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02 June 2006

OK, ONE MORE TIME


O

nce again, I write about my family history and a few doubting Thomas' pop up and send me emails. "How could you possibly be related to these people?" Well, the obvious answer is, "Someone has got to be related to them."

I can remember a few years ago while discussing the family history, someone mentioned, "So, you're not only related to Charlemagne but also William the Conqueror... of course you are." People make these statements and don't even know what they're talking about. Take Charlemagne, look at the list in yesterdays' entry. He happens to be my 35th great-grandfather. Go down a little bit to Charlemagne's 7th great-grand daughter, Matilda of Flanders. She is now my 26th great grandmother and look at who she is married to... William the Conqueror. He becomes my 26th great grandfather. His mother and father then are my 27th great grandparents.

For the longest time I was getting nowhere with the family history for 2 reasons. Before computers and the internet I had to go to museums and research libraries to assemble information, which took a very long time to put together. Once the internet came along and institutions began publishing their manuscripts family history research took on a life of its' own.

The problem with researching begins around the mid-1800's when tons of people were coming to the United States via Ellis Island. You had foreigners arriving by the thousands and being processed by foreigners who barely spoke and understood English themselves. Names were changed and therefore lives were also changed... family histories lost forever, unless you worked really hard in researching them. Records back in Europe are remarkably complete... it's only when someone came to this country where the records got royally screwed up... bigtime!

Luckily Sophia van Lodensteyn arrived in the 1600's and her records came with her. Once I discovered her in the family tree and traced her back to Holland, the records are astonishingly clear. It only takes one person to somehow be in royalty in Europe and guess what? You are related to practically every royal family that ever lived in Europe. Why? Because they all inter-married. Brothers and sisters married, aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces. These people had mothers and fathers and therefore you became grandchildren of these kings and queens, etc. As I said, the secret is finding that one person to make the connection.

Once you find that one person, "you are in the club" so to speak. Finding her is what has kept me going with this for 30 years. That's a long time to work on something. I have thousands upon thousands of people. I don't stop at just great grandparents either... with them come their children and who they married and their cousins, etc. It just keeps snow-balling. Sometimes, nowadays, it takes me longer to record the families than it does finding them. I think I mentioned that now I am keeping tabs on over 16,000 people. And in some cases I haven't even scratched the surface.

Observations and Questions
Did I explain this in a way that was easy to understand? Sometimes it does get confusing... very confusing.


Birth Announcements and Dusty Death Notices
Born this day in 1740 Marquis de Sade 1st known sadist, writer (Justine). And in the death notices we find in 1990 Rex Harrison actor (My Fair Lady), dies at 82 of cancer.
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