My Family Heritage Essay

2659 words - 11 pages

My Family Heritage

Family Defined

The word family has changed so much in the past century. A family back in the 1950’s was probably considered a husband, wife, and one or more children. Times have changed and families have become much different. The Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others book defines family as a, “Unit made up of any number of persons who live in relationship with one another over time in a common living space who are usually, but not always, united by marriage and kinship” (Beebe, Beebe & Redmond, 243). Families can be broken up into five different types. The first is the traditional family, which includes a mother, father, and their biological children. Next, is the blended family which includes two adults and children, but because of divorce they may have children of other parents. Unfortunately, single-parent families are being seen more often. Extended families include parents, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and any other close relatives. The extended families are commonly found in Asian and Hispanic cultures. The last category is the dual income parents without any kids. They are known as “dinks”.

Families in the United States are very special because of the “melting pot” that took place in our country’s early history. Thousands of immigrants from other countries came to the United States bringing with them their culture and family traditions. Finding out our family history and becoming aware of the stories behind our names, culture, and traditions can be a very interesting and fun experience. The assignment of our paper was to talk to our parents and other relatives to discover our family history.

Mother’s side

My mother’s maiden name is Patricia Marie Steffens. She was born on May 23, 1950 in Minneapolis, MN. She is one of four children to William and Lorraine Steffens. William, known as Bill, was born on July 20, 1921 in Minneapolis, MN. He worked in the plaster/stucco business for over 25 years before working at Northwest Airlines. His wife’s maiden name was Lorraine Mulcahy. Lorraine was born on August 13, 1922 in St. Paul, MN. Lorraine went to college at the University of Minnesota where she got her Bachelor of Science degree and became a dental hygienist. My grandma “Lo” is the genealogy nut in our family. She has searched for birthdates, marriage licenses, and other documents of her grandparents. I called grandma Lo to get some information on my great-grandparents and family stories. I found out I was part Norwegian and I never even knew it! Grandma Lo’s parents were Edward Mulcahy and Olga Shermoen. Her father Ed was born on April 15, 1880 in Minneapolis, MN. Ed worked as a claim agent for the Great Northern Railroad in the twin cities. Olga was born on March 15, 1888 in Hawley, MN. She also worked for the Great Northern Railroad as a matron. Edward was 100% Irish while Olga was 100% Norwegian. This makes my grandma Lorraine 50% Irish &...

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