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MercurialCannibal

Who Are We Anyway: Tracing Our History

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For me it's not the end result neccessarily, it's the digging. Once you get a little ways back, records become harder to find and verify, you have to make some educated guesses on where to look or what leads to follow. It can be very rewarding to finally verify something you've suspected was right for years but could never quite find something to confirm it.

I admit, I do get a little invested in the stories of my ancestors, but that's because I spend a lot of time with these names and find hints and snippets of their lives in documents like wills, birth and death records, newspapers, etc. If you're just looking at a final list of names that someone else put together, I understand why it's not that compelling.

Lany - my mom always believed she had Cherokee blood a few generations back. Turns out not to be true in the least.

You aren't alone. I taught American History in rural North Carolina and got so tired of the whole "I am 1/32nd Blackfoot!" "I'm 1/128th Lumbee." Extra annoyance when used in any sort of discussion where they were trying to identify themselves as some sort of ethnic minority.

Anyway, I find genealogy fascinating and would love to stumble onto a famous ancestor or some glorious accomplishment by my family. Unfortunately, being the offspring of two native born Germans, who themselves were offspring of members of the NSDAP/BDM/HJ, the stain is too close for me to feel comfortable really exploring my family's past. I know that my grandmother's brother was in the Hitlerjugend, and worse I know some of her older relatives were in the Sturmabteilung.

My wife's brief foray into the genealogy craze ended abruptly upon finding out that her family didn't simply own slaves, but was apparently quite active at the Old Slave Mart in Charleston, SC. We both agreed that ignorance might well be bliss.

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In elementary school I was told by the First Nation councillor that I am related to Louis Riel. I assume she had some proof of this, but unfortunately I never asked and haven't been able to find any evidence of such one way or the other. Though I admit I haven't tried terribly hard, haven't really had any reason too.


Edited by TrueMetis

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I'm a total bitza - Pom, Irish, Indian, French, German, Italian - who knows what else. Tracing it would be a nightmare - and then you have to add my wife's input to our children and considering her father never knew his biological mother or father - no point. One of our boys is dark haired and eyed with olive skin and the other is light eyes, hair and skin - and yes, I'm pretty sure we made them both :D

I saw a documentary about trying to trace the genetically oldest human they could (whish I could remember the name) - it turned out to be some villager in a central European country and a lot of populations, like European, Asian, American Indian and Australian aboriginal had all sprung from that genotype/area over the last 80,000 years or so.

Edited by ummester

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I too have been into ancestry. I've been doing ancestry.com for years. I started searching for my husband as it was easier. There's not much Spanish (from Spain) material which has been translated. The oldest US Census you can find dates to 1850. To find older ancestors you have to be creative. There's a lot of info in military, birth, marriage, and baptismal records. These records often list parents and even grandparents. I've had to look at some in French! I recently did the Ancestry.com DNA test. It was on sale for $89 dollars. I have read that this one gives you the most bang for the buck. The Nat Geo one is more expensive, but it does tell you both matrilinear and patrilinear lines specifically. At close to 800,000, Ancestry.com has the most participants.



I took the test out of curiosity. The first thing that interested me was to find out if I had Jewish ancestry as I have a Sephardic last name. The second was to see if an old story about an ancestor was true. It was said that he had sailed with the Cortez group to Mexico, married an Aztec woman, and their children eventually made their way to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Indeed I have traced them back to the Dominican Republic. All of my family members, all of them, come from Spain. The ancestry test told me that I had no Middle Eastern ancestry whatsoever. That made me sad for some reason. It also told me that I did have Native American DNA. Sadly, it doesn't tell you where from specifically. That made me excited! The big shocker to me was that I wasn't 99% Iberian as expected, but I was only 27% like those who are native Iberian. I was 37% like native Greek/Romans, and 20% IRISH!! Not English or Scottish, but Irish from the Island. I thought that maybe these Irish people made their way to Northwestern Iberia, and Betanzos, the small town in Galicia where this guy joined Cortez' hordes, sailed to Mexico, married an Aztec, their offspring ended up in Puerto Rico, and THAT is why my grandfather had red hair. As red as can be.



We all want to belong. Whether it's through ancestry searches or family stories or just by being in a family, no stories necessary. The point is that we all come from somewhere else. That's what I find interesting.


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I have ordered the test as well. I am quite excited to take it.



Like Gert, it is the digging that I enjoy. I want to know what happened, what did they do, how did they react.



I'm not 100% sold on the info I posted earlier. Problem being the marriage information of my John Proctor. His birth and death dates & parents line up, but the marriage taking place in England doesn't. Did he leave MA after his father was hanged and all their property confiscated? He would have been 24, so this is possible. But that is what I want to know. The woman he married seems to be only a name, no other information at all.



And now I want to know what happened to all of John Proctor Sr's descendants :lol: how do you come back from that much loss, not just of the father and property but of the reputation as well? Who marries their children into this cursed family?



it's not about names on a chart, it is about the stories.

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This is pretty much how I feel.about genealogy- my grandma spent a decade doibg a detailed family tree.and wheni look at it I can appreciate it, but I'm mostly thinking..... Who gives a shit? Probably makes me an ass but I can't seem to muster up.any interest in it. And I love history, but I'm just not that into caring at all about someone I've never met.

Well, it can be fun trying to dig up old embarrassments? Even a brief overview of my ancestry gives to hand that "shotgun marriages" was par for the course in my lineage. I just wish they'd document stuff like alcoholism, criminal activity, cheating with Other Family Members (oh those rumours of who my dad's real father is) and people who did terminally stupid shit as well, cos then it would be most interesting reading.

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I too have been into ancestry. I've been doing ancestry.com for years. I started searching for my husband as it was easier. There's not much Spanish (from Spain) material which has been translated. The oldest US Census you can find dates to 1850. To find older ancestors you have to be creative. There's a lot of info in military, birth, marriage, and baptismal records. These records often list parents and even grandparents. I've had to look at some in French! I recently did the Ancestry.com DNA test. It was on sale for $89 dollars. I have read that this one gives you the most bang for the buck. The Nat Geo one is more expensive, but it does tell you both matrilinear and patrilinear lines specifically. At close to 800,000, Ancestry.com has the most participants.

I took the test out of curiosity. The first thing that interested me was to find out if I had Jewish ancestry as I have a Sephardic last name. The second was to see if an old story about an ancestor was true. It was said that he had sailed with the Cortez group to Mexico, married an Aztec woman, and their children eventually made their way to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Indeed I have traced them back to the Dominican Republic. All of my family members, all of them, come from Spain. The ancestry test told me that I had no Middle Eastern ancestry whatsoever. That made me sad for some reason. It also told me that I did have Native American DNA. Sadly, it doesn't tell you where from specifically. That made me excited! The big shocker to me was that I wasn't 99% Iberian as expected, but I was only 27% like those who are native Iberian. I was 37% like native Greek/Romans, and 20% IRISH!! Not English or Scottish, but Irish from the Island. I thought that maybe these Irish people made their way to Northwestern Iberia, and Betanzos, the small town in Galicia where this guy joined Cortez' hordes, sailed to Mexico, married an Aztec, their offspring ended up in Puerto Rico, and THAT is why my grandfather had red hair. As red as can be.

We all want to belong. Whether it's through ancestry searches or family stories or just by being in a family, no stories necessary. The point is that we all come from somewhere else. That's what I find interesting.

Remember though that the Greeks and Romans colonized the shit out of the Iberian peninsula. So finding Greek and Roman isn't too shocking and the Visigoths were there for quite a long time. And the Aztec confirms the Native American part I guess.

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Well, it can be fun trying to dig up old embarrassments? Even a brief overview of my ancestry gives to hand that "shotgun marriages" was par for the course in my lineage. I just wish they'd document stuff like alcoholism, criminal activity, cheating with Other Family Members (oh those rumours of who my dad's real father is) and people who did terminally stupid shit as well, cos then it would be most interesting reading.

Yeah, this is the problem :P All the juicy bits get left out! We've got a possible bigamist on my mother's side - a sailor who had a wife and child in England, met a girl on the boat to Australia and by the time the ship landed she was pregnant, had another three kids with her, went back to England after seven years, his wife had another child (no idea whether it was his or someone else's), came back to Australia, had another two kids with the girl from the ship, grew old with her, told everyone they were married even though no one has been able to find any trace of either a divorce or remarriage. That's just what you can find from official documents - imagine all the colour which has been leeched out of that story!

Edited by Arkhangel

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Yeah, this is the problem :P All the juicy bits get left out! We've got a possible bigamist on my mother's side - a sailor who had a wife and child in England, met a girl on the boat to Australia and by the time the ship landed she was pregnant, had another three kids with her, went back to England after seven years, his wife had another child (no idea whether it was his or someone else's), came back to Australia, had another two kids with the girl from the ship, grew old with her, told everyone they were married even though no one has been able to find any trace of either a divorce or remarriage. That's just what you can find from official documents - imagine all the colour which has been leeched out of that story!

That's amazing! :lol: The opportunities lack of telephone lines and the internet afforded cheaters and bigamists were so different back in the day.

The only stuff I really know about is that my mum strongly suspects that my grandfather is not actually my dad's real father, but that he is the offspring my my grandmother and one of my grandfather's brothers. My mother's side on the other hand almost certainly has not only a convicted criminal and a pirate, but since it was such an extreme embarrassment to that side of the family, it's likely the child was born out of wedlock. So not only did one of my ancestral grandmothers have a kid with a known criminal, she either cheated on her husband to do so, or shagged him while unmarried. Way to go. :p

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I too would love to know all the juicy gossip of my ancestors. Only thing I really know of any interest is one of my great uncles was a famous Welsh medium who was good friends with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I was only so excited because like others said above I had the name from my father and I had to do some digging and it was really fun to find old medium journals and accounts and even a photograph (!!) of him.


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That's amazing! :lol: The opportunities lack of telephone lines and the internet afforded cheaters and bigamists were so different back in the day.

The only stuff I really know about is that my mum strongly suspects that my grandfather is not actually my dad's real father, but that he is the offspring my my grandmother and one of my grandfather's brothers. My mother's side on the other hand almost certainly has not only a convicted criminal and a pirate, but since it was such an extreme embarrassment to that side of the family, it's likely the child was born out of wedlock. So not only did one of my ancestral grandmothers have a kid with a known criminal, she either cheated on her husband to do so, or shagged him while unmarried. Way to go. :P

As to criminals, sometimes Google is all you need. The newspapers back then were so much into sensationalism that they told everything, including addresses of witnesses! Regarding your ancestral grandmas, "if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with!" You go girl! :)

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As per typical, I'm boarding while intoxicating. Someone above mentioned a test, is there a link to sign up? Apologies if I skimmed over it.



My Irish grandmother always told me as a child that the only two thorough breds in my family were her, 100% Irish, and my father, 100% Polish. From what I recall, her husband was half German, though both of his parents met in Ireland, and they met in NYC, I think before WWI.



And on my father's side, I know his mother's father came to Ellis Island from Danzig, which may or may not indicate he was actually German by nationality/birth, though since he lived to be 95, I know first hand he identified as Polish. And recently my dad was digging into things and said that one of my great grandparents was actually Lithuanian (which seemed to still be considered Polish about 100 to 150 years ago, based on my reading of Kozciusko's biography) and another came from southern Poland. I think that means I'm descended from people in all three parts of Poland's partition (german, austria, russian). Which I like somehow.






I'm not sure about Norman DNA bit. The Hiberno Normans were pretty widespread across Ireland and fairly well assimilated prior to any real movements away from Catholicism either in Ireland or the rest of the UK. I can think of a couple or Irish people I know off the top of my head with definitely Norman surnames who are Catholic.





Right. The Plantagenents were messing around in Ireland for almost three hundred years before Henry VIII split from Rome.






12'5 % of your genes come from your great-grandfather, so you should have about a 12'5 % of his markers, but by chance you could have received a lesser amount.





But by chance you could also receive a greater amount. Not to mention that you could also receive the same gene from any one of seven other great grandparents. Not everyone will read that as you only have 12.5% of genes in common with your great grandfather, but I suspect a lot of people will make that assumption.





As to red hair, the earliest known reference to red hair is Gilgamesh. Redheads apparently lived in Mesopotamia.





It's possible, but it's also possible that the translation is inaccurate. There is probably some percentage of Iraqis today with red hair that don't have recent northern European ancestors (it being recessive and all), but that percentage might be several digits to the right of the decimal place.





Did she ever say what led her to believe there was Cherokee in the family?





Maybe she's related to Sen Warren?


Edited by mcbigski

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I just wish they'd document stuff like alcoholism, criminal activity...

Those can be sometimes be easily found. Several of my ancestors have cirrhosis of the liver listed as their cause of death on their death certificates. I also found another two on prison lists in Ireland in the early 1800s.

I personally enjoy researching my ancestors because it combines history, researching and libraries, and maps. That and I'm just amazed at how much information is available now. I never expected to be able to do more than hopefully find my ancestors on a boat coming to the USA. None of them had any property before they immigrated, I never hoped to learn more because I couldn't imagine there would be any records of them. But thanks to the Griffiths Valuation taken in Ireland in the mid 1800s, I've been able to find most members of my family there and place them on the plots of land they were living on before they immigrated. Similarly, Polish Catholic records have amazingly survived for the area my ancestors came from and I've been able to learn what villages they were born and married in.

The other thing I've loved is finding proof for my grandparent's stories. Before they died, when they were in their 90s, I sat them down and got all the oral history I could out of them. Some things seemed rather random and I couldn't have expected to find anything more about them. For example, I was told one branch of the family immigrated and lived in Manhattan until one day a black man was chased through their shop and they packed up everything they owned and got on a barge and moved to Princeton, New Jersey. ?????? Umm yeah. Except in doing research I found their barber shop listed on a Manhattan business directory from 1860. In doing further research, I learned they were right next door to Brooks Brothers. And further research got me reading about the NYC Draft Riots of 1863 during the Civil War in which there was much violent and many blacks were chased through the city and attacked. Brooks Brothers manufactured uniforms during the Civil War and it was ransacked during the Draft Riots. Suddenly the story I had been told made complete sense. There have been numerous incidents like that with their stories and finding evidence for them and I'm so grateful that they knew so many of them and so many names to tell me. Piecing everything together has been so enjoyable because its so much fun to use them as a stepping stone to learn more about history, events, and locations that shaped their lives.

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Those can be sometimes be easily found. Several of my ancestors have cirrhosis of the liver listed as their cause of death on their death certificates. I also found another two on prison lists in Ireland in the early 1800s.I personally enjoy researching my ancestors because it combines history, researching and libraries, and maps. That and I'm just amazed at how much information is available now. I never expected to be able to do more than hopefully find my ancestors on a boat coming to the USA. None of them had any property before they immigrated, I never hoped to learn more because I couldn't imagine there would be any records of them. But thanks to the Griffiths Valuation taken in Ireland in the mid 1800s, I've been able to find most members of my family there and place them on the plots of land they were living on before they immigrated. Similarly, Polish Catholic records have amazingly survived for the area my ancestors came from and I've been able to learn what villages they were born and married in.The other thing I've loved is finding proof for my grandparent's stories. Before they died, when they were in their 90s, I sat them down and got all the oral history I could out of them. Some things seemed rather random and I couldn't have expected to find anything more about them. For example, I was told one branch of the family immigrated and lived in Manhattan until one day a black man was chased through their shop and they packed up everything they owned and got on a barge and moved to Princeton, New Jersey. ?????? Umm yeah. Except in doing research I found their barber shop listed on a Manhattan business directory from 1860. In doing further research, I learned they were right next door to Brooks Brothers. And further research got me reading about the NYC Draft Riots of 1863 during the Civil War in which there was much violent and many blacks were chased through the city and attacked. Brooks Brothers manufactured uniforms during the Civil War and it was ransacked during the Draft Riots. Suddenly the story I had been told made complete sense. There have been numerous incidents like that with their stories and finding evidence for them and I'm so grateful that they knew so many of them and so many names to tell me. Piecing everything together has been so enjoyable because its so much fun to use them as a stepping stone to learn more about history, events, and locations that shaped their lives.

I love this kind of story. Are you on Ancestry.com? I would love to gets some tips from you. How did you find about the Griffiths Valuations? Do they also exist for Scotland? That's where hubby's ancestors came from. :)

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I love this kind of story. Are you on Ancestry.com? I would love to gets some tips from you. How did you find about the Griffiths Valuations? Do they also exist for Scotland? That's where hubby's ancestors came from. :)

I use ancestry.com but I don't have an account there. There is a research library near me which provides access for free to it as well as a lot of other genealogy related websites. They have librarians on staff who specialize in such research and one of them pointed me in the direction of Griffiths Valuation. It was just for Ireland although perhaps something similar was done for Scotland in the 19th century? I don't know but could ask next time I am there.

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I use ancestry.com but I don't have an account there. There is a research library near me which provides access for free to it as well as a lot of other genealogy related websites. They have librarians on staff who specialize in such research and one of them pointed me in the direction of Griffiths Valuation. It was just for Ireland although perhaps something similar was done for Scotland in the 19th century? I don't know but could ask next time I am there.

Thank you my love. I live in a small town. I'll phone the library to see if they help with ancestry searches. :)

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You could try googling a last name of you or relatives to see if anybody is doing a project.

We found a relative who was building a tree with DNA of males in our line. This was around 2005. We found the grave of presumably the first of that line to come to America. Born 1742 dued 1817 Most of these projects have moved to the message boards at ancestry.com, if there are any of your relatives doing a genealogy project it will most likely be on there.

For Americans, if you have white relatives you have a good chance of going back pretty far.

My known native american and Black relatives were pretty much dead ends.

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My grandmother and grandfather, Neills, and both Scottish immigrants with roots in Northern Ireland, always told me stories of an ancient Irish ancestor who raced his brothers to an island in order to win a crown, and that "the first man to touch the island would be king." One of the boys, Niall, was lagging behind and cut off his own hand and threw it on the island, thereby winning the crown. This was the origin of the Red Hand of Ulster, and the man was Niall Noigiollach, or Niall of the Nine Hostages.



Also managed to track down some early 1800s Northern Italian ancestry, as well as some English and Welsh back to the 1750s. My English surname that I carry is of Anglo-Norman origin so it is difficult to say whether I descend from Normans that immigrated to England, or from Saxons who may have adopted a "Norman" surname. And my Welsh relatives may have descended from Norsemen, as indicated by their surname Osborne, which derives from Asbjorn.



Are DNA tests expensive? it'd be nice to do one and find out more.


Edited by Maelys I Blackfyre

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I have sent back my DNA test and I am excited to see the results. I have no documents proving who my grandfather is, just family stories.



Andrew Jackson (Danbury, CT, not a former president :P) around aged 35 abandoned his wife and kids to run off with my teenaged grandmother and changed his name to Harold Miller. Everyone in town (where they settled) called him "Indian Jack" (you have to wonder how one gets Indian Jack out of Harold John Miller)



Of course I have learned that he wasn't Native American at all, after we were raised believing we were, was pretty disappointing.



I am hoping for any connections in the Jackson family tree, of course finding a 1st cousin would be awesome (or would it be something else since we only share one grandparent, not 2?), but I'm not getting my hopes up that high. Back in the mid 90's, in the early days of AOL I saw a woman on the genealogy pages who was looking for her father, who matched the description of my grandfather. I was sure she was my aunt and PM'd her with the story of my grandfather and invited her to strike up a conversation to see if he was the same man, but she never responded. She would be older than 90 now, if she was still around, but I'm hoping any children or grandchildren might be on ancestry (someone has been working hard on their trees) and also have done the DNA


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