Time for …
Ye Olde Update on Other Families’ Trees
As I’ve mentioned before and as many of us into FamTracking are wont to do, I spend some of my research time working on the trees of friends and family. Some of these people have gotten the bug themselves, which is awesome. And as if any proof were needed that everyone’s story is interesting, that we are all so much more closely connected than we would regularly think, here are things I’ve uncovered recently in other people’s family trees.
1) (Technically, the first one is old news, but it does properly belong here in this summary.) Having previously discovered (and reported, here) that a friend in Oakland is ~5th cousins with one of my mom’s and our family’s closest friend (in Scottsdale!) through the Warren family of North Carolina, I’ve managed to since find out that the particular Warren line in question is party a truly Hot Topic in genealogy circles. Namely the historically correct inherited bloodline of the Plantagenet kings of England. Details in a previous posts, here and here.
2) A friend here in Oakland (whose line I previously reported progress on, here) who is from the Southwest.
His paternal grandfather’s family was from suburban Philly, Irish having arrived in the early famine period (1830s). It was somewhat interesting to find that his mother’s paternal line, also Irish, also arriving in the US in the early famine period, had settled and remained about 50 miles away in suburban Wilmington, Delaware. What was interesting about that is that his mom and dad didn’t meet back East, but in Texas.
But what was much more wildly interesting was this. My buddy has a child with a woman also from the Southwest whose line I’ve also begun work on. Her mother’s from Mexican stock. But her dad is the grandson of an Eastern European immigrant, early 20th century. And itturns out her grandpa and my friend’s grampa grew up and lived about half a mile from each other in suburban Philly.
2a) Meanwhile, another line of my friend’s was living on the northern reaches of Manhattan in the 1940s, about half a mile from the mother and grandmother of yet another friend (also here in Oakland), whose mother was carried as a youngster from Puerto Rico and happened to be aboard the boat pictured here that broadcast the first radio signal from a ship. Being friends exclusively here in Cali, it came as a bit of a surprise to them both.
3) I saved the best for last. This one’s incredible to me. In a way I believe it certainly is at least somewhat of a Holy Grail in genealogy circles. I’ve previously reported on a friend whose paternal line was part of the French aristocracy, and whose ancestor as governor of Canada/Quebec in the 1600s unintentionally started a war that led to the capture by Indians (allied with the French) of one of my ancestors leading to a statue being erected to her that was the 1st statue to the deeds of a woman in America.
This new discovery’s on his mom’s side. She was born in the late 40s/early 50s in the St. Louis, Missouri area, adopted at birth by a lovely couple originally from Texas. Nothing’s known about her birth parents yet, so I’ve been working on the trees of the parents that mattered most in this case, the ones whom she knew and who did the work of raising her. (Since we all now know that who and what we are as much the result of environment as it is the luck of the gene draw, then it almost goes without saying that adoptive parents’ stories, ie, their family trees [ie, the collection of causes that led to them] are as important for a full family history as the genetic parents.)
Thus I’ve begun working and made incredible headway on their tree. You also should understand, these people were understood in every meaningful way to be her parents. These were people my friend knew and felt and understood to be his grandparents. These are people who I knew from the time I was 6 years old, people I even called by their grandparental nicknames of endearment. I spent 20+ xmases with these folks. In other words, if it’s not bleedingly clear, these people were family.
…the guy was 5th cousins with author Alex Haley!
For me it was a true and heavy WOW moment. One of the heaviest. Amazing to me. I immediately sent a text message to my friend’s mom (who’s practically a second mom to me) and she was of course utterly delighted.
Details on this line to come in next post. (And also righteous is the fact that I’m employed by someone who once worked with the eminent Mr. Haley! 🙂
PS: Detractors of Haley and his accomplishments in the novel Roots can go to hell; I’m working on a point by point rebuttal to the all-too-oft-wielded criticisms leveled against him and his work.