Musical Genealogy: How far back can you go?

Clinton Parrish PhotographIn a hospital room today, I found out more about my family’s musical heritage. The man in this picture (my Uncle Clinton, one of the sweetest men on the face of the earth and my late father’s little brother) revealed to me that his father played banjo. This was big news. Why?

It was big news because prior to today’s conversation, on my father’s side of the family, I could only go one uninterrupted generation back before myself where I knew that the Parish family were musicians. I knew that my father played guitar and I also knew that his grandfather — another George Parish — was a musician. So prior to Uncle Clinton’s revelation that his Daddy played banjo, I thought that the Parish musical line had probably skipped a generation. But it hadn’t. My smiling, happy uncle told of how his Daddy and his Granddaddy had played together and won many a fiddling contest for my paternal great grandfather.

So now I know that I can trace the musical bloodline back not just one, but three generations. Again, why the excitement?

One of the most passionate men I ever knew with regard to the tracing of familial roots (genealogy) was my late father-in-law William Gayle Chipman, Jr. It is not an overstatement to say that he was a master genealogist. He taught me that it is important to research one’s forbears and to know one’s bloodlines. And at the end of this day, I know a great deal more than I did at the beginning of it about the depth of musical talent in the Parish clan. So as I wind this day down, I leave you with this question…

How many generations before yourself can you trace musicians on either your mother or your father’s side of the family? I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty cool to know!




One thought on “Musical Genealogy: How far back can you go?

  1. My grandfather (my mother’s father) was an excellent artist. He could draw very well. My mother was a painter, and I draw too. A few of our children draw very well too…AND play musical instruments.

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