"Through Difficulties"
Family ancestry is an interesting thing. A good deal of the bible is concerned with recording geneologies, all chronicling the human ancestry of Jesus Christ. His ancestry seems to cover all social classes and walks of life. Many people find the study of geneology intriguing and spend hours researching old documents to extend their family record. Most of us find the unique oddities of our histories interesting when they are known to us.

My family is an interesting patchwork of nationalities and social classes. I am Scotch-Irish-German-Dutch-English-Indian. A genuine mutt or a true American. I know more about my mother's line, since that line possesses a rather avid geneologist who sent me several notes while I was working on a project in college. I wish I could find the paper which became the end product, but here are the highlights of what I remember. I have forgotten most of the names and the dates are a bit fuzzy.

The family name would be McIntyre, whose Gaelic origins mean "son of a carpenter." A name with a lot of history and family members have traced it back to England before the McIntyre's were driven to Ireland. The family crest bears two eagles, a ship and a cross. The family motto is, "Through difficulties." The name is located on a plaque on a very old church, predating the discovery of America if I remember correctly. Some members of this clan petitioned the king to be allowed to settle in America and were among the first settlers, bringing my family and its name to this continent. Here the history is a bit fuzzy, but I know at one point, the settlement experienced an Indian raid and many were murdered, including the family of a 12 year old boy (Charles?) and his younger brother. The father's name is on a gravestone near the original settlement. Not knowing what else to do, the two boys walked to Ohio where they had an uncle. This brought my family to the midwest in the 1800s.

My dad's history is decidedly German, from both sides. Miller (Mueller) and Giese are both very common German names. In fact, as rare as my maiden name is here in the US, I grew accustomed to seeing it plastered across billboards in Germany as it is also the name of a major company. My great grandmother was raised Amish or Mennonite and spoke German with my grandmother who only managed to teach my father two words..."Bier" and "Brot." I know at least one part of the family is supposed to have come to to this country in the last century through Ellis Island, but I know nothing of why they left their homeland. They settled in Bremen, Indiana where many German immigrants settled. My grandmother never talks about family history and whatever she knows of our ancestry will likely die with her. Given the persecuted history of the Mennonites, I have often imagined the persecution which forced them to leave Germany and Switzerland for Russia and for the US.

I find the McIntyre family motto suited to our family history "through difficulties." I certainly have never experienced anything like being driven from my homeland, starting a settlement, watching my family murdered by Indians or walking across several states in hopes an unknown relative would take me in. I hope it was the meaning behind the symbol of the cross on the coat of arms which held the family members as they perservered through these difficulties. As Christians, we all share in a much greater geneology and family history. We are grafted into the vine and are heirs to the same promise that has the strength to carry us through all difficulties of this world, physical and spiritual.