My father was long fascinated with tracing our family history, and I know that he spent countless hours, years even, researching both his mother’s history and his father’s, going all the way back to the 11th century England. Keep in mind, this was before the days of the Internet. He labored the old fashioned way… digging through dusty library books and public records.
I have recently picked up where he left off, although I now have the distinct advantage of crowd-sourcing and online documentation. What I have found is nothing short of astounding! I have been able to trace our family line back 71 generations, dating back to the year 380 BC! There are spots where the dates become sketchy and anything older than 380 BC was clearly getting into the realm of mythology. But I was truly surprised by the extent of data available going back such a long way. I was surprised to find full dates of birth, marriage records, locations of birth and death, etc., sometimes as far back as the 3rd century AD. One thing that was most helpful in my search is the fact that many generations of my lineage traces through the royal family of a small kingdom known as East Anglia, one of twelve such smaller kingdoms that now make up the modern day United Kingdom. Since great importance was placed on inheritance and determining rightful heirs to the throne, I believe this is why extraordinarily complete records are available for this period of time. It’s nothing particularly unique to my family. Most of us could turn up royal bloodlines in our family history for the very same reason… these are the records that are best preserved.
I was also able to confirm, like probably most Americans of European descent, exactly who among my ancestors arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, and almost all of my ancestors can be traced back to Massachusetts, following the migration from England and Scotland. More recent history shows how my family made their way to Kentucky and Ohio, where I grew up. There are so many amazing stories, if I were to tell them all, I would have to write many volumes of books. There are major periods dating to the height of Greek society, the Viking invasions of lands that are now northern Europe (Germany, France and England), a long period of stability through the Medieval period that lasted nearly a millennium, and several generations affected by the American Revolution. Having delved so deeply into these many generations makes me feel as if these people are as much a part of my family as are the grandparents I grew up and talked with face to face.
Below are some references of relevance to my family history, and below that is the complete lineage dating back to 380 BC.
THE COMPLETE HISTORY