‘In Search of……Me’ by Joseph J. O’Donnell

Joseph O'Donnell

Joseph O’Donnell

For many years I have toiled with the idea of finding out something about my family roots. This was first inspired by author Alex Haley and his novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. In 1977 ABC aired the story as Roots and was watched by a record breaking 130 million viewers. It later went on to become a mini series and spurred world-wide interest in people to research their own ancestry.

A second film, Enemy Mine, with Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. nudged me even more. The film depicted Gossett as an lizard-like alien, and Quaid, as an earthling, doing battle in outer space. Both had crashed landed on an barren world and had to come to grips with each others cultures. Upon spying on a ritual chant by Gossett, Quaid asked if Gossett was praying to an alien God. Gossett explained that he had been reciting the names of his ancestors from over one hundred generations in the past.  He challenged Quaid to recall his own predecessors in which Quaid could only remember no further back then his grandparents.

This can be said to be true for the rest of us. I had pondered on this fact for many years, and now that I am fully retired I intend to start the search for the history of my name and all who came before me. I know that I am first-generation American and my father was born in Scotland, so this will be my starting point. The name, O’Donnell, is not Scottish but Irish and this has always piqued my interest to look back even further for the origins of my family.

From this simple start I will begin my research, and endeavor to tell my story in my magazine on a monthly basis. This will endear me to strive hard to follow this task and to report my monthly findings as a personal interest story. Hopefully it can also give my readers a starting point to delve back into their family histories as well.


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