Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Enduring Annals

"However humble may have been the condition of those who fled to New England, in its primeval and savage state, to found a land of freedom of thought and action, their names will occupy a proud place in history which is yet to be written, and ungrateful must be that descendant of those founders who will not in some way aid to rescue their names from oblivion, that they may be engraved upon the tablets of enduring annals."

— G. S. DRAKE.

I found this quote on a website that traces my paternal grandmother's family name. I don't know who G. S. Drake is, but I think I understand his sentiment. On that website I found my grandmother's name, neatly outlined in a family tree that traces back to ancestors who came to America in 1591.

This same side of the family is cataloged in OneWorldTree, a division of Ancestry.com that pulls common family trees together. I found my grandmother there, and hit the little button that says "find famous relatives."

Then I fell out of my chair.

Famous relatives? I've got them.

  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Samuel Adams
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Georgia O'Keefe
  • Mary Baker Eddy
  • Two signers of the Declaration of Independence
  • 6 U.S. Presidents
  • Elizabeth Browning
  • Jack London
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Isaac Newton
  • Lucille Ball
  • Nathanial Hawthorne
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Bette Davis
  • Norman Rockwell
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Robert Frost
  • Gregory Peck
There are also a half-dozen first ladies (not by virtue of their relation to the presidents mentioned above, but true relatives with a common ancestor to me), and a serial killer.

Of course, of all of these, my kids were most interested in the serial killer. His name was Joe Ball and he's suspected of disposing of the bodies by feeding them to his alligators down in Texas.

This is only one branch of my family tree. My mother's side goes back to 1389 and a little church in England. My paternal grandfather goes back to the mid-1700s in Denmark.

I am absolutely caught up in this project right now. And to the lovely gentleman named Ebenezer at the top of the page? I just want you to know that you are not forgotten.

8 people stopped folding laundry to write:

The Mother said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teresa aka MarieSews said...

WOW! Ancestor hunting is so much fun. Surprising what one finds in one's history.

JamaGenie said...

Hate to be a party pooper, but now the fun begins: starting with yourself and working back, proving you're actually related to each of those famous people.

I'm guessing you do have several famous relatives, but maybe not the ones you mention here. Many of the family trees posted online (and even at Ancestry.com) are more wishful thinking than fact.

Threeundertwo said...

Actually I did start with myself and work backwards with extensive documentation for each generation.

Elizabeth said...

That is absolutely amazing! What an impressive bunch of relatives! I wonder if we're related (lol). I might just have to look into that.

Goddess in Progress said...

Too much fun! I love doing family tree stuff.

Dena said...

I'm with your kids - I'm one of the sickos that would be more interested in the serial killer! LOL!
I love ancestry stuff. We found out my maiden name is actually a misspelling! My great how many ever grand mother changed our last name because when her husband went into the Civil War they misspelled his last name on his paperwork, well after he passed away, the government wouldn't send his wife his checks anymore because the last name was different. So she changed it so she could keep getting the checks! Kinda interesting. I don't know about famous people though. That would be really fun to find out!


My family is not into tracing ancestry, unfortunately. However, my husband's family is amazing!! They were founders of USC, Long Beach, have a long history that dates back to Ireland - there is even a castle and a golf course with their name! In Western Oklahoma, there is a cemetery with dozens of my husband's family members. I love the rich history I married into. It awes and amazes me.

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