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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hope, Genealogy, and California

I've made it this far without including politics in my blog posts but I am about to enter the world of politics....kind of.  Hang in there with me on this one because I do have a point to make relating to family history.

On October 7, 2003, Arnold Schwarzeneggar won the recall election for governor of the State of California.  The State was recalling Governor Gray Davis.  As a new gorvernor (or rather the governator, as he was known since he was in the Terminator movies), there was renewed hope in California for future success of this fine state.  Maria Shriver (of the Kennedy Family) stood by his side.  She was from a big Democrat family and he, a Republican.  I think Arnold was overly optimistic.  Positive thinking is a good thing by the way but it must have substance and support.   I too was hopeful, at the time.

In January, our latest and repeat governor, Jerry Brown was sworn into office.  He is a Democrat and has been continually "around" in California government, except maybe when he took a break to be mayor of Oakland, California.  He is well respected by a diverse community.  I respect him for that myself.
During Governor Brown's speech, he spoke about his own ancestors migrating across the U.S. to California.  I found his remarks quite moving.  Now, he's not the most profound speaker but his message about being a native Californian really stuck with me.  What also stuck with me was the mention of the family diary in which he read an excerpt from.  I almost fell over because those types of readings are one my favorites, especially when it is my own family, but still wonderful when it is someone else's.  The words of his ancestor really amazed me.  As a result, I do remain hopeful that California will again thrive but know that there will be some pain and struggle that go along with it.

So I reflect on why my ancestors came to California.  I still have questions as to why they chose Northern California.  From my Borchers', Flanagan's, McLaughlin's, and Vienop's, I know varying historical facts of why and how they ended up in Napa, California.  I know that they had hope of a better life.  It seems that they found life here in Northern California with stuggles and successes alike.  I don't think any of these families had just success or some failures.  In fact, I know that they had both.

The family line continues on in California and beyond.  We all hope for better times right now.  Let's just hold on a minute though.  Are times really that tough?  Maybe if you just focus on the economy, they are.   If you focus on life, liberty, and family, then for me, they are favorable.  Not to throw out a random name but I do think this may, in fact, be what Michael Flanagan was onto with his desire to live in Napa, California and make it back here.  It gave him hope.  Let's not forget the weather too!

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