Maybe it is a happy accident that I was wide awake at about 5am because I’ve had time, already, to putter around. That’s what I’m trying to convince myself of anyway.
I do want to write about coincidences for a moment. I didn’t plan it, but for some reason a good bit of my reading/watching has circled around Native Americans recently.
For example, I finished a terrific novel that I picked up at a used bookstore Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I love Kingsolver’s writing. Which I only picked up because I knew the author’s name, not realizing that it connected to the very first Kingsolver book I ever read “The Bean Trees.”
My having read “The Bean Trees” forever ago was its own kind of happy accident because I had this strange idea one year (when I was about 13) to just pick out books to read alphabetically, and just based off covers/descriptions. I guess when I came to the K’s, Kingsolver stood out, and I’ve been reading her books ever since.
I also didn’t realize that the book would deal with some of the issues surrounding modern Native American families. I love that it did; I enjoyed the variety of people that were presented in white and Native culture. The other book I finished recently Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer had been on my list for a while because I’ve read most of Krakauer’s books, but also because I am obsessed with Mormons, but I didn’t realize it would also deal with Native Americans. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised given that it is a book dealing with Mormons who are primarily in the West.
Native Americans aren’t a huge topic in Krakauer’s book (non-fiction rather than fiction), but they do appear. They are outside characters, so to speak, but having both of these books recently read had me thinking more about my own supposed ties to the Cherokee. As if these books weren’t enough to push me forward I also watched the movie The Missing. So last night I found myself pulling out my old genealogy notebook to see if I could make any new headway.
I didn’t get very far. Researching my mother’s family has always been pretty easy. The Mennonites kept good records and I can go far back to those who originally came over from Switzerland in the 1700′s, but my father’s family has always been difficult. I always work on his maternal line because he doesn’t actually know who his biological father was. Even so I get stuck pretty quickly. I have my great-grandfather’s death certificate, and I am pretty certain about the names of my great-great-grandfather and grandmother, but finding anything about who their parents were (so going pre-civil war it seems) hasn’t really worked for me. I even went to the South Carolina archives once to do some research, but I felt daunted by the task.
It was fun to look at it again. Some new things I think I discovered while working
- my great-great-grandfather’s may have been a Jr so that would make his father also a Daniel Driggers (or I saw a listing for Daul) with possible wife of Celie
- Finding Daul Driggers as a possible name was intriguing because my father (and brother) have the middle name of Dahls (which I may be spelling wrong) which was always said to be a family name. Perhaps lots of off spellings?
- the Driggers last name, when I originally did research years ago, always seemed to come back to possibly Portugal as a change from Rodriquez, but now I see indications of a possible German derivation and also Melungeon which is controversial, but would make a lot of sense.
- DNA tests run about $100-$200.
So what will I do with this information? On the books and the movie I’d recommend with the novel being my favorite of the three, and the movie my least favorite of the three. With the genealogy research? I am going to save up and have the genetic test done I think. I just think it would be fascinating