July 11, 2010

Family Ancestry Inspires Travel

My mother's side of the family comes from a long line of hardworking people who lived by the sea.  In 1890 my great great grandfather sailed his ship to Washington state and stayed to raise a family.  Go further back to the 1700s and they could be found in remote areas of Maine and on Orr's Island.

[sketch from family book]

My first job out of college was for the Oceanic Society here at Fort Mason, in San Francisco.  It didn't pay much but one of the benefits was practically unlimited sailing opportunities.  I love being on or near the water.  Early on I only knew of my Washington state family history but a few years ago I was introduced to my great great grandmother.  My great great grandmother wrote a journal for each of her two daughters, and my great aunt's daughter gave me a photocopy.

I read a story of family that tells of hardship on the islands during the Revolutionary War to records of second marriages because of death by scarlet fever or because a spouse was lost at sea while out whaling.  My great great great grandmother could sew an entire sheet by hand in one day!! Keeping a journal is nothing new, only rather than a blog online it was kept on paper with a fountain pen. The copy I have includes watermarks, corrections in the margins and lines crossing out names of deceased or lost family members. 

The stories of early life in this part of our country and the tough women in my family, inspire me to get my butt across the lower 48 to explore Maine.  I've only been to Sabago Lake in Maine so I've got a lot of land and sea to cover.  I think in movies so I'm wondering in my head...will the experience be The Shipping News? Whales of August? Perfect Storm? Moby Dick (Gregory Peck version)??

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