My mother had wavy-to-curly hair that she constantly permed and bleached, and then brushed out, so I never really knew what her actual hair looked like.
In pictures of her as a young woman, it is really beautiful open ringlets, like mine. But as a kid she had these crazy tight ringlets, whereas my hair was stick-straight when I was a kid. My curls kicked in at the end of puberty. Older generations, it's hard to say, since in every photo of a woman in our family, she has some sort of set 'do going on. My maternal grandmother appears to have had very tight ringlets, though.
On my dad's side it's kind of removed from me, and it's just my dad and three half-brothers, so I have no real idea. My nieces all have wavy hair, though. I heard tell that one of my half-brothers once had a waist-length ponytail... maybe I should demand photos. Of all my family, he is the only other auburn kid (the rest are brunettes), so maybe we're real hair twins!
My family is German (Prussian), Italian, and Welsh, FYI. We have Jewish ancestry on both sides, but it's all been mixed together in wonderful mushy soup. I've got tons of very old family photos/tintypes, and most of my ancestors have at least some wave going on. The guys have incredible wavy pompadours in some photos!
Hair color and pattern are so interesting. Even with all our knowledge of genetics, it's still a bit of a surprise to see what someone's hair will do based on their parents.