Thursday, July 9, 2015

An Ancestral Trait?

Wine Pouring into a Glass
I rarely drink alcohol but, while on vacation last week, I ordered a drink with dinner. My 11-year-old son didn't like it. Not one bit. On the way out of the restaurant, he proceeded to tell me that he's never going to drink and that the police officer who spoke to his class about drugs and alcohol never drinks either.

While I will certainly remind him of this conversation when he approaches his high school and college years, it made me think that my son's current view of alcohol is a trait he shares with a paternal Stewart ancestor. Hamilton Stewart, his 4th great-grandfather, was a proponent of temperance. A son's obituary credits Hamilton with forming "the first temperance society west of the mountains" in 1829. A book from 1894, The First One Hundred Years of McKeesport, may be more accurate when it says:

"The original temperance society was organized under his [Rev. Alex. McCandless] direction ... in 1829 and was said to be the only organization of the kind in Western Pennsylvania at that time. The first signers to the pledge were Wm. Penney, John Gray and Hamilton Stewart, and, be it said to their credit, they never broke it."

I'm sure Hamilton would have been proud of my son's negative views of alcohol.

Whether a trait is the result of genetics or the environment someone grows up in, it's interesting to find similarities among relatives. As you've researched your family tree, have you found ancestors with similar interests or talents although they were from different generations?

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