Lately, I've gotten into the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" The show focuses on different celebrities as they trace their ancestry on each side of the family. It's pretty fascinating.
So after I watched Brooke Shields' episode last night, I got on ancestry.com (they have a free trial for two weeks which I signed up for and then cancelled my membership after I found out what I wanted to - I can't afford to pay $200 so I can get the death certificate of my great-great-great-great second cousin). I was just curious as to where some of my family members actually came from.
The trail on my dad's side stopped dead with his parents for some reason - they couldn't find anything on my grandmother or my grandfather (without some extra cash). All I know from Dad is that his mom's family was from France and that his dad's was from Scotland and Ireland. My dad's middle name is "Kirkpatrick," which was also my grandfather's middle name, and his dad's, etc.
On my mom's side, though, I struck gold.
Here are the interesting things I found out:
1. There are at least two Amandas in the family - my great-grandmother, Amanda Vandora (I know! Vandora! How awesome is that?!) and a great, great, great, great, great something or other aunt from like the early 1800's. Her name was Amanda, but she went by Mandy. So that's kind of cool to find out that I actually have a family name that goes back a ways.
2. Almost all of my Mom's ancestors had like 12 kids. No lie. And they're all weird names, like Amasa, Maltie, Vandora, Arleva, Joachim, Jedediah (that's a woman - one of my great, great grandmas), Obsolom...
3. One grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and he lived in Virginia. So he was around during the Declaration of Independence, and might even have seen/known George Washington. Cool.
4. One grandfather fought in the Civil War (since he lived in Alabama, he was of course Confederate).
5. Most of the family stayed around the South, but one started out (Obsolom) in England, and another (Joseph something) in Ireland. They both moved here and married women from South Carolina.
I've never been an ancestry buff, but it makes you think. The people that literally created your family actually lived. They had completely different beginnings and experiences from mine. And they're part of me.
I won't be naming my kids Obsolom or Jedediah, however. I promise.