Thursday, April 17, 2014

How This Blog Got Its Name

Are you my mother?

When I first thought of starting a blog, I wondered what I would call it. The title I came up with was inspired by one of my favorite children's book —a charming and silly tale called “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. It's the story of a young bird who unfortunately has fallen from its nest and is on a quest to find its mother. Being a just-hatched bird, it doesn't have much experience of the world and so it indiscriminately asks everyone it encounters—from a cow to a bulldozer—the question, “Are you my mother?”

Beginning my family research, I was similarly wide-eyed about the possibilities of who my great-grandmother might be. Of course, having somewhat more background knowledge than a newly hatched bird, I knew who not to ask, where not to look. I did not go looking in Somalia or Poland or Venezuela for the woman who was my ancestor. I knew enough to look for Norwegians. Even so, I looked through a lot of records before I found the 1925 Iowa state census for my grandmother Hannah which, in turn, gave me the name of her mother: Bergit Leerberg. (Although that's not how the census taker wrote it down—he or she spelled it Bergette Bueerberg! Really??)

Eventually, through a combination of perseverance and dumb luck, the bird found its mother and I found my great grandmother. It was my search for Bergit that inspired the name of this blog.

No comments: