I AM A PIERCE -The Importance of Heredity

The more we know and learn about our ancestors and their characteristics the more we learn about ourselves and
what makes us who we are. Just as DNA is handed down to us, it plays only part of the role in our heredity. The importance of heredity and knowing where we come from pops up in our everyday lives way more often than one might think. What personal characteristics do you feel have been handed down to you? The closer you examine the lives of your ancestors the more you will know yourself.

HEREDITY: the definition

1. a. the transmission of characteristics from parent to offspring by means of genes in the chromosomes

b. the tendency of offspring to resemble parents or ancestors through such transmission
2. all the characteristics inherited genetically by an individual
he·red·i·ty
həˈredədē/
noun
“few scientists dispute that heredity can create a susceptibility to alcoholism”
synonyms: congenital traits, genetic makeup, genes;

2.inheritance of title, office, or right.

“membership is largely based on heredity”

WHAT  DOES THIS MEAN IN RELATIONSHIP TO OUR ANCESTRY?

This speaks mostly of our inherited  DNA  make up. Though our DNA has much to do with our make up what role does parenting, environmental, and upbringing have to do with it.  Getting to know your ancestors on a more personal level may give you some insights to your own personality and why you are the way you are.

For instance…I am a PIERCE. Sure my DNA has been handed down to me, but what does that have to do with my drinking, the way I eat, my emotions, or how I handle day to day living. The more we know about DNA and how it makes up who we are the more and more it is evident that some of the habits of our ancestors have been handed down to us for centuries. Is there anything we can do about it? Or must we just accept that it’s in our makeup and we much learn to live with it.

I once had a conversation with my doctor concerning my lack of ability to control my emotions. I hate that the slightest things make me cry. I worry over EVERYTHING. I don’t handle confrontation well at all. I can’t fight back because I feel the tears will flow if I try to speak. I struggle constantly to overcome depression.

My dad was that way. I inherited the worry gene from him or at least he’s the one I blame. The doctor told me that this is a learned behavior and that I could overcome it with practice…rather unlearn it. Yet when you look back at my life since birth…my mother says I was born that way. I was a cry baby from day one. It was a family joke and they used it to pick on me even at a young age.

Let’s take a look at this phrase from our definition of heredity; “few scientists dispute that heredity can create a susceptibility to alcoholism”. 

My mom always claimed that all the Pierce’s were alcoholics, and yes…most of us like our drink, and we drink until we get drunk and we love to party . It’s in our genetic make up. Look what I found in searching for my ancestors!

 

Alexander Pierce
1814–1899
BIRTH 7 MAY 1814 • Sugar Grove, smyth, Virginia, United States
DEATH 17 APR 1899 • Sugar Grove, Smyth, Virginia, United States
2nd great-grandfather

 

Alexander Pierce, was my second great grandfather. Apparently he didn’t have an  objection to the drink. This doesn’t tell me he was an alcoholic, but makes ya wonder???

Besides worry, my dad was a drinker, and he used the worry as an excuse to drink. He would think up reasons to worry so he could drink. When talking to my uncle about my dad I was told also that when growing up …he too was a cry baby. So is my behavior learned or  inherited?

 

This was written in the obituary of my second great grandmother Sarah Ann Hays/Hayes:

Sarah Ann Hayes
1827–1905
BIRTH 15 FEB 1827 • Jefferson Co. In.
DEATH 2 OCT 1905 • Hunter Cemetry Atchison County, Rockport, Missouri
2nd great-grandmother

“Aunt Sallie Johnson was known to everybody in the vicinity of Rock Port-known to be kind hearted and good though eccentric-best liked by those who understood her best.”

The definition of eccentric:

noun
                              “he enjoys a colorful reputation as an engaging eccentric”

oddity, odd fellow, characterindividualistindividualfree spirit;

A quote I especially like is: The difference between eccentric and crazy is in  how much money you have. Rich people are eccentric..poor people are crazy!

Does this in fact explain some of the craziness we find in our family? Is it handed down by DNA or simply the parenting and environmental aspects of our upbringing? Is this a reason that I am the way I am? Certainly makes me want to know more about Sarah Ann Hayes/ Johnson.

 

My grandpa, Henry A. Nutsch, was about the smartest, wisest man I have ever known. He had such wisdom when it came to life in all aspects. If he didn’t know how to do something he would find some one who could or learn to do it himself. He seldom got excited and took life as it came. One of his sayings was “if you can’t get along with someone give them a good lettin alone.” 

Henry Nutsch and Alta McCollum
My grandmother, on the other hand, I wouldn’t say was excitable, but she wasn’t someone you wanted to be on the wrong side of and could hold a grudge for a very long time. You might say she was “sensitive”.

My mom was a bit of both. She could make even the strongest of men squirm if she wanted to but also had the attitude that if you can do something about it …do it…if not, let it go.  She had quick wit and almost always the last word.

The Nutsch and McCollums were creative, hard working, very talented, and artist people.  Is that DNA or upbringing?

It was said of my great grandpa BLUM that he had a strong well muscled back and that he did not like to look back at the past. His motto was “ALWAYS FORWARD!” Was it DNA that gave him that back or was it the hard work he had to do to get him where he had to go? I certainly did not inherit that! or was it my environment?

IN SUMMARY

I guess, in summary, I hope to have given you some things to consider when searching for your ancestry. Get to know your ancestors and in a sense you will get to know yourself. Can you even begin to imagine when you put all these factors together how we become who we are? Is it DNA or upbringing, or a combination?

What are your thoughts? Share with me where you think you come from in your family tree? Thanks for reading and come back soon!

If you are a cousin no matter how distant, do say hello! Family is Family!

Happy hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

Susan Pierce Holmes

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