My great-niece, Dominique, has a mixed heritage comprised of African-American, Native-American and Anglo ancestors. She is descended from slaves and slave owners, as well as the Indians her ancestors forced to “relocate.” I’ve often wondered how she felt about the strange conglomeration that makes up her own past.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all come from such a mix. Although we like to think of our family tree as a stalwart oak, the truth is, it is really a hybrid, created from grafting the shoots of many species.
During the Civil War, my Knox family jumped at Lincoln’s call for volunteers. Three sons and their 51-year-old father all joined the 18th Missouri Infantry and marched south. One son came home early, a victim of chronic illness. One left after his enlistment was up. The third, however, saw it all, from Shiloh to the Union Army’s triumphant march through the streets of Washington in May of 1865. Their father, however, died in the last winter of the war, cut down by hardship, exposure and disease.
During those same years, another branch of the family fought just as passionately under the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy. They lost their homes, everything they owned, and a way of life they thought was right.
We all come from mixed roots, and our ancestry is an assembly of every race and belief that ever existed. Isn’t that part of what makes genealogy so much fun?
If you have a mixed heritage, we’ve collected these sites just for you.