Monday, February 4, 2013


What I Learned at the Family Tree Center

This past weekend my husband and I went to Utah where there are bunch of Mormons. Those guys are super into genealogy because a lot of people died — like, the majority of people made on Earth so far — before Mormonism happened, so they go back and retroactively save their kin who missed out on the good word. But, of course, they must know who those people were in order to ask for their salvation, so they do genealogy. (Click that link up above for a better explanation.) I'm not quite sure why they want to help everyone else trace their family histories for free at these little touristy-looking places called Family Tree Centers, but it seems to have something to do with mission work and saving even more souls. And it was kind of the most fun I've had in a long time?

When you first walk in, there's this family tree — no, the first first thing you notice when you enter the one in Park City, which is the only one I've been to so it's possible this is in all of them, is a giant fake tree "growing" up through the floor in the middle of the room. After that you notice a huge family tree chart hanging on the wall of the lobby which shows how Winston Churchill, Richard Nixon, FDR, The Bushes, Gerald Ford, and... wait for it... Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma Hale, all had a common ancestor in Henry Howland. The lone male who was working there, an older gentleman, came up to me while I was looking at it and said, "Henry had nine children. Isn't it amazing that all of these great people descended from one man?" I thought about it and pointed out that it wasn't that surprising — nine kids really ups your chances! Plus, some of them were among the first white people to come over here. "See," I said, "one of his kids was even on the Mayflower," to which he nodded, turned, and walked away. Then I felt like a jerk. But it was interesting to look at because people in that family tree had some fun first names, like Zoeth and Jabez. 

Then we met this pretty Australian Mormon lady, Sister Haisila. My husband asked if that was her first name because it was cool it and it turns out she was adopted by her Tongan stepfather, and when you're a Mormon missionary you go by "Sister" followed by your dad's last name. This forthrightness of hers was quite appealing. Then she asked if we'd like to discover some of our ancestors. When they do your family tree here, they use old-looking, buggy PCs (but I'm a Mac, so they all look old and buggy to me! *zing*) to search a million census records, death indexes, ship manifests, and even elementary school yearbooks — which creeped me out — on sites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, plus a bunch of other ones. I didn't think to ask which of those sites the Mormons owned, but I did ask, "So, the gist is that you'll help us search using your subscriptions to these sites for free?" and she said "Yep!" Meaning you could get this same info at home, but in my case, it turns out I'd have had a pretty hard time figuring out which search terms are helpful and which of the million results to click on and threads to follow. Also, it'd cost kind of a lot of money. (It might be worth it, though, because then you could save high resolution images of the ship manifests and have them printed and framed. They are very cool-looking, torn edges and all. She gave us printouts, but they are almost unreadable.)

So, when Sister Haisila asked if we were interested in trying it, my husband was like "Sure!" because he's got some skeletons in the form of anonymous dead people in his family tree closet. I, on the other hand, felt somewhat disinterested because I have a pretty full tree in my head already since no one in my family has ever stopped talking about each other since the beginning of time. Also, I personally knew my great-great Grandma Nellie who lived to be 102 and died when I was 11. Seriously, you guys, I've had (boring) conversations with a person born in 1887. But I went for it anyway based on what I know about Nellie and here are some new fun facts we found:

– Nellie named her two kids AFTER HER OWN PARENTS, WTF?  (Clarence and Agnes.) Who DOES that? I'll tell you who...

– Everyone, back in the day. Nellie's husband, William, was named after his mother, Wilhelmina. (How embarrassing.) Wilhelmina and her husband, August, named William's brother August. Then they had another kid named Lizzy after who-knows-who, but probably definitely another close relative.

– For a second I thought August had a first wife named Minnie who died, because her name showed up on one search, but then we figured out "Minnie" is a nickname for Wilhelmina.

– The 1910 Census taker in Venice Township, Michigan was illiterate. Not one name in my family, first or last, was spelled correctly that year. This is a bummer because it creates a bunch of new records and makes it really hard to keep tracing your history.

– My family has pretty much DOMINATED a good stretch of this one rural road since the late 1800s. In your faces, other families on that road!

– Details of U.S. Census records are released every 72 years — to protect the dark secrets of the living, I suppose — so last year the 1940 census came out and it didn't really reveal anything exciting about my family, but I thought that factoid was fun. They should probably change it to every 82 years, though, seeing as how everyone is living longer these days.

– Most passengers arriving in Baltimore from Prussia on the May 1873 voyage of the Gutenberg were named Wilhelm, Wilhelmina, Bertha, August, or Carl.

Luckily, we were the only people in The Family Tree Center that day, so they let us futz around for quite some time. When we were done they asked if we would like to watch an 11-minute video presentation in the basement. We politely declined and they were very relaxed about letting us leave with all of our free printouts in a nice-looking folder.

Photo: That's William in the suspenders. Nellie is seated to his left holding either Clarence or Agnes. 

82 Comments / Post A Comment


My grandmother's mother's family owned about a whole block of houses for a while. We sold the last one when we moved to the suburbs 21 years ago.

My mom's been doing a lot of research recently, but the most interesting bits for me have been reading my great-grandmother's journal and her account of going to Belgium to help reestablish the silk factories after WWI and the random newspaper articles referencing my family. My favorite has been a two-parter concerning my great-great grandfather kicking his mother in the stomach during an argument.


How do you kick someone in the stomach? Especially if you are presumably the shorter party? You had a skilled great-grandfather.

I also have some entertaining forebears, like the one whose application for a disability pension is on file because he got conscripted to fight WW1, was riding in a transport train car that was open-roofed (or on top of the train?) when the train went through a tunnel and he failed to duck. Oops.


@harebell Well, the first article was something like:
"During an argument in which he kicked his mother, Mrs. F------, in the stomach, Mr. Thomas F------ was held in jail with a bail of $500."

The second article:
"Mr. Thomas F----- called the paper in regards to the article posted on [x date]. He told us that his mother was yelling at him, and when he remonstrated, she attempted to throw a lamp and him, and he kicked it out of her hand. Also, Mr. F----- would like it known that his bail was $200, not $500 as previously noted."


This is a really good@n


So I saw this post's title on Twitter and clicked over because I thought "how cool! tree centers for families! so, like, learning all about dendo-whatsits and firs (not furs) and rings and climbing and treehouses and shit!" but then I realized I am an idiot.

Also, family trees can be really cool, but it bums me out that the Mormons do it for the baptizing reason, and not simply because of cool history reasons. Especially for us Americans who don't really have the same sense of ancestral history as lots of other people? (not all Americans, of course, but enough...) I was totally amazed when my grandma went to the Mormons to get a tree done for her 80th birthday as a gift for her kids before she died (she was kind of morbid like that) and it turns out one of our ancestral roots actually arrived in Boston before the War. I honestly thought my family were all part of the muddle of German and Irish immigrants in the mid to late 19th century. (It doesn't help my knowledge much that my other set of grandparents grew up in north Fla and south Georgia, and I've lived here my entire life, so I don't even know my Pennsylvania/Ohio relatives hardly at all.)


I love genealogy! I researched my family history pretty extensively a few years back and discovered that:
- one of my relatives killed her brother with an axe to his head while he was sleeping because he inherited their home and she really wanted it. With an axe. Crazytimes.
- basically my last name is a lie because some 150 years back my ancestor was given the last name of his mother's husband who had been dead for three years before that. No one can figure out who the real father was.
- like Jane said, there were basically ten first names which kept circulating in the tree for years and years. And everyone was named after their grandparents.

Since I live in a country with a population of 1.3 million, everyone's related anyway, so it kind of ruins the discovery of being related to someone of importance. Then again, gives the opportunity to discover that you're fifth cousins twice removed with someone you just met.

ms. alex

I was a bad Mormon and had zero desire to do any family history work.

ms. alex

@ms. alex Well I guess that's not 100% accurate. I was a bad Mormon for lots of reasons (I guess technically I still am since I haven't had my name removed, blah blah blah), and there was one cool thing I learned when my arm was twisted into doing a bit of family tree-ing as a teenager: I have an ancestor named Alvaretta Ferozine. How great of a name is that!

Blackwatch Plaid

"Clarence Blethen, who had false teeth and would put them in his back pocket when he was running the bases, only reached base once in his big-league career — in 1923 with the Red Sox. He slid into second base that day, and the false teeth took such a big bite out of his posterior that he was removed from the game because of excessive bleeding."

My best genealogy moment was finding out that I'm directly related to this guy. That and a serial kidnapper- such a quality gene pool.


I don't know a ton about my family tree, but I DO know that my Dad's family for sure dominated most of a county road, because the neighbours kept marrying each other. (I am eternally grateful for switching schools and not hitting puberty with some of the kids I went to kindergarten with, because I was distantly related to about half of them).


@Megano! My friends who have been dating for 4 years just found out they're 3rd cousins. (Or second cousins once removed? One of those things.)


@meetapossum Just like Liz Lemon and Mariska Hargitay's extremely attractive tall husband!


@meetapossum Haha, that's why all my boyfriends in hs were internet bfs from other countries, and then my college bf was from a town like 4 hours away.


@Megano! That's the weird part! They're from two completely different parts of the country. Fortunately they think it's hilarious more than gross.


jealous! i want to do mine so bad! both of my grandma's came over from ireland as babies and i want to dig into that. i want to know where i got olive undertones in my skin!

my husband has a super detailed one from his dad's family but they are rraccciiiissstttt, so i generally thing of them as being something people do who don't want to mix.


@LeafySeaDragon The best rraccciiiissstttt family trees are the ones where a section of the tree is just...gone. Wiped out, scratched out, dead ended. We're not part-Black if we've disavowed all knowledge of it! Apparently my partner's Texans-all-the-way-down family tree looks like this in places.


@LeafySeaDragon And now I'm thinking of Sirius Black's family tree with all the basted-off branches.


@hopelessshade lol exactly! my husband was not added onto his official family tree until he had a (boy) child because my mil is half native american. and while they are not thrilled that i'm (mostly) irish they are thrilled that my kids don't look "native". :/ which is just garbage, but i have to laugh about it.


@hopelessshade because of the comment i got right before your i kept thinking black as in 'house of black'!


Those guys are super into genealogy because a lot of people died — like, the majority of people made on Earth so far — before Mormonism happened, so they go back and retroactively save their kin who missed out on the good word.

:( :( :(

okay I know this is not the main point here, and the genealogy stuff is fascinating, especially the names (Wilhelmina!), but. But. I am so profoundly uncomfortable with this part. Posthumous baptism, even of your own ancestors, seems so presumptuous to me! Like, how you can know what your dead ancestors wanted spiritually?

Plus, the Mormon church has what I would describe as a nasty and incredibly tacky history of going back and retroactively "saving" my personal kin, specifically the ones who were slaughtered in Germany/Poland/Ukraine/the Baltics during WWII. And who were very uninterested in non-Jewish faiths.


@stonefruit I'm not Mormon, but from what I understand it's kind of a posthumous optional baptism. Like, when they baptize a dead person, that dead person's soul is given the option of either converting or sticking with their previous religion.

ms. alex

@stonefruit It's very "we've got this figured out and our way is the best," which totally sucks when half your family is like "no way in hell are you doing this for me" and the other half of the family is like "we need to go to the temple a bunch and save our dead ancestors! Including you when you die, because we love you and know what's best for you. Families can be together forever!"

Also, technically, the idea is that the dead people can still choose whether or not to accept the baptisms that have been done for them, so that kind of helps but not really because people sort of assume that of course the dead people will accept it, so let's keep baptizing everyone. And turn a blind eye when people get overexcited and do work for people they're not related to, because that's against the rules.

Yaaaay, religious family. I clearly have a lot of feelings about this...


@MilesofMountains, @ms. alex Okay, but, like ... what if the dead person doesn't want the option? I mean, I am well aware that there are many religions that don't exist yet and that may not exist for centuries to come. I'm still quite happy with the one I've got, thanks for asking.

I guess proselytizing in any form just hits me precisely the wrong way. Not to be the resident humorless Jew or anything.

ms. alex

@stonefruit I didn't make the rules, I left the church. ETA: I think the church has a lousy system for this stuff.

I dislike proselytizing as well. I was actually called the other day by Mormon missionaries. That was fun.


@ms. alex I've also heard that Mormons are very interested in genealogy because they were concerned with inbreeding in their small, sometimes isolated communities - true, not true? I have heard of this in Amish/Mennonite communities.

ms. alex

@MoxyCrimeFighter I actually hadn't heard that before, but I guess it's possible. Especially with polygamy ~100 years ago. That's not a lot of time to diversify the gene pool, even if the majority didn't practice it.

Several years ago my husband accidentally dated a distant cousin (both were Mormons in Utah at the time). Oops!


@stonefruit Oh, I still think it's totally rude, but I find the idea of missionaries being able to bug you even once you're dead to be a bit less horrifying than forcibly converting dead Holocaust victims.


@MilesofMountains oh for sure. FOR SURE. I would assume that there were a great many dead Holocaust victims who also weren't interested in any other, heretofore-uncreated religions, though, so my comment would apply to them as well.


@stonefruit Seriously. If I'm dead, and I still have to hear "HEY FRIEND, HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS?!" I'm going to flip the fuck out.


@MilesofMountains Good grief, yes. A few years ago an evangelical Christian approached me while I was waiting at a commuter rail station for a friend, and asked me if I read the Bible. Heh. Every Saturday, good buddy, all year long until we get to the end and then we start again from the beginning!

(When I explained that I was Jewish, he said, "Oh, are you one of those Christian Jews? I think they're called Jews for Jesus?" ... It wasn't the most productive conversation, let's say.)


@stonefruit Actually they're officially forbidden from doing that anymore! Notice went out last year from the LDS governing board thingy officially forbidding them from submitting the names of Jewish Holocaust victims for baptism. I don't know if that actually stops them from doing this, but it sounds like they're taking it seriously now.

fondue with cheddar

@ms. alex Distant cousins are totally not a big deal, though. My understanding is that it's even up for debate whether first cousins are a big deal as far as inbreeding is concerned. But anything past that is not really a concern aside from the purely mental ickiness factor.

ms. alex

@fondue with cheddar Ah, well, most people in Utah/Mormonism feel about as awesome about hooking up with their first cousin as you do. Most people.

fondue with cheddar

@ms. alex NOOOOOOOO I don't feel awesome about it! I do not want to bang my cousins and I'm not advocating it! I'm just saying from genetic standpoint, cousins don't stand much of a chance of having problems associated with inbreeding. Unless their parents are identical twins, anyway.


@stonefruit In my mind, that's not even the weirdest part. The truly skin-crawling fact is that (at least in the church I grew up in) the people who are physically baptized to retroactively baptize the dead people are the church youth groups. Seriously, whole buses of us were carted off to Salt Lake every year to get dunked on behalf of dead people who had avoided becoming Mormon during their time on earth.

Like Ms. Alex, I have lots of feelings about this as well, many of them revolving around the concept of taking on someone else's karma and having made a really, really big and wrong decision on behalf of probably hundreds of people due to being a teenager and wanting to please all the Mormon adults around me. It's ridiculously screwed up, and the last time I went, I saw how screwed up it was in epic, freaking out kinds of ways, which was the beginning of my break with the church. (I am fine now, except for resentment over all this past ickiness, really!)

ms. alex

@fondue with cheddar Heh, yeah...I admit that that bit was a jab at someone that I went to high school with, and eloped to a different state to marry her cousin (both Mormons).

ms. alex

@fondue with cheddar Also I have the worst sentence structure ever. Please don't take away my BA in English.


To answer your tag question, yes. Yes I am.

Nicole Cliffe


Jane Marie

@Nicole Cliffe waiting on a Company Eggs recipe post...


Is it weird to be named after a grandparent? My father's parents died well before my parents met, so my brother and I are named after Dad's parents.

(Or did I misunderstand Jane's question?)


@RosemaryF Yeah I never thought it was weird to be named after a grandparent. In fact, had I had a girl rather than a boy, she would have been named after my mom (her grandma). What? My mom has a cool name!

the roughest toughest frail

@RosemaryF I'm named after my grandmothers! I think recycling names was A Thing with my dad's family: he's named after his father and his sister is named after their grandmother. His cousins were named after their own parents, so there were two Margies and two Phils.

I would love to do a family genealogy, since my dad's side is the complete opposite of Jane's, in that no one ever talks about the past. It's a shame, too, since the little bit I can piece together is pretty juicy.


@RosemaryF We have name switches in my family. My mother's middle name is her mother's first name; my middle name is my grandmother's middle name; my cousin's middle name is our great-grandmother's name; my uncle and his father had variations of the same first name, but different middle names. I've thought about using my grandmother's name if I ever have a girl. It's a nice name!



No, I don't think it's weird at all. There are so many Juniors and Tads and whatnot. I think Jane was more surprised at the much smaller pool of names given, and that it was so much more common to reuse names like that?

My sister is partly named after our grandfather, and my brother is named after my dad's bachelor uncle. I was supposed to be named after a great-aunt except then my 19year old mom had a fit of '80s-fangirl in her pregnancy and failed me terribly. (I've never, ever liked my name - momma even tells stories about 3-year-old me refusing to answer to it, or telling everyone to use a different name. But this is beside the point entirely.)


@RosemaryF I'm named after my grandmother, but I come from a culture that still actively names kids after grandparents. My first cousin also has the same name, because she is also named after my grandmother.


@RosemaryF In the Ashkenazic tradition, you can be named after anyone so long as they're dead. In the Sephardic tradition, it's the opposite XD

fondue with cheddar

@ghechr There are a lot of Pats in my family, on both sides. My maternal grandmother is Patricia, and her second (why not first, IDK) daughter is also Patricia. On my dad's side I also had an aunt named Patricia. My paternal grandmother is technically a step grandmother, but she and my grandfather had a son and named him Patrick. Patrick had two kids; his son's middle name is Patrick and his daughter's middle name is his wife's name. My brother is the third in line with the same name, and he was like OMG ENOUGH ALREADY and named his son something else.


"I have a pretty full tree in my head already since no one in my family has ever stopped talking about each other since the beginning of time" made me laugh out loud, because oh yeah, that's my mom's side of the family alright.

Also, August! I love the name August, you guys, and I'm pregnant and I totally wanted to name it August (Or Augustus, my grandfather's name) if it's a boy but my husband hates it. So no dice. And this has been my requiem for the name August. But genealogy is pretty great for finding obscure relatives to name your potential babies (dogs/cats/guinea pigs) after.


@TheBelleWitch I too love the name August/us.

My red-headed grandfather's name was Rufus. My next red merle Australian shepherd or ginger cat is def getting named that.


@TheBelleWitch Augustus and Augusta run in my family too! I love Augusta, but I feel like it's too connected to the town in Georgia.


This reminded me of the really cool genealogy one of my relatives did a couple years ago - unfortunately, there aren't really a lot of good stories, but it does go back to 1655, and explains that our last name probably means "moneyless" because in the 1800s, when people had to choose last names for tax purposes, they were all poor farm workers.

Also Cornelius is a really common Dutch name, to the point that my grandma Cornelia had a brother named Cornelius.

lasso tabasco

The coolest thing I've learned about my family tree is that I am directly descended from this lady! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Fones

Theda Baranowski

My mother named all of us from her family tree. For instance, my brother is named after a random dentist third cousin once removed (or something, I am totally making that up) who lived in Ohio during the nineteenth century. My first name was going to be Ella, but she thought I'd get teased for it, so I got the original Ella's middle name, which happened to be the second most popular girl's name of my birth year. My sister got Victoria as a middle name because she was born on the Queen's birthday, and my parents replicated Queen Victoria's birth announcement for hers.

In short, my parents are nerds.


My ancestors, on both sides, have been in NoAmer since the 1700s for two super-non-venerable reasons. On the Anglo side: g5? grandfather was sent to a British penal colony for theft. On the Italian side: the lesser son of minor nobility got caught messin' around with somebody else's wife and had to skip town/country/continent.

And while I've chickened out of all shoplifting opportunities and am loyal and faithful, it might explain a certain restless rootlessness.


@laurel It is so, so cool to know that kind of thing about your ancestors, rapscallions though they may be!


Oh, my mum is so into this it's crazy. She's gone back as far as about 1700 in her family.

BTW the Mormons own familysearch.


I tried to evangelize the Mormon missionaries and must be on some kind of list now. "Have you read the other book? The Bible?" They don't come near our neighborhood. The neighbors are really grateful. And yes, I do believe that all the massively lucrative genalogy sites on the internet are Mormon owned.

I love genealogy because well-behaved relatives rarely leave paper trails (i.e. court records/documents). I've got a boat load of colorful characters in my closet.


Family trees are fun. I have one for my mum's side that goes back to the late 18th century; most of my ancestors seem to have been from Lancashire/Cheshire and been cotton weavers and labourers and so on. (Despite the fact that my parents met at the other end of the country, my dad's family is from that area as well, and his surname is a typical Lancashire one, so apparently I am that on both sides.) Not as exciting as my boyfriend, though, who is related to various Empire-building types (Governor-General of India, Governor-General of Jamaica) and descended from Edward III.

Nicole Cliffe

NEVER follow a [fill in blank here] to an extra presentation in a basement.



a) When my great-whatever-grandfather was being murdered by Native Americans in his front yard, my great-whatever-grandmother told her two sons to go hide. One hid under an upturned washbasin while the other hid inside the potato cellar. The two branches of my family are now delineated between the Spud and Tub Stegalls. We sound like the Beverly Hillbillies' next door neighbors.

b) When my great-something-aunt was proposed to by none other than Jack Daniels. As he had yet to make his fortune, she turned him down and married a guy in the oil industry. They moved out to New Mexico, until six months later the state took over the oil industry and they went broke. Sad trombone sound. I always wonder if she drank her sorrows with..Jack Daniels.

c) My great-something-grandfather lost one leg and one arm - on opposite sides of the body - during the Civil War. He was thereafter known as "Uncle 'Tump" by the town's children. He was well-known, partly because he was still capable of riding a horse. One day he came across a lady in a carriage whose axle had broken while crossing a river. Always the gallant gentleman, he hopped off his horse, hopped to her carriage, helped her onto his own horse, and hopped beside them all the way back to town.

d) And then there's my great-aunt the serial killer!

baked bean

@Diana Holy shittttt way too many cool stories for one family!


@Diana Is it weird that I'm kind of jealous of your family history? I'm pretty sure most of my family stories are just lies that all southerners tell, like that we're related to Jefferson Davis.

Nicole Cliffe


baked bean

Love family history!

My great-great-great grandpa on my dad's side fought for the Union in the Battle of Stones River. He was shot in the head and was left for dead. The tale says that an "indian" took his shoes... but that is probably not true, it was probably another soldier. Anyway, he survived but was blind for the rest of his life. A blind farmer. My great-great grandpa was born after the civil war, after they moved to the farm that my parents still own today.

On my mom's side, my great-great-great-great-great grandpa fought in the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolution. He also signed the Tennessee Constitution! That's right, y'all. His name is right on there. Anyway, a generation later the family moved to KS, I'd like to say because of not agreeing with the Confederacy.

My great-great-great-great-great-great grandpa on my mom's side (other dude's dad) came over from Ireland. They were Scottish and Presbyterian and one of the sons was killed (Protestant-Catholic battles?) and the rest of the family came to America.

Carrie W.

In defense of the proselytizing Mormon missionaries, they don't like knocking on the doors of complete strangers, either. One guy described it as "an awkward moment that lasts two years".

ms. alex

@Carrie W. It's true, from the return missionaries I've talked to. And the mission experience is what started a lot of people to become disenfranchised from the church. There's, unfortunately, a lot of missionaries who are quietly suffering.

(Now that I've brought down the mood with that...)


So... I think I'm also related to Henry Howland and the rest! My great-uncle used to have a family tree that traced us back to three guys on the Mayflower, and John Howland was definitely one of them. He fell overboard on the voyage to America (and lived, obviously).

Are any Pinners related to me?


@discombobulated Wait I am, through John Howland! I'm not a Howland, but my grandmother is! John Howland's falling off the Mayflower story is my favorite, but here's an even better one: he came over as an indentured servant, which sucked, but he survived the winter and his master and mistress didn't. So he married their daughter and inherited everything. XD

Umm, you miiiight be able to find that family tree again, we've got a pretty well documented family history... there's literally a level of a barn devoted to it.


@discombobulated I'm related to you! I'm a Howland descendent, on my dad's side, and then on my mom's side I'm descended from a leader of that place. What's-his-name. Can't remember... Google help me out... WILLIAM BREWSTER! but on my mom's side. Crazy!


@discombobulated Yes! Me. I mean, near as I can tell? Things got dodgy with my great-grandfather using names not his own, but I think I got it straight. And honestly, falling off the Mayflower is totally something that seems like my family.


@discombobulated I mean, we're pretty much ALL related to Genghis Khan.


" I have a pretty full tree in my head already since no one in my family has ever stopped talking about each other since the beginning of time"...this made me chuckle. :) Also, the name August is so great!


I did my family's geneology a couple of years ago. We're very old American, and some of the names during the Appalachian years of one branch of the tree were amazing. Apparently, they were pretty stoked about Australia back in the 1800's, so there were plenty of cool names for a couple of generations: Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, etc.


Oooh! Genealogy is some crazy shit!
I work at a state archive and it's pretty much keepin' us in business. We had a celebrity (Christine Applegate) sighting recently because of that show Who Do You Think You Are? I only saw her ponytail though.

Family fun fact! My great grandfather worked on the railroad. One day his foot got run over by the train and they took him to the hospital. They told him he had to have his foot amputated but he didn't like the sound of it so he just left. Luckily he didn't die of gangrene, but he just limped the rest of his life.

fondue with cheddar

@rallisaurus Badass!

fondue with cheddar

My family has only been in the US for a few generations, before that they were from Germany and Ireland. One of my distant relatives did a family tree several years ago, and the most interesting person was a world-class equestrian. No skeletons or juicy stories!


"I have a pretty full tree in my head already since no one in my family has ever stopped talking about each other since the beginning of time" hahaha this reminded me of my family so much!


I really have no exciting stories in my family tree, except one of my great-grandfathers owned an ice cream company and I totally blame that every time I barrel through a pint at an embarrassing rate.


My great-grandfather came to Iceland during WW2, married my great-grandmother, had my grandmother, moved them to his farm in Kissimmee FL, they divorced and she moved back home. He never remarried and was an only child. I sometimes wonder if Disney owes me millions in land values, but probably not.


Story time:

I have a long-ago ancestor named Nathaniel, who was married to a woman named Hannah. They had a son who was named Nathaniel, then a daughter named Hannah - after which Wife Hannah passed away. Husband Nathaniel remarried. Son Nathaniel and Daughter Hannah both passed away as young children. Husband Nathaniel had another son and daughter, who he named Nathaniel and Hannah.

Weird/funny/godspeed to the second wife.

Also, I am related to Peregrine White, who was born on the Mayflower and lovingly documented by the Hairpin in 2011 here: http://thehairpin.com/2011/11/why-dont-you-name-him-peregrine

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