Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I have been enjoying working on my family history these cool and rainy days when I really don't want to get wet unless it is by taking a nice hot shower.  I have been told, over the years, that I should not worry about going out in the rain because I most definitely am not made of sugar, and therefore will not melt, but all the same, walking in the rain is not a favorite pastime of mine.  So here at my computer I sit, delving into the lives of so many who have gone before me.

I marvel at the strength of some of these people.  Those who, in the early 1600's, came to these shores by ship from Scotland and England, others who traveled by covered wagon from Indiana to Minnesota, and later, those who left the southern part of this state to make a home in the forests of northern Minnesota, at a time when roads were nearly nonexistent.  Their courage is amazing.

Unlike many who seek their ancestors, I don't do it through rose colored glasses.  Most were fine, upstanding individuals who went on to raise families and have descendants of whom they would be proud.  But now and then I come upon a scoundrel, and it is fun for me to gather information about these folks.  Especially if said scoundrel belongs to a branch of my family that has become name proud and firmly believes that each and every member of this family would qualify for sainthood.  I can't help it.  My sense of humor gets in the way of that sort of pride.

Another family researcher wrote about the sterling qualities of an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.  Granted, he fought in many major battles, many of which are written into books on that subject.  But this particular researcher neglected to mention that this same ancestor was busted down to Private and lost three months pay for being drunk on guard duty.

Another ancestor was such a nasty drunk that he was forced to leave the village where he lived.  According to various court records, he had numerous altercations with neighbors and it seems that they got tired of dealing with him.  I am happy to report that that was the only instance I have found of a family member being ridden out of town on a rail.

One branch of my family had an inclination to marry within the family.  I realize that a couple of hundred years ago the gene pool was pretty small and there may not have been all that many to choose from.  But many in this family seemed to prefer cousins.  I sometimes wonder why I wasn't born with one eye in the middle of my forehead and three ears.  But it seems that this inclination died out in later generations.

There is no disrespect for these ancestors of mine.  But while looking for facts from the past I have found that many genealogists brag that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower, traveled west with Lewis and Clark, were heroic beyond belief in war time, or were sired by royalty.  My scoundrels tend to keep any bragging to a minimum.  They keep me grounded and make them more real to me as people who were human and had the faults of humanity.

And they most definitely make things more interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment