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February 10, 2012


Love the Feegles, love Genealogy, only liked the Bartimaeus trillogy :)
Most of my family has lived in the same small county in AR since before the Civil War. There are pages of the census where I am related to every person listed.
We can swap nerdy stories any time you want.

ooh, can't see the comic. I like hearing the genealogy stories, but loathe doing the research myself.

I love genealogy too. I just wish I had time to use that ancestry.com subscription I'm paying for.

I generally read your blog at home, where it doesn't matter what kind of reactive noises I expel... and now the DAR nearly costs me my job....

Sadly, I can't see the comic either - are you perhaps re-posting?

I love and adore geneaology and all associated stories and the treasures of Indiana Jones are of less interest than those of my greats and great-greats... as long as I am not the one who has to go spelunking for them. Share on, fair Julia - it's interesting.

Edward's photos are wonderful, btw... I see a future in photo journalism. (NOT espionage. Necessarily.)

i love geneology too and see myself someday digging deeper into ours...those damned scotts and the castle i could have inherited if my great great grandmother had been a boy instead! however, no need to check the 1850 and 1860 cencus (cencii?) because none of us were here yet! ellisisland.org is cool...i've found the ships manifests from when my grandfather on one side and a great grandmother on the other came over from europe...the rest all came through ellis island too, but i haven't manage to track them down - yet :)

I adore geneaology. I am lucky that I can trace many lines too far back for it to even matter. I found out my grandparents were related so many times that I stopped counting (my parents are too, I guess RI was small back in the 1600s). I have connected to people that figured out road blocks for me. Oh, and I found out an great uncle about 6 generations back had an entire second family through a relation of his mother's. I love to hear about it, so IMO feel free to post all your neat finds. I will definitely ooooh and aaaah over each and every one!

My mom's a historian and genealogy freak, so just about every family trip included stops to check out ancestors' military records, etc.

My grandmother-in-law was similarly obsessed, and did a lot of great work on my husband's family tree. I hope to continue with her work one day.

Any chance you'll post a pic of Willie? What a great story!

No idea about census trees, but both of my kid sized readers love Bartimaeus, and have you checked out the Dark is Rising series? Susan Cooper? I never read them as a child, but my 7 yo is making her way through the Newbery medal list, and the third one is on there. So she is reading the series, and I picked it up one day out of, oh I don't know what, a nagging sense that I should glance through things my 7 year old is reading with the word "dark" in the title.

It is really, super fantastically, great. Narnia, only better written, more interesting, and less with the sort of awkwardly layered on Christianism themes. I love it a lot.

Confession - when I'm having a really bad day at work I sneak onto the geneology websites using our super fast internet to find all the relatives who had it so much worse than me.

I've found tales of relatives who survived scalpings on TWO lines. A line to a convicted witch in NE who was hung for murder because she was accused of cursing the idiot who shot another man in the back during militia drills. The idiot himself got off with a slap on the wrist, only prohibited from owning a firearm for a year. Of course immediate generations were not quick to claim her so it's unclear if she was a second wife/aunt or direct matriarch.

Gotta love those geneology-obsessed Mormons. Even if they only create such worldwide databases in order to posthumously baptize everyone they find.

I absolutely love the idea of genealogy, but either I am complete crap when it comes to the research or I'm hampered by the fact that I'm only the third generation of my family born here. Maybe both? Anyway, Ancestry.com hasn't been a huge help in turning up records from the tiny Irish and Italian villages of my ancestors, so I mostly just look forward to watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" while wistfully thinking about someone doing all of the research for me and then sending me on a lovely tour of western Europe where helpful historians tell me all of the interesting stories. (I am such a dork with how much I love that show.)

the genealogy stuff is amazing (love ancestry.com) & am enjoying their countdown to the 1940 census being released!

I'm a genealogy freak, too. It seems we're all here, lurking in the woodwork, waiting for someone to mention a census. My husband, too, gets all glassy when I mention my great-great-great-great grandmother, but when I'm talking about his Revolutionary War ancestors, he's all ears. Incidentally, he thought everyone had Revolutionary War ancestors and could not understand why I got so excited when I found his. I explained about immigraiton and the potato famine (I'm Irish) and he pretended to understand, but pranced around saying he was here first. Men.

My great aunt did a big book of family geneaology, so we have a book with a lot of wonderful information on my mother's side. I think it is great to figure all this stuff out.

**dryly** There. see? You're not alone after all.

I, along with most of the rest of us apparently, too, adore genology. Thanks to an extraordinary amount of diligence (and travel back to the lands of the antecedents on geneological quests) one generation back I've got my family plotted back a good 1200 years. This is nice and restful, as it means I can peruse the pages (and pages) of handwritten trees (entire forests, really) without having to actually exert myself.

I got the bug at age 13, due to a totally tone-deaf eighth-grade project assigned by our genealogy-crazed English teacher. It was the LDS library in Golden Valley for me. I will say, I found family reunions far more enjoyable after I was bit.

OH! I was transcribing names from the 1860 census (or perhaps the 1801 Norwegian census -- the details have faded a bit) when my water broke and I went into labor.

I did not just make that up. Tis true.

I am anxiously, ANXIOUSLY awaiting the 1940 census. I've gone back about as far as I can, so tracking down fourth cousins is what's left to me. 52 days.

I may just be the one person on the face of the Earth who actually LOVES other people's genealogy research. (Your stories sent my heart to fluttering with joy.) In fact, if there is an antique I am considering buying, it's a "done deal" if there is a name/date/some history attached to it so I can do genealogy research on the person or family who owned the item. (Help me.)

I can't see the comic.

I love genealogies too - even other people's! Our family is still quite proud that my socialist great-grandfather was politely asked to leave New Zealand so they wouldn't have to charge him with sedition. He abandoned his family, went to Australia, became a bigamist and had another 6 kids. What a gem! But gone are the days when you'd sweep him under the carpet.

Whole-heartedly endorse the recommendation above for the Dark is Rising series - its brilliant. I read it as a kid and loved it, revisited them a few years ago and loved them as an adult.

I used to take two buses to the closest Mormon church in college and order census microfiches. One of my dad's uncles hand drew me an awesome family tree of their huge extended Italian family covering several generations. And we have a document that traces my husband's maternal line back hundreds of years. If it were handy I would post some of the great old Puritan names.

Also, one of my best friends is in DAR. She is the youngest by at leasr 20 years and a flaming liberal. So at least one member is not a wizened Aryan matriarch clutching her pearls.

Oh man I love Who Do You Think You Are? Please tell me you watch it! Twice the show has revealed stuff about our ancestors that I didn't know. Once Ashely Judd got to look at the manifest for the Mayflower and the name of DH's ancestor was the one below her ancestor! OMG. And then Tim McGraw's family came to America in the same migration as mine and the nice historians on the show told the whole story that I'd spent months wondering about (I knew my ancestor came to America in 1700 from Germany and I had no idea why). I joined Ancestry dot com and used it for a bit and found others had done most of the hard work for me (including tracing two of my lines back to pre-Revolution) but I didn't have the time to justify the cost. Maybe soon!

You are not alone Miss Julia. ;)

I adore genealogy. One of my mom's cousins did their genealogy and it turns out . . . ahem . . . their grandfather was probably born on the wrong side of the blanket. She was very worried about telling my grandma. (!)

Also (on that same side) one of my ancestors came over with the puritans on the Good Ship Anne. (He was not a Puritan. He opened a tavern.) That kind of stuff is fun.

I have been a genealogy fanatic since I was young. I will listen anytime!
Are you watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC? Great show, that takes a celebrity and helps them trace their family tree.

You already got my comment, but I wanted to post again to say that my daughter - unprompted - demanded The Golden Ball again this evening out of the blue, and we both enjoyed the rhyme just as much again. I feel I was mean about the font, and my husband had no issue with it, but I do think, on the whole, something slightly lighter, even in the same type of script, would look less dense.

Just like the previous commenter, I was going to suggest "Who Do You Think You Are?" as a fun show. The most recent episode (not including the one airing tonight) was Martin Sheen.

I'm a big fan of genealogy, but I'm spoiled. My Dad is a huge buff, but a lot of the leg work had been done by his Great Aunt Helen back in the 1930s (she was an amazing Victorian lady in her later years when she did this work) and augmented by a cousin in the 1970s. My Dad has input everything into ancestry.ca, and in doing so has uncovered a whole bunch of info on my inlaws' family. We can trace my Dad's side back to 16th century Scotland and Ireland, as well as the founding of New France.

We have a similar widower story in my family. My paternal great-great-grandfather had 6 kids when his wife died. He married another woman who died not long after. Then, he married the younger sister of wife #1 and proceeded to have 6 more children, the oldest of whom was my great-grandfather. Those kids were both half-siblings and first cousins. ???

Where's Willie? And I can't see the comic either.


Keep the genealogy stories coming! I love hearing stories like that.

Summon hol' me cote! Gude! Noo! Summon hol' his arms!
Drinkin', fightin', and snaflin' coobeastie.

I could go on and on.
Incidentally, they first appear in, I think, "Carpe Jugulum", but you would thank yourself to start with "Wyrd Sisters" and go on through the Discworld Witches books til you get to Carpe, as it's much funnier that way.

I do like genealogy too, though I generally leave the actual work up to my great uncle, who's traced our surname to Denmark via Cumberland and Wexford.

I actually am helping to transcribe some of the UK census from that time period. I don't really like geneology, but I like the work because hey! That could be someone's person! And this 30 year old widow with five children, how sad! And this 12 year old boy is a coal miner! As an occupation! Coal. Miner.

Uninterested in geneology, honestly, but, you know, more power to you and the many other enthusiasts. I am curious, though, to know where/how the experience of infertility shapes your interest, if at all. I mean, obviously, genes get passed on and few are as aware as you of how tricky that can be but -- is geneology about, you know, genes, or social parentage, or some of each? Just curious and hope the question comes across as friendly both to you and others reading here; it's intended as such.

I am, however, very interested in Patrick's comic and, tragically, among those who can't view it. Help!

Other people's genealogies are definitely far more interesting than other people's dreams. I am moderately interested in my genealogy (which I know something about thanks to the efforts of various relatives) but fascinated by my dreams, but I know if I ever want to talk about them in much detail I will have to hire a therapist and pay her to listen. Nobody else will listen, and fair enough!

Pratchett has a couple of earlier series as well - Johnny and the Bomb, Johnny and the Dead, & Only You can Save Mankind; and Truckers, Diggers & Wings (sometimes packaged together as the Bromeliad). There's also a stand-alone called The Carpet People, which is one of my favorite books ever. Not Discworld books, and definitely an earlier writing style, but I think you'll enjoy them. The Truckers books might be a little young for Patrick, but they're still fun, and the little kids will like them.

Patrick would probably like Nation too - another Pratchett stand-alone

BTW- I Shall Wear Midnight starts out with some pretty hefty themes (physical abuse, teenage pregnancy.) You might want to give that first part a listen so you can be prepared.
I'm relistening to Carpe Jugulim right now.

I listened to the Tiffany Aching books--loved every minute and, since I listen in my car, needed to find far away errands so I could keep listening. They are brilliant. Highly recommended!


Thank you so much for both of your comments - I sincerely appreciated everything you had to say and I actually agree with you about the font. I didn't think it was mean at all and I truly am seeking constructive criticism. (There are some things I'm learning as I go, including better design choices!)

I'm so glad your daughter is enjoying The Golden Ball, and thank you again!


I *HEART* genealogy and ancestry.com and everything similarly tree-related!!! Literally 48 hours ago I tracked one tree branch to a founding family of LA and another little offshoot was executed in 1841 for murder (!!) and... while I understand that many are bored by this I am riveted. The worst part is that I got the ancestry.com subscription for my parents to try and get them to do it, but somehow I seem to be the one with the new hobby.

Also, those pictures of C & E are terrific but the one of Edward and the camera in the laundry basket... priceless. I cannot stop laughing...

A distant relative of mine self-published, in 1984, (which means it was all typed on a typewriter) "The Bruce Web." It starts with James Bruce, who was born in 1768 in Virginia. (Or came to Virginia from Scotland.) It is a huge book and it goes through the early 1970's. It is fascinating. I can't even imagine the amount of time he spent on this book, but I love looking back and tracing my particular little pod all the way back to James.

L. E. Bruce

My sister is the one most interested in genealogy in the family, but I actually find it interesting too, albeit in an abstract and unmotivated sort of way. My great grandmother's grandmother crossed the plains as a girl on a wagon train. My great-grandmother had to flee across state lines or the river or something to marry her first husband, who was a "foriner" (hailing all the way from Norway, gasp!). I like to think that if I could trace my lineage back through its Scandanavian lines, I'd find Vikings in there somewhere. It's the stories that make it fascinating. For a while, we thought one of my great-something grandparents had founded a small town in Northern California (turns out it was a different Willits). Seriously, why WOULDN'T you want to know about stuff like that?

And you might have gotten to it already, but don't neglect Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Gives Pixar's Ratatouille a run for its money in generating sympathy for vermin.

you must have fixed the link to the comic just as i was trying it for the 3rd time because all of a sudden...there is was!! any way.. i worked for the census in 2010 and let me tell you.. lots of people did not want to tell me anything (we went out to the people who did not send in their forms). especially old people who are sure the government is out to get them.. so when people can actually see the 2010 census stuff will be missing! i would tell people..if you don't give us the info we just have to go to your neighbors and ask.. you would think they were all harboring criminals or something..

I now have severe closet envy.

If you are enjoying Scottish accents and your iPhone , and need a laugh, check out this Siri spoof on YouTube. Watch out go earshot of little ones, as there are some naughty words.


My sister and I have been on Ancestry.com all week! Today I was tracing my husband's family back to the 1600s. I can only get a few generations back on mine, because I'm unwilling to pay for the online records that may or may not be relatives of mine in Ireland. I guess I'll have to make a trip there ('cause that would be MUCH cheaper!). I just wish I knew how to find the stories... Although, my grandfather did write some sort of memoir, and it's supposed to be in the files of the Chicago Public Library, but they couldn't find it with what little information I gave them.

I like genealogy also...but I am kind of resistant to paying to access things like census records. I mean, come on, shouldn't those be free public access? Maybe 6 years ago, when I first got into it, I was still able to track some of those records down on county/state websites, but then ancestry.com bought the rights to all of them, it seems. So for now, I've done the best I can using the free features of that site, and maybe when I finish veterinary school and actually have time to play around on there, I'll actually break down and pay for a subscription.

My mom dove right into ancestry.com, due to an obsession with the tv show "Who Do You Think You Are". For Christmas, she made bound photo and anecdote-laden editions of the family tree for my sister and me (I'm sure it's some up-selling deal on the website). Anyway, it was extremely thoughtful because it meant so much to her, and it's a cool thing to have, no matter how boring it may appear on first blush.

If you think the DAR is bad, you should hit up a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I LOVE genealogy. I can't afford a full-time ancestry.com membership, but took full advantage of the trial over the summer. I compiled an extensive family tree just before our big family reunion in October. I admit that I got really excited every time a "shaky leaf" showed up!

Came back to check on time of earlier, curt posting.

Realized I just lost about 4+ hours of my life on ancestry.com

But it was soooo fun!

I also love genealogy! My father has spent the first few years of his retirement diligently researching our history. When he sweetly asked if he could fill out a DAR application for me, I didn't have the heart to say no.
My children really like to hear about the ancestry stuff, especially when they found out they were related to a native american princess.
Love the comic...he's smart in so many ways.

HAH! I've been bending your ear about Pratchett for ages now (a year? two years?) so I'm glad you finally tried his work. Yes, it's terrific, and after you meet Granny Weatherwax in a few more of his books she will become The Woman You Want to Be When You Are Ninety. (Okay, probably.) Did I mention that my husband and I had lunch with Pratchett once? He's absolutely delightful. As great as his books.

Speaking of really old women . . . the DAR commentator grew up in a completely different time period from us. This is not an excuse, but an observation. Most old people find it difficult to change themselves, even should they want to.

Why on earth would you be ashamed to admit that you have a passion for genealogy?

I heart you even more now.

And count me as someone else who can't. freaking. wait for the 1940 census to be released!

Genealogy is interesting, whole television programmes argue for that. I like doing the research but sometimes it freaks me out. When I found my great-grandfather's records on the Ellis Island site, it was incredibly freaky. My grandmother was born in April 1903 and there he is arriving in New York in December 1903 on his own. Perhaps she had some excuse for being so bloody painful!

Yawn... :-)

Not really... I am totally with Leah. About genealogy and dreams alike. Perhaps my favorites are the dreams in which I find hidden rooms in houses. Oh, and I dislike any attempts at finding symbolic meanings in dreams.

See, Julia? We can digress just as well as you.

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