One of my favorite hobbies in recent years has been discovering my genealogy. I’m an European mutt, my father’s side being mainly Italian, Polish, German, and Swiss, while my mother’s side is mainly German and English.
When I began my research, I thought my father’s side would be more interesting; after all, only my father’s family every discussed their ancestry. They were the ones with the weird European names (my own maiden name included) and the ones whose ancestors had emigrated from Sicily, Poznan, and Vienna during the peak immigration period from 1900-1920. Those are the names I was able to find on my visits to Ellis Island. But the problems with Eastern European records is that they disappear. The furthest I could go back was to several Swiss ancestors who were born in the 1770s.
So it was actually my mother’s side of the family that opened up the treasure trove of history. It took some time to gather enough information for the little green leaves to pop up on Ancestry.com. I never knew much about my mother’s side of the family. Unlike on my father’s side, I never met my grandparents’ siblings or their families. I vaguely knew my maternal grandfather was from a German family in the Ohio area. The only thing I knew about my maternal grandmother was that she was related to Abraham Lincoln (that has been proven untrue and is merely family folklore).
It turns out, though, my maternal grandmother is the link to the majority of my most interesting ancestors, including:
- A shared ancestor with the British royal family, Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland (his daughter Cecily was mother to King Edward IV and King Richard III; Cecily’s brother is my 21st great grandfather)
- John Carrington, a carpenter hanged for witchcraft in 1650 Connecticut (my 11th great grandfather)
- Mayflower passenger Edward Fuller (my 13th great grandfather)
- Anne of Cleves (my 14th great grand aunt)
I’ve cast a wide net in my family tree (it includes 2661 people at present), but though I know some names, birth dates, and death dates, I have come to realize that maybe my research would be better spent digging deeper into their lives. So that’s what I’ll spend my time doing, now that I’ve re-upped my Ancestry.com subscription for a month.
But without further ado, here are some of the more interesting photos I’ve found in my research. Warning: Old photos can be pretty creepy.
I also need to work on my husband’s family tree. I thought his might be easy considering he’s English, and at least in my experience, the English records have been the easiest to find. But no such luck. He has too many ancestors with generic names.