like a luxury
holiday. If Halberts tries to sell me a family crest, I smile,
and toss the circular in the recycle bin. If some family
association asserts that we are somehow better, more "royal" than
someone else, I smile again in my self-righteous humility,
convinced of my superiority of commonness, and chuck that
propaganda, too. The paper's too coarse for toilet paper, but it
makes great fireplace kindling.

In eight or nine generations I've found many Scots and Irish
ancestors. I've also discovered many more of other nationalities,
philosophies and religions. (Someone even tells me that they're
trying to tie Pocahontas in with one family line, and that if you
are of European heritage and have family in America going back
200 years, the odds that you share Native American and African
blood are pretty great.) Each time, with every newly discovered
family, I'm intrigued by what those folks must have been like,
what their daily lives were like. I've wondered if I met them, in
some time travel machine, if we'd even like each other.
Sometimes, perhaps, minimal facts are better.

Given the hardships our ancestors lived, sometimes it seems
incredible that we're here at all. Pure coincidence, providence,
or accident - it's clear that *we* had very little to do with it,
hence little cause to feel superior to anyone else based on such
absurd coincidence. It must really vex Lucy, our mother of the
Olduvai Gorge, or disappoint Eve of the Garden, to see what we've

On the other hand, there's some consolation and relief that at
least *we* didn't inherit narrow minds, myopic views, or
hereditary xenophobia.

Anyone here know anything of the Wileys/Wilys/Wylies of early
18th century County Down or 17th century Ayr? Wanna get down and
dirty and talk genealogy? How about Hugh McCulloch, or Elizabeth
Gibson born 1770 in County Down who emigrated to Carlisle, PA
about 1788? Anyone with Morrisons in their background, whose
cousins may have setteled in Guersney County, Ohio about 1805?
Does the SI name "Searight" ring any bells? See, I'm ready to
name names if you are.

= = = = = = = = =

James Wiley, AKA

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