Monday, January 7, 2008

"All history becomes subjective; in other words there is properly no history, only biography." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unless we hire a professional genealogist or become Mormons it's likely we'll never know the exact date Hardens or Bards came from the Old Country to the New World. The problem with not having a history written down is that oral history can be spotty or misremembered. If I was to recount what I knew of our family history, it would go like this: Hardens came to America sometime after the Mayflower. They bided their time. Emeretta Arnold Harden may have been a descendant of the English spy Benedict Arnold of Revolutionary War infamy. (He was featured in one of the rooms at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Quite a place.) They probably settled in Ohio after that. The family was Quaker at that time, so the sons had to hide from the Civil War "recruiters." There was a tornado and someone's twin brother was killed. Then Nathan and Emeretta came to Kansas in a covered wagon (hopefully!) and farmed. Times were hard, but they prospered, had children. Their son Charles was my great-great grandfather. He had several children, one my great-grandfather, who had seven children. His son Duane met my grandmother, Linda, and they had three children. My mother, Judy, met some guy in college, got married and had me. Yay! Unfortunately, I'm so terrible with names that there's a lot of people and events and stuff that gets left out of this tale, which is why I need help writing it all down.

(My consort, Ken, has just told me that his maternal grandmother Mayhew was at one time a professional genealogist, and that's how he knows he had seven ancestors on the Mayflower and that his seven-times great-grandfather Thomas Mayhew (he has his own Wiki page, too!) was the first governor of the colony on Martha's Vineyard. There were only 20 families on the island, so they became terribly inbred, but it is said that the Indians were treated fairly (comparatively). In one branch, he is descended from four siblings, which is why I tell Ken, "That's why you ain't right." He is mostly all right, though.)

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