Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How much do you know about your heritage?

One of the benefits of writing about real historical figures is that I receive emails from readers who are related to some of the people/clans I've written about. I've even received emails from Bruce descendants--which is really cool! (I've also had to apologize to a few Comyn and MacDougall descendants, LOL). Sometimes, the books have inspired readers to go digging deeper into the family genealogical charts.

I went through a period, probably around fifteen years ago, when I became really interested in genealogy. My aunt is the resident family historian, and using some of her information I filled out a fairly extensive family tree using Family Tree Maker software. Unfortunately, as that was about 5 computers ago (when floppy discs were still being used), I don't have the info at my fingertips anymore. I do recall that we could trace one of my ancestors back to early 16th C. Sweden. Since I didn't realize I had any Swedish ancestors that was pretty neat. :)

Alas, I was disappointed to find no illustrious relatives. Nor--I'm sure you will be shocked--am I the long lost grand-daughter of a prince, duke or earl. Sadly, I don't think I'll be inheriting any long lost family castles.

I did find out a few things:
--One of my great grandfather's fought in the American Revolution
--Another was a semi-professional baseball player (given that I married a baseball player I thought that was cool)
--My father's Irish ancestors did not come over during the potato famine, rather my ancestor was the younger brother, so when the family farm went to the elder, he took a boat to America.
--My mom's grandmother fled Mexico to get away from Pancho Villa. She made it over the border because she was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and could say "coca-cola." (Passed for American).

My father's mother was Scottish (Ferguson), but I don't know much about where they came from. That's on the list of things to research at some point. Ironically, there was a Ferguson who fought with Bruce and was reported with him when he fled to the Western Isles. I wanted to write about him in THE HAWK, but ran out of page space :)

Are you interested in genealogy? Do you have a resident family historian? How much do you know about your family? Any cool relatives?