Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Confession: I'm Going to be One of Those Ancestors

 Photo Credit: Paul Brunskill

After you have been researching a while, you're bound to come across one (or more) ancestor that drives you up the wall. This ancestor will be the one that never stayed in any one place long, frequently married women of the exact same name, disappeared from written records, never went by the same name on any record, etc. These ancestors are the ones that frustrate me.

It occurred to me today that my future descendants are probably going to consider me one of those ancestors as well. Here's why.

1) I've moved. A lot. And I've had multiple addresses spread across two states. In the last 11 years, I've moved nine times. I've had 8 different street addresses and 2 PO boxes during that time. Did I mention I'm in the process of moving again?

2) I go by multiple names. I'm married, but I kept my maiden name. However, I use my married name sometimes. My married name is pronounced different than it is spelled so there's some spelling variations with it. I also have a difficult to pronounce first name which gets misspelled a lot. Since pronouncing my name is difficult for many people, I tend to go by a shortened version or my nickname. If that isn't enough to confuse my descendants, I also use a pen name for some of my freelance writing clients.

3) I'm probably going to show up in records with people they can find no possible link to. There's a couple reasons for this. One, my ex and I lived together in three different places while we were together. Two, an online search of my name returns three other addresses for me that I've never lived in. My descendants are going to have a hard time linking the other household residents to me.

4) I don't follow the norm. While it was common for women to marry an older man in the past, you don't see it much nowadays. I married a man 19 years older than me. Chances are, some future researcher is going to decide that he's my father rather than my husband based on the erroneous assumption that a couple should be closer in age. With the proliferation of undocumented family trees on the internet, many of which are based on erroneous assumptions, it's probably going to spread.

5) There aren't a lot of pictures of me. I hate having my picture took and avoid it whenever possible. So there are very few pictures of me as an adult. Most of the ones that do exist are in the possession of friends who took advantage of me being distracted by something to sneak a snapshot.

6) Some of my heirlooms will probably seem odd to them. My descendants will probably understand the antique bedroom set that has been passed down through four generations of women on my mom's side and the quilt made for me by my paternal great grandmother. The toy cow and cigar are probably going to have them scratching their heads.

The toy cow was something I played with at my maternal grandparents as a young child. Last year I found out my grandmother still had it and she gave it to me when my grandfather passed away along with a picture of me and him playing with it. The cigar was given to me by my paternal grandmother when my grandfather passed away. He never smoked the cigars, just chewed them, and I can't picture him without seeing a cigar hanging out of his mouth.

7) I'm going to be hard to track through occupation. Since I started working in my early teens, I've worked in the healthcare, insurance, marketing, hospitality, media and manufacturing industries. I'm still in my 20s so it's not unlikely that I may hit a few more industries before I retire.


  1. Loved the post! It made me laugh as I am going to be one of those ancestors too. Hopefully we will leave better breadcrumbs right! Enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. This is so true and funny. I got over the picture thing with I began evaluating what memories I had to build on with my grandchildren. Good post and nice blog. : )

  3. This is a fun post and made me smile!