It’s All Relative


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This week has been a blur. Memorial Day on Monday, Mariner game on Tuesday, and every spare minute in between those days and right now have been spent stuck in the family tree. Not a literal tree, because my arthritic knee won’t allow it. But the figurative tree that is envisioned in the mind’s eye, and looks like the reverse of the NBA playoff bracket.

Thanks to a wild hair, and the encouragement of husband and youngest daughter, I signed up for Ancestry.com. This was my first mistake. I knew my parents’ birth dates and places, and their parents’ names, and for the all-knowing oracle of Ancestry.com, that info was more than enough. What I didn’t know was what was about to happen to me. After I entered my info, I was delighted to see a little leaf waving at me. Just to the left of my grandfather’s name it was taunting me with ‘You’ve got a hint.’ Beckoning like a siren song, it invited me to climb further up the tree. That was my second mistake.

Generation by generation what had begun as a desire to explore family history became a full-scale fixation that I could not shake. One leaf had three hints, another had seven. This ancestor had four children, that one had fourteen. Names, dates, national origins, military service…it’s all in there.

My conversations this week sounded like this:

“My 12th great grandmother was the niece of Lady Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VII.” I gushed.

“I don’t care what you say, I’m not calling you ‘your highness’” was one reply.

“Technically, I think ‘your Ladyship’ is the proper term.” I corrected.

“Regardless…It’s. Not. Happening.”

“Still, it would have been nice to have been invited to William and Kate’s wedding.” I mused.

When I discovered one lineage that dated back to France in the first millennium, I spent the rest of the evening speaking with the best French accent I could fake. Or should I say, fahkay. Exclaiming the occasional ‘Ooh la la!’ and ‘Sacre Bleu!’ didn’t impress anyone, either.

My present day family has expressed concern over my growing addiction to the website by referring to it as ‘Crack-cestry.com,’ and the aforementioned youngest daughter cautioned me, “Don’t become obsessed with this.” I affirmed her quite matter-of-factly with, “Too late.”

Every discovery brought new questions. Each answer brought a new leaf waving to me. It was not a matter of not being able to stop, but rather that I didn’t want to. It was history I could relate to, because, well, I am related to it.

Thursday morning brought the realization that I may be in deeper than I thought; sitting in my bathrobe with ‘bed-head’, two hours before work, I had no clean clothes. Not simply work clothes, but any clothes, and I kind of didn’t care. Convinced that there wasn’t really a problem, I justified it because I was searching for my husband’s ancestors, too. He wasn’t swayed by that. Looking at me with loving sternness, he softly reminded me that working in my bathrobe was not an option that day.

Begrudgingly, I surrendered, and showered. While my freshly washed clothing was tumbling in the dryer, I pondered what my ancient kin would think about modern day life.  Surely, they would feel that my husband is deserving of knighthood. Although I haven’t found a royal connection in his genealogy yet, if I could have a little extra time searching, I just might…
On this day however, he has demonstrated that he is a patient man. He has also discovered that unplugging the Internet router will knock me offline and out of the family tree

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