Saving the family stories of our genealogy
Guest blogger and author Nancy Pellicer Dyer writes about her family genealogy and how it inspired her to write her first novel The Minorcan Yoke.
When I was thirteen, my teacher gave me an assignment to write a paper about my genealogy. I had heard about my father’s heroic forefather many times, but my mother’s side of the family was a mystery to me. I wrote to my maternal grandfather and great-grandmother for help. They responded with letters of recollections. I managed to keep their letters through the years.
When my maternal grandmother had her ninetieth birthday, I made copies of the two letters and gave them to my aunts and uncles. I was pleased to see them all pouring over them. To my surprise, one uncle asked her, “Did you ever know about these stories?”
Grandma shook her head, “No, I never heard these stories and didn’t even know they had written the letters.”
I had inadvertently saved lost personal stories of our ancestors. I felt a rush of pride and then regret that I had waited so long to share them. At forty-three, I was beginning to see why the older generation had an interest in their genealogy. It is a need to reminisce about loved ones and their stories lost to time. Often, all that is left is to outline a family tree, void of all the personal tales of those ancestors.
Before he died, my father gave me a book about our first American forefather Don Francisco Pellicer. His story piqued my family genealogy interest and soon I was on the hunt for more books about him. I was fortunate that this distant relative had been branded a hero and his noteworthy deeds had made it into history books. As the months passed and a database grew, I knew I needed to put all this information to use. I wrote a novel.
The Minorcan Yoke (Available in print and ebook.)
Just south of America’s oldest permanent city, St. Augustine, Florida, are the ruins of the largest English colony of the New World. New Smyrna was established in 1768 by 1,403 indentured servants from Italy, Greece and the Balearic Island of Minorca. (The Balearic Islands are in the Mediterranean Sea and are part of Spain.)
Their turbulent nine year odyssey under English domination and servitude was a struggle to survive against tremendous odds. The Minorcan Yoke is the tale of a real life hero Don Francisco Pellicer and of how he led the survivors of the ill-fated endeavor to their freedom.