25 April 2017


HAVE A SON OR SEN at the end of your surname?  How about having an MC before?  We've heard President Donald Trump may be related to Eric the Red.  What about Mr. Rogers?



Dr Alexandra Sanmark, from the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: 'Vikings in Britain can be traced through archaeological evidence, such as burials, place-names, DNA studies, Scandinavian influence on the English language.

12 April 2017


The typical American family today has an extended
family tree that is more of an inverted pyramid
as fewer children are born to couples.

In some families, the surname is becoming extinct because of the
historically low birth rate.

But, in most places, it is perfectly OK to name a child, even to a
married couple, without using the father's surname.

Some couples are opting to use the rarer surname to preserve it.

08 March 2017


VOTERS REGISTRATION DATABASES are somewhat valuable for genealogy research.  Unlike some other databases, Voters Registration databases can be fairly current. Because they give an address where the person was registered to vote, you can start to focus on that city, county, and state, for other records, checking the address against census.  (President Trump and his people will be looking into issues of voting fraud.  As per a previous post of mine, I think the issue is that more people need to use their citizenship, use their right to vote, do some research on their elected officials and the issues, and get out there and vote!) 

One time I was researching to find the birth parent(s) of someone who was adopted.  The woman was in her 70's.  She had been told that her birth parents were Mormons (Latter Day Saints) and I was able to verify that rumor.  She had also been told some things that were, at best debatable.  Her birth mother was said to be an alcoholic and drug addict who went to skid row.  I thought this was to prevent her from having any desire to find her birth parents.  It was true that her mother had died, for I found her death certificate, but she hadn't been dead yet when her children were adopted out.  The year before she died she was married, living in Santa Monica with her husband, to whom she was married, and they had registered to vote as Republicans.  She had married in the Latter Day Saints, and I was thinking, so far so good.  Married first, children second, voting Republican - voting - what could have gone wrong.

Sadly, it turned out that my client had been living all her years near relatives of her birth parents.  I mean around the block.  And they knew where she was but had never visited with her.  She had a memory of showing up at someone's house and being shepherded back to her adoptive parents.  She thought that someone was actually a relative.

Her father had given up on raising the children of his marriage and had moved to Utah.

When I reported in to her, I told her that members of the LDS church had looked into their databases for me and all the Temple Ordinances had been done for her father, but not her mother!  We began to look into why not.  What was really wrong with her mother?  My client had been told some terrible things.  However, I came away with one idea: that her mother had been mentally ill and at a time when serious mental illness - and self medication - was not well understood.  This woman, her mother, was to be pitied, but it seemed that instead she and her children had been put out.

Further research proved to me that this mother had come from England and had been adopted by a family in the U.S. and into the religion.  When I got this far, certain LDS members told me that there had been orphans adopted at the time, who came to the United States and were made members of the church.

Perhaps the worst of this is that here was a woman in her 70's looking for the truth of her life on earth, and if mental illness was running in her maternal line, she should have known it.  Luckily, she had no daughters.  However, now the few blood relatives she was able to locate know this is a possibility - for now her sister got into the research and they shared what they had.  My sense is that her mother was probably an orphan in England due to similar mental health issues of her own mother, or perhaps both of her parents.

Out of money and time, we didn't try to break the "Brick Wall" we had run into trying to find a young girl living in England who would be orphaned on the census there.  the surname was common enough for there to be a number of candidates.

One of the things that was so remarkable about this client, was her willingness to hear me on what had been proven and what was speculated.  She had not been raised in the LDS religion but knew her birth father was in good standing and she did feel some relief about that and I was so happy that church members had been willing to look into that for me - her - us.  I suggested to her that she might want to talk to the Bishop about her mother, if she wished to pursue the Ordinances for the woman who gave birth to her and probably began to act schizophrenic after having children in her early twenties.

C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy  All Rights Reserved.

08 February 2017


Rumors of Jewishness?  Maybe you're pretty sure this cannot be true because you were not raised in Judaism and you don't know of a living relative who is. 

Some time ago I met a woman who told me a heartbreaking story.  She had become ill.  She had two children.  Her marriage wasn't working out.  She was forced to put her children in foster care.  She was telling me this because she wanted me to know that she had been diagnosed and if she ever collapsed onto the floor, I should not hesitate to call 911.  She said if she collapsed there was a very limited period of time in which she could be saved.  Eventually, her children were adopted.  She felt bad about this but had no choice. Her illness had remained both documented and a mystery for two long for her to get well enough to care for them.  She had endured a lot of medical tests, a lot of questions, long term hospitalization and nursing care.  And she was in her twenties!   She explained to me that she had been raised Presbyterian.  Her aunt was a major donor to a wealthy Presbyterian church.  It wasn't until she was near death that this aunt showed up at the hospital and revealed to the doctors that actually their family was Jewish.  This was the clue that lead them to a diagnosis.  She could have died!  When I looked at this women I never thought, "Oh she looks Jewish!"

There is a special kind of genealogy myopia that happens when an American is looking to prove or disprove rumors of Jewishness in the family.  That is that Americans tend to think that Jews have "Jewish surnames."  That they mean is commonly known names, like Cohen or Levi, or the German Jewish names, like Rothschild!  But, in fact, Jewish people have changed their names to fit the culture they are living in, or shortened them, or made them into an English equivalent, like an associate I had whose family turned Zukor to Sugar.

So don't get hung up on the surname.  Or the given name.

As for given names, as I understand it, observant Jews have their special Jewish names, but their legal names may or may not seem Jewish.  Again we need to be careful not to assume that names like Rebecca or Noah, mean the person is Jewish.  In fact, names that appear in the Bible - New and Old Testament - have long been used by Christians and Jews alike.  For instance, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, are names rooted in Hebrew.   Any name of an apostle of Jesus Christ, including John and Phillip and Peter, could be Jewish. 

At one point I was researching a family in the south who seemed to have one possibly given name that could be Jewish in every family.  There was a Sarah among women called Dixie on the census.  They had Jewish rumors, but I went back generations and never found anyone buried in a Jewish cemetery, or any other evidence.  Some of the surnames in this family fit into some of those considered to be Melungion.  Some of the given names were those of Greek or Roman gods.  Of course, there's the question of How Jewish?  Seems to me that for some people, ten generations ago is as good as now, for others, not so much.

There are families who kept their conversions a secret, or who are many generations away from a single, clearly Jewish ancestor.  So what a researcher needs to do is start looking at burials.  There used to be rather strict rules about who gets buried in a cemetery, and looking at burials, as well as death certificates, is a good clue.  You might want to look at obituaries.  Mention of a temple or rabbi officiating is a clue.  Likewise, marriages, and birth records reveal those who were recognized to be Jewish at birth or united in marriage in Jewish tradition.  There are also so many converts to Judaism,  Ivanka Trump being a noteworthy individual who did so before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner.  As I understand it, in America there are a great many marriages between Jewish and Not Jewish individuals.

Today there are many secular or non-practicing Jews, people who do not belong to a temple, follow special dietary laws, or respect the tradition of Sabbath.  So DNA testing may help you get to meet some Jewish relations, or you may just have to realize that being Jewish is also sometimes a choice.

Check with your local Jewish Genealogy Society for information that may be more particular to your quest!

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09 January 2017


It's true that Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert wished to see their many offspring intermarried with many of the royal houses of Europe and so it was.  And so I was curious to find out more by watching QUEEN VICTORIA'S Children, a three part film series put out by BBC AMERICA.  I thought I might like this queen, even though I dislike Victorian houses and interiors of her era (all that excess), in part because I'd heard that she smoked pot to ease her female troubles of which she had many and that she and her husband were true soul mates. 

Dispatch such silly sentimental ideas immediately!

According to this series, not only did Albert become a dominating husband, but other than sex, the two of them fought a while lot, and worse, the two of them were not all that crazy about all those children they begot.  In fact, Victoria thought children were awful.

Victoria and Albert were demanding and hypercritical.  Albert died young and then Victoria amped up being a a pain in the you know what, pitying herself and pretty much expecting her younger daughters to live around her demands instead of moving into lives of their own.  There was a lot of bullying and emotional blackmail going on, and it did not help that there were so many protocols, rules, policies, traditions, and such to prevent the children from disobeying and being noncompliant with their parents, in particular their mother, because she was Queen.  Of course such environments often create some rebellions, some rogues.  Like Bertie, Prince of Wales.

What a disaster!  What a mess!

Oh, how we see parenting so differently now! 

Today's Prince William and Princess Kate, their attitudes and philosophies about raising the future King of England and his siblings, would get Victoria and Albert really angry.  There are times when you do not think, "God Save the Queen."

C 2017  Ancestry Worship Genealogy BlogSpot

05 January 2017


I'm lucky to live in a place where Christmas continues on for a few more days, through the feast of the Three Kings (or Wise men or Magi or Magicians or Astrologers) on January 6th, when these men, likely merchants who traveled the trade routes around the Mediterranean, followed a bright star in the sky that lead them to finding the baby Jesus and presenting their finest gifts.  This means that many of my neighbors of the Eastern churches still have their holiday lights up outside and inside.  So while others have thrown their live spent trees out for pick up to be turned (sans fake snow or flocking) into wood chips, I've kept mine up because of the children nearby who expect these lights to help their slightly delayed gifts arrive to the right homes.

It's been raining and the weather people say this is the wettest season in years, and that's a good thing because of the terrible drought we've been having.  But I lived in Southern California for years without using an air conditioner or a heater, and the leaves changing color and falling from the trees is rather new too.  My fairy lights have continued to twinkle in the dark and the rain, and I think they are safe, because I took care to wrap the electrical connections in plastic.

This year I met some Russians and Armenians, as well as Ukrainians, who are celebrating their traditional Christmas season, and who have not been here long enough to know that what they are experiencing is exceptional weather for Southern California. Coming from colder climates they seem quite happy for the relief of too high temperatures and dryness that characterized another rather insufferable summer.  Also, they are quite happy when they go out of the city to smaller towns that are not so expensive, congested, or where the crime is so high.  I completely understand.

For the first time in years, I decided to bake gifts.  I toyed with a few recipes to make them my own and the results were quite pleasing.  I hand delivered on the Winter solstice.

My dog is also very into the holidays.  I'm sure that the smells of the earth and the leaves have changed as they became wet and fell and those trees waiting pick up have been interesting for her to do her business near too.  My precious little one, who likes to stay under the warm covers when its cold outside!  She is such a California girl that she does not know how to deal with the rain and thunder scares her.  I get her out onto the front lawn, but she wants to make it fast, and run back into the house!

The Rose Bowl Parade is interesting to me (while football is not) because of all the creativity and hard work involved.  I must say it was great fun to see that Lucy Pet Foundation surfing dogs float!  What a talented surfer that one bulldog was, in particular.

So, slowly, I am gearing up for another year of challenging and rewarding genealogy research, so very slowly, for I too like to spend some extra hours under warm covers when it's cold and wet outside.  I watched some films that I think would be of interest to my readers as well, so I think I'll start out this year's ANCESTRY GENEALOGY BLOG by covering some of them.

Happy New Year 2017!