A Little Family History

My family … not yours. Jackass.

This week I’ve been really digging deep into my family history, partly for a school project, and partly due to my own curiosity. Let me tell you, this is one of the most addicting things I have ever done. It’s right up there with smack. Not that I’ve ever done smack before, but you know what I mean.

I think my curiosity has been fueled in part by the fact that every time I’ve asked my folks what nationality I am, they’ve answered, “mutt.” Which isn’t terribly informative.

I haven’t researched all of my family yet, so I don’t have a final tally for my heritage, but so far it breaks down like this:

Exactly 1/4 Norwegian
~ 1/4 (maybe more) Irish
~ 1/8 German
~ 1/8 (possibly more) English
and the rest consists of:
1. Dutch
2. French
3. Scottish
4. 1 dude was from Belgium
5. As yet undiscovered

So all this research has led me to conclude that the best way to describe myself is “European mutt.” Which is more informative than before, so I’m happy. 🙂

The reason my family is so diverse is that, interestingly, I have found that most of the lines I’ve traced back so far lead back about 12 generations to people who immigrated here in the early 1600’s, which is about as long as a family of European descent could have lived here in America. And I’ve found people in there that served on the initial continental congresses, and that wrote and signed various state constitutions, and founded colonies and served as governors, and have been veterans in every major American war. Pretty amazing to think about. And just doing some numbers crunching, if you follow back every single line of ancestors back 12 generations, allowing for inbreeding (which there is a fair amount, unfortunately), there’s still a couple thousand people just in the top row of that family tree. When you consider in those days that the average couple had about 13 children (ok I’m exaggerating… but seriously, 8 children) then you can’t help but look at it with awe and astonishment and think, “Damn, that’s a lot of sex!”

But honestly, it does give you a much different sense of scale, and it makes you stop and consider how in a hundred years you’ll probably just end up a name and date on somebody’s chart. Or even worse, maybe even just one of those tree branches that no body cares about because it doesn’t lead anywhere.

Anyhoo, I’m sure my research will continue now that I’m hooked, and perhaps I’ll come back with updates as it gets farther along. Toodles!

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