My dh is quite the genealogist and finds my lack of interest frustrating, especially since -- in his mind -- I have the more interesting background. (I'm from a long line of New Yorkers --dating far back into the early 18th century -- and with the melting pot of that area, I have many different ethnic origins in my veins.) That said, there are a few pieces of info that intrigue even me:
1. Part of my father's family hails from Ireland. There is a "family saga" written by an aged immigrant ancestor of mine detailing the emigration from Ireland to NY, complete with a sunken ship off the Azores, an enforced sojourn in Portugal, followed by an arrival in NYC with nothing but the clothes on their back. They were apparently SHOCKED to find that their brothers who had preceded them by a year were not waiting in NYC for them. They ended up being hired as maids for a hotel in upstate NY.
2. My maternal grandmother and her siblings would insist that they had some Native American blood in them because some of them had darker complexions -- being a long-time NYC family, I privately considered that highly unlikely and figured that we probably had some African-American heritage. Turns out that my grandmother's grandfather was listed as mulatto in the census and that we are (somehow, I don't remember) descended from the 18th century union of a white NY man who had a second family with his -- as his will describes her -- "slave woman Rose". Rose and her children by him were freed upon his death and given considerable sums in the will (which also detailed what his legal white wife and legitimate children would receive). The family was then listed as mulatto in the census thereafter. At one point in the 19th century a white British woman (recent emigre to the US) married one of the men and it's clear from the census that they were living in a neighborhood of people of color. I wonder how they met and married and what obstacles they faced. The designation of mulatto changed only with my great-grandfather (my grandmother's father).
3. MOST shocking of all? The information that my paternal grandmother's family were a bunch of jocks and jockettes. I can attest that NONE of us inherited those genes.