Well i promised a good story so i shall try to deliver:
First some background, when I found Geni 3 years ago it was thanks to my Croatian cousins, the day i signed up i instantly had over 24,000 blood relatives so as a Geni user i have only ever experienced the site as part of the World Tree.
Now as you all know my main focus on Geni has been tree building in 18th century Drenthe (a northern rural province of the Netherlands), occasionally i push back into the 1600s and sometimes i come forward into the 1800s but the lack of old records and over abundance of newer records keeps me floating in the middle piecing together family ties in the 1700s. Let me tell you it's a lonely place, while there a lot of people out in the world researching their family trees in this area/time there are very few of them active on Geni, the outcome of this is that until very recently a Tree Match was a very unusual event for me. Since the merge with MH however Smart Matches are very common and i have grown used to ignoring the annoying little match symbol when in tree view but a funny thing happened the other day, my cursor slid unintentionally over the match symbol but instead of multiple Smart Matches to questionable MH trees it was instead an old fashioned Tree Match!
I had over the last week found a name for the mother of my gggggrandmother and was tracing her ancestors via the wonderful online archives, this work usually peters out in the late or mid 1600s which is what happened this time except for that little blue box promising a Tree Match.
Sure enough the Tree Match proved accurate, there was actually a three generation overlap but because of spelling variations Geni had only picked out the one match, and suddenly i found myself clicking the little + symbol to take me further and further back in time (i had preferences set as one generation up and down so lots of clicking on that + symbol!) after what seemed like a hundred years of clicking the + a name shift kicked in and eventually double barrelled names with tussenvoegsels began to appear (now tussenvoegsels, words like van der, de, den, etc, aren't that uncommon in Dutch but double barrelled double tussenvoegselled names in the 1400s piqued my curiosity!), unfortunately the profiles didn't have a lot of details so i decided a quick google of the family name was in order. Unsurprisingly all the results were in Dutch so it was time to fire up Google Translate (*shudder*) after a bit of cutting and pasting an interesting word popped out of the screen "Duke". Now i'm not particularly enamoured of the Royal family or our societies current obsession with celebrity but bearing in mind that the majority of the 3000 profiles ive added to Geni have been farm labourers or the occasional carpenter i usually get excited to find a school teacher or barge captain, we even have a preacher but a duke! This was something unheard of in our family, Googling a bit more came up with a reference to the family in the early 1300s so i returned to Geni to see how far back the tree had been built. Sick of pressing the + i pushed my preferences out a bit to look back 8 generations of ancestors, it didn't take much looking to trace the family back to its known limits in 1300 but excitingly there were still those tantalising + on some of the upper branches. "How far back can this go?" i asked myself, until then Geni had never given me an ancestor prior to the 1500s despite being part of the World Tree, a click or two and i almost fell out of my seat ... that profile DEFINITELY said "King of Burgundy", there must be a mistake i thought but Geni was insistant "XYZ is your Nth great grandfather" it told me. My next thought was "gateway ancestor" (because "king" isn't enough for me! LOL), as you're all probably well the european nobles are so intermarried that any connection links you to all of them and sure enough there was the granddaddy of the all old "Charles" aka Charlemange is my 33rd great grandfather.
Will this affect my day to day life? Maybe i will insist that everyone in the office calls me "Prince Alexander".
Will this make me a better person? No chance!
Was it a cool discovery that made my day? Yup.
So a long winding story just to end up confirming what was already a statistical sure thing anyway, just another European descendant from Europe's first emperor.
Alex, I love stories like that. Of course we're all descended from medieval nobility. So say the statisticians. But knowing it the abstract is never quite as cool as finding one of the actual lines. Like you, I'm not a royalty watcher, and celebrity profiles leave me cold, but give me some medieval people, royal or not, and my eyes light up. Congrats on your discovery!
Wonderfully recited story, Alex, and you very well captured the process of discovery after slogging through the tedium.:). Not that our humbler ancestors didn't have dramatic & interesting lives as we also discover.
But connecting with history & events you can read about - ahhh, nothing like it.
Well, here in Saugus, Mass USA it is morning. Not day light yet but thanks to one of the cat , who insisted he was staving to death, I had to crawl out of bed. So since now I am wide awake and have finished my first cup of coffee, one of many I will have today , I wish to say good morning to all of you.
The only think exciting I have found and it wasn't that recently but maybe less then a year ago was my entire french Canadian side of the family. I already knew I dated back to the Mayflower and royalty in England and france but I had been trying to find out more about my father's mother's side ( my mother's side was easy)All English and Scot decent , with a little French thrown in there.) . I had found the info but thought I was incorrect . Then a very nice person , up in Canada, on Geni, offered to help. She steered me in the right direction, which proved i was correct after all and from there I was able to get back to orginally French in Canada. So I turned out to be both orginal families in both the U.S.A. and Canada as well as Native people in Mass. That i knew about but I did discover there was more in the family then I knew. i suspended there was more Native people but until recently , only knew about the Saugus Indian in the family. Now I know there is Wampanoag and Narraganset. Nothing so far from Canada.Guess the french didn't mix in with native people, at least in my line, as the English did.Althou I did have someone carried off by Indians and ended up in Canada . Now if we could just located my father's father's side, Belgium and Dutch and french. Judy
Hi everyone..I am new to GENI .about 3 months, and am still in discovery mode... I was fortunate years ago, about 30+ years, to meet someone who was doing alot of research on her family and when I asked her the family name I almost fell off my seat...the name was NOYES...my mothers maiden name. We were cousins related to two brothers who came to America in 1630. She took my address and a short while later sent me alot of information on the family. So, when I started geni I was connected to the world very quickly and all sorts of new names and lineage..how awesome..when I first came across royal connections in England my jaw dropped and I went back to see if I had made a mistake..Nope no mistake..since then my tree has taken me across all of Europe to every king, Queen, Duke, Count, and every other title you can imagine..I have a double line to Charlemagne from both my maternal grandparents....I like most here have never been enamored by celebrities or even thought about royals...But this is seriously cool...I have always wanted to visit England to see the area where my Noyes family lived..but now I am more excited to make the trip especially with the knowledge that I have found here on geni and the connection to many more places and people.
i discovered i'm related to judith (a few posts above) - 13 cousins 1 x removed through William Ruthven, 2nd Lord Ruthven William Ruthven, 2nd Lord of Ruthven - there is a native connection off handy - to the catawba tribe - chief neil huntley - looking forward to good exchanges
-Sir William Ruthven is my 11th great grandfather.
I've always had this connection, esp; in my dream_time to Lady of The Lake - and, i've discovered this connection:
DESPOSYNI & DEL ACQS
Viviane~Lady of The Lake aka Queen of Avalon - Camelot - Burgundy
- PENDRAGON - ap Custennyn Lineage
Uther ap Custennyn, King of Britons is your 40th great grandfather.
Uther Pendragon "The Head Dragon" ap Custennyn, King of Britons
Wonderful story Susan. Well told.
Friday in Sydney has come and gone so this should be in time for Friday of most of the rest of the world, except of course for New Zealand.
I can relate that until about 9 months ago we all followed the family thinking which was that my maternal grandmother was English. She and her siblings were schooled in England before arriving by boat in South Africa. It was faulty assumption.
With the help of my wonderful Geni collaborators however, it was shown that the family and ancestors came from Dutch origins. And so started the painstaking search for more of our family. I can now go back to my gggggg gg (6th) g grandfather from Middelharnis in the Netherlands, born in 1680. Something else fell into place with this knowledge, the significance of a prized painting in my grandparents home hanging over the fireplace in the lounge titled "The Avenue in Middelharnis" (the original of which today hangs in the National Gallery in London).
This is a perfect example of the power of Geni's unique collaborative platform which should never be underestimated. Just one user can open many doors on an exciting journey to another's ancestry.
I just found a whole new branch of cousins thanks to the NYT obituaries. Happy Friday!!!
Wendi Newman added her first cousin twice removed's wife Evelyn Newman, her second cousin once removed Betty Abrams, her second cousin once removed's husband Morton Abrams, her third cousin Michael Abrams, her third cousin Marta Ichrist, her third cousin's wife Rebecca Abrams, her third cousin once removed Kyle Ichrist, her third cousin once removed Evan Ichrist, her third cousin once removed Dylan Abrams, her third cousin once removed Mikayla Abrams and her third cousin once removed Arielle Abrams « less to the tree. about an hour ago
Pam, Suzanne & Wendi, great news for all of you. Thanks for telling us. It gives us all hope we'll find those elusive lines one of these days.
I had to work this weekend, so I'm late with my positive post. In fact, I haven't had time yet to fully understand it.
One of my Swanström y-DNA matches is to a Sparre family. If you know your Swedish history you're thinking, "How cool is that?" (The Sparre family was a very old and powerful noble family.) But wait. My DNA match isn't to the famous Sparre av Vik family. It's to the respectable but definitely obscure Sparre över pil family.
I'm lucky to be using Geni, I was able to find the Sparre över pil family right away. And, better luck, they come from the same area as my Svanströms and had many given names in common. Looks like a strong lead. My family "only" goes back to the early 1700s. Pretty good for Swedish farmers, but a connection like this could take me back to the early 1400s.
Still, I have mixed feelings about this find.
First, if the connection pans out it would torpedo our family tradition that our ancestor was the "illegitimate son of a Scottish nobleman". Plenty of those in 18th century Sweden. (Seriously.) Or, maybe it wouldn't. I've already been working on a theory that the story was originally attached to our Wåhlstrand ancestors, and got transferred to the Svanströms over a few generations of re-telling. (It happens; we all know that.)
Secondly, these DNA things are accurate, but only as far as they go. One problem is that I'm comparing my cousin's y-DNA test results to the test results of some guy I don't know. I trust my paper genealogy to be accurate, but I will need to see if I can really trust his. He says he's a male-line descendant of Gustav Sparre över pil, but is he really? And, how do either of us know that there wasn't a "Non Parental Event" in one of our lines?
Another problem is that the DNA can only tell me the two families share a common male ancestor some time in the past thousand years, approximately. It can't tell me that the Svanströms are descended from the Sparres över pil. The families come from the same area of Sweden. It could be that our common ancestor was an unknown Swedish farmer who lived a full thousand years ago. In fact, the Svanströms have DNA matches, not quite as close, say within the last 1500 or 2000 years, to families in England, Scotland, France, Germany, and Poland.
It will take months, maybe years to sort it out. Some people might jump all over this, link that Jonas Pettersson Sparre över pil with our Jonas Pettersson, and think they've solved the mystery. In fact, I'd bet money that within a year I start hearing echoes from distant cousins telling me that their dad always said the Svanströms are descended from the Sparres. It's just not that easy.
Justin, how exciting for you to be mulling over this "find" of a strong lead. Thank you for sharing your news with us all.
I don't have knowledge of Swedish history at all so cannot even endorse the "How cool is that" to match the Sparre family. However I am fascinated by your thinking and pulling apart the threads of the DNA results, as far as they go.
My DNA report is only due first week in July. The first step is actually doing the test, the BIG one is how to understand what the results show.
Justin Swanström A lead is better than none at all. It's clearly gotten you thinking about things if nothing else.
I still have to figure out what the results of my Father's Ydna test mean... it's a bit confuzzling (that's confusing for anyone who doesn't speak 'Wendi').
Still waiting on Ydna results for our Meyer/Meijer cousin and my mtdna results.
Pam - can't wait to hear about what you find out!
I just connected my (previously unknown) 5th cousin x 1 to the World Family Tree. Took us 2 days - she worked up, I worked down, we consulted. Lots of questions still but the really good news, for me, is that I am now more firmly related in Cocke County, Tennessee -
The Moonshine Mecca of the United States
My positive post will be in time for Sydney’s Friday Positive Post tomorrow and is certainly different from the family discoveries that others have described here. It is about doing what I love which is working with projects. They start off with an idea and then take on a life of their own, shaped by collaboration, history and the profiles attached.
I have been working on the http://www.geni.com/projects/Jewish-Families-of-Krak%C3%B3w-Poland/... for the past 8 months. This week we had a breakthrough in which the total profiles added to the project have now broken 13,000. A long way from the early struggle to reach the first thousand names, remember those days Hatte Blejer ? Does it get any easier ? Not really.
For those unfamiliar with the region, Krakow was one of the largest Jewish centres in Poland/Galicia. It was the oldest royal capital of Poland, occupied by the Austrian Hapsburg armies in 1796. The project's intent was to index the family names and then add all of the data from Dan Hirschberg's Krakow Website onto Geni. Dan’s site is considered a major resource for the 18th and 19th century families. As the project grows a flood of dialogue has been created and some great stories have surfaced from users.
The journey has taught me so much about Krakow Jews many of whom are linked through familial intermarriage, their tentacles extending and joining the generations together. Families were related to one another, cousins married cousins, nephews and nieces. It is not surprising then that family names underwent subtle changes through only one generation.
The aspect of this project that I find particularly hard is to see the devastating sadness which families suffered with the early loss of so many young children and babies. It is not unusual to find that multiple infants in any family died shortly after birth. Parents were denied the joy that offspring bring, the experience of accompanying a child on the path to adolescence and adulthood. I continually wonder how parents coped with loss after loss yet continued to hope for procreation. As an example, records reveal the greatest number of children born to one couple was 19, comprising 16 sons and 3 daughters !
I have created or been significantly involved in over 50 projects and have enjoyed each one. Projects (like genealogy) are never finished. I keep going back to add something to the narrative or include more profiles, which is what I meant when saying early on in this piece that they take on a life of their own.
They also provide a great opportunity for users to become further connected… but that will be a post for another week.
Well it's Friday in Arizona and I'd like to share today. With a great deal of help from Erica Howton and other knowledgeable curators, I am able to say that I found out that my 6th ggrandfather probably lived to see the United States become a reality. It seems that his son’s confirmation date in 1768 was confused with his death date in the translation of some old church records. Thanks Erica. Numerous sources have been added for several early 2nd Millennium ancestors named as variations of DeSpencer. Thanks Carole (Erickson) Pomeroy. But these I mostly just watched happen, as the accomplishments are above my skill level.
What I have concentrated on is the over 1,000 tree, record and smart matches for my family. I have started with those that have only one digit in the quantity column, and that has been an adventure. I have found very few that were not bona fide matches based on information already in Geni. I have found siblings for great-grandparents and umpteenth cousins recorded as an only child, spouses for some previous “unknowns,” and pictures to replace that blank silhouette; even if it is only a grave marker (thanks FAG). The saddest part is to realize the child mortality in the family, but the heartwarming part is to know that those little guys and gals will be remembered.
I have learned a lot but I forget a lot too. That's okay, when I learn it again it will be just as exciting.