Monday, November 17, 2008

Genealogy


Two decades ago when I asked my father for family history since I had developed an interest in tracing my ancestry, he replied, "I was laid as an egg on a fencepost by a jaybird, hatched by the sun and blown away by the West wind." Further, he made it clear that he had no interest in looking backward into the generations that preceded us. Finally, he went to his file cabinet and pulled out a manila folder which contained two sheets of paper, telling me I could have it. This turned out to be a sketch of the research that one of my aunts had done and which gave me a starting point. From there it was to the library and the IGI on microfiche. Genealogical research bug had bitten me.


Someone once told me that one didn't want to look too far up the family tree, lest he find someone hanging there. This is virtually inevitable for most of us since our interconnectedness is bound to hitch us to the good, the bad and the ugly. Somewhere back in the branches of my tree I have found Frank and Jesse James; but I have also found Dolley Payne Madison, so President James Madison occupies a place in the family tree ("Husband of third cousin six times removed.")

This hobby leads to many fascinating stories, some of which are verifiable and some of which are questionable, or at least lack substantive proof. I like this one. My ten-greats grandfather was killed by my ten-greats grandfather.

John Woodson came from England to Jamestown in 1619, where he was ultimately killed by Opechancanough in one of his raids on the settlers. Woodson came to the "New World" to make a life for himself and his family, whereas Opechancanough was attempting to preserve the only world he had ever known. Fortunately for me each had offspring and two of them got together somewhere down the line. This is one of the tales which is reliably recorded.


Have you taken a shot at your family history?

4 comments:

Vee said...

Some branches of the family make one proud. Jesse and Frank James - not. Dolley Payne Madison - yes.

Daniel said...

That's pretty neat (in a morbid sort of way, I guess) about your 10x great-grandfathers. That's wild!

hoosier reborn said...

I think I just came to your blog for the first time, Vanilla. This is a great story. I too am buried in my roots..imagine that!

Kurt

vanilla said...

Welcome. Drop in any time.

David