Tag Archives: family history

Transcending Time Through Gumbo

   March is Women’s History month. As I think about this in the context of Mormonism, I think about how personal history is such an important part of our religious practice. This personal history becomes part of our individual narratives. Unfortunately, my attempts to collect my personal history do not extend beyond this continent. Even genealogy is a penetrating reminder of the continual tragedy of slavery and its far reaching effects. Despite this, I have realized that I have found connection to the women from my personal history through personal ritual. Sure, it doesn’t reach far beyond the continent and beyond the grips of slavery, but it makes me feel closer to the women who have gone before me.

Continue reading

Finding Mis Abuelitas

Sixteen years ago, prompted by a line in my patriarchal blessing, I signed up to take a family history class at BYU. The first day of class, the professor asked us each to introduce ourselves and our goals for the semester. One by one my classmates shared their ambitions to learn more about pioneer ancestors who settled towns in Utah or Idaho. With a healthy sense of humor and self-acceptance, I stood and semi-joked, “I’d really just like to trace my father’s family back to legitimate births.”

There are pockets of pioneer ancestry tucked into my lineage.  There’s a street in historic Nauvoo that shares my mother’s maiden name. But the family stories that dominate my sense of identity are conspicuously lacking in quilts and covered wagons. And, my father’s side especially—the Mexican side of the family—has always been the stumpy side of the family tree. Continue reading