Did you miss me? I’ve been busy the past week and a half, digging into my ancestors past lives. I had stacks of material assembled by others to organize and enter into the tree and so far I have uncovered records for a dozen or so ninth great-grandfathers. That’s 12 generations back if you are counting. Given I have over 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x, 64x, 128x, 256x, 512x, 1,008x ancestors when I reach 2 to the 10th power or 10 generations back, you can see how complex things can get. By the twelfth generation, I have over 2,000 grandfathers.
Above, nineteenth century depiction of the battle of the Bloody Brook, Deerfield Massachusetts. The worst Indian attack in U.S. history. Over 100 white captives were carried off to Canada.
And, wouldn’t you know it, not only do these ancestors have multiple wives,many of them have multiple children. I’m like the old man going to St. Ives. there’s only me, but the kids, cats, and wives are many.
A lot of digging or uncovering, is involved in building a family tree, and like those archeologists at Pompeii, I have finally realized I could be at this task for some time.
Milan, New Hampshire. Where Great Grandfather Herbert Nichols was born.
Thus, after several days of denial and telling myself and David, who has been alone almost all our waking hours, “This is my last day to work on this unwieldy tree,”, I decided I would not keep going like a fiend, but pace myself, i.e. treat this as a long-term project. Of course, he had to say “you are obsessed.”
Some people write dissertations or books based on their family trees. At present, I am merely trying to assemble the information that forms the multiple trunks and branches of all those ancestors whose lives have resulted in me. (It really is true, there will never be another you.)
Ancestry.com assures me that if I quit after a few months, they won’t chop down my tree. So it will be there for all who come after. Hopefully, among my many descendants there will be one or two who will say, I’m sure happy Grandma Dianne took the time to build this tree. Of course, what I do today will form only part of their unique tree.
Pontook Pond at Dummer New Hampshire, where Great grandparents lived.
I find my skills as a demographer, who understands the history of the US census, and is something of an expert on U.S. immigration, as well as my training as a historian who understands how to separate the useful from the not very, important. I just hope I have my eyesight when all is said and done. Reading those old papers, from census forms to marriage certificates is a strain, but you got to do it. Trust, but verify.
Yesterday at the pool, Sheila told me her partner (who is Israeli) had said he thought the world an evil place. Sheila asked me if I thought so. This led Sheila and me to begin talking about the Holocaust and me breaking into tears. She knew I had been working on my ancestry and asked me my heritage, and I told her German, Dutch and English. Do you feel guilty , she asked. I told her No, I didn’t think the children should be blamed for the sins of their ancestors. At the end of the session, as we parted, I told her I was going home to work on my tree and find another German grandmother. She laughed.