Thursday, March 27, 2008
Close to Nowhere
I’m really kinda nervous about this new little tiny interest.
I’ve discovered rootsweb.com — a genealogical site (for beginners I suspect).
My friend Jane is a genealogical whiz! I’ve always been interested listening to her discuss her family history — she’s traced her mother’s family (Brankstone) back to the 12th century and is working hard on the provenance. That may not be the correct term, but she’s trying to build a paper trail. Or some such.
She’s told me a fascinating story about this relative and she’s really hoping he is an actual relative, as this is such a neat story.
Seems like this regular guy did something to make someone mad and was thrown in prison. But the queen at the time (this is in England) was fond of this guy, so she helped him escape.
There’s a lot more to the story and I’m sure I’ve gotten at least most of it wrong, but, my point is, how cool is that! To be able to trace your family back that far and find out who they’re having an affair with!
She and a couple of cousins from England have written a family history — “A Cumberland Family With Roots in Medieval Scotland and Northern England: A Study of Gilbert Fitz Richer and His Descendants” by Jane Brankstone Thomas, J C B Sharp and Michael Anne Guido. This history has been published in the “Journal for the Society for Medieval Genealogy,” a magazine devoted to, oddly enough, medieval genealogy.
An interesting footnote — “A brank is used to control a restive horse. It is a device which is placed in a horse’s mouth. As horse’s mouths are very sensitive, if you twist their lip, they will become very still.” Thus, in 1241, the Brankeston line was named for a “brank” that was set on a land deed seal. How cool is that!
In the footnotes, it mentions that Sir Gilbert de Hay was one of a small group of the favorites of Robert the Bruce. He had been with the king since the start of his kingship in 1306 — de Hay was somehow related to the Brankeston, and so, was a relative, somewhat distantly I grant you, of Jane’s.
My point in all this rambling, is that I have become very interested. Sunday afternoon, our daughter was on rootsweb.com looking up some of Pop’s relatives — on the World War I enlistment records. She found a bunch of relatives.
So, I’ve managed to sneak on the website and do a bit of searching myself — the first one I looked for was my father, Elmer Littleton Duke.
He was there! The site offered to take me to ancestry.com and I have to admit I strayed a bit and went and looked.
Which is why I’m scared. Jane also introduced me to quilting.
I have one major, huge obsession. I do not have time for another! Someone, please stop me!
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