Week 30: #52 Ancestors – Easy
By Eilene Lyon
Decades ago my paternal grandmother, Reatha Halse, gave me some ancestry information. It included a Halse-Drake-Murphy collection of family trees. Cousin Earl Drake compiled all these descendants from our immigrant ancestors for several generations. Handy dandy!
Her bundle also included a pedigree for her Crandall line, back to Elder John Crandall of Westerly, Rhode Island. An additional sheet went back from Elder John to Charlemagne. Wowsa! I’m descended from royalty. Way cool!
My maternal grandmother got in on the act, too. Clare “Bobby” Smith gifted me with her handwritten pedigree charts and other materials. They didn’t go back all that far. Ho hum. She included a fat typewritten transcript of letters from the California gold rush – extremely tedious reading, all those “thees” “thous” and names of people I’d never heard of.
But at least none of this required any work on my part. Right?
When I got more serious about my family tree, I made contact with a distant second cousin of my mom’s. “Distant” in the sense that no one ever heard of this branch of the family – heck, Mom doesn’t really know her first cousins hardly.
Forest sent me a floppy disk with 750 people on my maternal tree – Bonanza! What could be easier than dropping a GED file into Family Tree Maker? Add Daddy’s tree from Earl’s paperwork et víolà!! So simple. Child’s play, really.
Then along came Ancestry.com. Hey! All these other people have trees I can steal copy from and now I’ve got thousands of ancestors and relatives. Ain’t. It. Grand?? My work here is done. Ta da! Easy peasy.
As I was basking in the glory of my brilliant, shiny new family tree, I started exploring. Ya know, just to learn a bit about all these fab new ancestors of mine. Wait a minute…this whole Charlemagne thing was debunked years ago?!
Um. Are all these people really related to me?? Maybe I’d better start taking a closer look at all this information…