Although my red hair is a giveaway that I have some Irish in my blood, my lineage also has French-Canadian, German, and Swedish roots. I remember in grade school when we were discussing surname origins how the teacher used my last name as an example and said that maybe my ancestors raised Hawks. I laughed and happily replied, “Actually, my paternal family’s original last name was Hökenson, but it was modified to Hawkinson when my great-grandparents migrated from Sweden to Ellis Island.” I only recently learned that the reason for the change was to make it sound more American, but also because the typewriter could not print an umlaut. My ancestors taught themselves English in hopes of acclimating better to the American culture, although they still spoke Swedish at home when they didn’t want my granddad to understand what they were discussing. My favorite tradition that was passed down from them is Swedish pancakes, which our family still makes on special occasions. On the opposite side of the spectrum, part of my maternal genealogy dates back all the way to an American Founding Father, William Hooper who represented Wilmington, North Carolina, when he signed the Declaration of Independence. My mother’s side of the family has a long history with the south and coastal areas. I have much more to discover, but I do believe learning about the history of your heritage can be both interesting and helpful for our present life journey.
When it comes to closer relatives, I’ve always enjoyed noticing generational quirks that remind me of the saying, “Am I blooming into my mother?” Well, I definitely have my tendencies, but fortunately, that’s not always a bad thing when you have an inspiring and nurturing mom to look up to. Thank you to all of the wonderful mommas who gave us roots to grow as well as wings to soar.
Happy Mother’s Day!