75th Birthday Has Come and Gone

First thoughts on what’s driving me to do this now.

Things are more complicated than they look.

I’ve been investigating my family history for the past couple years, including participating in the National Geographic DNA Project. As I uncover details, I’m curious about some of the women, and other folks, in my past who were responsible for making me.

My matrilineal line can be traced back to Tara in Northern Italy around 17,000 years ago.I can’t sit down and talk with her, or any of the others I’m ferreting out of the past; only rarely is a photo uncovered. People homesteading in Ky in the 1700 didn’t carry a camera around with them when they went out to hunt. How thoughtless. Searching records requires a serious time investment, patience, and enough sleuthing to make Sherlock proud. Not to mention money. Those sites touting “free” records seldom end up actually free.

Family myths evolve and migrate from the original over years of retelling. Like the one where my mom insisted we had Native American ancestors. Well, National Geographic says, “nope.” As for the other myths and stories, I’d like to keep ‘me’ reasonably accurate (you’ll find I have control issues) with all my flaws and giggles; whatever events, choices, or environments molded, influence or commandeered the paths I took to be here today, I want to keep them in the first voice. I’m big on primary sources.

To start with, I finally recognize the need to get my head around having a will written, do I want to be buried or cremated, should I donate parts to Groot, does anyone really want any of the stuff I’ve collected over the years, should I have a living will, who wants to be guardian or have power of attorney. You know, fun stuff.

Also, there was that mini stroke two weeks ago, but actually my mortality had already kissed me; breast cancer in 2007. Yep, they chopped me up, poisoned me until I could no longer feel my fingers and toes and then as the pièce de résistance, burnt me to crispy goodness. But, hey, you can’t argue with success, nor with those individuals who help those of us survive the experience with our personalities intact.

Byron Jefferson Horn and Carrie (Roederer) Horn

With no particular strategy where to begin, the story will start with Caroline (Carrie) Roederer. My dad’s mom. She emigrated from Diersburg, Baden, Germany when she was 9. She arrived in New York on July 25, 1885 on the passenger ship Salier. I have an article from the Indianapolis newspaper announcing her arrival, along with her nieces who were her traveling companions. Family myth has it that her brother brought her over. Not having anything else to substantiate this at this time, I’ll go with it. Details and tidbits to follow next time.