About This Site
Family history work is like playing detective. As a basically curious individual, I find it challenging and rewarding. For example, I found in the 1880 U. S. Census that my great-great-grandfather George William Christy was 'deaf and dumb' and was employed as a 'Lightening Rod Agnt'. (At first I assumed there must a connection between his occupation and his injury? But no—he was wounded in the Civil War.)
|Patrick Henry, member Virginia House of Burgesses, Revolution-ary Patriot, and five-time Governor of Virginia. (The author's 1st cousins 8 times removed.)|
|King Alfred the Great (849-899), King of the Saxons 871-899. (He is the 35th great grandfather of the author. )|
I learned that I am the first cousin eight times removed of Patrick Henry, the great American statesman. That I am descended from two of the Magna Charta Sureties: Gilbert de Clare Earl of Hertford (my 24th great-grandfather) and Willemus de Lanvaller Lord of Stanway Castle (my 26th great-grandfather).
Their enemy and signatory to the Magna Charta was the King of England, John "Lackland" Plantagenet, our 25th great-grandfather. Both Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland (made famousif somewhat inaccuratelyin the movie Braveheart) and his nemesis, Edward "Longshanks," King of England, are my 21st-great-grandfathers. (They are also related to each other as fifth cousins once removed.)
And like anyone with any connection to royalty, I find that I am descended from Alfred the Great, King of the Saxons, who is my 35th great-grandfather, and from Charlemagne, Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire, who is my 41st great-grandfather. And if you can tie your family tree into Charlemagne, you can read The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and trace your heritage almost to the time of Christ.
The first Episcopal Bishop consecrated in America, the Bishop of Maryland, Right Reverend Thomas John Claggett, is my fourth great-uncle. Francis Scott Key wrote the epitaph for Thomas John Claggett. The house that John Wilkes Booth hid in had previously been in my family.
The fairer sex owe their uplifted bustlines to the inventor of the modern brassiere, Mary Phelps Jacob.
We note these connections not to thump our chest, but as evidence of the rich heritage available to anyone who looks into their own family tree. And who knows what we'll find next?