An old hobby of mine is genealogy. I’ve started, restarted, and dipped in periodically over the years … and I’ve discovered a couple of thousand relatives so far. I recently decided that I wanted to formally present my research, hence this. It’s a work in progress, so come back every now and again. And also check out my DNA Results. Not sure how they work into the mix, but there they are.
Everyone starts with the pedigree, right? Well, here ya go. Everyone I know about, so far, from me outward. Well, paternal line only. The different color blocks just help to visually break out marriages. No other meaning behind them.
I find the image above very interesting. Some of it is the spikes. There are four of them, two quite long. They represent lines which go well into the past. 18 generations is the longest. Which is cool, but it’s the shallows which catch my attention most. They are the “who the hell is next in this damn line” surnames. For instance, just down from the top we have this family that is super-close to me time-wise (the Walkers) who just freaking dead end. That drives me crazy, because there are people alive right now who have memories of that family, yet documentation is hiding itself like Jimmy Hoffa’s body. Oh well, that’s what makes this a puzzle, right? Getting the spikes and troughs to even out a little is the goal.
Rich and Famous
So … famous people? Well, I’m related to Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), the author of that fine song we all know and love. Well, I’m related to him … sort of. Meaning, not by blood, but by a tangled web of marriage. Let’s do the lineage back from me. My great-grandmother, Anna McBlair’s grandfather Charles H. McBlair had a sister named Alicia McBlair. She married an Edward Lloyd, whose father was also Edward Lloyd (the 13th Governor of Maryland and married to a Sally), whose father was again an Edward Lloyd (this one married to an Elizabeth). Whew. Now this last Edward had another child named Mary Tayloe Lloyd (which makes her the sister of the Edward married to Sally who is linked to me). And Mary was married to Francis. Ahem … so my great, great, great aunt’s husband’s great grandmother was married to Francis Scott Key.
There are other famous folks in the tree. For instance, my Eighth-Great Grandfather was George Mason I, great-grandfather of George Mason IV, a Founding Father of the United States (Maternal Line). More on him later. Oh, and I have a Benjamin Levy, who is documented as being the “First Jew to reside permanently in North America”.
As far as how far back I have records for, that distinction comes from my maternal line as well, which has not yet been verified personally by me. Taking their research at face value, I have a blood relative named John Conway who was born about 1442 in England. He was “Generation 17” from my mother. That file shows people up to “Generation 25”, where a man named William Longespee sits with no dates attached. If you figure around 20 years between generations, he is probably 160 years older, putting him in existence around the end of the 11th century. Or rounding up, perhaps 730 years ago.
Want to see my history in the perspective of world history? This page shows hundreds of years of events you probably know, with my people inserted into the proper places.
Family Descendant Trees
Within each of these pages, you will see the oldest member of the “family”, and then see all descendants, even those not of my blood. Below that chart, you will find details of highlighted members, as well as a decade-by-decade listing of events as I’ve found them. Each also has a lineage showing how I link to that family. And of course, as much history as I can find.
Tier 1 Families. These basically run from current times back into the late 1700’s.
Tier 2 Families. These all branch from marriages in Tier 1 and run back into the early 1700’s.
Tier 3 Families. Again, additional tiers branch of from the previous tiers via marriages. Some of these go quite far back, like Levy.
Tier 4 Families. These are the hardest to research, as they are seriously back in time. However, some names are semi-famous, so there is opportunity for more detail.
It’s hard to answer the simplistic question “what nationality are you” from my perspective. The bulk of my lineage has been here in the United States for a very long time. Early settlers came from many places, albeit only from Europe. And to complicate things to the nth degree, I have one family line that bounced all over the place. The Levy family. They were Jewish, and it seems that each father->son combination highlights different countries. Does one count each as “heritage”? Do I just list them as “Jewish”?
Questions aside, all of this means that finding myself with a strong Jewish branch of the family, and having others migrate to the US way back in the past … well, it requires me to look at things by generation and not just in terms of immigration as it pertains to me and where I was born.
Let’s start with the Levy family. The oldest in that line was born in Evora, Portugal. His son was also born there. So Portugal seems to have some staying power. This was between 1455 and 1482. Next we seem to have a family migration to Makedonia Thraki, Greece. At least in 1502. Then there is a dark period (meaning I have no idea who was where) until 1580 when the line reappears in Morocco. The next son died in Gibraltar, so it appears he made it across the sea. And finally, we have a man named Isaac who was born in Spain, and whose offspring found their way to Germany to begin getting closer to me.
In addition to those folks, we also have people who came from elsewhere directly to the United States. The largest “from” is England, which has three people from three cities: Hertfordshire, Bristol, and London. The earliest of which was in 1642. Next in line is Germany, which has two folks. One from Hesse-Darmstadt and the other came before Germany was actually Germany, so a place name is still missing. (This is the Levy from above). And finally, Ireland, where in 1789 Belfast, a Michael McBlair came across the sea.
So, where does that leave me? I guess it means that when asked, I will just have to say that my family originated in an area between the top of Europe and the top of Africa, and as far east as Greece. That I have “blood” from Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Greece, England, Ireland, and Germany. And everyone I know from that grid was there between the years 1642 and 1855. After that, I guess I’m all Mid-Atlantic to New York in North America.
Now, if you want to look at my Mom’s family … 🙂