When we first started the adoption journey eleven years ago, Hannah was a 2nd grader and Nick was in kindergarden. We made them a part of the process but in the end all they cared about was having the chance to feed a baby a bottle, change a diaper or two, and push a stroller around the neighborhood. They could never have imagined adding to our family would also mean months of sleepless nights, deep physical scars caused by uncontrollable grief, and the reality that the world really wasn’t that fair to everyone. They learned and adapted very quickly to their new world and the end result has been remarkable to say the least.
It’s a family joke…I’ve made three beautiful Lifebooks for Sam, Noah, and Zak and Nick and Hannah have scrapbooks that abruptly stopped the day Sam arrived ten years ago, almost to the day. Guilty as charged! In my defense, and Nick and Hannah hear it over and over again, I felt my three sons without a history needed a little positive affirmation at the expense of my two bio kids. I’ve taken a noble step forward to change that.
With a little help from some old notes from the Barclay family tree I started to do some research on Ancestry.com and have found a family tree related to Hannah and Nick that is so thick and lush with family it is weighted with a history that casts an impressive shadow across the entire history of America and beyond to Scotland. What is just as remarkable is in 25 generations of Barclays, each one has had a son to carry the name on to the next generation. That’s a lot of grandpas! Nick is the 25th heir to the Barclay name in our particular branch of the tree that I have traced back to the 1100’s in Scotland.
I mean seriously, they have Lords and Ladies of Scotland on one branch. Mayflower families on another. Heck, their 9th great grandfather was neighbors to Margaret Scott, a woman accused, convicted, and executed as a witch in Salem during the witch trials. Their file for applying to the Sons/Daughters of the American Revolutionary would be an inch high with all the relatives who fought during that period of history. Every war in our young country had a direct Barclay relative on the front line up until World War II. Oh, and did I mention…King James IV of Scotland…Hannah and Nick’s 14 great grandfather. So yeah, while doing the research I really starting feeling like the lowly Irish sheep herders daughter who married up in status. My family tree looks a little more like a sapling in comparison.
Although Jeff’s grandma’s side of the family can be traced back to Resolved White, a passenger on the Mayflower, the Barclay’s waited about sixty more years to travel to the new world. The first Barclay arrived on American soil in 1684. (About 100 years before anyone ever heard of Mozart). His name was John and he was the son of Col. David Barclay and Lady Katherine Gordon and the brother of Robert who just happened to hang out with the likes of William Penn and George Fox. The three of them came up with the concept of creating a city in the new world that wrapped around the idea of brotherly love. Philadelphia. Robert was appointed Governor of New Jersey but never crossed the sea to accept the position.
The Barclay’s lived in New Jersey for three generations (I shouldn’t have scoffed at Hannah’s brief obsession with Jersey anything a few years ago…it was in her blood!) until a young man by the name of Daniel Barclay uprooted his family and moved west to Illinois sometime in the early 1800’s.
Daniel fathered a son, Ira, who was drafted into the Union Army on June 30th, 1863. Ira settled in Missouri after the Civil War, fathered a son named Charles (Yep, we are related to Charles Barclay) who eventually moved west at the dawn of the 20th century in a covered wagon to Colfax, Washington where he became a well respected cattle rancher.
Charles’ son Dwight moved even farther west, to Seattle where according to the 1930 census he was a… candy maker. (I’m thinking not the Willy Wonka variety though as family legend has it he was actually a bootlegger in his downtown Seattle restaurant during prohibition.) For the past 100 years the Barclay’s have occupied a little piece of the Pacific Northwest.
The irony of all my children’s history does not escape me. Within these walls I have children whose history in America dates back to the very first step at Plymouth Rock all the way up to walking across the jetway and onto American soil less than four years ago.
So now that I know more about Nick and Hannah’s history, I’m starting to integrate a little more of their Scottish culture into our lives. Every Sunday I cook a big dinner. A lot of the times its food of different cultures. We eat our injera, bulgolgi, dim sum, and potatoes but now, look out Sunday dinner because here comes the haggis, neeps, and tatties! Well, maybe I’ll just start with shortbread cookies and scones.
And better yet, when I mentioned to Nick that he was the 14 great grandson to the King of Scotland he kind-or-sort-of agreed with me that in order to embrace his heritage he should own a kilt with the Barclay plaid. With that I started thinking… we all own traditional Korean Hanboks…and formal Ethiopian clothes…so why not order for all the men of the Barclay clan their very own kilt!
Imagine that! A formal portrait, in the pose of generations of family images that hung from the cold stone castle walls of Nick and Hannah’s Scottish ancestors, of my four boys in their Clan Barclay plaid. It would make Barclay history…and given what I’ve found out recently…it’s quite an impressive history at that!