I've recently started volunteering at the Family File desk at the Salt Lake Temple which has led to an immersion in Family History.
When my mom propositioned going to Florida again for Christmas, I only agreed if I could get more information from my grandfather in Mississippi about his family. Many generations are assembled on both sides of my father's family and on my maternal grandmother's maternal side, but I didn't have much information about my maternal grandfather's family.
I had no idea the gold mine that was available to me. My grandfather took me to a small cemetery near his home where a few generations of his family was buried. I took 93 pictures of headstones. I spent the last couple days inputting information and linking my family together on new.familysearch.org. (I even input information for a family that isn't even related to me...at least that I haven't found yet...and provided the missing link needed to populate several generations. It was so exciting to serve someone I didn't even know!)
It has been a fascinating adventure.
However, as I listened to my grandfather, I realized that he had spent almost his entire life in the same area. He served in the army which took him out of Mississippi and he spent a little time in a couple towns near his hometown, but he had lived there his entire life. His parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents had also lived there their whole lives.
When I looked back at the family history that was already there for me on my father's side and my maternal grandmother's maternal side, these families were also born and raised in the same places their entire lives and for generations.
All of these families lived down South--Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina--which makes me wonder why I live in the West. I don't have any roots here.
Identifying this family history should make me feel more connected. Instead it has made me feel homeless. I don't know where my home is. I know where my parents live. I know where I graduated high school. I know where I started kindergarten. I know where I went to my first dance. I know where I learned to walk. All of these places are different. I don't know where to call home.
As the cheesey cliche goes, home is where the heart is. I believe that. Every place I've lived has been my home. Right now Tooele is my home. I have friends who treat me like family. I have people who care about me and treat me right. Tooele feels like home. However, I could easily leave after this school year in search of a new home.
That leaves me with the same feeling: homeless.