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LadyPlantagenet

Genealogy/Family History

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LadyPlantagenet

OK, so I'm totally obsessed with genealogy, as you can see in my sig. I've been spending a couple of years now doing a lot of family history, and it's been really exciting! It's really turned me on to history in general, too, and I've been learning so much about so many things, especially English history.  😎

 

So what have your adventures in genealogy been like? What awesome discoveries or surprises have you found? (keeping in mind your own privacy and safety, naturally).  ;D

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Margaret

I have no particular interest in genealogy but apparently my great-grandmother married a Protestant man (my great-grandfather), who changed his religion and may have been disowned for marrying her. This was at the time of the independence movement in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century and she was, apparently, hiding guns for the rebellion and so on. Whether her husband knew of this and what he thought is not recorded, but it is unlikely he would have approved.

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sunshinedaisieswindmills

I've been obsessed with my family history since I was about 10 years old. I haven't done much of my own research, due to lack of knowledge, time and resources, but I have found a bunch of cool stuff by randomly using google!

 

I think when I was about 11, I found a family tree for my maternal grandmother, dating back to the 18th century! I actually just dug around for it a bit and pulled it up again, so that's fun :)

 

More recently my maternal grandpa pulled out a genealogy that he created with his siblings, based on his father's immigration to the states. It included his immigration records, some service history, and all sorts of letters written by his mother. Like, the real original letters! Most of them were in Hungarian, but we have translations in there.

 

On my father's side, I was able to find the name of my ancestor who immigrated (there was only like, one person who immigrated with my last name, so it wasn't too difficult) and the name of the boat they came over on! After finding that information, I discovered that there was a "published" genealogy for my family in the local library, that has been there since like, the 80s. It's more focused on one of my grandfather's cousins, but there was a lot of fun information nonetheless. It informed my whole family that our ancestors technically came from Germany, when we had always thought we were Dutch. (It was a Dutch speaking part of Germany, so they weren't too far off). It also had a family tree attached, and that showed we were (distantly) related to a lot of people we know and are friends with!

 

I've actually been meaning to update that, especially because I don't have a lot of stuff going on until my masters program starts in August, but I'm pretty sure that would involve typing everything in the previous book out, because it was written on a typewriter and I can't figure out how else to make them digital :(

 

What resources do you use to find information?

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LadyPlantagenet

I mainly use Ancestry, though sometimes that can have some sloppy research. I also use Find a Grave, which is more reliable. My cousin on my dad's side has done a lot of work on this, too, and last year, when I was doing paperwork to join the DAR, I managed to find some really interesting stuff!

 

One cool relation I have is Mark Twain, who apparently is my fourth cousin! And I'm also related to one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (another cousin). It's so fascinating, but I've also learned to be really careful because everyone seems to be in a rush to be related to someone famous.

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MalfoysAngel

I mainly use Ancestry.com or family search. My grandma has done an amazing amount of research and traced my direct line all the way back to King Albert.

 

She has also discovered that I am related to Julia Ward Howe, and the leader of the Crawford Expedition in Ohio.(his brother is my 7x great grandfather....I think)

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Rhaenyra

My grandmother is really into genealogy, so she has done a lot.  The coolest thing didn't require research though.  Her grandmother (my great-great-grandmother) was disowned from a famous, drink-making family in the UK for marrying somebody poor.

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Professor McGonagall

My great uncle was shot down in World War II and was put into a Nazi POW camp. We have his diary.

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MalfoysAngel

I think one of my ancestors was killed during the Salem Witch Trials, the location, date and name match but we have no viable proof that it was actually her.

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nott theodore

So many of you seem to have such interesting and famous ancestors!  Mine are interesting, but not at all famous or likely to be involved in anything well-known, I don't think :P

 

I love genealogy.  I've probably been researching my own family history for about ten years now, and I've got so much further in the last few years - it's always nice to keep having breakthroughs and getting somewhere, as so much of genealogy can feel like you're just running at a brick wall.  Plus, there are more and more records being transcribed online all the time, so there's always the chance that you'll get somewhere new with that.

 

I think what got me into family history is talking to my dad about it - he started back in the 90s, before anything was really online, and he hit a stumbling block that we've still not really got past.  There's basically a family mystery involved on my dad's side, a load of documents which were burnt by an ancestor who couldn't read just before she died, surname changes, and no birth registrations...  It's both infuriating and fascinating, and although I've got a bit further on explaining part of the mystery, I've still not managed to get any further back on that side, unfortunately.

 

A lot of my ancestry (apart from about one line) actually ends up going back to Ireland - which is interesting, but unfortunately Irish records are very difficult to access and non-existent, in some cases, so I haven't been able to find as much there.

 

On the side of my family which has come from England, I've managed to trace back to the 1500s, but I'm more interested in fleshing out the stories and trying to find out as much as possible about the people - I've found some military records recently for my 3xgreat-grandfather which have helped with that.  Family history is also a great place to get story inspiration ;)

 

I actually work in genealogy, too (I told you that I loved it, haha).  The area I work in is probate genealogy, which often means I don't get to go quite as far back as I'd like (often only to the late 1800s, now), but I have got a lot of new skills since I'm working in it constantly, and have found new ways to try and get around brick walls.  So if anyone wants any help with their family history, or just wants to geek out more over it, I am very happy to talk about it :P

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Nhaz

Well well well, why didn't I see this thread before?

 

You guys have fascinating stories to tell, I'm sure. For me, genealogy has always been an intense hobby (well it comes and goes in waves, really) that I've never really been able to share with anyone, so please excuse me if I can't shut up about it.

 

Sadly, there are next to no official records for my country so using popular genealogy networks such as Ancestry or MyHeritage is not really productive... but based on family records, I've managed to trace all lines to about the mid-1800s and one (hailing from Germany) to the mid-1700s. Hardly impressive compared to trees stretching back to the Middle Ages, but centuries of being subjugated leaves your nation with no church records.

 

I've had some funny episodes such as googling a Wikipedia article about a great-great-great-grandfather of mine and from there finding a book with his memoirs issued by two of my grandfather's enstranged cousins, with whom I then got reacquainted (sadly, at grandpa's funeral). It was exciting, since the legends my grandfather had told me as a child (which were told to him by the greatx3 grandfather in question when he was a child) came alive before my eyes, told in first person. Long story short, the man was a rebel priest who fought against Ottoman rule and Greek religious hegemony, pulled stunts like climbing into a blockaded church with a rope in the middle of the night to serve a forbidden liturgy, and fleeing a tower prison with a rope made from clothes, after which he had to spend years travelling back and forth across the Balkans to collect his children. Inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, not very easy to research due to the plight of Bulgarians in Macedonia (the core theme of those struggles, according to the memoirs) being really, really unpopular there right now (and ever since WWI).

 

Researching the other lines, most notably my father's, has been more of a challenge since they only founded their villages after fleeing from an army that destroyed the previous one. Nonetheless, my sister and I are working on it. The German line also seems pretty interesting, getting me about 10 generations back. All in all, though, the greatest obstacle seem to be severed relations by my immediate family since they were having a hard time in the 80s and became very reclusive. It's still funny, though, to find group photos from a century ago with a letter that does a better job of tagging people than modern social media. :D

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FlamingQuilltips

Wow you guys have such exciting pasts!

Mine is sadly not that exciting. I had a grandfather who fought in the Indian Independance movement 1940-1947

And we are super super distantly related to a famous tamil poet Subramaniam Bharathiyar (who is a celebrated Freedom Fighter, and famous for his inspiring poems).

We have all been from the southern part of India for 6 generations as far as I have traced!

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AbraxanUnicorn

I know so little about my family history. Both my parents hail from S.India and my Dad has approximately one million first cousins, but that's pretty much all I know :/

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MalfoysAngel

Here (M just to be safe) is a Wikipedia page about William Crawford who is the brother to my 7x Great-Grandfather.

 

Julia Ward Howe is the woman credited with writing to words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" but I'm not sure how I'm related to her all I know is that she is related to me.

 

I'm also distantly related to the model Cindy Crawford.

 

All of this is on my dad's side of the family. My mom's side I haven't managed to find any famous ancestors but I also haven't been able to trace very far back on her side I think I'm only up to my 3x Great-Grandparents because I'm stuck on finding information on my great-great-grandfather on one side.

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Crimson Quill

I think this is such an interesting subject, like a lot of you I have older relatives to have done some research into family trees so I do have some information like some names and that but I've got a spread out family like my grandfather is Italian is finding records is hard. We visited the village when his family are from when we visited Italy a few years and the graveyard there is full of our family which seemed to have lived in that Italy village for decades but it was quite cool to see so many people with my surname as it's not a common one. The church records are by far the most useful ones but all in Italian but grandfather was able to read bits to us. :)

 

I'm not related to any famous though! haha!

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sunshinedaisieswindmills

I realized the other day that there are five generations of my family all buried in the same cemetery. I've been following The Good Cemeterian and it's inspired me to start looking into restoring some of the gravestones there. According to the pictures on findagrave there's really only one that needs some cleaning, the rest are in really good shape! I suppose that is a bonus to having a ridiculously large family. :)

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Phoenix Potioneer

Cool thread! I've been doing research into my family tree and genealogy since I was around 12, but I haven't done much of it recently.

On my dad's side, I'm a mixture of English, Polish, and Irish ancestry. My great-grandmother kept a diary, which is pretty cool, and I really enjoy reading her stories. On my Polish side, unfortunately, the family changed their name when they came to the United States, and I can't figure out what they changed their name from. I'm trying to figure it out, but it's very frustrating. And then, on the Irish part of my family, many of the records were destroyed in a fire in the 1800s. Very sad. My aunt mostly does the work on my dad's side, so I don't know quite as much off the top of my head.

On my mom's side, I have a mixture of English, Dutch, and Scottish ancestry. My dutch great-grandfather came over to the U.S. through the famous Ellis Island in the early 1900s. That line is mostly pretty easy, even though Dutch names sound kind of strange compared to the Anglo-Saxon origins that I am used to. Translating documents from Dutch is fun. :) The line I've had the hardest tracing is my great-grandmother's Scottish line. Not because of the lack of documents, but because they names are so common. They have an incredibly common Scottish surname, and they have terribly common first names. My great-great grandmother's name is Mary, and her parents are named John and Elizabeth. And then, I was figure out the names of John's parents, and guess what their names are? Also John and Elizabeth! Grrrr. It's almost impossible to go back further when all you know is their name and approximate birth year, because I search for couples with that name with that age and get hundreds of results. Sure, I'm positive they are in there somewhere, but I have no way of knowing if it's my ancestors or someone else's.

My maternal grandfather's side is absolutely fascinating. I've been able to trace most of that side all the way back to the 1600 and 1700s, which is when they first came to the United States. They mostly all stayed in the same county in the U.S., year after year, for over 200 years. I visited the area once, when I was researching genealogy stuff in their county library, and some of the streets have the same names as the surnames of my distant ancestors. I'm sure that is no coincidence. Most of them were wealthy Quakers, and Quakers keep very, very good records. I don't think I'll ever get done finding stuff with that side, because there's just so much. People have written genealogy books that include my distant ancestors. I've read them.

Possibly the coolest thing I ever found out through my maternal grandfather's side is that one of my ancestors, back in the 1800s, used his house as an Underground Railroad stop. At the time, I suppose he was reasonably well-known, though obviously no one's really heard of him today. However, his house has been turned into a small museum today. When I found all of this out I was only 13, and after presenting the information I had found to my family, the whole extended family- about 15 of us- all visited the museum/his house. It was amazing, and possibly the coolest thing I ever found out through genealogy. It also got my mom interested in genealogy, so now she does it with me.

I've also just found out little things over years that amuse me: I had an ancestor who died by falling out of a window. THAT was an amusing obituary. I've also had an ancestor who died by getting trampled by his own horse. I know it shouldn't be funny, but... it kind of is.

I don't have any famous ancestors that I know of, but since that one line is pretty entrenched in U.S. soil, if I look into cousins and second cousins and third cousins I might find someone. However, I've never done much research into the cousins of my distant ancestors, so for now, they remain undiscovered.

I use Ancestry primarily to research and flesh out my tree. For information about my Scottish ancestry I use ScotlandsPeople, which is a good source but can be a little pricey. I also use FindAGrave, and my mom and I used to contribute a lot to the site, photographing other people's requests that were in cemeteries nearby. I got very used to roaming cemeteries.

Apologies for the long post, but as you can see, I love genealogy. :) Glad to see that all of you love it too!

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Stella Blue

Oh wow what a cool topic! Some really interesting stories from you all in this thread!

My grandfather was very interested in genealogy and did a ton of research on it - he even managed to trace back our family all the way to the year 1066 (the Norman invasion). At the time he did most of this research, the Internet still didn't exist, so like. quite honestly I have no idea how he did it and managed to find that many records dating back that far - I'm amazed any of those records from the 1300s still exist somewhere.

 

Fun fact, I'm also related to William Clark (the early 1800s explorer who mapped the western territories of the USA with Meriwether Lewis)

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Shadowkat678

Any of you seen The Free State of Jones? Apparently I'm related to Newton Knight. Pretty much the best white guy during the civil war I could have gotten. My grandma on my mom's side entire family is from Soso mississippi. Pretty much everyone there is related to him if they hadn't moved. 

He was known as the Robinhood of the south and deserted the Confederacy because he didn't agree that they should be dying so rich men could keep their slaves. He gathered deserters and runaway slaves then hide out in the swamps and ambushed confederates. He married a runaway house slave after divorcing his previous wife (though said wife still lived with them and they all shared a house together with the children from both women) and a few generations later, I believe it was his grandson, one of his relatives got thrown in jail (even though he looked white) because he was their child and was caught dating some important person's daughter. A lot of people still consider him a traitor to the south, and after he broke off from the confederacy a lot of people he helped turned on him because he was friends with a lot of former slaves, and now that they had their own little place away from the army so they won't be arrested they thought that was wrong and he left. I gotta say I'm surprised at how accurate the movie was, though the character of Moses didn't exist as far as I'm aware from my research. I'm kinda upset at some of the ratings. I thought it was pretty good.

 

It's really interesting, and one of my aunts has a whole book that was given to me with research into our family tree. I'm also related to some low ranking noble that tried to murder someone and was run out of the british isles. Forgot where as I haven't looked at it in a while.

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MalfoysAngel

So about a month or so ago I bought a 23andme DNA kit and I should be getting the results soon! 

The test I got was $200(USD) and includes genetic markers for not only my ancestry but also a health assessment.

All I had to do was pay for the kit,  register it online when it came in and spit into a tube before placing it into the mail to send to the lab for analysis. 

I'm so excited to find out and share the results with everyone! 

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dirigibleplums

this was such a fascinating topic to read. you all have such cool ancestors, but unfortunately, i'm in the same boat as @AbraxanUnicorn more or less :P the trouble is that my family hails from rural sylhet where they haven't really cared much about official records and everything is kept track of via word of mouth in the villages. throw in the fact that bengali parents don't really talk a lot about that sort of stuff (and amplify that by about a hundred for my parents) and it's pretty hard to find anything out. like i even tried to do some sleuthing by myself, but the older generations don't really tell us their given names so i have no clue how to spell any of my grandparents' names -.-

however

they have opened up a bit more recently! i've never met my grandparents on my dad's side because they sadly passed away years before dad married, but we recently found a picture of my grandad and he apparently used to live in england for a bit to earn some money. we've tried to estimate his age, but it's a pretty broad guess. we also found a picture of my mum's grandad who apparently worked in a dockyard in america before heading back to bangladesh (then india). so that's about as interesting as it gets for me lol but i have to admit i find it pretty cool since i know literally nothing else about them :P 

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FoxPatronus
Posted (edited)
On 6/14/2018 at 6:26 PM, dirigibleplums said:

throw in the fact that bengali parents don't really talk a lot about that sort of stuff (and amplify that by about a hundred for my parents)

That is such an interesting cultural difference! It’s always a bit strange to me when kids don’t know a lot about their older family members because our family on both sides has always been so forthcoming with stories and info about our family tree. But I had never thought about it being so different based on cultural influences.

My paternal grandpa’s side is from Finland and we can trace our heritage back to a little farm in what used to be Nurmo, and our original surname, Katajamäki, refers to a juniper tree on a hill on the farm. (The juniper tree is apparently still there, and I hope to get to visit it one day.) Our last name got shortened when my family immigrated here in the late  1800s.

My paternal grandmother’s side is a mishmash of English and Scottish, and apparently one of my ancestors on her side was William Bradford, one of the colonizers who came over on the Mayflower and founded the Plymouth colony. (Obviously not great feelings about this revelation, but I suppose I can’t help who I’m related to.)

My mom’s side we have less information on, but I know we’re German on both her parents’ sides. My grandfather was a tail gunner for the US Airforce in WWII and participated in the Berlin airlift. He flew 30+ official missions and managed to survive the war, which is pretty rare for a tailgunner and something I’m pretty grateful for because, like... here I am. Haha. My grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Kansas in the 1940s and then became a homemaker when my grandpa got back from the war and they started their family. I don’t know a lot about the ancestors on that side and I wish I had more time to investigate. I find genealogy really fascinating.

Edited by FoxPatronus
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just.a.willow.tree
29 minutes ago, FoxPatronus said:

That is such an interesting cultural difference! It’s always a bit strange to me when kids don’t know a lot about their older family members because our family on both sides has always been so forthcoming with stories and info about our family tree. But I had never thought about it being so different based on cultural influences.

It probably doesn't help that all of my relatives live across the globe from me lol. Even if they did live closer though (like we've gone to visit them, stayed with them for a while, etc.) it would still be difficult to find out more about our ancestry. They just don't talk about it lol. My parents told me bits and pieces about their childhoods but I like had to persistently ask them, and I know nothing about my grandparents other than the fact they're illiterate. 

Also I doubt I have ancestors outside the towns where my parents grew up. There's not a whole lot of migration going on in the small villages. Though, I do know that a good number of Chinese people/Koreans end up discovering Japanese blood in themselves, because of what the Japanese did during WWII, but since the Japanese didn't really bother with the super rural areas, I'm pretty sure I'm 100% Chinese. So there's nothing too interesting to find out, I think. UNLESS. I somehow find out I was descended from the coolest pirate alive, Ching Shih+, but she's Cantonese so I doubt it. :P

I'm super envious of everyone who can actually list people from five million years ago. :P

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starbuck

 

my only interesting and cool ancestor is my dad's aunt (so my...great aunt?) - she was in the yugoslav partisans (a resistance movement) and fought in the WW2. she was a tough lady! :constantvigilance:

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potionspartner

I have an ancestor (from the mid 1700s) who has the exact same first and last name as me (and my maiden name is rather unusual)  She married a man names Williams Williams (obviously his parents weren't going for creativity,)

 

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