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Old 01-16-2020, 12:54 PM
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How much do you care who your ancestors were, and why?


I've done some genealogical research, not much, just back a few generations where the information was readily available. I've done 23 And Me for what that's worth. The thing is I'm not sure why I care. I got much more out of a conversation with my aunt about my deceased mother's early life than I get out of knowing when my great-grandfather migrated from Germany or whether I am related to the folks in California and Utah with the same unusual last name. Nevertheless, I am sometimes needled with curiosity about those kinds of questions.

So, to re-ask the thread title, how much do you care about those things, and do you understand why? Have you found out anything that altered your perceptions of people you have actually known?
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:01 PM
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I think it's interesting how one can inherit quirks.


My mom showed me two photos. One of my Grandfather who died before I was born, and one of me. We both have the exact same standing posture with a proclivity of sticking our thumbs in our belt loops or pockets. Which I found extremely fascinating.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:22 PM
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The most interesting aspect to me about what I know about my ancestors is the sheer randomness of the chain of events that led to me being born with the set of genes that I have.

In the 1820s, a German relative of my direct ancestor moved to the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland and began farming. In the 1860s, my great-great-grandfather, the first guy's great-nephew, arrived in Richmond, Virginia and then made his way to Baltimore. I don't know if he made that move because he had relatives in Baltimore, but it seems likely. The Civil War may have had something to do with it as well.

In the 1840s, the families that produced my maternal grandparents fled the potato famine in Ireland and moved to Baltimore, settling in the same neighborhood in south Baltimore.

In the late 1890s, a Polish family with an infant daughter moved from Poland to Baltimore. The infant grew up to marry my German-American grandfather.

My father, in 1942, instead of graduating from high school, going to work in a factory, and getting married by the time he was twenty like most guys from his neighborhood did before the war interrupted things, went to war and didn't come home until 1945. He didn't meet my mother until 1948, and I was born in 1954.

Most people's birth's are the result of an endless string of random events, I know. But just reading over the origins, travels, and randomness in my particular set of ancestors fills me with awe and wonder.
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Last edited by Crotalus; 01-16-2020 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:25 PM
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I've traced my family tree up through my mom's grandparents who came from Slovakia to Pennsylvania then Cleveland. I think it's very, very interesting to think about these people and what life was like for them in Slovakia (or, at that time, the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and learn why they may have come to the US, and particularly here to Cleveland.

I like to participate in local Slovak and Slavic culture, because my ancestors brought that culture here to Cleveland along with a lot of other Slavs. I like to see how "our" traditions differ from other cultural traditions that came to America. Then I get wrapped up in learning those traditions and I try to practice them myself, because I don't want them to die.

I like to think about what it would be like if my family didn't move here, and if I was a modern Slovak. I follow the r/Slovakia SubReddit just to see what is up over there (sadly, it's a super crazy language so I've never been able to grasp it and half the posts are in Slovak).

I've traced my dad's family back to the Czech Republic and Germany. The same generation (his grandparents) came over as my mom's family. It's interesting too but the two 25% ancestries aren't as interesting as my 50% ancestry on mom's side. I do like to explore what they were doing in Cleveland as well, but I don't celebrate my Czech and German heritage as much at all.

Anyway...it's interesting, and educational, I guess.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:28 PM
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I got an Ancestry kit for Christmas; still waiting on results.

I'm mildly interested in the outcome, because I really have no more idea about my heritage than vague claims that Mom believes we're Scotch-Irish, or she thinks my dad's parents came from Germany, or she heard we have some Indian blood (I could be related to Elizabeth Warren!) My uncle is a bit more into genealogy, but the most exciting thing I learned so far was that my grandfather was born close to where I live now.

So I think it will be nice to have more of a sense of identity.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:49 PM
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Close relatives will share traits but, with a relation more distant than 1st cousin, any similarity is probably coincidence. It still seems vaguely nifty that I'm Brad Pitt's 6th cousin, but I didn't expect to get invited to his wedding!

For me tracing my pedigree is just a harmless hobby, with similarities both to coin-collecting and working jigsaw puzzles, and ó just like those hobbies ó with no real utility. It does help trigger an interest in history. (My ancestor was banished to America after the Monmouth Rebellion, and so on.)
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:22 PM
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I'm also not sure why it matters but it does.

I haven't done a lot of research -- much of our family history's hard to get at due to various wars in the areas we come from; while AIUI the net's made such things easier it's still not high enough on my list to get done. But I find information about the missing bits of lives of family members fascinating, when I do come across some.

Maybe it's because I'm part of the outcome of those lives? If any of those people hadn't lived, or had lived even slightly differently, I wouldn't be here. Maybe some of it's that most of them would have been glad to know (and some of them did know) that descendents, including me, exist? -- and so in both those senses I'm sort of a continuance of their lives, and in some sense our lives are part of each others' lives. For some of those people, especially women whose thoughts, skills, and even names were not recorded, the existence of their descendents is about all the evidence we've got left of those lives.

But I wonder whether the overall phenomenon of such interest is related to the need for members of a social species to know who's related to whom, partly for purposes of mating to limit inbreeding, partly for purposes of trust (though in practice a close relative may be untrustworthy and a stranger might be a person who can be trusted.)
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:33 PM
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I for one don't care at all. If you're dead you're lousy conversation and not interesting to me.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:49 PM
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I think my ancestry is interesting, but it doesn't really matter much. None of us can control the family we were born into, but we can control what sort of person we are now.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:50 PM
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I've never been very curious about it, but we have a few amateur researchers in the family who've tracked this stuff. I did find out a strange pair of coincidences from their work. I'll refrain from saying any names, since I value a little anonymity here.

1. One of my relatives committed a very well known killing. Trust me you've heard about it. In fact, when meeting new folk I occasionally get some version of "I bet you're a good shot, right?"

2. Another relative was a victim of a very well known serial killer. You've heard of him (the killer) too.

In addition to the above coincidences, I found out about another one several years ago. I enjoy the music of a certain popular artist (has quite a few number one hits) and was playing it in the truck on a trip somewhere. My wife (who'd been married to me over 15 years at this point) says: "You know that's my cousin, right?" I'm slack-jawed and stammer something about the name being the same but spelled different. But nope, it's really her cousin, he changed the spelling a bit, and they're even having a ceremony over him in her hometown that weekend. And she didn't think it was really that important. I remember asking her at what point she decided to reveal this -- how many recordings and CDs did I need to accumulate before she thought I might want to know this little nugget?
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:51 PM
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The gossip about my family entertains me as much as the gossip about the Kardashians.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:56 PM
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I can't get interested in it. I don't hold myself accountable for the sins of my ancestors, and I don't hold myself entitled to credit from their deeds. I'm just me, and that starts and ends my self-identity. I am much more interested in who around me shares my interests, and who would undermine those interests. I have between one and two dozen living relatives, four (my three offspring and my brother) I would consider allies. The rest I've not seen in over twenty years, and I really have no idea who is dead and alive. I actually have more non-blood allies. This is what is important to me--to know who will have my back, and whose I will have. I believe tradition is worship of ashes, and that it is inappropriate to defer recognition of blessings for an arbitrary calendar day. So no, I don't give one hot damn about my ancestors. Just my posterity.
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:59 PM
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Not at all, actually. Unless I'm named as the beneficiary to the estate.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:06 PM
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I've never been that interested in my ancestry until recently, when I decided to take advantage of a deal from Ancestry-DNA. My maternal ancestry is pretty well documented; my grandfather was born in the US shortly after his parents emigrated from Italy (actually Sicily, as I found out) and my grandmother was Irish, also of recent emigration. There are plenty of pictures and memorabilia from that side of the family.

My father's ancestry is the puzzle. His father was born in Berlin in 1879 and emigrated in 1901; I never knew him because he died when I was a year old. My grandmother died before I was born, and we always thought she was German but it looks like the town where she was born was actually in Poland. Unfortunately, my father and his siblings never knew (or at least never talked about) their parents' background, which makes trying to locate records more difficult.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:08 PM
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I suspect mine were all human until you go back pretty damn far.

I actually know a lot, my dad being a family history buff. At the same time, charting what is known really highlights how much more we don't know. The chart makes this expanding fan when you look back -- four grandparents, eight great grands, sixteen of their parents, etc. Some of these threads have been traced back to the late 1500s but on the fan those little threads are surrounded by huge empty areas of not knowing / unknown ancestors here and here and here and here, etc.

I have some slaveowners, a few thieves and murderers and attempted-murderers, a man, father-in-law and son who married three sibling sisters, a smattering of soldiers farmers police officers and cabinet makers. Someone up-family married a black partner and was politely ignored henceforth but I haven't established specifically who. Had a great-great-great grandma who used to call out "Yonder comes yore stringy-haired whore" to her son when his girlfriend was approaching the farmstead, which prompted them to move out on their own. There's an alleged native american married into the family also. Some adoptions that may have been a different relative's unplanned and awkward pregnancy transplanted. Some nonadoptions of that same nature.

Mostly Scottish, English, Welch, sprinkles with German and other random European.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:12 PM
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My interest in my ancestors extends back to the point that they set foot in the New World. Where they lived, who they were, and what they did before that, I couldn't care less about.

Unfortunately, this hasn't saved me a lot of time, as preliminary evidence finds that some of my ancestors go back to Massachusetts ca. 1630.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:16 PM
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I wasn't interested in the Civil war until I learned my 3xg granddad fought for the union. Same with the War of 1812 until I found two 4xg ancestors who fought in it. I studied the Revolutionary war with actual interest only when I found out a 5xg forefather actually fought at Bunker Hill. And I didn't really get educated about the Salem Witch Trials until I discovered my 9xg granny was hung for witchcraft there.

So for me, collecting deal relatives sparks my interest in both local and larger historical events.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:17 PM
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To a certain extent, the story of who our ancestors were is part of the story of who we are. That is, the decisions they made (to migrate or not, to have children by this person or that) led to us being born in the circumstances in which we were born. As the focus moves to more immediate generations, we know more details. But it makes sense that "Who Am I?" extends back through "Who are my parents? and "Who are my parent's parents?" to distant generations. In a sense, all our ancestry comes down to a single point: us.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:20 PM
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One statistic that I heard on one of those genealogy TV shows, I think it was the British "Who Do You Think You Are?" is that if you go back around 1000 years, you are almost certainly related to everyone at that time in the areas your ancestors came from who had children. That means effectively being descended from 80% of the people alive in the area at the time. So if you're British, for example, you're probably descended from William the Conqueror and King Harold both, along with a lot of other ordinary people. Some people can document that stuff, most can't. Some of my ancestors were British, so I suppose that includes me.

I suspect that my thinking about this stuff is a symptom of too much time on my hands.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:41 PM
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It would be kind of neat, but I just haven't scraped up the effort to pursue it. So, I guess my answer is, "Not that much."
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:46 PM
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Not really. I got a DNA kit because I was mildly interested in my ethnicity, but I didn't find anything there I couldn't deduce by looking in a mirror.

I'm really only interested in relatives from living memory. People that had a direct effect on my life and my loved ones. I found out I'm a distant relative of Jesse James. Big deal, so are a lot of people. I'd be equally uninterested to know if (for example) I had a penniless nobody shoe cobbler great great great grandfather. He's dead and he doesn't care if I care anyway.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:49 PM
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I'm fascinated by it in broad strokes, although past a certain point, there's not much familial pride, because you're just one of several thousand fifteenth-cousins descended from the same person in 1400. I do like the idea of knowing that my family's from say... northern Germany or western England, or Bohemia, or wherever, mostly as potential connections to historical events than anything else.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:57 PM
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I don't know why I care but I do. My ancestors were pretty much General Issue and nothing special although we did have a habit of popping up in official documents for ----- pretty much just being ourselves. A little nomadic, not really afraid of that much, and generally following the motto of "it sounded like a good idea". Seeing that go back 300+ years just gives me a warm feeling.

Although I do admit the hope of a horse-thief or ax murderer popping up some day.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:06 PM
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... my 9xg granny was hung for witchcraft there.
Hanged. I mean, unless she was one of the rare protogynous hermaphrodite witches. They were frequently hung.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:10 PM
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I wasn't interested in the Civil war until I learned my 3xg granddad fought for the union. Same with the War of 1812 until I found two 4xg ancestors who fought in it. I studied the Revolutionary war with actual interest only when I found out a 5xg forefather actually fought at Bunker Hill. And I didn't really get educated about the Salem Witch Trials until I discovered my 9xg granny was hung for witchcraft there.

So for me, collecting deal relatives sparks my interest in both local and larger historical events.
My experience is just the opposite: learning about local and larger historical events has left me more or less indifferent to my family tree. Which is probably a good idea, since I suspect Iím the sap....
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:10 PM
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I think it's fun to see some of my ancestors and their relatives. One relative of mine was a notorious gangster (they even made a movie about him). Another was a world-famous gynecologist. He was indirectly responsible for my grandfather moving to start out family business: he had divorced my great aunt and she made enough in alimony to support them when they moved.

I've also discovered other things I never know: an uncle who had died at three weeks. My mother knew of him, but I discovered his name. Also my grandmother's real name. And hints that my name may have been changed over time.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:17 PM
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The genealogy part is more curiosity than anything else. Who were those people, where did they live, where did they come from, what was going on in their lives? Then there was the self-challenge - can I find them and how much can be found?

You find some and then you just keep going, but it's amazing how much you learn in the process. Mostly history and local histories and what went on in most people's lives.

DNA leads you to other family members who may have more info, or it leads you to other relatives that you didn't find in your research. It takes you to all sorts of interesting places, which are places you wouldn't have thought interesting in the past. As a plus, I've met some very nice 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins along the way.

As to the ethnic breakdown that has everyone so excited, you have to take it with a grain of salt. This area is in its infancy, it gets changed as new info comes in, and it's only accurate on a broad level. Plus, people have no concept of time and movement. Yes, you may have had 3 generations of ancestors who lived in the UK, but did they come from elsewhere before that?

The broad categories such as "Northwestern European", "Eastern European", "Western Asia", "Eastern Africa" are pretty reliable. But drilling down to, say, Denmark or Thailand, less so.

There is a dearth of Native American reference panels, particularly from the US and Canada. Native Americans simply do not like DNA tests as a group and they don't participate in helping to create reference panels. There is still a lot to be done in Asia with different groups. Right now, there's a lot of lumping in that goes on with Asian DNA.

I worked with a woman of assumed Italian descent who was outraged because her results showed only a small percentage of Italian heritage, but a large percentage of Greek heritage. "We were always told we are Italian!"

Do you think there was a lot of exchange between Mediterranean groups? Do you think they moved around and traveled back and forth? Did your ancestors just spring up in what is now Italy, or could they have come mostly from a neighboring population? How long were they in Italy? Three or four generations? More? What about their spouses?

People moved around, borders changed, plagues and wars displaced people, new people moved into previously-ravaged areas. Ethnicity is a moving target in that regard, so don't get too hung up on it. It will probably point you in the right direction unless you are Native American or Asian, but specificity may not be accurate or may be only partially accurate.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:21 PM
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I find the historical connection to things that are quite distant personally to be fascinating. I discovered that fairly recently ancestors were from an ethnic group I had never heard of: Griko. My own name comes from an ancestor there.

Edit: and since I now see the prior post, the DNA results track the history perfectly and make it quite clear that today's "Southern Italian" was yesterday's "Byzantine Empire."

I find it fascinating what history got remembered (very, very little), what got misremembered (some), and what was forgotten (almost everything).

Last edited by Dr. Drake; 01-16-2020 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:48 PM
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Growing up, both sides of my family had a very robust documented genealogical history. Add to that the fact that my people are long-lived, so there were lots of living ancestors around me. So, it was just part of my upbringing to be aware of the detailed history, who was who, and some of their funny names in the past (Wrestling as a first name?).

As I got older I became aware of the inherited qualities being passed on - seeing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and then young children with similar appearences or behaviors. So, I find caring about my ancestors to be a worthwhile use of my brain space.

Other considerations - I find that I am not able to create children. In a sense, I am the last of a line that stretches all the way back to the first primordial cells dividing in the ooze. Consequently, I only have the past, I don't really have the future.
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Old 01-16-2020, 04:54 PM
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I'd be interested in knowing my heritage if someone could just tell me. Other than that, I don't really care. Mostly Irish, according to what I've been told. Some English, some Swedish as my last name attests. I think my maternal grandmother was born in Ireland, but even if that's true, I couldn't tell you which county.
So if someone were to just spell it out for me, I'd listen; but I'm not gonna go digging on my own.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:06 PM
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There's a persistent family rumor that my father's youngest brother was the product of an affair my grandmother had. This is a scab that no one in the family wants to pick at.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:57 PM
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I care not at all.

One side of my family is LDS, so they were into genealogy before it was cool. I've never looked at any of the accumulated data. I don't care about dead strangers I've never met. I don't even care all that much about the ones that are still alive.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:58 PM
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I'm interested, but not enough to do any deep research. A couple of my cousins - one on each side - did some digging, and one cousin even went back to the town that our paternal grandparents came from in Poland and met some shirttail relatives. I think that's kinda neat.

On the maternal side, my mom's cousin discovered that their grandfather, who we knew died young, was actually killed in prison where he was serving a term for murder. That little story didn't make it into family lore, but Carolyn dug it up.

The main problem is my family tree roots are in Poland - everyone migrated here in the early 1900s, and records over there are sparse, if they exist at all. From what I understand, most records were kept by the local churches, and many of those records have deteriorated over the years. Mostly what I know is I come from peasant stock - no famous anybodies as far as any of us know.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:22 PM
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I like the idea that Iím writing a story of my family. I want to know what compelled them to come all the way to the US. The people who can tell the stories that make it a rich experience are getting old, so I feel a responsibility to document it in case any future generations care. But most of all, itís a bigass puzzle with little mysteries here and there, so I find it interesting.

Besides, how else would we find out that Uncle so and so was in the Purple Gang in the a Prohibition era and that behind my sweet great grandmotherís smile, was a lady who was a bootlegger? Somehow, we arenít all alcoholics.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:35 PM
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The genealogy part is more curiosity than anything else. Who were those people, where did they live, where did they come from, what was going on in their lives? Then there was the self-challenge - can I find them and how much can be found?

You find some and then you just keep going, but it's amazing how much you learn in the process. Mostly history and local histories and what went on in most people's lives.
Pretty much this. I've been doing research since 1998, though I've really tapered off of it in the past couple of years. In the process, I found Mayflower passengers, and Revolutionary War and Civil war veterans, but the more interesting thing was seeing where they lived and the steady progress across the country as territory opened up. My grandkids have used the research for class projects, and I helped one grandson make a six generation fan chart. I doubt that anyone really cares about any of it other than perhaps a passing interest, and I suspect that my file cabinet drawer stuffed full of paper that supports the research will end up in the trash when I'm gone. But it was a fun, interesting and sometimes frustrating hobby.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:58 PM
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And I didn't really get educated about the Salem Witch Trials until I discovered my 9xg granny was hung for witchcraft there.
.
Let me guess....That wouldn't be Rebecca Nurse by any chance, would it Doctor?
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:04 PM
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I'm interested for the history of it. I can trace my father's side to the late eighteenth century, and my mother's side to around 1640. All I have are names and occupations though.

There's a family rumor about a Roman soldier on my mother's side. Cool if true.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:11 PM
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I've also been able to help people search for their own ancestors, and in fact offered to help folks on this message board at one time, since I have an Ancestry membership. I think I was able to find info for some of them, or at least point them in a direction to take.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RingsOfPylon View Post
The genealogy part is more curiosity than anything else. Who were those people, where did they live, where did they come from, what was going on in their lives? Then there was the self-challenge - can I find them and how much can be found?

You find some and then you just keep going, but it's amazing how much you learn in the process. Mostly history and local histories and what went on in most people's lives.

DNA leads you to other family members who may have more info, or it leads you to other relatives that you didn't find in your research. It takes you to all sorts of interesting places, which are places you wouldn't have thought interesting in the past. As a plus, I've met some very nice 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins along the way.

As to the ethnic breakdown that has everyone so excited, you have to take it with a grain of salt. This area is in its infancy, it gets changed as new info comes in, and it's only accurate on a broad level. Plus, people have no concept of time and movement. Yes, you may have had 3 generations of ancestors who lived in the UK, but did they come from elsewhere before that?

The broad categories such as "Northwestern European", "Eastern European", "Western Asia", "Eastern Africa" are pretty reliable. But drilling down to, say, Denmark or Thailand, less so.
Agreed with all of this. I don't actually care, exactly, about my ancestry. I saw a show recently where a man was trying to clear the name of his great-great-uncle who'd been accused of murder and seemed genuinely upset when it turned out that the conviction was likely justified. That's not how I feel at all. It's just that I like history, and researching your personal history is an interesting way of learning more. You get to know more about ordinary people; what was interesting to me was how little my family moved (I've only really researched my father's side).

So I genuinely find it interesting that I am literally walking streets that ancestors of mine from 500 years ago walked - I live about 300m from the last known home of my longest-distant named ancestor - people I can put names to, so know it's not just likely that they walked these streets, but I know it for certain. 500 years of non-movement is not as exotic as being adventurous and travelling across the world, but in a city where everyone assumes there's a lot of movement in and out, it's interesting to discover that, for a lot of working class people, that wasn't true in the slightest.

It does give me a sort of feeling of connection to the place I live. Those big trees, there, that we walk in the shade of, my great-great-great-grandparents walked past when they were saplings.

But if it had turned out that my ancestors had come from all over I'd have liked that too and would have learned more that way as well.
  #40  
Old 01-16-2020, 07:47 PM
The Maple Leaf is offline
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I'm certainly interested in my family history and my ethnic roots. I know a great deal about my background on both sides of my family (ironically, it was my mother who told me much of what I know about my father's ancestors. Let's just say that my father is a man of few words). I grew up in Canada but was born in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and the former Jugoslavia. All my known ancestors would be ethnic Serbs, but not all of them lived in Serbia proper; I have a lot of ancestry in Herzegovina (part of modern Bosnia-Herzegovina) and in modern Montenegro (but not, to my knowledge, of people who would self-identify as "Montenegrin". Serbs travelled around a lot in the past to escape their Turkish overlords and that family line also hails from Herzegovina. My paternal grandfather was born somewhere around 1912 as an Austrian citizen as that part of Montenegro was part of an Austrian crownland, I think Dalmatia, back then, so would have been a subject of the Emperor Franz Josef). Quite a few of my cousins (all distant - my family is not large), however, are decidedly of mixed ancestry in comparison. I think I have a cousin who is part Macedonian; some of my cousins who also immigrated to Canada are part Croatian and I think part Bosnian; another cousin is half British and I believe one quarter of a line of Jewish extraction that has ties to Romania and South Africa. Which brings me to what I would really be interested in finding out one day. Who else am I related to around the world? I have not made this a priority, but one day I would really like to open an account on ancestry.com or a similar website. I wonder if I would end up connecting to someone who I didn't know I was related to?

Also, it would really be interesting to do one of those DNA tests and see if any boodlines apart from "Serbian" could be found. It would not make any difference to my everyday life, but would simply be fun to find out, and then get on with everyday life.

Last edited by The Maple Leaf; 01-16-2020 at 07:49 PM.
  #41  
Old 01-16-2020, 08:53 PM
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Until I lived with my paternal grandmother in 1977 knowing my ancestry was a zero. But listening to her stories about her ancestry piqued my interest. In 1980, after her death, I did a little bit of investigation and determined that my grandmother's Uncle was a Chicago policeman who gave it up to move to Arizona to involve himself in gold and copper mining. I personally have in my possession a stock certificate for 20,000 shares (at $1 per share) of some copper mining company formed in 1903. I also have 100 shares of a gold mining company. If either of these companies exist (I haven't looked), I could be a millionaire. If I could prove provenance.

So yes, knowing your ancestry has some fun merit, if not any value.

Last edited by ASGuy; 01-16-2020 at 08:55 PM.
  #42  
Old 01-16-2020, 11:12 PM
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Not really. I know who my grandparents were. They were just people. I don't have any interest or curiosity to go back further.
  #43  
Old 01-16-2020, 11:21 PM
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Roderick Femm is online now
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Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
I'm interested for the history of it. I can trace my father's side to the late eighteenth century, and my mother's side to around 1640. All I have are names and occupations though.

There's a family rumor about a Roman soldier on my mother's side. Cool if true.
We had two family history legends on my mother's side. My mother thought there was Pennsylvania Dutch (her words, I'm not sure if that's Amish or something else) in her family. Her father told us that he thought we had a native American in our ancestry. Neither of these stories have survived research.
  #44  
Old 01-17-2020, 12:55 AM
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Any interest in who anyone beyond my grandparents were was killed when in my teens, my Dad told me that my grandfather was blackballed by his family. I'm can't remember if it was before or after he immigrated to Hawaii from Okinawa. This was confirmed when I asked my Dad (I think this was before he told me about the blackballing or not) to ask him why he never returned home* and he told my Dad in Japanese. "What for, there's nothing for me there."

The only relative I ever knew of on my paternal grandfather's side was his youngest brother who came to Hawaii despite the family's protests. From what I understand, he was blackballed too. After a while he disappeared and I don't remember is he died or returned to Okinawa.

*Returning home for most early immigrant's was impossible anyway because of the low plantation wages.

In addition, one or both my grandmothers were picture brides, so any contact with their family was lost. I know my paternal grandfather's family is from Yamaguchi prefecture and I think one of my Aunt's visited our relatives there once. My Dad has never said exactly where in Okinawa my grandfather is from, but he did visit family there while to on a business trip to bring back the cremains of his oldest sister, whom he barely knew because she married and moved to Okinawa while he was still very young.

One of Dad's brother's was estranged from the family for the rest of his life after my grandfather refused to attend his wedding because he married a white women. He moved to New York and when my Dad couldn't locate him when my grandmother died, he said he's either in jail or filthy rich and it didn't matter because he obviously didn't want to be found. One of his daughters finally meet with my Mom (Dad passed way in the 90's) and my sisters about a decade ago, since he told her she could contact the rest of the family after he died. He did and she did.

So yeah...as far as I'm concerned, whether my ancestors were filthy rich or in jail means absolutely nothing to me.
  #45  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:05 AM
mbh is offline
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
9xg granny was hung for witchcraft there.
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Hanged. I mean, unless she was one of the rare protogynous hermaphrodite witches. They were frequently hung.
So, does "hung for witchcraft" mean it had a pentagram tattooed on it?
  #46  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:21 AM
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well my family was german indian mixed with irish and polish and among the first settlers in Indiana and Michigan

the Michigan branch was formed when one of the 2 brothers decided to run off with the local indian princess of what would be Kokomo Indiana one day the got as far as what would be Niles Michigan

the other brother stayed there ....due to t exhaustive paperwork I can prove I'm related to oh 60 percent of both areas believe me there are places where people with the same last name but not related have gotten grief over the 6-8 last names in the family tree

we are known for being farmers preachers outlaws or general hell raisers (or all of them at the same time) oh and the occasional sheriff who mostly spent his time arresting the aforementioned relatives beleive me im known as one of the few thats never been arrested for anything .......

Last edited by nightshadea; 01-17-2020 at 01:22 AM.
  #47  
Old 01-17-2020, 02:02 AM
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... "You know that's my cousin, right?" I'm slack-jawed and stammer something ... how many recordings and CDs did I need to accumulate before she thought I might want to know this little nugget?
Some people don't seem interested in their family tree. My great-grandmother was a prominent woman but neither her son (with whom I was rather close) nor her grand-son (my father) ever mentioned her. Her father (my gt-gt-grandfather) was prominent enough to serve as a U.S. Congressman, but I'd have never known this without pursuing genealogy. My father's 1st cousin, whom I last met in the late 1960's when he was a student at Stanford, became C.E.O. of a Fortune-500 company but we'd never know that except for my sister tracking him down for her genealogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
The chart makes this expanding fan when you look back -- four grandparents, eight great grands, sixteen of their parents, ...
So you know the names of your seize quartiers! Very few people do. I worked on my genealogy for years before completing my seize quartiers. It turned out that the last hold-out came from a rather prominent family. (It's through her that I'm a distant cousin of Teddy Roosevelt.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
My interest in my ancestors extends back to the point that they set foot in the New World. Where they lived, who they were, and what they did before that, I couldn't care less about.

Unfortunately, this hasn't saved me a lot of time, as preliminary evidence finds that some of my ancestors go back to Massachusetts ca. 1630.
You're fortunate that you don't care about the ancestries of these early English colonists. About 95% of the pedigrees you'll find on-line for them are fake!
  #48  
Old 01-17-2020, 02:58 AM
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I've never understood why it's cared about enough by enough people to support an entire industry. My god! I could not be less interested.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 01-17-2020 at 03:01 AM.
  #49  
Old 01-17-2020, 03:04 AM
don't mind me is offline
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Everyone in my immediate family and my mother's extended family knows that Granddad's mother was full-blooded Native American. We each also know that she was of a different tribe than everyone else thinks. My brother thinks we're Mescalero Apache because he's big into macho stuff. I know we're really Seminole because that's just a cool-sounding word.

NOTE: I have utmost respect for First Nations peoples and their heritage. I'm making fun of us whiteys.

Last edited by don't mind me; 01-17-2020 at 03:05 AM.
  #50  
Old 01-17-2020, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
So I genuinely find it interesting that I am literally walking streets that ancestors of mine from 500 years ago walked - I live about 300m from the last known home of my longest-distant named ancestor - people I can put names to, so know it's not just likely that they walked these streets, but I know it for certain. 500 years of non-movement is not as exotic as being adventurous and travelling across the world, but in a city where everyone assumes there's a lot of movement in and out, it's interesting to discover that, for a lot of working class people, that wasn't true in the slightest.

It does give me a sort of feeling of connection to the place I live. Those big trees, there, that we walk in the shade of, my great-great-great-grandparents walked past when they were saplings.
I feel envious of you. I think I'd be much more interested in my family history if it gave me that sense of place. But my parents left their home region (Suffolk) before I was born, so i feel little connection with there, or the place I grew up, as my parents had left their hearts in Ipswich.

So whilst a few people in my family have traced our lines back about 500 years, the fact that most of my ancestors were farm labourers and dockers in a distant county doesn't get me very excited.

And I LOVE history.
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