By H. David Morrow email@example.com
(Previously published in MISSING LINKS Vol. 8, No. 6, 9 February 2003) http://www.petuniapress.com/
You may have read about my problems trying to return an ancestor I got for my GW (geneaholic wife) as a Christmas gift (Missing Links, Vol. 8, No. 1, 6 January 2003).
A number of readers responded with suggestions; a few even offered trades. One person proposed I accept her Christmas gift in return for Jascha. (He's the relative my wife didn't want.) Her gift was a mounted piece of iron bar from the very jail in which her great-grandfather was once incarcerated. I think this would be genealogically valuable, but apparently a misplaced ancestor is worth even more.
This got me thinking. With more than a thousand names in my GW's lines, there surely must be a few forebears worth trading. I might even be able to convert them into something useful--or at least saleable. I'll have no trouble getting them; all I have to do is go into her computer, find those I want and then erase them from her records.
I know, I know. That will undoubtedly leave a few holes in her lines. So?
She already complains about the number of holes she has. She constantly interrupts my favorite TV programs to postulate reasons for absent connections in her lines. The way I figure it, I'll be doing us both a favor. Besides, with a cast of thousands, I don't think she'll miss the few I'll trade.
Naturally, I've chosen those ancestors with the best stories, in the expectation they're worth the most. I don't figure anyone wants to trade for a forebear that has no color in his or her past.
So here's my line-up. Read them and think about what you'd be willing to swap to have one of the following ancestors. (Birth years listed in parentheses for each person.)
Male cousin (1763). Uriah must have been a real problem for the family. Around 1790, he was involved in an altercation with a neighbor, Kandrel, over time spent in an outhouse both families shared. In 1791, Uriah was charged with murder (of a third person who was probably trying to use the outhouse), but the case never went to trial. Four years later, Uriah's name shows up again in court records. This time, however, he's declared legal executor for the estate of Kandrel's father. The case arose because Kandrel disputed his father's will.
Male, first white man born in the New World (1620). Perry's parents came over on the Mayflower with the likes of Myles Standish, et al. His father was one of the signers of what became known as the Mayflower Compact, the forerunner to the U. S. Constitution. On the day of his wedding (March 6, 1648/9), he and his new wife were arrested for "fornication." One must assume they had to get married. That must have been a wedding to remember. If you successfully negotiate for this ancestor, just imagine how being related to him will boost your standing at the next block party.
Female, sister of g-g-g--eleven times--grandmother (1694). Panzella married at age 14 and went on to have 16 children (thoroughly documented) and died at age 81. Before you decide on her, remember that your bragging rights include extreme longevity and fecundity. However, you will also be expected to memorize the names of all her children and to carry on the traditions. Note: If you are over 40, you don't have time enough to have 16 children, so please don't attempt to acquire Panzella.
Male, uncle of g-g-g-grandfather (1832). Joshua was a traveling preacher. He served 14 different congregations in three states. He also had 12 wives and 42 children. His career ended abruptly one Sunday morning when, while playing poker with the local sheriff, someone's gun went off and he was killed. The shooting happened immediately after two Aces fell out of the preacher's sleeve. His winnings mysteriously disappeared, leaving all his wives penniless. If you can't or don't play poker, you won't be able to embellish Joshua's story by discussing his last seven winning hands, so pick a different forebear.
Male, step-granduncle (1901). Rosario, also known as Rosy, was born of immigrant parents in the United States. His father belonged to some sort of ethnic club that was started in the old country. He, the father, became president of the U. S. branch because he knew how to keep his mouth shut. When Rosario was 28 years old, his father was discovered in New York's East River. Rosy claimed his father drank a lot and probably fell in, although he gave no explanation for the cement blocks tied around his father's feet. Rosario went to jail in 1930 after it was discovered he sold the same piece of Florida property 793 times. He did this in the winter of 1929 and defended himself saying, "I had to sell. People were cold! Just saying they owned property in Florida made them feel better." Special rates given to heirs who know the name of any resident in Sicily. Note: In some segments of society, it is not advisable to brag about being an heir of Rosario's.
Couple, second cousins, by marriage, of g-g-g-g-g-grandaunt (1790). George and Martha were part of society's upper crust. George was seen in many places of the then United States and in a number of Colonies, too. He wore a fancy uniform because, it is alleged, this outfit made him more attractive to women. Decades later, a number of people claimed George slept in their Bed and Breakfasts, although most of these reports were not Properly Documented. Meanwhile, Martha attracted many visitors to her home in George's absence. (He was away a lot -- a real lot!) Local dandies called Martha's house MontiJello, in honor of how much her body shook when she completed a satisfying experience, like eating pheasant. Here are two forebears you can really brag about -- everybody's heard of them.
I have a few other forebears to trade, but I ask that you abide by the following rules:
1. Other ancestors are NOT acceptable in trade. I can't get richer with more relatives.
2. Each accepted trade comes with whatever paperwork my GW unearthed before she hit the wall. Old photographs are included, but will cost extra.
3. Items that can be converted to cash are desirable; cash purchases are most desirable. I'm trying to raise enough money to charter a cruise ship for Geneaholics. Don't ask where it will travel to; it's enough for you to know it will leave ~ and not come back.
Send your offers with full descriptions, including their potential monetary value, to
© H. DAVID MORROW