Genealogy makes you start to think more about genes…obviously. When you see old pictures of family members you start thinking things like, “Wow! That looks just like my brother!”or “Now I know where Bobby gets his red hair!”
There are some pictures of my mother when she was younger that look just like me. It’s a little creepy actually. My sisters used to tease me and say things like, “Wow, Erin! What was it like in the 1950s?” There is a picture of my grandmother from the 1940s in her town newspaper posing with some people from her class. It’s almost as if my little sister had been transported in time and was sent to sleep with curlers in her hair. SUPER creepy.
So every time I go out into the sun I curse my genes. You see…I am white. I am very white. If I’m not wearing sunscreen I will burn in less than 15 minutes. Even if I am wearing sunscreen…strong sunscreen….I will still burn. It will take longer, but it will happen. After researching my family tree it is upsetting that I had this good chance to get nice dark skin from my dad’s side but ended up with the white pasty skin from my mother’s side (a group of people who came almost primarily from the British Isles).
I have known for just over a year that my dad’s side is filled with many dark-skinned people. The Goings family that orginated in Angola (as far as I know so far). The Hill family, not descended from the Goings, is the same. Henry Levi Dorton, a ggggg grandfather was sold into indentured servitude until his 31st birthday and was luckily released early after some untimely deaths of his “owners”. Much of the census records of my family members of this branch into the early 1900s consider them “mulatto”.
Then there is my brach of Choctaw Indian, also on my dad’s side. Hannah Findley, another great grandmother of mine, had to go to court to prove that she was Choctaw to get her freedom from slavery.
My little sister, Amy, has great skin. She tans in the summer. She isn’t afraid of the sun. She’s probably burned a couple times, but she has good coloring. And then there’s me. I get tan in one place on my body, my left arm (the driving arm). It’s a slow building tan, but by the end of the summer it’s something to be proud of. But then, of course, I’m convinced I am going to get melanoma. I scrutinize the shape and color of every mole or freckle.
So how did Amy end up with this great color and then there’s me…the whitest white girl? This is why I am sad about genes.