TLBoehm on Family Tree Circles
Journals and Posts
Category: British Monarchy
Yup. I'll take Diana Spencer for the win. I mapped out the connection a few weeks ago. Some peeps chit chat over a Mcsomething. I scrounge familial entrails for digestable leavin's.
So Princess Diana is a cousin. My tenth cousin once removed via my paternal Hughes/Secord line. Yes, its a distant tie but still an interesting rabbit hole. Unfortunately, rather than do a happy dance on my desk I feel a bit sad about it all. There are those odd moments whilst sifting through dry archival data that I am suddenly reminded of the life that churned up the dust through which I shuffle. In Diana Spencer's specific case, it brought memories of High School spilling from my cortex like so much floodwater breaching the levy. For a moment I was 16 again, fixated by the fairy tale fluff of a royal wedding. The next moment I was 32, baby on my lap, mourning with the world at the passing of a princess. So often in the harsh moments we are reminded that we are adult and mortal. It makes me ache a bit.
Perhaps its the hardwiring of my specific feminine gender that causes me to make the jump from lamenting over the sad cessation of a famous distant cousin to the lesser celebrated but equally relevant relatives closer to the trunk of my sprawling tree. Perhaps I am not alone in my occassional starstruck moments because in these moments we garner at least a perfunctory nod from those family and friends who usually relegate our genealogical diversions to the same pile as bright blue eye shadow and bellbottom jeans. (she's cataloguing the deceased now, but it will pass. Eventually she'll run out of bodies) Yet amongst the rulers and ruffians there are real stories of real people who lived and breathed and dreamed in anonymity. I find these souls just as satisfying to "rediscover" as I do a more recognisable name. And if I am afforded a glimpse into his or her life - the ache is just as palpable as I felt that day in 1997 when I watched Princess Di's funeral on TV. We all have a story.....
So this little thought has been rolling around my brain pan for about a week now and what better way to expel it than post a rabid blog about it?
Before I spill it - I'm going to remind you of who I am behind the happy virtual canvas. As far as I know I am of white mostly northern European descent (Cornwall, Normandy, Scandinavia) with evidence of ties to the houses of Burgundy,Capet and Plantagenet both via paternal and maternal DNA. It is possible that my great great grandmother was Seneca Native American - but for the rest of the pack of braying donkeys - they're all a bunch of pale devils.
Since both my parents share common ancestry - I've been studying that ancestry where it intersects and have found what cosmetically would puff up a chick to be uniquely disturbing once the "Titles" are dismissed and the behaviors are revealed. I certainly don't want to detract from the hard work of any family genealogist/historian who's amassed a thousand years of "identity" but I am not one to romanticize constant land disputes, murders, kidnapping, selling and marrying off women for property exchanges and the unbridled use of "the church" for personal gain. And that behavior is exactly what the early feudal Barons that sparkle in my happy tree did. It is fascinating study - but these aren't people to be elevated and admired. Many were absolute monsters displaying evidence of severe depression, rage issues, violence etc. And yet, these are the people who perpetuate our "cultural norms" today. For me - if I know who we were, I understand why we are who we are now and what steps I may need to take to become who I need to be.
I'd probably stop my tangent right there if I weren't in the middle of attempting to develop a Humanities curriculum for a sophomore. It just went off in me while looking at "Historical Time lines" and what is normally presented as "World History" at the High School Level that the focus is incredibly skewed - feeding up into this Greco/Roman then European and finally American advance of civilization. And here is where it gets incendiary: What kind of message is this sending? Doesn't this only serve to promote the bias of "white or European entitlement?" Seriously? If I'm white and I see this do we even need to wonder why some kids bristle when presented with the same information? Hear my heart. I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin - but skin comes in LOTS of colors and western civilization is not the only example of how humanity has grown over time. Yup - you should study the history of the area in which you live as in I took American History because I am an American. But if I am going to teach my child about the whole human world - its not going to be a white-centric lesson. That would do him a disservice.
Its fine to study Greco/Roman and European History but it isn't the only example of culture and perhaps it shouldn't be the hub on the wheel. I know I only got a part of the story when I was in public school. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my own spawn is more rounded than I was.
There is a phrase someone told me that keeps it in perspective. A friend of mine is Fijian. He told us once when discussing missionary efforts in Fiji - "my people used to eat your people" Such a fine line between being served and being "served" - capiche?
Peace. I'm still looking for Ghengis Khan in my tree. I am. At this point it would make me feel better. I encourage those of you who are hundreds of years back in your studies to refrain from just collecting names and dates and really dig into the reality of who your ancestors were, what they did and what life was like for them on a daily level. The information can be amazing, humbling and at times a little brutal.
Anyway. Its become painfully obvious to me that if I am ever going to write anything of note, I'm just going to have to sit down and write. I know. Weeahhh. Enter Captain Obvious. But its really not that simple. You see, The brain only supports one addiction at a time. I am a bit of a savant at my core. I can become INCREDIBLY AWESOME at one thing - at the detriment of just about everything else. Lately its been genealogy. Probably since May of 2010. And I've learned some really cool things. Did you know that if you are of English descent - 25% of you will be able to trace your lineage back to William the Conqueror? Pretty cool huh. NO? Yeah. That's the kind of response I get from MY ENTIRE REAL LIFE. Thanks.
Right now I am rooting around in the 1100 to 800 time span in the Capetian Dynasty (self absorbed brutish inbred vermin) WHY. WHY. WHY am I connected to them. WHY. Actually - its "otherdaddys" fam but that means that a few weeks ago when I said I lost my dual Rollo connection - I can now say - its back.
So again. Two men, one of whom is my biological father from a dot on the map both descend from one ornery Viking. I think its cool. I'm geeking out about it.
The daddy who raised me and who I believe is my biodad hails from dissident Quaker stock with such sparklies as Boone, Lincoln and I just found out yesterday Washington (G's my cuzin, homes!) The other guy my mom keeps tossing up at me like so much confetti on New Year's Eve is descended from Mayflower stock (the Brewster family) and his lineage is peppered with Knights Templar, feuding warrior Barons and the Capet tribe - most of whom should have been boiled in oil - seriously - marrying princesses for land and money and then trying to get the PTB's to annul because a sister is too FAT? Bedding your wife who is TWELVE? NICE.
You see Mom's paramour, George is the 20th great grand son of John Lackland Plantagenet. (or as Disney so lovingly depicted him as Prince John, a cowardly thumbsucking lion. - way to go)
Yes, Tam spends too much time on the thin branches of the family tree...swinging by her digits.
Anyway. I'm going to spend some time tomorrow determining my course of action that will bring me back into writing. I think taking the family back a thousand years is probably far enough and I weary of turning up toads like John and most of the Capets. (You like the French Louises....you can have them. Sigh.) Peace.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was very cool. Its her kids that were such mutants. Peace.
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