by Kyia Woodhaven
So you want to hang your name on the family tree. You ask all the old-timers in the family what they remember about all their kin. You get dates from land, military and census records. You finally exhaust the paper trail…and you’ve only been able to trace back a couple of hundred years!
In the scope of time, a few hundred years is a mere drop in the bucket. Then you find the Internet. There are genealogy sites on the Internet that allow you to trace your family’s roots back even further. With a lot of luck and persistence, you might be able to trace your family back to your country(s) of origin. This information is based on the work of others in your particular tree. There may, or may not be a trail of tombstones, church records or tax records. You’re basically taking someone else’s work that their research is as accurate as possible.
Then, wonder of wonders, you find someone in your past that has a title of royalty. Wow, this is terrific! Royalty has a habit of tracking their lineage because of the right of succession and all that. What you may not know at this point is that royalty breeds royalty. Once you hit a royal personage in your pursuit, you’ve got it made.
You may find your line extending to the medieval kings and queens of Europe, then to Charlemagne, then the Caesars, then to Troy in Greece, and further on still. How about from Troy to Egypt where your ancestor may have married into the Hebrew line? The only ones that kept better track of lineages than royalty were the ancient Hebrews! Where is the logical place to end up when you are pursuing the line of Hebrews? Yep, you’ve got it! Adam and Eve.
In case you’re wondering, this is not only possible…I’ve done it. And all because I couldn’t read my own writing!
I had the written record of my family’s tree until the middle of the 18th century. A friend of mine was searching for her roots and had been full of tales of different family members and the search itself. It finally dawned on me that I might be able to trace my roots back further than 1700.
I got on an Internet site called Ancestery.com and typed in a fairly well known ancestor’s name. I really wasn’t too surprised to find him simply because he had some notoriety. What I was surprised to find is that I was automatically able to trace my family all the way back to 1200 AD.
I scribbled as fast as I could go and got all the information I could off that site. The next day, I started to write the information in the format that my family had used in the past. The second person on my list had a brother whose name I could not read. So I got back on the computer to find this guy and get his name right.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that many people have put in their trees and the same person will appear on many different trees. In my case, ignorance was truly bliss. I happened upon a trail that went back into time even further than the 1200 I was so proud of.
I was hitting kings and queens and getting really excited that I came from such an illustrious line. Then, I ran into an ancestor by the name of Conan. Now that’s a real ego-leveler. Okay, so I have barbarian roots. That was funny and the pride left my research. Now it was centered on just how far back I could go.
When I got to Charlemagne, I was ecstatic. Did you know that he could trace his roots to the Caesars? Did you ever hear of how inbred the Caesars were? They gave me a fit, trying to see who was related to whom, where and during what time.
Eventually, after forays into Scandinavia to meet Odin and the boys, I ended up in Troy. I had always thought that Priam was fictitious. It seems I was mistaken. Of course, I had also been mistaken in thinking the same thing about Old King Cole, King Lear, Odin and Thor.
The next transition was very abrupt. One of the Kings of Troy married a Hebrew woman while he was in the land of Goshen in Egypt! Bang! Here came the Hebrew line.
By now, I was totally in awe of what I was tracing. There are people who have entered into the computer the lineage of entire nations, like Israel. I honestly didn’t think the line could go on much further. After all, I was getting back into really ancient times.
Much to my surprise, delight and awe, I immediately started recognizing biblical names. The father of the woman my Troyan ancestor married was Judah ben Israel, the King of Goshen. (The translation for “ben” is, the son of.) So here was the line of kings from the Hebrews. It brought to my mind “the divine right of kings” and I thought that maybe the kings and queens of the world might not have been that far off in their beliefs after all.
Well, you can guess where the line ended, can’t you? I found out the names of Abel’s siblings. By the way, Cain was not listed as a sibling of Abel. I suppose it’s because he would not have any inheritance in the Hebrew world.
Now, here’s the question of the day. Can any of what I found be the truth? Even if something is literally engraved in marble the truth may not be in it. Bribery has always been rampant, especially where a title of royalty may be in question and the winners of wars are the ones who write the history.
Conjecture aside, even if what I found had only a small percentage of truth in it, it was mind-boggling. It has certainly changed my outlook on some aspects of my life. My life seems to make more sense somehow, and isn’t that our ultimate goal?
So be careful in your quest for your roots. What you find may, or may not be true. Whatever the case, it sure is fun and can really test your perseverance. Try not to take yourself too seriously. You may very well have a Conan or two in your line.
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