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Nudging Destiny

By Daniel Hubbard | October 27, 2013

I sometimes wonder if things that people know about their past when growing up or even the way that they are named influences them later in life. I know that being named for ancestors and hearing stories about them played a role in my becoming a genealogist so it must happen to other people as well. When I was a kid I listened to a DJ on the radio with an interesting name. You’d think that a DJ that had “Records” in his name was just using a nickname but I remember him explaining once that actually, his middle name really was “Records” and yes, it did have some influence on his becoming a DJ. I also think I have a vague memory of my grandmother talking about a fellow doctor by the name of Bonebreak, or some such name. That could always be a coincidence or that name could have provided a gentle push toward an interest in medicine.

Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin salutes the American Flag on the surface of the Moon, July 1969.

Buzz Aldrin salutes the American Flag on the surface of the Moon, July 1969.

A while back, the Swedish-American Museum in Chicago asked me for a little quick research into the ancestry of Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11’s lunar module pilot and the second person to walk upon the moon. He is part Swedish and they were planning an addition to their children’s museum dedicated to him. They wanted to make sure that they had his ancestry correct. For an astronaut, his ancestry is rather interesting if you think that little things we know about our past might give us gentle pushes in certain directions. You see, his mother’s maiden name was “Moon.”

It was his father’s side of the family that was Swedish, so that is what I investigated. I traced his grandfather back to Sweden. I traced him back twice actually, because he came to the U.S., returned to Sweden and then made the crossing again with his family. It was where I found him the year that he left for America the first time that was surprising. In 1886 Karl Johan Aldrin lived at “Stjernsfors Bruk.” Loosely translated that is “The mill at Star’s Rapids.” Hmm…

The Swedish-American Museum’s Buzz Aldrin exhibit opens this weekend and I’m proud to have made my little genealogical contribution.

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