My ancestors came to America from Sweden, England, Scotland and Ireland. They started arriving in the early 17th century, and the last family, the Ulfs of Ingatorp, Sweden, came in the 1860s. Some were on the earliest Pilgrim vessels and others lost children and loved ones in the cold, wet holds of 18th century merchant ships. I have, so far, counted ten that served in the Revolutionary War, and five in the Civil War. My family is also well represented in the World Wars, Korea and Viet Nam. One died near Valley Forge, one near Vaux, France, one lost a leg and was captured at First Bull Run.
One discovered comets, one helped found the Harvard Business School, one witnessed above-ground atomic bomb testing, and one was granted patents for the improvement of electrified cattle fencing. More distant relatives helped found the Rhode Island School of Design, served in the US Senate, and governed the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Almost all of this was news to me when I decided to begin rummaging through the Chinese chest where my parents stored their old photos and clippings.