Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day Patriot Hunt #1

I am spending my summer vacation intentionally; after 4 decades of summers I consider myself and expert on the matter.  I am very grateful to have this time to be quiet and introverted, and give myself the goal of using the time to “practice being a retired person” (sometimes I tell myself to “practice being an old lady” but “retired” sounds posher).   

I spend day after day gardening, painting, reading and talking long walks.  I drink more tea and less wine (except at Epcot, which I visit twice in a month, very much in line with my ideal retirement). I watch less TV, and spend more hours on the deck watching birds and lizards and squirrels and golfers.  I continue the Veterans Dinners and work on some quiet acts of philanthropy.  I keep researching and jotting notes for the stories I still want to write, stories unfolding still.

I spend quiet lunches with close friends, one of which brings us to today’s task.

 Over the past years I have been researching my family history and I’m pretty sure I remember seeing someone commended for fighting in the American Revolution; my friend and colleague challenged me over a bowl of vegetarian curry to find that ancestor and formally apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

I said yes but I didn’t do much for a while because the idea of joining a group that my mother would be excluded from made me strangely uneasy.  

As Father’s Day rolled nearer and nearer I got it in my head that I would find the ancestor for my FATHER so that HE could apply for (or at least know that he was well qualified to join) the Sons of the American Revolution.

Image #1: Winn Soldani’s two parents, four grandparents and eight great-grandparents.

I’ve been researching Achilles Soldani for the part of the last year (see: Pandora's Safe) and can confidently say he probably might not be a son of the American Revolution.

Achilles Soldani was sent away from St. Mary’s Orphanage in New Orleans on an orphan train that took him to Avoyelles Parish where he would meet and marry Ella Mae English. 

All of today’s research will focus on Ella Mae’s family history; I’m pretty sure I remember seeing a Revolutionary War hero up her family line but in truth I’ve been researching so many people’s family history that I actually could be misremembering it, so I go into ancestry and click around hunting for my father's Patriot ancestor.

Two days later I surface.

 (Image #2 shows my fancy research notes which involve screenshots and cool filenames).

True research involves not knowing what you will find, and nothing that I knew about our family history prepared me for what I found.

Here we go.