Tag Archives: Catholic

The origins of my grandmother’s paternal line has been lost to later generations — until now.

The German Connection

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Using a multidisciplinary approach, including DNA and a family religious artifact, helped me confirm that my grandmother’s paternal line had its origins in Germany.

The artifact is a book, printed in Philadelphia in 1814 with text in German. This alone is significant. The language is not American English. This is German.

When I first saw this, after a copy of it was reproduced in a book on the family history called Michael Hay and His Descendants, I knew that I had to pursue this. I had to unravel this story.

One of the compiler’s of the book, Lucy Bayley, lived in Oregon. And one day years ago my grandmother, her brother Everett, and I made the short road trip to her home. She was welcoming, but when I began asking questions about the family, she was reticent to give much information.

She was publishing a book and did not want to share, as if I was a competitor. It was a strange experience. I certainly had no intentions of publishing a book. But she treated me like a spy. So I was frustrated. Grandma said that I should just let her handle it.

Funnily, when the book was finally released, many in our branch of the family were disappointed. It was a typical genealogical book, with a bunch of names and dates, but little else. And there were some errors. I much prefer a narrative format, rather than the routine one.

This is not to say that the book is without merit. The first few pages are worthwhile and quite informative. These include maps and photographs, of land where our ancestors farmed and the long-neglected cemetery on private land where many were buried, more than a century ago.

Lucy was convinced of a Scottish connection, that the family had been in Scotland, part of the Hay clan apparently, but had then relocated to Germany. She was obsessed with this theory. To this day I have no idea if there is one. But I have seen no evidence of it.

However, the link with Germany is solid. I convinced my great uncle, the same one who made the journey to visit Lucy, to submit his DNA, and the results proved a link to a man named Kettering, who had traced his line back to a particular place in Germany.

So now I am working on a translation of this catechism book. I don’t know if I can do it on my own, using online translators such as Google Translate. But I am gonna try.

ajh

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The Apostle of California, persona non grata

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Junípero Serra is honored throughout the campus of Stanford University.

There’s Serra Street, Serra Dorm, and Serra House. The university’s address is 450 Serra Mall.

He was a Catholic priest who founded the mission system of California and dubbed the Apostle of California. But some consider him an evil man guilty of genocide, and they are working hard to obliterate him from the campus.

Of course, trying to erase what makes us uncomfortable won’t work. But when did common sense enter into this?

Serra has a lot going against him. He wasn’t only a Christian, but a proselytizing one, whose job entailed convincing folks that Jesus was the Son of God. That’s very unpopular on college campuses these days.

Then, there’s the fact that he’s a man, and a European one. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually someone claims that he was a closet Protestant. The closer to the WASP stereotype the better.

One student of Native American descent feels really bad about it.

It makes me feel like nobody knows about, or cares about, my history. The prominence of Serra’s name on campus perpetuates the history of abuse. When we’re only uplifting a singular history, how are we contributing to the colonization of American Indian people?”

Okay, why not begin by adding monuments and such honoring Native Americans? I doubt there would be any opposition.

Where will this end? Censorship is such an evil, except when I agree with it, say the students at Stanford.

Another student reminiscences about the good ol’ days, the 1970s, when the school mascot was changed.

“Changing the mascot was an extraordinary act of decolonization on the campus.”

What the heck? Will tearing down statues do a damn thing?

Actual decolonization would require the forced removal of those descended from European immigrants.

I am oh-so-tired of political correctness on steroids.

Where are the true leaders on campus? Or is Stanford as lost as so many other previously great institutions?

Sadly, they don’t want to stop at Serra. They want a review process for every single name used on campus.

ajh