Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ancestors' Geneameme

Jill over at Geniaus has come up with another meme (and coined a great word) for we geneajunkies. I am answering this one for both my family (M) and my husband's family (H), who've been the focus of much of my research. Thanks, Jill, for a providing this diversion. It sparked a couple questions I need to investigate further and some interesting contrasts.

The Ancestors' Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?
  1. Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents (M) (H)
  2. Can name over 50 direct ancestors (M) (H) 
  3. Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents (M) Have 6 of 8, but still missing two of my European great-grandparents. (H) Have 6 of 8, but still missing one line. 
  4. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times (M) Haven't found one in my family yet, but would love to! (H) His great-great grandmother Cansada Jones was married four times. 
  5. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist (M) (H) Who wouldn't love to find this? We've got adulterers aplenty on both sides, but no evidence anyone tried to tie the knot twice at the same time. 
  6. Met all four of my grandparents (H)
  7. Met one or more of my great-grandparents (H) Definitely something to investigate. One great-grandmother died three years after he was born, but lived at such a distance they likely did not meet. 
  8. Named a child after an ancestor All our children are named after ancestors. They carry the names of my paternal grandmother, my husband's paternal grandmother, one of my maternal great-grandmothers and, coincidently, one of my paternal great-great grandfathers (we did not know this when he was named). 
  9. Bear an ancestor's given names (M) I was not named for ancestors, but do share my middle name, Elizabeth, with at least 3 ancestors. A 3rd great-grandmother was named Susannah. (H) My husband shares his middle name (an ancestor's surname) with his mother and great-grandmother and on back. 
  10. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland (M) (H) Scads of them.
  11. Have an ancestor from Asia (M) Autosomnal DNA analysis indicates Asian ancestry in my father's Eastern European family. 
  12. Have an ancestor from Continental Europe (M) My paternal grandparents were born in Europe. My mother's family includes colonial German and French lines. (H) There are German and Swiss lines. 
  13. Have an ancestor from Africa (H) His great-great grandmother said her grandfather was Haitian. 
  14. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer (M) (H) 
  15. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings (M) (H)
  16. Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi (M) I come from a long line of Baptist ministers. My father's family includes many priests, though I've not found a direct ancestor yet. His surname, however, means priest or father. (H) At least one. His 7th great-grandfather was a minister in colonial Virginia. Many uncles, aunts and cousins were Roman Catholic priests and nuns. 
  17. Have an ancestor who was a midwife (M) My great-great grandmother signed an affidavit that she was the midwife when most of her daughter's children were born. (H) I know the oft married Cansada Jones had a sister who acted as her midwife. I would like to know if Cansada acted as midwife when her sister's children were born.
  18. Have an ancestor who was an author
  19. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones (M) I have a Smith 3rd great-grandmother. (H) No Murphys, yet. But his mother is a Smith and his father had Smith and Jones ancestors. 
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z (M) A 3rd great-grandfather was named Zebidee. 
  23. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25. Have blue blood in your family lines (H) 
  26. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth (M) Two of the four were born in Eastern Europe. 
  28. Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century (M) (H)
  29. Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier (M) (H)
  30. Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents (M) (H)
  31. Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X (M) (H) Likely. I've found X signatures on deeds, but do not have marriage certificates for those ancestors.
  32. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university (M) (H) 
  33. Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence (M) (H) There are a couple serious candidates on both sides for this one. 
  34. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime (M) Seems ghoulish to hope for, but it would be such fun to research. I have a great-something grandmother killed by Indians on the Virginia frontier, but that seems more an act of war than a criminal offense. (H) His grandfather lost most of his money when the town banker absconded with the bank's funds after the 1929 stock market crash. 
  35. Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (M) I wrote about my grandmother here. (H) I wrote about his great-great grandmother here.
  36. Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) (M) (H)
  37. Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries (M) (H) 
  38. Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family (M) Not in this country, but as of 1991 cousins in Slovakia still lived in a home we think was the one my grandmother grew up in. (H) My husband's cousins have preserved the 18th c. home his great-grandmother was born in. It's hard to imagine a greater contrast between two homes. The one in Slovakia had dirt floors, minimal plumbing and was set on a small plot of land in a remote village in the Carpathian mountains. It was a breathtakingly beautiful spot, but clearly impoverished. The one in Virginia is a meticulously preserved colonial home, complete with gardens, still part of a working farm, set on a hill with sweeping views toward the Chesapeake Bay. 
  39. Have a family bible from the 19th Century (H) An early 19th c. Bible is in the family, though we do not own it. 
  40. Have a pre-19th century family bible


  1. Makes me want to get out the notebook and answer the questions.

  2. Thanks for an interesting post. I love geneajunkies. Having an ancestor killed by Indians during settlement was certainly intriguing. BTW I was astounded when I found my ancestor had married a woman who was a bigamist, not once but twice in two countries...she was a busy woman.

  3. Just curious -- have you had your DNA tested through something like 23andme?

  4. Great post! I'd need to do some research to answer many of the questions for my family.


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