mother england, are you my mother?

The above headline is an allusion to the illustrated children’s book Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. In this simple tale, one I read to my son over and over when he was little, a bird hatches while its mother is out getting food. He falls to the ground, and, hoping to find his mother, asks every animal and even some of the things he encounters, “Are you my mother?” For anyone of English heritage, this sweeps might help answer that question for you. Is Mother England your mother? For me, the answer is yes, at least on my father’s side. Unfortunately, as genealogical research goes, we find out much more about our fathers than our mothers. On that count, The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women’s Genealogy by Christina Kassabian Schaefer attempts to alleviate the patrilineal tilt. So, are you my mother is malapropos in this context. Are you my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather would be more like it.

This sweeps, for a 10-day trip to East England, is being held in conjunction with next year’s Jamestown quadricentennial. (For the record, my immigrant ancestor landed at Plymouth, not Jamestown.) There may not be time for genealogical research, but this itinerary--Bath, Surrey, Kent, et alia--will certainly open up this part of England to the winner. The prize includes roundtrip airfare from Dulles Airport, outside Washington, D.C., plus accommodations in B&B’s and hotels, a Mercedes car rental, lunch with a duchess. Not shabby.

As interesting as this is, I’m only one-quarter English. The other quarter is Dutch. One half is Irish. I’ve concocted an imaginary lineage, one that would explain affinities that have dominated many of my romantic life choices: My ancestors, Jewish, fled on a ship to Galway during the Spanish Inquisition. Why not.

To enter, click HERE. The sweeps closes on April 30, 2007.