Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our Wild Friday Night

Happy Saturday, friends!

I thought I'd share our crazy Friday night with you so you can either (1) feel better about yourself if you're one to actually do exciting things on Fridays or (2) feel like you're not so alone if you enjoy nerdy at-homeitude like Rob and I do.

Rob and I have both always had an interest in our respective family genealogies.  When it comes to tracing your ancestry I feel like people either really like it or really don't care.  It always seems to me that there are one or two people per family who are into and want to keep it going, and Rob and I are both of that minority.  I think there are a few people in my family who also enjoy it but I'm the more obsessive one, so I tend to be the one doing a lot of the research.

Anyway ancestry.com is pretty awesome, so awesome in fact that I was willing to pay money for a membership (and access to international records since my grandmother's family is from Scotland).  Apparently if you're a Mormon you can get free access, or so I was told, since it's actually run by Mormons.  Interesting, no?


Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


I won't bore you with all the goofy details since according to the formula I laid out two paragraphs ago not that many of you will be interested.  So I'll sum it up in a few points:

1. I thought my grandfather's paternal family had been here since the 1600s, but turns out that one of his relatives was born in 1795 in Ireland and came over shortly thereafter.  His maternal family, however, we were able to trace back to the late 1500s in England (and they immigrated somewhere in the 1630s-50s most likely).  The funny thing is that after a stint in Massachusetts, they mostly lived in Eastern Maine (near where I grew up) from the mid-1700s on.  Guess it's true that most people don't go far from where they were born.

2. We were investigating one of Rob's relatives, William, who fought in the Civil War, was wounded, and reenlisted.  Rob's dad gave us his reenlistment documents--which have been preserved on wooden plaques--and a photo of him, because he's always been the ancestor that Rob is most interested in. Anyway, we found out this ancestor--who is on his grandfather's side--has as his middle name Rob's grandmother's maiden name.  Turns out that Rob's family has crossed more than once.  He wanted me to say indignantly that "He was a war hero!" and other defensive statements.

3. Isn't it crazy that these ancestors lived whole lives and are now simply reduced to some random forms? Like we don't know who they were or what they did for the most part, just that they existed?  I don't know, maybe I'm just a nerd.

Have you traced your genealogy? Find anything interesting?

11 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this, Caitlin!! Actually, when I saw your tweet about this, I immediately hopped on ancestry.com and starting sniffing around (Soooooo, I totally joined you on a wild Friday night). I think it's really amazing, and I'm excited to learn more about my family too :)
    P.S. NERDS UNITE!

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  2. Oh, how we love our at home nerditude. My mom was really into our genealogy for a while. I'll have to see how far she got in it.

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  3. I adore genealogy!! My great grandfather on my mother's side was an illegal immigrant from the Tuscany region of Italy. He had been forced in to the Italian army in 1914, then showed up in Idaho in 1917 {he never returned to Italy,and never became an American citizen-- though he was arrested and served jail time for making wine for his Italian restaurant during prohibition LOL}. I'd love to know how he got to Idaho, but I haven't found any documents to explain why he left Italy or how he got here}! Still digging though...
    Good luck on your quest! If you'd like to know more about your husband's Civil War ancestor, shoot me an email-- I work with one of the biggest Civil War historians in the south!

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  4. I just told my husband yesterday (before reading your post) that I am willing to pay his aunt to trace my genealogy. I had an old co-worker trace some of it. (Italian/Canadian/Irish ect) but became more interested in it once I became pregnant with Judah and found out that I tested positive as a Tay Sach carrier. I went back to the lady who traced some of my family tree and she said that the "Itailian" part cuts off somewhere and she actually thinks its a Jewish family ect. Which makes sense since Tay Sachs (and I retested after I had Judah and am def a positive carrier) is a jewish genetic disease. Long story short thank God Scott (my husband) is not a carrier or Judah would have had a high chance of getting it and would not have survived past the age of 3. But since Scott is not a carrier their is no way Judah would ever get it.

    I bet you can connect with other distant relatives and get pictures :-)

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  5. OOOOHHH, I LOVE genealogy!!! I have an aunt who worked for years to compile a huge book full of our family's history, it's the most amazing thing. I have diaries kept by both of my grandparents and they are seriously my most prized possessions!! Sounds like a super awesome Friday night to me!

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  6. i think this is so rad! my grandpa's side of the family is from Scotland too (macdonell)! i like learning about our relatives from long ago, its fun to see where you came from and find who your people are. if i showed you our friday night i bet you would think yours was even cooler. haha! xo.

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  7. Ooo! Fun!

    I am curious now.

    Our Friday nights usually involve a whole lotta nuthin! :)

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  8. Oh wow I am sooo going to get into this. NZ is such a young country, I only really know back a couple of hundred years.

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  9. PS: Got back to my 7th great grandfather reasonably easily. Think I could easily become addicted to this.

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  10. Oh, yeah, I find this stuff FASCINATING! Luckily for me, on my dad's side, my auntie has already done all the hard work so I just get to read her notes and stories - amazing! On my mum's side, though, the family lived in India for several generations and all of the records from that time have been destroyed - we think because my great-great-great-great-grandmother was Indian at a time when mixed race marriages were considered something to be ashamed of! So frustrating!

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  11. I love genealogy! I was raised Mormon and was baptized into the church so I can access all that stuff online and at any church, which usually have TONS of documents!

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