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  • Writer's pictureTiana Hughes

Family Legends

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

By Tiana Hughes

The Mexican Presidio as painted by Richard Beechey in 1826. Illustration courtesy of the Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Dakin Collection (National Park Service)

Arguably, the most important aspect of our life at a young age is our family. Our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins show us how the world works. For a short time, our family’s history is the world’s history. I remember hearing stories about the legends in my family. On my mother’s side, we’re related to Lee Majors by marriage. Over and over again, conversations with my grandmother would revolve back around to this fact. Our famous ties would pop up in random conversations with other members of the family, too. In the middle of dinner, suddenly someone would chime in with, “You know, we’re actually related to The Six Million Dollar Man!” Another claim, that we’re related to Martha Washington, has been told for decades in the same manner. Though I am skeptical, my family swears by it. These stories of ancestor legends are a source of pride within a family; ways to show what a bloodline is capable of. We see this play out in the memoirs we create for families. A recent client proudly shared her own piece of history:

“My mother is a descendent of one of the 200 soldiers sent by Mexico to settle on the coast of California in the 1760s. The Russians were coming down towards Alaska and in response, Mexico sent soldiers up the west coast. I am a fifth generation descendant of one of those soldiers.”

Our client was so proud of this fact, she shared it several times! She’s proud of her roots, and equally proud of her knowledge of those origins.

Stories of family legends can be messages of hope. They may be quick anecdotes, but they reveal more than historical facts; they are stories of role models, perseverance, and cultural heritage. The knowledge of the people who came before you, whether famous or not, can inspire and guide the living to follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a conscious detour. Next time one of your family members shares a story of a family legend, take note and look beyond the story.

How does your family feel about the legend? How have you followed or deviated from that legacy? Where will you go from here?


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