The latest about the family tree.

ancient_germans

So, I went back even further down the line that produced my Spanish ancestors.   That one is allowing me to go back the farthest so far.   I’ve run into dead ends on a lot of the others — Ancestry.com wants me to pay for an upgrade on many of them (I have the basic package).   Anyway, my Spanish ancestors originated as Germanic tribes before the time Christ was born, but I’m not sure which tribe.  These people appear to have migrated to Spain around 400 or 500.   The records go back even earlier, but no dates are given BC and women are no longer listed.   I decided to stop there.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up the history of German migrations.  It turns out my findings in my family tree about a migration to Spain taking place among certain Germanic tribes during the 4th and 5th centuries fits historical data, as you can see from this map.

Karte_völkerwanderung

By Modification · Bearbeitung · Prilaboro: D. Bachmann – File:Romia Imperio.png, originally by Jani Niemenmaa., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1485399

I’m amazed at the accuracy and consistency of the recordkeeping. On this particular line of ancestry, every single direct male ancestor leading to me for over 2000 years has been listed!   My earliest known ancestor on this line was a man who died in the year 20 named Gaut Balthes Koning der Gothen (59th GG).

So, this is the pattern of migrations over time for this particular line of ancestry (through  my maternal grandfather):

Ancient Germanic peoples —> migrations to Spain in the 400s and 500s —> Spanish royalty during the 900s – 1100s  —> migrations to France in the 1200s and 1300s —> minor French royalty—> migrations to Cornwall, Wales, and Southern England in the 1400s and 1500s —>  English and Welsh ancestors —> arrival in America during the 1600s and 1700s (including those who came over on the Mayflower). 

The generations moved faster in ancient times and the early middle ages because people had children so early and died in their 40s and 50s, if not earlier. But I was surprised how many people in the late middle ages lived into their 70s and 80s! One of my ancestors from around that time lived to be 103!  Another interesting thing was that exact birthdates (month and day) and place of birth were not recorded for births until the 1400s or 1500s (the beginning of modernity), but exact dates for deaths (and place of death) often were.   My theory about this is that birth information was considered less important because babies were very likely to die during their first year.  I remember reading in some book about the middle ages that parents didn’t grieve the death of an infant because it was so commonplace.  To prevent getting too attached to newborns, parents didn’t usually name a baby until it was a few years old and there was more likelihood the child would survive.

Advertisements

My medieval ancestors were Spanish royalty.

fernandoiii

Ferdinand III King of Castile (1100s), one of my ancestors.

Last night I worked my family tree back through the 800s (through my maternal grandfather’s side) and found out some of my ancestors were Spanish royalty! They settled in France in the late 1000s and 1100s and eventually migrated to England.

I never knew I had Spanish ancestry. I knew there was French in my background because one of my aunts used to be really into genealogy before she died and found out about the French ancestors, but she probably didn’t go back any farther to find out they originally came from Spain. This is only one line of the family tree though — so far, I was able to go back the farthest on that line because the record-keeping was so good. Maybe they kept better records for the royals though.  This is the most interesting finding so far.

Ancestry.com is addictive af. It’s keeping me up late when I should be sleeping!

This is a fabulous distraction from all the politics and news I’ve been so obsessed with.  I think it’s a healthier obsession — even though I’m still following the news too.

A new distraction.

daniel_winebrenner  elizabeth_hoover

I decided to sign up for an Ancestry.com account last night.  Something interesting to take my mind off politics and the news.    It’s not free, but you do get a 30 day trial.  Well, last night I sat down and started filling in my family tree.  It’s a little tricky to navigate at first, but I started to catch on after about an hour of playing with it.

I didn’t have any information about anyone beyond my maternal and paternal grandparents, but I’d keep getting “clues” and found myself going back further and further and coming upon some really interesting information about my ancestors.  No, I didn’t find out I’m the descendant of pirates, exotic nationalities, nobility, or any well known historical figures (yet!) but I was able to work parts of the family tree (mainly on my dad’s side) back as far as 1711, with my paternal grandmother’s ancestors having come on a ship from Germany in the late 1700s.   As you work your tree, you come across interesting artifacts — old censuses, death certificates, photos of gravestones, even photographs!

On my paternal grandfather’s side, I found out his ancestors settled in the Labrador and Newfoundland regions of Canada (I do remember my father talking about it once).  I can’t even imagine living in such a cold, desolate climate.   I’d be suicidal!

I haven’t worked out my maternal grandfather’s side yet, but my maternal grandmother’s ancestors were from Ireland — I can’t seem to get across the ocean right now though.

Pictured above is my 3rd great-grandfather, Daniel Samuel Winebrenner, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1820 and migrated to Indiana later, and his wife, Elizabeth Hoover Winebrenner.   I wonder what the story is behind her right eye.  Life was hard in those days.  She died at only age 63.  I wonder how old she is in the photo.

It’s so weird to think of some descendant of mine looking me up in a few hundred years!