There are so many things that I now take for granted as I enter my 40s (next year, eek), but I do remember the value of the historical journeys taken. This reflection has also come as I reflect on where I "came from". I have been doing well on one of my hobbies, geneology. I have always been fascinated with my roots seeing as I am a First Generation Canadian in my family, but recently have been digging further into the family roots with the advent of the internet and other digital resources.
Growing up in Prince Edward Island, I knew that my family was different. PEI has been predominantly Irish/Scottish, and it was my aspiration to marry a Mac/McLean, Mac/McLeod, or Mac/McDonald, because then maybe people would stop asking me "what kind of a name is that"? In PEI, it seems that you didn't really fit in unless you were a) born there, b) had one of the Irish/Scottish names, c) had a family that had been there for generations, otherwise, you weren't "one of them". At least that is how I experienced it.
I guess you could say it was part of the small town/small province culture. To make it worse/harder, I had a German last name in a not so German location. Sure there was a German community in Southern Nova Scotia, but I didn't know that until I attend grad school in Nova Scotia (in my 20s). Hence my family's story has been an anomaly to our neighbors.
My family came to Canada during the Second World War to flee persecution for one of the main tenets of their faith; pacifism. My parents grew up as German speaking Mennonite in Ukraine/Russia, but did not meet until they were teens in Canada. This is the story that I grew up with. That there are certain things that we believe and not everyone will agree with it. Of course, being in PEI, my sister and I did not grow up as Mennonites either. There is no formal Mennonite church on the Island, so we spent most of our lives in a Presbyterian Church. I am actually a Baptist at the moment, having gone to a Baptist school for grad school. Being Mennonite is still a strong part of my heritage, a big part of my "story".
I moved to BC in 2002, taking a leap of faith, and it has worked out well for me. I met my husband, who is also of Mennonite heritage and I am now a Penner. When I married into this clan, I found out that my mother in law and my father's mother had the same last name, Hamm. It was then that I rediscovered my geneology hobby. I have been working on this on and off for the past 15 years, but my latest project of merging the clan info has been going strong for the past 3 years. I recently gained access to the GRANDMA7 CD.