Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
I have written about my disappointment in learning that my DNA testing revealed a total lack of Native American blood running through this old Nebraska body. You may recall that my Dad and his brother Jack were pretty insistent that their grandmother was native American. That tall tale was just that - a tall tale. Completely false. I was "bummed" to learn of this family lore falsehood. That was the bad news...
The good news, upon further research, I may have descended from a rather nasty pirate. This blood relationship goes way back. We are talking 11th great grandfather. This pirate guy is from my father's side of the family - which is weird because I didn't really have any information on my father's side of the family so to find a pirate in the archives is fascinating and almost makes up for the native American hoax.
You noticed I wrote "MAY" have descended... my research is completely non-thorough and mostly for entertainment purposes - my entertainment purposes! The Ancestry website gives you hints and you follow those hints back through the generations. The hints range from "consistent with family history" to "nope - not a chance"... When a hint seems to be "probable" or even this side of "plausible", I go ahead and add that person to the family tree.
Later on I might find that the person in question is completely wrong. The dates don't line up or an examination of records indicate this person couldn't possibly be part of the family line. It's easy to just delete that person and the wayward branch of the family tree is discreetly pruned. The computer program provided by the Ancestry site keeps track of your additions and deletions - you just start over and review the hints once again.
Thus far, it appears that this pirate lineage is fairly straight forward and kind of fascinating. From what I have been able to gather, our pirate grandfather was Dutch. He was married to a Dutch woman and had a couple of kids.
However, being a seafaring man, he sailed away and at some point became a pirate. He was captured by the sultan of Morocco. In Morocco, he converted and became a Muslim. He married for a second time and had children with his Moroccan Princess Bride or concubine... I say princess!
One of their children Anthony Van Salee sailed to New Amsterdam (New York) around 1630 or so. He was fairly wealthy having received some family money from the lucrative pirating business. He married on the ship traveling to New Amsterdam. His bride was older and in one article I read concerning her behavior, she was described as the "Carrie Bradshaw of Colonial Manhattan". It is written that she was relieved when their first child looked like the "Turk". That is what Anthony was called back then. According to other documents, he was probably the first Muslim to come to the new world.
Sooooo… my 10th great grandmother was pretty much European and a tad on the sexually permissive side, my 10th great grandfather was half Dutch pirate and half Moroccan princess. Which may finally explain why one of my second cousin's DNA sample came back with that tiny little bit of west African Moroccan blood. Somehow he was able to preserve his pirate heritage down through the generations while my pirate blood has been reduced by the invasion of the Swedes...
Dad and his brother had a darker complexion. Their mother and her siblings also had darker complexions - so it was easy to think that they were Native Americans. But alas, everything leads to England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Germany and just a pinch are descended from a Dutch Pirate Admiral and what I imagine to be a beautiful black Moroccan Princess.
My brother is supposed to travel to the United States this summer. I hope he will be able to make the trip. He plans to take the DNA test once he arrives in the States. I am hopeful that his DNA results will shed more light on our shared ancestors. I may not have everything figured out and the journey traveling back through time may not be entirely accurate, however, the journey has been entertaining, enlightening, time consuming and certainly one that has made social distancing tolerable...