I guess I've always been surrounded by family history. We have been lucky enough to inherit heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations, along with the stories about the brave individuals who owned them.
This is the rocking chair that we had when I was growing up. It has been reupholstered several times over the years; I remember it when it was a brilliant orange/brown/red pattern that screamed 1970s.
Probably back since I was rocked to sleep as a baby my mother loved to tell me the story of her grandmother who brought this rocking chair over from England. Anna Zaranek sailed to Ellis Island in 1906 by herself, after her mother died. She came to Canada via New York to live with her brothers who had emigrated years earlier. Among her possessions was this rocking chair.
Imagine a young woman of 18 with the courage to travel alone across the ocean with her life's possessions. I have always admired Anna's bravery, even before I had any inkling what family history or genealogy was. Although she died in 1942 and I never met her I'd like to think that through my work and this blog she lives on.