I am doing lots of work on Ancestry.com. It's fascinating to click on the little leaves and see the parents, spouses, children of my forebears come up. Thinking many things as I do it...
Beyond a certain point, I don't know how these relationshops can be proved...but there sure is a lot of data out there. Utterly fascinating.
Fascinating in the way that I've always found obituaries fascinating...they are the story of someone you would never know otherwise.
I think so much about the women in these scenarios. Often, the farther back I go, they are listed only by first name, or as "Unknown Adams" or by the same name as the man of the couple (talk about losing your identity!).
They marry often...you can see that as a husband dies, they remarry, because really, what else could they do?
And the children...oh, the children...two or three marriages and four, seven, ten children by each one. My word. What a horrible strain on their bodies.
So many of the children certainly didn't survive...it's notable that many times there will be two or three listed by the same name with different years of birth. Is this a mistake, or did they just keep trying for an Elizabeth or William or Agnes who lived?
As I click, I imagine stories about them sometimes, based on where they lived (Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island, Hull...places where I have been! I've been doing this for several weeks now with my and Ken's family, with very interesting but unremarkable results.
and then...a shock...a real and verifiable story (if the link is true, which who knows):
It appears, in the Culbreath line (my maternal grandmother's), that I am descended from Geoffrey Chaucer and his second wife, Philippa DeRoet.
(I don't think I look much like him, do you?)
Is this like past life regression, where everyone turns out to have been Cleopatra or William the Conqueror?
In Philippa's line there are countesses of Luxembourg and Holland. There is a Baudouin The Bald. There is some Count of Flanders. I am starting to disbelieve this. ...
There is a Charles the Bald, and his father...wait for it...his father was "Louis I the Pious Emperor, Holy Roman Empire." and of course, you know who his dad was. Remember? Yep. Charlemagne.
(Okay, now I am seeing the resemblance. You?)
OMG, one of Charlemagne's spouses is listed as "A Concubine Himiltrude." That's just WRONG!
This is getting way, way too weird.
So, in case I wasn't obsessed before...I sure am now.