Christian inadvertently roped me in to trying the two-week free trial at Ancestry.com. I was up all night playing with it. The fun part for me, so far, has been trying to guess which ones of my relatives are already uploading family trees based on how thorough the information already there is. I thought for sure my Aunt Suzie would be all over this, but there’s almost nothing on my Great-Grandma Teck’s side of the family or her husband Herb’s, and we have all that family tree in books and Herb’s family is where all our Civil War contingency comes from, so you know there’s plenty of stuff to be found, and a lot more about my Grandpa Bob’s family, who seemed, in my mind, to spring up fully formed from the Colorado wilderness, like that his dad had brothers and sisters.
So, I think that’s got to be my mom’s Uncle Don’s kids filling that stuff out. Too bad the older generation is dead, or they would know at least a little something about my grandpa’s mom–Mary Corcoran–who, from family lore, abandoned her family but was constantly sending them money. So, make of that what you will.
And then, on my dad’s side, there’s next to nothing about my grandpa’s family (except confirmation that his twin sisters were indeed Eva and Evah), which is not surprising, because they were so poor. But there’s almost nothing on my grandma! So, the stuff coming about her family must be coming from one of the Robinson cousins, because it doesn’t even have her death date. Dad and I are going to have to sit down at Thanksgiving and fix that stuff. Especially because I seem to have invented an aunt for him–it didn’t occur to me that Auntie Vi was probably “L. Viola.”
But the most interesting thing to me is the confirmation of one family story–that until my Grandma Avis married my Grandpa Hick, no one on her side of the family had ever married a non-Englishman (my grandma shockingly married a German)–and a heightened sense of implausibility of the other–that we come from a family of English Jews that converted.
So, here’s the deal. My grandma’s maiden name was Robinson. Her dad’s name was Harry Henry Robinson. He was born in Michigan, though his siblings were born in Canada. His dad, John, was born in England. Harry’s mom–Elizabeth–was also born in England. That’s about as far back as they go.
My grandma’s mom, though, was Sadie Matilda Sanborn and the Sanborn family tree explodes back across history like lightning. The Sanborns and the Dearborns intermarried. We’ve got some Hutchinsons back there (Theodate Hutchinson!), Batchelders and Smiths, Marstons, Tiltons, Sherburnes–generation after generation back all sitting in Hampton, New Hampshire, birthing and marrying and dying.
John Sanborn married Anne Bachiler, the daughter of Stephen Bachiler, the town’s founder. This makes me distantly related to James Dean. Try not to be jealous. Anyway, the important thing is that the Sanborns appear to be good old New England Protestant, not secret Jews. Though, it’s weird to me that we would rather claim secret Judaism than “We’ve been in this country since the middle of the 17th century.” That must have been one hell of a family fight. I’m looking at Daniel Sanborn (b. 1763) as the culprit. He had two wives–Mercy Collins and my ancestor, Molly Smith. Molly Smith comes along and all of a sudden, the family tree is full of Abrahams, Reubens, Hannahs, all kinds of Old Testament names (weep my friends, for Peneul).
I think that switch in naming conventions from a bunch of Johns and Marys and Anns might have been where the rumor started, as a way of explaining those names.
Anyway, I’m having a blast and I can’t wait to tell the Butcher that, if our family could found New Hampshire, he can take the dog out.