Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We Flew Over on the Mayflower!

As I believe I have mentioned previously, when she was pregnant with me, Mom started working on her family tree, and she continues to work on it.  I figure eventually she'll prove we're royalty or something important.  I mean, everyone who traces their roots on "Who Do You Think You Are?" ends up being uber important, so why not me?  Right?

Well, so after about 45 years of hearing stories about our ancestors, I finally convinced Mom that I would like to join the DAR - the Daughters of the American Revolution - basically women who can trace their roots back to people who fought or otherwise supported the fight for American independence.  Mom knew that we had a bunch of these guys flitting around in our family tree, so after finding out that the twins were on my side and were interested too, she caved and got to work and got all the paperwork together to get us inducted into the DAR.  My reasoning for wanting to be in the DAR?  Well, you know it wasn't so that I could attend monthly meetings with a bunch of total strangers... I figured it would look darned nice on my resume and/or obituary!

We were inducted in spring of 2014.  I'm not really a joiner and, therefore, not really good with groups, but I try to attend at least once a year, preferably the month with prime rib on the menu!  Yum! 

So as I said, Mom has been doing genealogy for 48 years now, and she has gathered quite a bit of info.  She started compiling the information she'd found into short biographies of the not-so-famous and (relatively) infamous of hers and Dad's ancestors.  She decided that I should be the editor of her book since I (at the time) had nothing to do at my job and knew more about Word, etc., than she did.

Meanwhile, about a year ago, Mom came home from a meeting about a year ago and tells me that the editor of the quarterly magazine published by the Tri-State Genealogy Society (of which she and Dad were founding members) was having to quit and maybe I'd be interested (again, having nothing to do at work), and I'd get paid a wee bit for it.  I was like, "You had me at paid."  So I've been doing that for about a year now.  This coming September, I'll be publishing my 5th issue!

To recap, I've been surrounded by genealogy all my life, but managed to just have a passing interest.  That and I wanted the DAR on my resume.  And I took a "job" as editor for the money.

On Christmas and New Years' weekends this past winter, Mom tells me she thinks her biographies are ready for me to start my editing duties.  So during those two weekends, I start the process.  But I'm looking at her bios and, maybe it's just me having a shallow attention span, but there were no pictures!  I started harping on her that there needed to be pictures for those of us who would find all those words daunting.  Her point was that she didn't have any pictures of most of these people, they were long dead before Mr. Polaroid popped out his camera.  I pointed out that she had documents that we could scan in and we could (mis)appropriate maps and other pics from the interwebs.  The rest of the two weekends were spent trying to locate, and deciding upon, pictures for the book.  I mentioned that for our DAR Patriot (Peter Smith), we could maybe put some sort of picture indicating that he was a DAR-approved Patriot.  She then said that we'd have to do the same for the others.

At this, my Spock-like ears perked up.  "Others?!"  And I was off!  By the end of the second weekend, I had supplemental applications started for no less than 4 Patriots on Dad's side (Mom pointed out that they weren't her ancestors and she was working more Supps for her ancestors.) 

The nice thing about Dad's family, and not so nice in some ways, is that they moved to Pope County in Southern Illinois in like 1810 or so, and never moved, so all of the records for most all of these people, with the exception of the Patriot himself, and his son, are in Pope County!  The reason it's not so nice is that Pope County isn't exactly digitized.  So mom and I planned that during the week that I was taking off between my two jobs, we would take a road trip (it's only an hour and a half away) to Pope County and get the records we (I) still needed for my supp app for Jacob Shufflebarger - Jacob being the Patriot who would be the easiest to prove lineage on.  But then my new job wanted me to start a week earlier, so there went our road trip. 

Fortunately Haley was interested in the whole scheme and this past July she and her hubs took Mom down there and were able to get the docs.

So here I am, after 48 years of being exposed to the madness, I have succumbed.  I'm "working" on my supp apps - I say "working" because I don't have nothing to do at this job, so I actually have to spend my free time of the stuff!  And I'm editing the TSGS quarterly Packet.  And did I point out that my being the editor also puts me on the board for the TSGS?  And I roam around scoping out new info.  AND I had my DNA tested to see which ethnicity we can blame my weirdness on.  Turns out I'm of very northern European ancestry (see below).

What about Mom's book of biographies? you ask.  Well, I have successfully finished the first bio and started on the second one the other evening, but then Sophie plopped in my lap for some cuddles and, since she doesn't do that very often, I put the red pen down.

I know that Mom has always wondered what would happen to her years of research since none of her children were overly interested in carrying the family shovel after she shuffles off this mortal coil, but I think she's now been reassured that between me and Haley, at least, we'll keep it (sort of) going.

Did I mention that we have an ancestor who was one of the "founders" of the State of Indiana, and because of that there is another group we can join?  All I have to do is get the paperwork together....  Sigh.