Recently, a couple of my siblings began tracing our family roots on various, Internet ancestry sites. My youngest brother took it further with a more extensive search of our lineage. He sent the results to all the siblings in the form of a beautiful, frame-worthy copy of this large family tree. The printed genealogy we were sent, branches out through seven generations of relatives, most of whose names I’d never even heard until now.
We grew up knowing that Mom’s family was mostly Irish and that Dad’s was primarily English with some Danish in the mix. So it was interesting to discover that we actually have quite a bit of Scottish blood in our ancestral soup. In fact, there seemed to be even more Scottish than Irish. Humph… what do you know?
The genealogy we received also included a side bar listing thirteen of our more well-known, distant relatives. The list included Grover Cleveland, which we already knew (although he is a bit less directly related than we thought). This next part though is where, in my opinion, the list takes a slight turn toward wonky town. For example, I was very surprised to discover that we are related to both Robert Roy MacGregor (aka Rob Roy) and to William Wallace (aka Braveheart). I was also impressed to find that our list of kin did not only include the rabble-rousers. According to this research, our lineage boasts several famous explorers, one Scottish king and three English kings.
Uh, what now? All these guys – really?
Famous progenitors aside, this ancestry search my brother commissioned has me questioning what this all means. Does knowing more about our origins (the names of our ancestors anyway) change who we are in the world or how we feel about ourselves? Or is it just a curiosity?
How many of you have taken the time to trace your genealogy, or do you even want to? If you did look into it, were there any surprises? Did the results answer any lingering questions for you?