Genogram Narrative I come from a rather large family. My father and mother are both the youngest of four children. Both sides of my family share similar qualities as well as vast differences. My paternal grandfather, Elmer Fynan, was born and raised in Riverside, Burlington County, New Jersey. My paternal grandmother, Grace Taylor, was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and her family relocated to Riverside, New Jersey after the Great Depression affected millions of families in America. One detail I learned about my paternal side of the family is my grandmother was originally married to my father’s uncle, Earl Fynan.
Grace and Earl had one child, Earl Jr. Heartbreakingly, Earl Sr. was killed in a plane crash during World War II and Elmer stepped in as a father figure for Earl Jr. and a husband to Grace. It was a strange concept for me to grasp as my father was telling me about this unspoken feature of my family. I learned that this was not an uncommon thing to occur during times of war. Elmer and Grace had three children together: Gracie, Jimmy, and Roger. The oldest, Earl is currently married and is a father of two daughters, Susie and Kelly. However, a few years ago, Kelly passed away due to liver complications.
The second child and only daughter, Gracie, is also married and has two children, Sean and Bridgette. Grace’s third child and Elmer’s second, Jimmy never married or had any children; he passed away unexpectedly in 2006. The youngest, Roger, is married and has two children: Erin and myself. My parents decided to give me the middle name Grace after my grandmother and aunt. I take pride that I hold a family name and if I have a daughter I intend to pass the name ‘Grace’ on to my child. With regard to physical characteristics, we have very few similarities.
Both of my grandparents, my aunt, father, uncles, cousins, sister and myself are all naturally brunette. My Grandpop Fynan and I are the only two members that have green eyes. All of the other members of the Fynan family have blue eyes. Roger, Earl, Bridgette, Kelly, Grace and I are all tall relative to our respective genders. Elmer, Susan, Gracie, Shawn and Erin are all classified as being short or average height. My uncle Earl and I are both left handed. My father, sister, Aunt Gracie, and I all have what has become known as the “Fynan bubble nose” which has a rounded end that resembles a bubble.
Finding personality characteristics and similar interests of my father’s side of the family was somewhat harder to obtain. Because everyone on this side of the family resides in New Jersey, I have not been able to spend as much time getting to know them. Some members I have only met once or twice. However, something I did discover is that personality wise, we have been known to be reserved and hold our emotions inside until we cannot hold them in any longer. I was told that I have the same dry, witty sense of humor as my father and cousins, Bridgette and Sean.
I have to have the same interests as my Aunt Gracie and Bridgette because they are both Registered Nurses which is what I will be in two years after I finish school. My family takes pride in having a strong work ethic in whatever job we possess. Due to World War II, my grandfather dropped out of high school and joined the Navy and my grandmother dropped out of high school to go to work. Both eventually acquired their GED in the 1970s. My father and sister are the only members who have acquired a Bachelor’s Degree. Gracie and Bridgette have an Associate Degree while Sean and Earl completed some college but never finished.
I wish I did not live so far away from my father’s side of the family. I do not feel as if I know them as well as I should. My mother, father and I drove up to New Jersey a year ago and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone in the short time we were there. My maternal grandfather, Virgil, was born and raised in a small town in Alabama called Standing Rock and my maternal grandmother, Dorothy, was born and raised in LaGrange, Georgia. After getting married, Dorothy and Virgil relocated to Pine Mountain, Georgia where they owned and operated a dairy farm.
Virgil and Dorothy had four children. In birth order they are: David, Robert, Ruth and Malinda. David is currently married and father’s three daughters: Amanda, Ashley and Brooke. Robert is the father to two daughters: April and Alesha. My Aunt Ruth has three daughters: Katherine, Emily and Sarah. Finally my mother gave birth to my sister, Erin, and me. Amanda was the first person to give birth to a son since Robert; fifty years went by where only girls were born. My maternal family shares many similar physical characteristics with each other.
My Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle David, mother, sister, Cousin Brooke, and Cousin Ashley all have blue eyes. My cousins Amanda, Ashley, Emily, Sarah and myself have green eyes. Uncle Robert, April, Alesha and Katherine are the only members with brown eyes. Virgil, Dorothy, David, Robert, Ruth, Amanda, April, Erin and I are all born with naturally brunette hair. Ashley, Alesha, Katherine, Brooke, and Sarah have naturally blonde hair. My Cousin Emily is the only family member to have red hair. With regards to height, Virgil, Sarah, Robert, David, Emily and I are the only members to be categorized as tall.
My grandfather had only one dimple on his left cheek and I was the only granddaughter to inherit that gene. Amanda, April and my mother all have rather large noses that have a distinct hump on the bridge. Coming from a larger family, it is hard to describe personality characteristics that apply to everyone. However, for the most part everyone is upbeat and has a positive outlook on life. Being that we all live relatively close to one another, if someone is in need it is easy to lend out a helping hand to one another. Holiday’s tend to be hectic when everyone gets together.
During Christmas, we used to give every person a present but instead we draw names and have a “Secret Santa” type holiday. Everyone enjoys doing this because it is always fun to see who drew your name. Growing up I have always acted similarly to my grandfather. He was the only one that was able to calm me down when I was a baby and until his death in 2008, we did everything together. My grandmother, mother, sister and Cousin April all have the exact same personality. April’s mother has always said my mother gave birth to her.
They love to have all the attention on them and love to dress up no matter where they are going. My grandfather did not make it to high school; he had to drop out of middle school to help his family make ends meet during the Great Depression. My grandmother not only finished high school but graduated from Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina which was very unusual for the time. Despite having Amanda at a young age, Uncle David not only finished high school but graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from LaGrange College.
Uncle Robert dropped out of high school but later earned his GED and now works for Troup County. Aunt Ruth and my mom both graduated from Auburn University and earned degrees in education. Amanda graduated from college and earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and both Ashley and Erin are practicing Medical Doctors. April finished her schooling at a West Georgia Technical College and became a certified cosmetologist. Brooke, Emily and I are all currently attending college to eventually get our Bachelor’s Degrees. Both sides of my family are very different.
While it is true that I am closer to my mother’s side, I still feel a connection to my family in New Jersey. I did not have to ask around for much information on my maternal side but I really enjoyed learning about my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I would not be who I am today without the influence of my parents and grandparents and I am very thankful for that. My only regret is not being able to know my paternal grandfather and grandmother as well as I know my maternal grandmother and grandfather.