Monday, May 4, 2015

Nuts on the Family Tree

I had a fun phone call this afternoon.  It was Brianna who, at age 7, is researching her family tree.  I was able to give her the names of her great grandparents and her great-great grandparents (though I mistakenly told her my grandmother's name was Grace, when it was actually Lucy Grace, but don't tell her, OK?) and that my ancestors had come from Ireland and Scotland (I keep forgetting my father's mother's family came from Germany because we had absolutely no contact with that part of the family and I grew up knowing of my Irish and Scottish heritage and not realizing there was a German side too.

Peach spent years researching our side of the family, tracing the Kilpatricks back to Scotland and the guy who was a sidekick of Robert the Bruce.  

It's where we learned of the family crest, which shows a hand holding a bloody dagger.  The Kilpatrick web page (because there are people who are VerySerious about such things) describe how this came to be our crest:

In 1232 A.D. the Kilpatrick/Kirkpatrick coat-of-arms was authorised by King Alexander II of Scotland. The crest of the coat-of-arms, a hand holding a dagger dripping with blood, represents the instrument used by Sir Roger Kilpatrick when he went to the Church of Grey Friars and killed the tyrant John "The Red" Comyn, thus ending his rule and saved Scotland for King Robert the Bruce.  The motto on the  coat-of- arms, "I Make Sure" or "I Make Sicar" also refers to the same circumstance, meaning that he had made sure that Scotland's arch enemy was dead.

So don't mess with me or my family, you guys...I come from a long line of violent ancestors!

(I had to laugh when doing some research on John "The Red" Comyn.  Wikipedia lists his occupation as: claimed the throne of Scotland through his father and mother, Lord of Badenoch.  Beats "accounting," I guess!)

Since both sides of my mother's family come from Scotland, I get confused about who first arrived in North America and when.  I think it was the Scott side where two brothers immigrated to Canada.  Their name in Scotland had been Mathison and somehow because of their country of origin, it got changed to "Scott" here and the place where they were living in Canada became known as Scott's Corners.  (It is now a different name)

From beginnings of cohorts of the King, and having a town named after you, somehow my ancestors, both the Kirkpatricks and the Scotts, ultimately settled in Iowa and the Carolinas and became farmers.

I am fascinated by the genealogy shows on TV, watching big name personalities trace their roots.  Of course they hire genealogists to do the research for them, but it's amazing the things they uncover.  Peach did amazing work recording our lineage and had a whole closet full of binders on the story of our family, all of which she had to leave behind when they moved to Iowa. She made a lot of friends during her explorations, though, including uncovering a cousin in Argentina we did not know we had.  Her father is my mother's cousin and is the only person in the family who is older than she is (he turns hunnert this month).  My mother ignores any talk of him because she wants to be the oldest one!  I hear from his daughter periodically, and that's always fun.

The problem with ancestry is that we don't really appreciate it often until it's too late and all the people who could have told you all the stories are gone.  I am sorry I never asked my grandparents about their history in vaudeville, and though I know my grandmother was a child during the San Francisco 1906 earthquake and fire, she was so terrified at the memories that I never knew more than that she lived in a tent city for awhile and I don't have a clue what it was like for my grandfather, who was also a child at that time, or what their memories of the quake itself were.

One of the second cousins took all of Peach's binders to store, but has no interest in researching the family history herself.  Maybe someday someone in my children's generation will want to know where they came from and it will be there waiting for them.

I was going to research my father's side of the family once and signed on to, but it's a long, time-consuming project (and a bit spendy to boot) and what I did not need then (or now) is another time consuming project.  I did, however, find someone who was also researching that side of the family.  She was my age and her father had been my father's cousin, whom I don't believe I ever met.  I was able to share photos with her of my grandfather's family and got from her a few names of people on the family tree I didn't know before.

Brianna's interest in her family tree will probably end with this project, but should she ever want to investigate further, boy can I give her some place to start!

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