Saturday, December 6, 2008

Did you know that we're related to.....

Ok, we've all got some weird family story that has supposedly been passed down for generations - mine just happens to be that one of our relatives was "BORN on the Mayflower" - mmmm talk about making a child's mind race! Come to think of it, this very well could be the genealogy bug that bit me, way back when I was like 10 years old! Grandma told me, "a long, long time ago" that one of our relatives was born on the Mayflower. Come to find out we weren't pilgrims - not that I can prove anyway. The Mayflower people have been very well researched and well documented - I've not found a direct connection in my line (yet :-). Some of my family certainly were among the "settlers in the new world" - they were indentured servants with a 10 year debt to the person who paid their passage, not pilgrims!

What about the story that you're related to someone famous, someone royal, someone who EVERYONE has heard of? Got one of those stories? Well, any genealogist will tell you.... "Prove it!" go find DOCUMENTED proof of that ancestor AND your connection to them. Just the same last name isn't enough, as I can tell you from first hand experience, names changed many times through the years and for varying reasons. If you're ancestors were Irish, they may have changed their names to get jobs. Maybe they just didn't like the spelling or maybe they came from a "less than prominent" family. Stay on your toes when researching family names, often they were written down incorrectly by someone else along the way and voila!, a new name is born!

You may have the belief that your family is English or French or Irish. Unless both of your parents and grandparents on both sides and so on are from that same country, you're probably like the rest of us here in the States - part of the Great American Melting Pot - a mix of lines from different countries and heritages. That being said, there's also nothing wrong with saying "My family is French", but often the question remains - "how much?" I was told that I was English, Irish, German & Dutch.... I've found the English, Irish and German connections with many others mixed in. If the ancestor was in the US during early times, they obviously would have met people from other areas of the world and their spouses weren't always of one single heritage either. So I claim to be part Irish -but how much really???

One line I was researching was a family that just knew they were Irish AND in fact related to a prominent government official "way way back". I couldn't prove the connection to that famous ancestor - although they still want to argue that point and probably always will. When researching the line, I found that only one generation back there was a pure Greek woman in the line and another generation back was a Polish woman... just goes to show you that you can't always judge by the name or the story that's been passed down for generations. I say, "Prove It!"

1 comment:

  1. Check you out, another blog !!! Great idea . . . one for the genealogy and one for the art. Very nice blog here, by the way.
    I, too, supposedly had a relative that came over on the Mayflower. One of the things I am curious about. Also, one of my great grandmother's was supposedly 100% American Indian . . . so much to look into.