Geni.com is an amazing little genealogy site that is more simple and useful than software I’ve paid for in the past. I have long had the desire to map out my ancestry, and once I got as far back as 17th Century Germany, although I don’t know how flawed the research was given that I was relying on what other people had found. Geni.com has resparked my interest, though, and I’m really going to have to talk to some of the older matrons of the family for some leads on names, places, dates of birth, and what is known in general about those who came before.
I am the younger of two children, and sadly, my brother and I have never gotten along as far back as I can remember. There are some pleasant memories of childhood, of course, but mostly I remember trying to avoid him and/or being at each other’s throats. We were always so different, and I dare say that my brother was bitterly jealous of me because I was the “good kid” and he was the troublemaker. He and his trouble, which goes on to this day, endlessly embarrassed me. He on the other hand is tormented by the embarrassment one must endure in that place we come from for having a gay brother. (Still the talk of the town after all these years – not a lot goes on down there, see.) Nowadays he’s a little mentally ill and highly unstable, and still lives at home with my mom and dad draining their resources and being generally pitiful. I love my brother and I’ll be damned if anybody besides me can say anything bad about him. But the fact remains that when we are in each other’s presence something awful will likely erupt.
That’s neither here nor there, but it is, I think, related to the recoil-from-family aspect of my life that truly pains me. I love them more than anything in this world. My mom and dad are two of the best people to have ever lived. My grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, babies, all those people are great and family in the truest, most robust sense of the word. However, they don’t know me because there are elements of my life they can’t handle. Sometimes I think they want the truth, but, to quote a movie, they can’t handle the truth. And I’m not just talking about the gayness; I’m talking about everything that makes me, my trials and tribulations, the things that concern me. We are a “let sleeping dogs lay” people. We are a people who do not like to address the skeletons in the closet or the dirt under the rug. I am the adventurous one, the explorer, the one who moved to New York for many reasons not the least of which is so I can be myself. I am so different from them, I would swear I was adopted if I didn’t get those strong genes for big-round-head, eye-bags, and painful good looks. ;)
Anyway, there’s enough of that estrangement to fill volumes, but my point is about genealogy. I will never have kids. My brother will likely never have kids either. So my poor mom doesn’t get daughters in law or grandbabies. My father’s surname, then, pretty much ends with us. This thought makes me feel panicked for some reason. I know there is no more value in Carrying On The Name than what we as a society place on it, but it is something that is important to me that I will never be able to achieve thus ending a fine lineage of Carolina Moravians who made Winston-Salem what it is. Perhaps it is because there will be no more of us after we last two siblings that I kind of desperately feel the need to connect to the past as there will be no connection to the future, because there will be no future. Just an unimposing street sign that bares our family name on the outskirts of a “revitalized” downtown.