My maternal Grandmother was Jean Olmsted. I always loved her middle name, 'Olmsted', yet I never really knew the significance of it until my uncle began researching our family tree.
To our surprise and delight it turns out that many of our descendants came from Massachusetts (later moving into the Ottawa Valley area) and one of those family members was none other than 'The Father of Landscape Architecture', Frederick Law Olmsted. (Central Park) He was my uncle; a great great uncle, but still part of my heritage!
I wish I knew more about him. Yes, we have been reading up on everything online, old clippings, books and photographs (how could one man design and create all this in one lifetime?), but we are digging deeper to talk directly to older family members and cousins who actually knew him. Our family is very proud of this.
As a child I would spend time in Mount Royal Park in Montreal and I remember being so in love with the lush gardens. I'd sit in the cool grass on hot summer afternoons and nibble away on fresh egg salad sandwiches and sip chilled lemonade. What a wonderful memory! Now that I look back I did feel a connection to the park. There was a 'sensing'; an exhilartion about my visits. A feeling of knowing 'something'.
My greatest lesson in all of this is 'to never forget where you came from'. How was it that this important family history slipped through the cracks? I promise to learn all I can about my family, it's history (good or bad) and share it with my children so that they may share it with future generations.
I have never been to NYC, but I plan to walk through Central Park in June 2008. I can't wait.
I hope to learn more and when I do, I will share it with you.
Who do you think you are? Maybe you can begin to find out too!
Photo credit: National Geographic