Putting Together The Pieces

With the birth of my first child, I have found myself growing increasingly curious about my family history. I want to be able to tell my son about where we came from and what our family has accomplished through the generations. I think it is important to understand your roots in order to fully understand yourself. I, myself, struggled with my identity for many years while growing up. My mother passed away while I was still too young to remember much about her. We never associated much with her side of the family after her passing. As I would later learn, she was all but estranged from them prior to her death. My father was the best single parent a child could ask for, but he was a busy man who worked hard to keep his plumbing company up and running. It was never a wildly successful business, but it was left to him by his father (my grandfather) and he cherished it greatly.

That plumbing company survived as a family business. When I became of age, I started working with my dad. I wanted to learn everything he knew. He was the person I admired most in the world, and I wanted to be just like him. Moreover, he was also the only family I really knew. I had no siblings and my dad never remarried. Because we lived so far away from my aunts and uncles, I had only met them once or twice. They were lovely people but aside from sharing DNA, they felt like strangers to me. In part, it was my fault for never asking to know more about them. But that’s natural when you’re young – you’re much more involved with your friends and people your own age.

As I got older, I started to ask more questions about our family history. I wanted to know about my mom and her side of the family. I wanted to learn about my grandfather who had passed this business down to my dad, who would soon pass it to me. At the time, it was just a small measure of curiosity. I didn’t think much about recreating the entire Jenkins family history.

But with the arrival of my son, I have made up my mind to learn as much as possible about my family tree. I want to be able to regale my son with tales about our great family history, and to help him learn from the successes and failures of our ancestors. I want him to know where he comes from so he can figure out who he is and what he wants to be.

This blog will follow my efforts to put together my mysterious family history while running a plumbing company that has been passed down from my grandfather. My knowledge has many blanks and gaps to be filled. It is a daunting project but it’s something I must see through until the end.