Unanswered Questions by Austin Widger

     I was born in Roseville, California; which is a suburb of Sacramento. My parents are Chad and Kristine Widger. I have a 19-year-old sister named Chelsea, and a 13-year-old brother named Carson.

I lived in various Sacramento suburbs for the entirety of my life before heading to the University of Oregon straight out of high school. I attended school there for a year before returning to the Sacramento area for financial reasons. After a year of community college, I came to San Francisco State at the beginning of this school year. I will hopefully be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

My racial identity is white or Caucasian. I know that I have history and genetics from various European countries. On my mom’s side, I am 25 percent Portuguese. The other portion of genes from her side is Irish and British from what I recall. I do not know what my heritage is on my dad’s side of the family whatsoever. This is mainly due to the fact that he does not really know what his family heritage is. I definitely hope to learn about this from the results of the Ancestry DNA test.

My cultural identity is not much of one. I do not really identify with any one specific culture, because of the diversity of European countries that my heritage comes from. In the past, I have experienced a Portuguese Holy Ghost parade, which included eating traditional Portuguese dishes as well. This is really the only taste of any of my national origin cultures I have experienced. I identify with communities of people that I share similar interests with for the most part, rather than any of my ethnicity or race. I think that this is due in large part to growing up in suburban Sacramento. Also, I cannot say that my grandparents have shared a huge amount of their heritage with me, unfortunately.

I used to know more about my family’s history, but have not learned about it since elementary school. I know my grandfather’s grandfather on my mom’s side of the family immigrated to the United States on a boat from Portugal in the 1800s. That is about the extent of my knowledge. I do not recall ever learning about the story of where my family came from on my dad’s side. This is once again because he is not really aware of much himself. I know that my grandfather fought in Vietnam and was wounded after only a couple months of action after abomb exploded nearby. He healed from his wounds but has been hard of hearing ever since, and he had to deal with the mental repercussions of war.

The main story that has been passed down is the origin of my last name, Widger. My dad has actual evidence, so I have done a bit of research on the topic myself. The main reason I doubted  not either. Also, I think that his side of the family has lived in the United States for quite a few generations. Thus, when I looked up the origin of the name Widger, Ancestry said it came from the Old English name Whitgar. This name meant elf spear. This would clearly indicate that we are of English descent on my dad’s side of the family, and not German. This left me with more questions than answers. Other stories that have been shared with me by aunts, uncles, and grandparents are more recent. I have heard stories of my parents and grandparents when they were kids, but nothing much more historic than than. However, it is still fun and entertaining to hear about these times.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many missing stories, or unanswered questions, I have about my family. Most of these come on my dad’s side, for obvious reasons. I am very curious about the origin of each of his parents as far as which countries they come from. With this would come questions about how these ancestors immigrated to the United States, and for what reasons. I know that the results of the AncestryDNA may not provide these answers, but it would be quite cool if I can at least get a better idea. I know the story fairly well of my grandfather on my mom’s side, and can always ask him for a refresher. I have an idea of my grandmother on her side of the family, as far as I know her ancestors immigrated from England and Ireland. Some of the details of this, such as when this occurred, I am a bit unsure about.

Finally, I am most excited to find out what national origin I am on my dad’s side of the family. I truly do not know this. He claims we have some German, based on his understanding of the origin of our last name. However, since Ancestry conflicted this thought, I am very curious to find out this information.

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