Something For My Bucket List

My 5 year-old daughter is watching the Disney movie Ratatouille this morning.

Not being one to miss a “teachable moment,” I casually mentioned to her that our ancestors were French, like the characters in the movie.

We’ve actually talked about this before. I’ve tried to teach her a few French words using the limited vocabulary I still have from 2 years of college French.

She gave me a confused look. It took me a few seconds to figure out why.

I then explained that our ancestors were French people, like Linguini and Colette, not French rats like Emile.

She looked relieved.


A short while later, there was a scene where Emile the Rat is looking out a window over the city of Paris, and the Eiffel Tower is standing tall in the background.

I told her that that’s a picture of Paris, a city in France, and it’s possible that her ancestors lived there (I don’t know where in France they came from).

Her: “That’s pwetty. I haven’t go there yet.”

Me: “Yeah, me neither. Maybe we can go there together someday.”

Her: “Yeah, that would be fun.”

So… there’s one more for the bucket list: Take my daughter to Paris.

Hopefully I can figure out where our ancestors came from first.

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Photo by Wikipedia user Taxiarchos228, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist, writer, and consultant. Likes: long walks in the cemetery, and the smell of old courthouse books. Dislikes: people who copy stuff off the internet without giving credit, and county clerks who can't tell the difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones. Secretly hopes her daughter will one day develop an interest in family history (but no luck so far).

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  1. Ohh, thats on my list too. I have French ancestry as well.

  2. What a nice thing to add to your bucket list…hmmm..I need a list!

  3. I’m glad you were able to set her mind as ease about not being French rats!

  4. Me too, @Kristin! Although… our ancestors *could* have been “rats” in another sense of the word. Still working on that one.

    @Terri, I hope you make it there, too!

    @Path Traveled, we have a list, but haven’t made very much progress with it. Hoping to start crossing items off soon!

  5. I was fortunate to visit Paris when I was a kid — my dad was stationed at Hahn AFB in Germany. I don’t remember everything, but can conjure up images of the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. I’d like to go back one day, so I can pay more attention. :-)

  6. @Stephanie, traveling to Paris has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and way before I knew I had French ancestors. Hence the 2 years of college French (that haven’t proved very useful living in CA). Your trip must have been wonderful!

  7. Too funny! Your daughter is a sweetheart. Can’t wait to see your blog post when you find the link to your French roots. Better yet: can’t wait til you post pics from your trip there! What a special time that will be.


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