“It’s 2020 - do you know where your great-great-grandparents are?” -Author Unknown
“Just as the highest branches of the tree draw nourishment from the deepest roots, we each are a product to some extent of those who went before us.” -Oscar Hammerstein III
“Saving your family’s history may be work, but it’s worth it. Children who know their origins have an advantage over the others. They know who they are, what they are, why they are, and where they’re headed. Children who understand all of that are the richest kids on earth.” -Stephen and Janet Bly
So one day you are working on your family tree, and you notice that some branches connect more than once, and then you realize your family tree has branches that connect with other people’s family trees, and then you realize that all humans are related to each, all dogs are related to each other, all ducks are related to each other . . . even the rocks and bugs are all related . . . and everything in the Universe is connected to everything else . . . wait, now you’re starting to think like some lunatic who has been bitten by the quantum physics bug . . . you have to stop doing that and just go back to working on the family tree!
“Genealogical Theory of Relativity: If you go back far enough, we are all related.” -Author Unknown
Being Creative with Troublesome Kin. You are working on your family genealogy and for sake of example, let’s say that your great-great uncle, Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. A cousin has supplied you with the only known photograph of Remus, showing him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture are the words: “Remus Starr: Horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison, 1885. Escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged, 1889.” Pretty grim situation, right? But let’s revise things a bit. We simply crop the picture, scan in an enlarged image and edit it with image processing software so that all that is seen is a head shot. Next, we rewrite the text: “Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and close dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1885, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he played a vital role in an investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.”
“The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.” -Mark Twain
“I used to have a life, then I started doing genealogy.” -Author Unknown
The Lincoln Family, the family of American President Abraham Lincoln, is no more. When Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith passed on, he was the end of the Lincoln family lineage. Abraham Lincoln had one child, Robert Todd Lincoln, whose children were Mary, Abraham II, and Jessie. Abraham II, the only son, passed on at the young age of 16. Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was Jessie’s son by her first husband, Warren Beckwith. Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith passed away on 24 December 1985. He was the last living Lincoln descendant. This means there are no descendants of Abraham Lincoln alive today.
“I’m searching for myself in the family tree - have you seen me?” -Author Unknown
“Always remember that being descended from a hero or a sufferer or a leader does not make you great. You will have to put forth your own efforts in life to earn whatever you are to become.” -Author Unknown
“What do you mean, my grandfather didn’t have any children?” -Author Unknown
8 gr grandparents
16 gg grandparents
32 ggg grandparents
64 gggg grandparents
128 ggggg grandparents
256 gggggg grandparents
512 ggggggg grandparents
1,024 gggggggg grandparents
2,048 ggggggggg grandparents
4,096 gggggggggg grandparents
8,192 ggggggggggg grandparents
16,384 ggggggggggg grandparents
32,768 ggggggggggggg grandparents
65,536 gggggggggggggg grandparents
131,072 ggggggggggggggg grandparents
262,144 gggggggggggggggg grandparents
524,288 ggggggggggggggggg grandparents
1,048,576 gggggggggggggggggg grandparents
2,097,152 ggggggggggggggggggg grandparents
4,194,304 gggggggggggggggggggg grandparents
You have a lot of work to do.
“I want to find all of them! So far I only have a few thousand.” -Author Unknown
Ocupsyshun - sencus taker: “I am a cencus takers for the city of Bufflow. Our City has groan very fast in resent years and now in 1865, it has become a hart and time consuming job to count all the peephill. There are not many that can do this werk, as it is nesessarie to have an ejucashun, wich a lot of pursons still do not have. Anuther atribeart needed for this job is good speling, for many of the pepill to be counted can hardle speek inglish, let alon spel there names!” -Author Unknown
“Adding a new cousin a day to the family tree keeps the boredom away.” -Author Unknown
“As any genealogist will tell you, all humans are relatives of each other. If anyone tries to tell you they are not related to ‘certain other people,’ ask them, “So who is the alien from outer space, them, or YOU?’” -David Hugh Beaumont (born 1966)
“My hobby is genealogy, and I also raise dust bunnies as pets.” -Author Unknown
“This sad little lizard told me that he was a Brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is in short supply.” -Robert Heinlein (Robert Anson Heinlein (1907 - 1988)): “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” (1978)
Benjamin Franklin stated that he was the fifth son of the fifth son, going back five generations in his family. Unfortunately, a quick check of his genealogy does not bear this out, so even with the most respectable people, we must verify their statements.
“I looked up my family tree . . . and my nutty uncle was sitting up there laughing at me.” -Author Unknown
Due to the scarcity of ink for writing or for some other reasons - we are half-joking about this - some given names, or first names, were once commonly abbreviated, as shown in the following examples.
- Charles: Chas
- George: Geo
- Thomas: Thos
- William: Wm
- Can you think of other names that were once commonly abbreviated?
“Roots allow us to withstand storms.” -Author Unknown
“The man who has nothing to boast of but his illustrious ancestry, is somewhat like a potato - the only good thing is under ground.” -Thomas Overbury (about 1581 - 1613): as quoted in John Ireland: “Letters and Poems by the Late Mr. John Henderson” (1786)
Actor Humphrey Bogart and royal family member Princess Diana are seventh cousins.
“I’m not stuck on genealogy, I’m ancestrally challenged.” -Author Unknown
“Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” -Author Unknown: as quoted in “The Bible,” ‘Joel,’ chapter 1, verse 3
“So, you are busily and eagerly compiling information on your ancestors, and not making a complete set of information for yourself and your living relatives . . . leaving the generations that will come after you in the same situation with regard to you that you are in with regard to your ancestors. Seems a little unfair to place this burden on posterity, so why not get busy right now putting together some information about yourself, your immediate family, and your close and distant living relatives, to leave to posterity . . . to make their lives a little richer?” -David Hugh Beaumont (born 1966)
“Genealogists live in the past.” -Author Unknown
“There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.” -Helen Keller (Helen Adams Keller (1880 - 1968))
“I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.” -Rodney Dangerfield (pseudonym of Jacob Cohen (1921 - 2004))
Every family has one. No one is sure how to explain quite how it happens. He or she can make you question yourself as well. They are just a little ‘different.’ Maybe eccentric or odd. That person is the Family Historian, also known as Amateur Genealogist.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was related to five other American Presidents by blood and six by marriage.
The following was overheard at a recent ‘high society’ party. “My ancestry goes back all the way to Alexander the Great,” said Christine. She then turned to Miriam and asked, “How far back does your family go?” “I don’t know,” replied Miriam, “All of our records were lost in the flood.”
“Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.” -Voltaire (pseudonym of François-Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778))
“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the Earth abideth forever.’ -Author Unknown: as quoted in “The Bible,” ‘Ecclesiastes,’ chapter 1, verse 4
“A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.” -Author Unknown
End of a line: The last descendant of the prolific musical Bach family passed away on Christmas Day of 1845. No more do they walk the Earth.
“Genealogists are time unravelers.” -Author Unknown
“Everyone has ancestors and it is only a question of going back far enough to find a good one.” -H. K. Nixon (Howard Kenneth Nixon (1927 - 2009))
“To a genealogist, everything is relative.” -Author Unknown
“It is heartrending to read the entries in many an old family Bible - the records of suffering, distress, and blasted hopes.” -Alice Morse Earle (1851 - 1911)
“Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.” -Author Unknown
“It is indeed desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.” -Plutarch (about C.E. 46 - C.E. 120)
“The greatest thing about man is his ability to transcend himself, his ancestry, and his environment, and to become what he dreams of being.” -Tully C. Knoles
“The cheapest way to have your family tree traced is to run for public office.” -Author Unknown
Riddle: Margaret and her female relatives got together for lunch. Present were 1 great-grandmother, 2 grandmothers, 1 great aunt, 4 mothers, 3 aunts, 3 first cousins, 4 sisters, 6 daughters, 4 nieces, 4 granddaughters, 1 great niece, 1 great granddaughter and 2 first cousins once removed, making a total of 7 people! How could the total be correct?
Solution: Those present included Margaret; her daughters Patricia and Marilyn; Patricia’s daughter Tracy; Marilyn’s daughters Megan and Kimberly; and Megan’s daughter Rachel.
“I think that I shall never see a completed genealogy!” -Author Unknown
“I climbed my family tree, got stuck in it, and can’t get down!” -Author Unknown
“Isn’t genealogy fun? When you find the answer to one problem, it leads to two more!” -Author Unknown
“My family tree is a few branches short! Any and all help appreciated.” -Author Unknown
The Laws of Genealogy
- Copies of old newspapers have holes, which occur only on last names.
- No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was never sued, and didn’t leave a will.
- That old photo of four relatives carries the name of the three who are not your ancestor.
- The 37 volume, 16,000-page history of your country of origin is not indexed.
- The critical link in your family tree is named ‘John Smith.’
- The keeper of the vital records you need will have just been insulted by another genealogist.
- The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.
- You learned that great aunt Matilda’s executor just sold her life’s collection of family records to a flea market dealer “somewhere in New York City.”
- Your great-grandfather’s obituary states that he passed on and left no records.
“Genealogy is like playing hide and seek: They hide . . . I seek!” Author Unknown
“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.” -Shirley Abbott
“Genealogy: Tracing yourself back to better people.” -Author Unknown
Is it time for a family reunion, including close relatives and distant relatives such as fifth cousins?
“Now that I’ve found genealogy, will I ever find time to mow the lawn again?” -Author Unknown
“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” -Author Unknown
This is MFOL! . . . and we intend to trace our ancestors back to the very beginning . . . more fun ahead . . .