1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Anybody doing genealogy?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Starman, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    I've tracked my dad's side back to the 1400s in Buckinghamshire. While there are a few missing links from there, the Buckinghamshire branch goes back back to Alured de Valer, who came to England from Normandy in October of 1066. Something about a big do around Hastings at the time with some guy name Bill the Bastard, who picked a fight with the locals, won it and changed his name to William the Conqueror.

    The family name has been spelled the same since the mid-1300s. I'll have to remember that the next time some joker screws it up.

    One of the Buckinghamshire types was born in England and died in Virginia. While I don't have confirmation yet, I have found a note on someone with the same name from Buckinghamshire who was apprenticed for seven years to a colonist in Virginia. The relative would have been 14 at the time the apprenticeship began.

    From Virginia, the family moved into Tennessee sometime after the revolution. One of the Tennesseeans stipulated in his will that shares of his estate go to two illegitimate sons "in the same manner as though they had been born in lawful wedlock and were my legal heirs."

    One of the bastards came to Texas shortly after the Civil War. His son (my great-grandfather) got married in 1885 at 21 years old to a 14-year-old girl. They had 10 children between 1886 and 1912. One of the sons lived just five days. My dad was named after him.

    Great-grandma died in 1962, about a year before I was born. She was 91.
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Today's bizarro-world tidbit:

    I had already known that Roger Conant, a big wheel in the Puritan days of the founding of Salem, Mass., was my 11th GGF.


    Today, digging a little deeper in a line of descent four or five layers of cousins away, I found out he is also my 10th GGF through that separate line.

    I would guess that probably went on a lot in olden days with small villages with limited populations, people didn't move in or out very often, etc etc. so a lot of people probably ended up marrying their 4th or 5th cousins.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  3. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    As is not uncommon in genealogy, I've gone a couple of months of relative inactivity in the search process, but the other night I happened to be flicking through the channels and caught the latest edition of "Who Do You Think You Are?" on TLC cable (a channel which I am sure I haven't watched in 15 years).

    "WDYTYA" is essentially an hour-long plug/infomercial for Ancestry.com, and follows various celebs around as they trace branches of their own family trees. I had been meaning to catch an episode or two, but never did, so I finally sat down and caught a whole episode.

    The plugging for Ancestry.com isn't too blatant -- there are 3-4 mentions in the hour-long episode -- and other resources or experts are consulted. (Frankly, far more expensive than the average spare-time genealogist is going to invest.)

    There wasn't too much blindingly revelatory to anybody who has spent any time doing the search process, but some of the researchers did talk about "gateway relatives" -- seemingly-obscure ancestors on branches which don't seem to be leading anywhere, then you find out they are descended (usually maternally) from a famous or well-documented family, which then kicks open the door to a tsunami of new information. THAT certainly rang very true for me.

    But it was amusing to find out that one of my 22nd GGFs, Edward I of England -- Edward Longshanks -- just so happens to be a 19th GGF of Valerie Bertinelli, making us 20th cousins 3 times removed.

    Hey, Cuz! :eek: :eek:

    VB seemed quite gobsmacked to find she was descended from English royalty (as I had been when I found out a year or so ago) but the research expert said it really isn't that uncommon; a pretty fair percentage of the American population with any British ancestry has traceable royal roots once you go back 500 years or more.
  4. Fly

    Fly Well-Known Member

    Mrs Fly and I have quite enjoyed the show. Some episodes are more fascinating than others of course...

    She has done a bunch of ancestry on her side (many somewhat famous/important past characters from her Pike, Burns and Wright lines), and started digging into my side in recent months (due to a once-every-three-years reunion on my dad's side (seven kids (six boys one girl) all had multiple children, so lots of cousins and their kids), held in PA this year at my cousin's place). My dad had always talked about being related to Custer but surprisingly many of my cousins had no clue. It took my wife about 15 minutes to pin down that Custer was, indeed, my first cousin four times removed. His line is well-traced, leading back to some interesting high-ranking folk in both England and Germany/Holland (including possibly a Holy Roman Emperor and High Sheriff Of Nottingham). My dad's mother's side has been tougher to determine, but there could be some high-ranking Mennonites in that lineage. We may have to travel across the pond to find that out with certainty, though.

    Not bad for a guy who was never informed we had descendants who had been in the States since the 17th century...we were pretty much told we were a bunch of somewhat recent immigrants mainly from Germany and Wales.

    I had little interest in this when younger, but as I age through the middle years, it's taken on quite a bit more meaning. Really cool to discover things and then share with others in the family.
  5. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The GF has really gotten into genealogy and she discovered that some branch of the tree founded Charleston, W.V. and that because of that much of the family homes and other things, was a it a salt mine, were still preserved or still in use.

    She got very excited.

    I wasn't.
  6. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    My apologizes in advance for this being long.

    A few months back, I decided to dig deeper where a few of my relatives had basically just scratched the surface. Within a few weeks -- and I may be reading too much into things -- but it helped me with problems I've had fitting in with my family, and/or questioning just who I was.

    I found an obit Great-great grandfather nobody had ever read, partially because my grandfather was orphaned at 7 and raised by the community until he was basically on his own from age 10. My father's side of the family is a mixed bunch. I was the second grandchild near the end of 20-plus to step foot in a college classroom, and our views on everything are very different (race, religion, society), and I started noticing this from a very young age.

    Back to the obit, the story was told how he was against slavery to the point he organized a group (and this was in the deep South) that refused to fight. As he was a well-respected man (after Civil War he was a sheriff and when they formed a new county, it was named after his first son), nobody pushed him on it and they agreed to let him and two other older men not enlist, instead they agreed to protect the nearby farms and families from Union soldiers (as best they could being somebody in their 40s with two older guys). It was also said he believed in God, but never would step foot in a church because, basically, the God he knew was not the God they were preaching about. Finally, and this hit me like a ton of bricks, it said he a steadfast believer in newspapers. After church on Sundays, people would gather at his home, and from his porch, he'd read the newspaper to everyone. It then said when Pres. Garfield was shot, basically the whole county came to his house just so he could read them the paper.

    (Less interesting sidenote, nobody had a clue where my hair color came from until I read the obit.)

    My girlfriend is adopted and never cared about knowing her birth parents until recently because of medical reasons. She still doesn't want to know a name or even look them in face; She's said she'll do the paperwork to find out, but I'll be the one to open the envelope, attempt to contact the person(s) and find out what I can for the sake of her and her daughter's medical history.

    When I shared with her all the interesting things I found, (I just didn't think about it) she got really sad and said "I'll never know where I came from." That's all she needed to say. Her look of being completely lost said the rest.

    If we do pull the trigger and do the paperwork, I've thought about doing her history, in somewhat secret, and just basically changing the names and telling her, they lived here or here or did this or that. (Her brother is adopted, too, and their parents have always been open from day one, offering to help, once they reached adulthood. So, it's not like we have that hurdle to clear.)

    I've also thought of going the DNA route, so, she could at least know something, like, "Hey, you're Scandinavian!" If anybody has any experience doing this, I'd appreciate any stories, advice, anything.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  7. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I discovered a few cousin marriages in my line.
    We frown on this in western society, but cousin marriages comprise the greatest heterozygosity in the world. And common to find the farther back you look.
    John and Abigail Adams were cousins, for instance.
  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    John Adams (my fifth cousin 8x removed) and Abigail Adams were third cousins.

    Going back into early colonial and medieval Europe ancestry, I've found several cousin marriages.

    A couple of threads of my tree are Native American -- one of my Massaschusetts colonial ancestors married a local Wampanoag Indian -- and they appear to have some ancestral couplings which are, uhmm, closer than that. :eek: :eek:
  9. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    Star Man-
    What system have you been using?
  10. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I'm signed up for accounts on a bunch, mainly Ancestry.com, WikiTree.com, MyHeritage.com and a handful of others.

    As others have noted, Ancestry.com is not dirt cheap, although it's not massively expensive either ($20/ a month or $100 a year).

    Since I have found genealogical research tends to go in fits and starts, I've gotten into the routine of 2-months-on/2-months-off with Ancestry.

    If I know I won't have much time over the next month or two to work on it, I just cancel. Then a couple months later, restart.

    While your account is inactive, you can still access it and make your own family tree updates -- but you can't follow any Ancestry.com hints or records.

    In the meantime I use Google and other free resources to pick away at it. If I reactivate the account after several months off, I spend 4-6 hours at a time my first day back online to update with Ancestry.com info.
  11. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I was all-in on genealogy a number of years ago, but I was dealing with graveyards and death certificates and it began to bum me out pretty hard. I still have all the paperwork and will get reinvolved again at some point.
  12. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    By definition, a lot of the information you're dealing with has to do with death, so you have to develop a hard-boiled atttiude about it.

    I got a little lumpy dealing with death certificates for my parents and grandparents, because I knew them (all but one grandfather, anyway), but I knew most of that information myself in the first place.

    There are definitely some tragic tales to be told; one set of my great-great grandparents lost three children under the age of 12 as the result of a scarlet fever epidemic in 1878 -- within 10 days.

    In 1922, my GGF, their oldest child, who had been 17 in 1878, died at age 61. Four days later, his mother died at 80. She had seen 3 of her 7 children die within 10 days, then another one die 44 years later. Maybe she had just seen enough.

    My grandmother, who was born in 1896, never said a word about any of it. I suspect it was not a family tale shared around the fireplace on cold winter nights.

    It really does make you think about the trials they had to endure just for you (eventually) to be born.

    The stories from hundreds of years back -- the people I never knew, never saw pictures of, etc etc -- you can develop more of a crusty attitude about.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page