A (America) to Z (Zetland)

After just reading my friend Jane Turley’s latest blog entry for the A to Z challenge I am feeling a bit like a layabout (which actually I am especially when there is a book to read or a book to find to read) so I think I will be inspired by her and do my own A to Z about life in England for an American (though I think of myself as an AmerBrit since I am anxiously preparing for the driving license trials to legally drive in the UK since I am now a resident (for as long as the contracts continue to be renewed).

So, My  A (Alpha) is AmerBrit, my very own phrase for what I am.  Four hundred (+or-) years ago my British ancestors began leaving these shores and sailing across the Atlantic to ports in the colonies.  Most entered via Baltimore and settled in Maryland and Virginia and their sons and daughters (they had them by the dozen) moved south to N/S Carolina and then westward crossing the mighty Mississippi through Alabama, or through Tennessee and Missouri to southern and western Arkansas in the early 1800’s.

Those who moved the southern most routes had names like Ainsworth, King, Miller, Williams and McWilliams. Those coming through Tennessee bore names like Barker, Cates, Mankin, Hawkins, Frost, and Hays.  By the time they reached Arkansas (and long before) they were mostly farmers and mostly Methodists or Baptists. A few explored further into Texas and Oklahoma. Their given names came from their English origins such as: Edmund, Imogene, Raleigh, Lydia, Keziah (Kessiah), Rosa, Ernest, Charles, George,  John, and Henry.

With the American Civil war some joined the Union army and others joined the Confederate.  One seems to have joined both at different times.  Afterwards they seem to have gone on about the business of living.  There may have been a rogue or two.  Their daughters were masters of their homes and as much as possible their men. They sent their sons off to later wars including my father who traveled to the shores of Africa and Europe. It was during that time that his very English name handed down for generations, Raleigh Cecil, became Rawleigh Cecil (for British that is CEEcil). It was also in his generation that Hays became officially Hayes.

Daddy’s (Southerners call their fathers Daddy regardless of their age) generation begat children who began the movement to new places across America and the larger world.  They went to university, entered new vocations and professions, served their country and married people from other countries, cultures, religions, and backgrounds.  They diversified. Many stayed near where they were born and raised (yes my British friends in America we raise children as well as livestock). So most are not AmerBrits any longer but AmerWorld and that is a very good thing.

I sit here at my front window and know that most of my family is living in America, but I also wonder about those very distant connections across Britain who shared some distant ancestor.

So, AmerBrit is my offering to Alpha.  If I carry through on this idea then I will explore the alphabet by visiting a place for each remaining letter of the alphabet.  I actually found one place in all the British Islands that begins with the letter Z (zed … Zulu) so I look forward to my visits to the northern reaches.

Come along for the drive, ride, walk, crossing, or flight. Next . . . Buckinghamshire, Bletchley, Basingstoke, Bath, Bristol or . . . hmmmm.

14 thoughts on “A (America) to Z (Zetland)

    1. Since the site was untended for months …. I am leaving comments open for longer than I normally would. Thanks for commenting. I actually live in Bletchley. I tend to orient myself to Bletchley where I can walk to most of what I need and it is a very diverse community that reminds me of parts of Portland, Oregon where I lived for many years and adore. MK has much to offer particularly Open University that employs my husband and the reason we are happily here.

      1. sorry…some posts are deep in the backups of various computers and even I have not found them. The blog(s) there was on on my jewelry art (Fiery Hearts) but that too is lost to posterity. Too many moves and too many caput computers. I wear them out.

  1. Birmingham? Not the Alabama one 🙂 🙂 I do love both Bath and Bristol. Funny but I was thinking about those 3 b’s this morning, even though I’m not doing the challenge. Daily is a step too far for me, but I stopped in to say hi. Love your description of women in the sidebar. 🙂

    1. Thanks, it reflects some of what I have done and some that others I know have done. Thanks for reading and for the comment. I am not officially doing the challenge. I have been lagging for a way of approaching this. So many ideas arrived as I figured out the mechanism for navigating multi roundabouts and converting “Give me a half pound of ground beef” to “I would like 500 g of minced beef” at the butcher. Jane’s post triggered a way of organizing though I am even now considering sub A-Z after an extended discussion on my NWR Forum yesterday.
      B for bedding….duvet only or “top sheet” So funny.

    2. Yes, As I was lingering in bed this morning with coffee I thought … A train to Birmingham and visit to the Jewelry Quarter is just the thing…Maybe next week.

  2. I’m addicted to the TV programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, the USA version is currently being aired in the UK on ‘Watch’ channel. I’ve found a few episodes on YouTube, Bryan Cranston’s was rather sad. His Irish male antecedents consistently failed their wives and children by abandoning them. The Oregon Trail is particularly interesting, such hardship endured with people dying en route and buried in unmarked graves.

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