De Su Mama

Legacy of Multiracial Motherhood

Personal Identity Project: Unveiling Your Roots

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I’m a photo and story lover if there has ever been one, so when Stacy-Ann of Weather Anchor Mama emailed me a guest post request for the Personal Identity Project focused on her efforts in exposing their families’ history, I was all ears. And I’m so grateful for her message.

As I aim to document Alina’s eventual quest for personal identity, looking well into her future for inevitable conflicts, I’ve failed to look back for guidance… like way back. There is so much to learn from our ancestors; so much courage and wisdom and gusto, that can only be truly appreciated with years of hindsight.

I come from a long line of remarkably strong and healthy women {and men, but the presence of women in my life has always dominated}. Because I am the eldest born of the eldest born {times three} of women that traditionally had children at a young age, and because said women live long lives, perhaps I fail to fully appreciate the historical accounts that were common place in my youth. The above picture hangs in our home and is of my family’s five generations. I am the baby and the woman holding me is my Great-Great Grandmother, Abuela Ana, who was born in 1909. I was well into my 20’s when she passed away. Needless to say, la historia de mi familia {my family’s story/history} and our immigration to the United States is engrained in my brain and heart. I suppose I’ve taken for granted the impact my ancestral roots takes on my, and Alina’s future, personal identity. I hope this project changes that.

In stark contrast, Daddy D is the youngest of eight {yes, 8!} siblings. His father was also the youngest of a big family, meaning many years exist before my husband was born. Daddy D doesn’t have as much information on his ancestors as I do, because, quite simply, he did not live his youth with them. We don’t know much further than his Dad’s parents names and a few stories. Also, like Stacy-Ann, the loss of Alina’s Grandfather proved to be an incredibly life changing experience which further limits our ability to capture an image of what our ancestors were like. This I know 100% for sure: If they are anything like Alina’s Grand-dad {pictured above} and his youngest son, I am certain they were remarkable.
Thank you for your post, Stacy-Ann! I know your little girl will cherish your efforts one day and that they will help her understand the foundation of who she is. Thank you for sharing with me, and my readers, your family’s story and beloved pictures. Also, thank you for making me realize that, sometimes, looking backwards proves just as telling as looking forward…
Unveiling Your Roots
I always knew that I wanted to have a child someday.  I am so grateful that God has given me that gift.  But with this gift comes great responsibilities.  As a mom, it’s my job to teach Princess about so many things like morals and values.  Most importantly, it’s my duty to teach her about her heritage.  The passing of her paternal grandfather this year triggered something within me to want to learn as much as I can, not just about my family, but my husband’s as well.  I know that my baby girl will appreciate it one day.

He was a healthy man in his early seventies and no one saw it coming.  The death of my father-in-law happened so suddenly that it threw everyone for loop.  All I kept thinking about was that he’d only met his youngest granddaughter once.  I had wished there was more time. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike at any point.  My daughter was (and still is) way too young to understand.  So her father and I made a decision to keep her in daycare, while we attended the services.
When it comes to funerals, I’m never quite comfortable.  But for some reason, this one was different.  After meeting some of my husband’s relatives for the first time, I felt motivated to learn about the family’s heritage.  I always knew of his Irish and German background, but who would have thought there was so much more to discover?  It will take me forever to write everything down.  So I won’t bore you with every nook and cranny.
My cousin-in-laws have been documenting their relatives through  I learned that my great great father-in-law moved to the U.S. from Germany and changed his last name, after becoming estranged from his family.  He later started his own clan in New York, and a few generations later my hubby came into the world.
One day Princess will learn all about her many greats including her grandfather who was an avid bowler and managed a local bowling alley.
With the help of my mother-in-law, I’ve been able to collect pictures of Princess’s ancestors.  

It’s one of the best presents I can ever give my child, which is the gift of knowing her heritage. It’s not to – in any way – discount my side of the family.  It’s a lot more difficult to trace that far back into my roots.  But I make it a point to involve my immediate family as much as possible.  Most of  my relatives still reside out of state, and abroad.  So having a blog helps them stay in touch with what’s going on in our lives.  I also collect pictures and other documents that she will later be able to have.  Princess will one day learn about her mama’s migration to the U.S. from Jamaica as well as her daddy’s life in America.

She’ll also learn all about her grandparents’ wedding day, as well as the home grandma and daddy grew up.  Some day she may even get to visit my mom’s childhood home in Jamaica.
Right now Princess has a close relationship with both of her grandmothers, and as much time with them as possible.

I hope that by learning about her forefathers, my baby girl will appreciate her diverse culture.  She’s also developed an understanding of the many different ethnicities that exist in the world we live in.  I think having a global perspective is key to knowing her personal identity.  We still have so much more to uncover in our journey to unveil our roots.  I hope you’re encouraged to unveil your own.  Your kids will thank you for it.
Stacy-Ann Gooden can be seen delivering the weather week nights in New York City.  However, her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama.  Now Stacy-Ann hopes that unveiling family roots will allow her daughter to one day uncover her own personal identity.

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