Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Who's in the Tree?

Last evening daughter #2 messaged me and told me she'd been on our family tree site. She had some questions so I had to log in to get the right links for her, and that was where it all went downhill.

If there is one thing that will divert my attention from just about anything, it's genealogy. I find it absolutely fascinating to read about the people I come from, who they were, where they lived, what they did, and all of that. I can literally spend hours on end doing research, and I will completely lose track of time, every time I do it.

Some of the things I find are just plain funny. For example, finding out I'm related to Thomas Bacon and Elizabeth Mayo. No wonder I love bacon sandwiches, it's totally in my DNA!

Other things are just strikingly cool, such as the names of the some of my kin: Electa, Lochiel, Azubah, Zebina, Mehitable, Bland (who does that to a child anyway?), Honorius, Euseby, Solomon Saul, Chewyt, and Mary of Bedfordshire. Its probably a very good thing I didn't have access to geneaology sites before I started having kids, or they'd have some seriously funky names.

One of the amazing things is that with the internet, research into family history has become so much easier than it ever was before. If you have the basics about someone such as their first and last name, date of birth and spouse's name, it's incredible what you can find through the posted research someone else has already done, who is also related to that person. I've found so many incredible stories that I'd love to share, but I know this stuff is like vacation slideshows to most people, so I won't bore anyone with those.

It's not at all uncommon to see first cousins who married, sisters who married brothers, and long, long lines of men who gave their first sons their own first name. In some lines this went on for 5-6 generations, skipped a generation then the grandson picked it up again. Also quite common (and not even that long ago) were families with upwards of 15 kids. My grandpa's mother had 11 of her own with two different marriages, and some lines further back had as many as 20.

One of the fun things I very much enjoy doing, is finding a "blank spot" and doing the detective work. Blank spots can be missing names of spouses or parents where the line just doesn't give any real answers. Right now I'm working on Samuel Jordan born in 1578 in Wiltshire England, and died in April of 1632 in Beggars Bush, Prince George, Virginia, USA. The blank spot for him is both spouse and parents, so he's more of a challenge. His name caught my eye since he bore the name of 2 of my own children, which I thought was kind of fun. It can be tricky using google because not all folks who do the research are as meticulous with dates and locations as they could be, and you might end up with a lot of false info.

In any event, if you've ever thought about doing a family tree, I would really encourage you to just go for it and get started. There is a ton of information out there, and I think you'll find it quite fascinating where you come from.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe