“Who we are... is who we were...”
John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848)
(a third cousin, seven times removed who also said, "Posterity delights in details." To which I say, "We shall see".)
Ethnically we are English, Irish, Scots, French, German, and Dutch... with bits from every other European cultural group tossed in as well. But basically we are just Americans (or more specifically, North Americans), of Northern European Heritage.
We are "The Conqueror" and the conquered; we are kings, queens, princesses and princes, and their subjects... and we are free citizens subject to no person; politically we are Revolutionaries and Loyalists, Northerners and Southerners, liberals, conservatives, and centrists, Democrats, Republicans and Independents; religiously we are separatists, non-conformists, pilgrims, puritan ministers, a Church of England bishop and a Roman Catholic priest, Huguenots and heathens, even accused witches; we are soldiers... a surgeon in King Philip's War, a Minute Man in the American Revolutionary War, a private in the Union Army of the Civil War, a Regimental Quartermaster in the Spanish - American War, and an officer in World War II and the Korean Conflict; we are doctors, lawyers, merchants, accountants and clerks; we are yeoman farmers, homesteaders, cattlemen and sheep farmers; millers, carpenters, blacksmiths and moonshiners; ...and entrepreneurs. We are the "movers and shakers"... and we are their observers...
Seeking to better our life situation physically, economically, intellectually, and religiously, we have participated in every major westward migration from Normandy to Hastings, from Old Europe and Old England to New Netherland, New France, and New England, from Plymouth Rock in the Massachusetts Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge in California's San Francisco Bay... and we have lived in each of the hemispheres, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western. We are who we are because of our history... how we have played the roles we and our ancestors have taken on over the years, over the the centuries. That we are here now is testimony to our having lived through all of history...
Because all of that history would make for a pretty long story, in this telling of our family history we'll concentrate on only the last four hundred years or so... (and only some highlights of those! You know, some of the parts where we were involved in the moving, the shaking, and the observing.)
“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 BCE)
( his exact relationship hasn't been determined... yet.)