“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves...sometimes even physically.”
― Raquel Cepeda, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
My full name is Jamie Elizabeth Kerr Weinstein. I've always been told that the Kerr name is Scottish (and there's a huge and diverse amount of people in the Kerr clan history) and that the Henderson's (my mom's side) were Irish and Scottish. I never really thought about the rest of the family, my grandmothers' sides. On one side I have the Waltons and on the other side the Forresters. I'd heard family rumors that one of my great-great grandmothers was an "Indian Princess" and that I was related to the Walton family featured on a tv show in the 1970s.
I decided to look for my answers to "Who is my family?", by starting at Ancestry.com (free 2 week trial available, you have to cancel within 10 days!) I could easily trace the Kerr's but I started focusing on the Forrester Family. My grandmother Robbie Forster (last name changed during faulty census taking, as the family was very poor and many couldn't read - Forrester became Forster) was the last child born to her mother in the early 1900s. Medical attention was near obsolete, especially at home births, and my great- grandmother died during childbirth to my grandmother.
The legend of my "Indian Princess" great, great grandmother may have been skewed but the facts support the folklore. I am so intrigued by this part of the country now that I am planning a family vacation there (as funding will permit in the future! -- Positive projection! ). I didn't have the best family growing up, so I've found comfort in the adage, "You can't choose your family but you can choose your friends". Through this journey though, I am beginning to find comfort in the complexity of heritage and our natures.
And so this "Nancy" Chickahominy woman, generations removed from me, is still affecting her (my) family because it is my curiosity in her that led me to finding someone a little closer to me, my grandmother.
What makes us, nature or nurture? I can't answer that as I'm still resolving the answers for myself but I'm happily resolving the nature in me.