Many people seem to have records to at least 18th century but don't think that the information isn't out there. Hell, before I found this stuff I wouldn't have imagined that my white city-trash Baltimoron butt would have any type of recorded ancestry.. but it only takes one person to put this stuff together and suddenly your family doesn't seem so isolated anymore..
(Not that this will cause my family to stop being so distant or that I'll be attending any reunions ever)
Like I joked with my father... it's sad that we seem to be more interested in learning about dead people over getting to know our immediate family better..
Always worth taking older relatives' accounts with a pinch of salt - memory lapses and family bullsh*t can cause problems, but use ancestry.com, census data & civil/parish records and you can quickly become engrossed.
Indeed. There are always the family "legends" that can't really be verified. In high school I would go around talking about how I was related to Pocahontas until I met like 10 other people who said their families claimed the same thing. I asked my dad about it and he said that she was just a ho. There of course there is the great+ grandfather that supposedly was "famous" for getting drunk and shooting up saloons in Baltimore.. but I imagine that's as much information I'm ever going to get out of that.. and I'm sure everyone has THAT relative.. especially in 'Murica.
Another claim was that we were directly related to the 'Unsinkable' Molly Brown. After doing some research my dad found that this claim must be entirely false.. of course the distance relative that gave us that claim wouldn't believe any of my dad's and continued to claim this and stopped responding to his emails.
That's some pretty extensive tracing.
Like Nobby said; once you join a place like ancestry.com you can unlock census data, church records, and the like and you start getting specific dates for births, deaths, and marriages you can easily bounce off of there.
Once my dad had gotten that data it didn't take too long posting on message boards with the specific names and dates that he was contacted by some unknown distant relatives that helped put together entirely new branches of the tree. We even had one woman who had photographs and the soldier journal of my great grandfather. She had no idea who the guy was so she just mailed the stuff to us.. very cool seeing their handwriting and how much they payed for boots on their way to the Spanish-American war. Turns out my grandmother remembers sitting in the guys lap when she was a kid braiding bows in the poor guys hair.
There's a good chance that someone else has done their homework and has a lot of data compiled that can help anyone fill in some blanks. Just like with my 14th century ancestor... All I did was go to my dad's publishes info and sat there seeing which direct line went back the farthest.. (the Wilbur line). Once I hit a dead end in the 1580s I just googled that persons name and death date and lo and behold someone in England had the missing link to that same person.. from there I just copied their 'homework' to trace it back farther.
The same way with my 'Broyles/Breyhel' line.. I just found where our records dead-end and then Googled the last persons death date and name and it turns out there some other researcher had created a web page with more data than I could have imagined.. with PDFs of the church records in Germany (to 1590s).. immigration records with the name of the ship the guy came over on. There's even a medieval survey drawing of the guys farmhouse.
If you have a mind for it (or the caffeine) it can be fun to get lost in the stuff.
Incidentally I also found several wills listing addresses and assets.. One direct ancestor left his favorite cow (named Browning) to his neighbor and left his 4 slaves to his grand kids. I found out that one guy owned a farm right in the same spot where a popular mall(Golden Ring Mall) once stood (now it's a Walmart shopping center) used to be where I had shopped most of my life.
The only people of note besides Sitting Bull that I have is one Elhanan Winchester who was one of the founders of the Universalist Church and was friends with Benjamin Rush. Online I can find several copies of letters that he wrote to George Washington and other writings.
There are also 2 pairs of knickers that go back as far, but can't say who they belong to. One has warranty, still sewn on the waist band, for any repairs only 10 cents. Nice thing about coming from family of pack rats, is that I inherited lots of collectables.
That's awesome! Actually.. if this is from your Baltimore line.. they could have been made by my great-grandfather who actually was a tailor of womans clothes there! hehe
It makes me cringe to think of all of the old stuff that was trashed when my grandfather died and the kids just sold his house in Dundalk AS-WAS with an entire basement and attic FULL of his pack-ratted stuff.. (he was born 1913 and was a total packrat).. all that I managed to salvage was a car load of his old musical instruments... but he had SO MUCH more stuff that I wish I could have somehow managed to get.. probably in a landfill now.
My maternal grandfather was the second oldest of 21 kids, 17 of which survived.
Yikes! It's crazy to see how many kids people had back then.. they certainly screwed for redundancy in those days!
Genealogy is really just a hobby, obviously.. but if you get into it it can be really cool to have some work that some later generation down the line can use. As I sit and look at these names and dates and random notes and letters.. it's fascinating to imagine some descendent of mine in 300 years looking at my name.. will it just be another name and death date or will there be some notes with some passing hint of the person that I was? What will happen to my grandfathers old 1926 restored banjolin sitting next to my Xbox? Will my great-grandkid sell it in 100 years for cash (or carbon-credits!) or will my great great great grandkid restore it again and my descendants be jamming on it centuries from now?
So my wife bought to new types of coffees..
What were they and how were they?
Just variations of French vanillas and some weird dark roasts from Comfort Zone Cafes... and some weird cookie flavored tea that smelled like a candy factory to me.. They were good enough to keep me drinking it until 6AM without realizing it.. but I can't tell you more than that.. no 'fruity bouquet' or anything.. sorry I can't be more descriptive than that. Edited, Mar 11th 2014 5:56pm by Kelvyquayo