2021 there comes a time in a person's life when you want to know more about who you are.

Oh no, I'm not talking about Republican or Democrat. I'm not talking about Protestant, Catholic, Jew or Muslim, or any of a hundred other religions. I'm not talking about farmers or businessmen, athletes, or couch potatoes.

No, I'm talking about finding out more about where you came from, so you can better know who you are. I'm talking about looking back to a time in your life, and lives past, to help figure out where you're going.

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I'm not exactly sure at what age it happens, but I suspect it's probably different for everyone. It may have happened to you at 21...or 30...or maybe 40 or 70. In fact, it may not have happened at all (yet).

For me? Well, I can't pinpoint it, not exactly. But it occurred sometime shortly after September 11, 2001. For some reason, I wanted to do a little digging, find out a little where I came from, a little about who I was. I suppose events like 9/11 can do that to a person.

So what did I do? Oh, just fooled around a little, did a little messing around on the internet (and to a large extent, that's about all I know how to do on the internet), found out a few interesting things.

And I'd bet a dollar against a good huntin' dog you might find out some interesting things, too.

For example? For as long as I can remember my Grandparents on my Mom's side were Sabo and Tillie, Sabo and Tillie Veld. But come to find out, they weren't, not exactly. I found out that, back in the Netherlands...back in the 'old country'...they were actually Sjabbo and Tetje. So did their names get 'Americanized' when they came through Ellis Island all those many, many years ago?

Probably. I've read that a lot of folks' names got changed, some a lot, some a little.

I found out Tillie's (I mean, Tetje's) father was named Tonko Broesder and he brought $17.00 with him through Ellis Island. I saw a copy of the ship's manifest from the boat he came over on.

I found out my Grandfather on my Dad's side of the family was baptized in the church in the Netherlands where the Christian Reformed Church was born. Pretty cool.

Most of my 'people' came from the Groningen Province in the Netherlands. I was hoping to stumble on one that was maybe a King or a Queen, or maybe the most notorious criminal in Dutch history. You know, someone with a famous or infamous name. What did I find?

Most everyone, it seemed, was a farmer or a laborer. Some things just don't seem to change.

OK, so who am I then? Well, that question isn't answered yet and may never be. But I can say this with certainty:

I know more about myself now than I did on September 10, 2001, and I'm learning a little bit more all the time.

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