Friday, November 21, 2008


I am a woman of many loves. No, no - not like that. Hobbies. I love hobbies. I have so many hobbies that it is hard to keep up.

The thing about my hobbies? I jump into something I enjoy with both feet. And then the fun fades and I flit to another hobby.

But over the years, I have one hobby that keeps me returning. Genealogy.

I was bitten by the genealogy bug 17 years ago. Give me an overgrown cemetery with the suspicion of dead relatives being buried there and I will crawl through every poison ivy vine to get a rubbing of each and every headstone. I can even explain relationships - you know 4th cousins 3 times removed, etc. Interested?? I'll be glad to explain it!

If I start talking genealogy to most of my family, their eyes tend to glaze over and the occasional bit of drool will slip out. My tree contains over 4700 individuals. Some of it is "proven" with official documents to back up each relationship. Some is not. But I don't care - I know what is official and what is not.

There are some things you need to research your family tree.

First, you must have patience with your research. There are lines that I have searched for years and never made any progress on. Vol Fan is interested in his paternal line. I have him, his dad, his grandfather, his great-grandfather, his great-great-grandfather and then nothing. I have searched and searched and searched. Nothing. It's like the man fell out of the sky.

You must also have patience with family. My aunts are convinced we have "Indian" blood because "Mother said we did". I have yet to find any record of a Native American. I'm not saying that Grandma was wrong. I'm just saying that I haven't found the proof yet.

Third and probably the most important, you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. You never know what you might turn up.

My great-great-grandfather was a real winner. He was convicted of raping his own daughter. Lovely man to be related to.

But George Washington is my 1st cousin, 7 times removed. Yes, the George Washington. Father of our country.

I am 6th cousins with George H. W. Bush and 6th cousins, once removed with George W. Bush.

I am 2nd cousins, 4 times removed with James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok which according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society makes me 10th cousins, twice removed with Barack Obama, the president elect.

The line that connects my tree with the Bush family is the same line that connects my tree with the Obama family. Which would make the current President Bush related to President-Elect Obama. Funny, huh?

Are you my cousin, too?


Busy Bee Suz said...

SOOOOO cool. I love it.
I started mine about 10 years ago. Made some headway, then lost it ALL.
I have an aunt that has worked tirelessly for years on it, I plan on just taking hers!
Bush, Washington, should have your own bedroom in the White house!!!!
BTW, I DO have native american in me.....on my Grandmas side, their is direct relations to Pocahontas tribe. cool right? John smith....not so much.

Desert Survivor said...

That's so cool! It sounds like really interesting research to get to know your relatives better. And who else might turn up to be your relative!?

Desert Survivor said...

p.s. Incredible Woody, You're in the top three for my photo caption contest--the one with the most votes gets the $25 gift certificate (so if you're reading this comment and want to support Incredible Woody, head over to and vote for her entry).

The Incredible Woody said...

Suz - How lucky are you to have someone doing your family tree!! That is really cool about the tribe of Pocahontas.

Desert - It really is alot of fun. It has opened my eyes into history too. I love to try to imagine how their lives must have been during the Civil War or the Revolutionary War or sailing into New York Harbor at the turn of the century!

Desert - PS I really love the "Alice" caption!!

Grandma J said...

I've been doing my paternal tree for about ten years. It was actually easier than I thought because a book was researched and written about my family going back to the 1500s. Where my branch "broke" from the authors, I was fortunate enough to find a priest who was a distant relative who kept marriage records of our surname. Hs translated letters into French for me and gave me information about which parishes in Quebec to sent them to for records. My search was pretty easy.
My Aunt did my maternal side, and she's still a census translator for GenWeb or one of those search sites. Thanks to her I'm a member of DAR, which my kids don't appreciate..YET.
I don't have any famous blood that I know of, but some pretty racey characters

jay said...

Wow, you have some truly famous people in your tree!

I love this part -

"You must also have patience with family. My aunts are convinced we have "Indian" blood because "Mother said we did". I have yet to find any record of a Native American. I'm not saying that Grandma was wrong. I'm just saying that I haven't found the proof yet."

My Mum insists that 1) My paternal grandmother had some black ancestors and 2) that her mother's family originally came from Poland. I can find no trace of any fact to support either rumour. She just says I'm not looking hard enough. LOL!

Laura said...

My mother once told me that my great-grandfather was a prince. I was so excited, I just knew that I had blue-blood flowing through my veins. When she saw me imagining myself in a tiara, she added that he thought he was a prince since he had his children do all the work for him once he made enough to bring them over from the old country. Oh well. No princes, just some strong women--I can deal with that.