A couple of years ago, an episode of THS had me convinced I was related to Anna Nicole Smith. They had interviewed her hillbilly cousins and they all had the same last name some of my relatives in that area of Texas. So I figured if nothing else, doing a little research could help me solve the Anna Nicole mystery, as I haven't slept soundly since my initial realization.
I will also confess another reason for my ancestral interest is joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. We have a cousin that's very involved with DAR and after doing some research, I want a piece of the action. I found a couple of local chapters with some wonderful programs such as "Historical Shoes" and "White House China: A Retrospective". I'm only kicking myself that I didn't attempt to join sooner.
"Now these shoes belonged to Millicent Butts, of the Baldwin County Butts. And I think I speak for the room when I say, 'Thank the good Lord for Manolo Blahnik!'"
Surprisingly, I've found this whole ancestry thing mildly addictive. It's fascinating what, rather who, you'll find. Obviously, the first order of business was establishing my "patriot", so that when I attend the meeting on "How to Mark a Patriot's Grave", I'll know who the hell's grave I'm supposed to be marking. And sure enough, within a couple of days I'd established that I'll be riding into the DAR on the coattails of Private Evan Shelby.
But I didn't stop at the 1700s with my searching. On my paternal side, I was able to trace my family back to the 900s. We were Italian then, but sadly that was soon buried under 1000 years-worth of English and Scottish heritage, explaining why I can't get a tan to save myself.
Other interesting finds have been famous relatives I've come across. I'm related to an alarming amount of famous writers/publishers (William Randolph Hearst, Gore Vidal, Geoffery Chaucer, Mark Twain, Elizabeth Browning, and Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few) which have given me comfort that genetically-speaking, there's no way this blog can suck. Other than writers, I learned most of my famous relatives fall into the categories of actors (Jimmy Stewart, Mae West), political figures (Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, Lady Bird Johnson, BOTH Bushes) and outlaws/robbers (Pretty Boy Floyd, Frank James, Butch Cassidy, at lease one of the Bushes).
But today I found something even more horrifying than discovering I was related to President Bush (my seventh cousin, twice removed).
At the time, I was working on the heritage of my sixth great grandmother, Susanna Clement, when suddenly I saw names that looked familiar: Simon Clement and Susannah Lockett. Why did they look familiar? I backed out for a bigger picture view and proceeded to throw up in my mouth.
They sounded familiar, because they were ALREADY ON MY TREE!!! My sixth great-grandmother married her goddamn COUSIN!!! And a first cousin, at that! I'm a product of incest, and not the ancient-European-royalty-keep-the-bloodlines-pure kind of incest, but the backwoods, Appalachian, cousins-screwin'-in-the-woods kind. Only in my case, they married each other.
I didn't even know what to do with this info. Part of me wanted to run to the bathroom like Fergus in The Crying Game, while the other wanted to run to the mirror to relish the fact I don't have three eyes.
So before you judge or yell at me for what my cousin has done to the economy, please keep in mind that unlike you, I'm just lucky to have opposable thumbs.