George Washington’s Lower Part

There are so many interesting bits of historical trivia waiting to be found in old books.

This officer in the American Revolution was said to be one of the two handsomest men in the Revolutionary Army; a distinction he shared with Colonel William Smith Livingston (his second cousin).

He was a close friend of General Washington, and since his legs were “an exact pattern of General Washington’s”, and since “General Washington’s time was so taken up with public affairs”, at General Washington’s request Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge “posed for the lower part of the famous portrait of Washington by Trumbull”.

After the American Revolution, Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge married a daughter of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, had seven children and 23 grandchildren, became a successful merchant and bank president, and was a representative in the U.S. Congress for 16 years.

Of his 23 grandchildren, 16 were either granddaughters, or grandsons with surnames other than Tallmadge. Those 16 grandchildren could have eight or so generations of descendants by now.

Most of those Tallmadge descendants with different surnames are probably unaware that they have any Tallmadge ancestry at all, and yet, one of their Tallmadge ancestors was General George Washington’s body-double.

Your Ancestors Knew St. Patrick

After watching the television program “St. Patrick, The Irish Legend”, I turned to the American & European Family Forest and searched for St. Patrick in “Facts” “Contains” in the Presidential section. There were three matches: King Oilliol of Leinster (baptized by St. Patrick in 460), King Cairthann Finn of Munster (converted by St. Patrick), and King Ceretic the Gwledig of Strathclyde (reproached by St. Patrick).

What I saw from their descendant charts made me realize that everyone with any European ancestry at all has ancestors who actually knew St. Patrick.

A 40 generation descendant view of King Oilliol of Leinster (with “Cousin Smart” selected) fills in 7,518 boxes on the chart, and has 196 red arrows (red arrows mean that lines of King Oilliol’s lines of descent continue beyond 40 generation at that point).

A 40 generation descendant view of King Cairthann Finn of Munster (with “Cousin Smart” selected) fills in 9,908 boxes on the chart, and has more than 251 red arrows. A 40 generation descendant view of King Ceretic the Gwledig of Strathclyde (with “Cousin Smart” selected) fills in 12,387 boxes on the chart, and has 268 red arrows.

40 generations into the future from St. Patrick’s time reaches up to about the time of the Mayflower. If twenty-six Mayflower families were responsible for 30,000,000+ living descendants today, how many living descendants are there today from the hundreds of people in the A&E Family Forest who lived at the time of the Mayflower and who were descended from these three kings who actually knew St. Patrick?

Simultaneous Ancestors

One of the common misconceptions about ancestors is that they are all along a straight line into the past. This leads to statements like “My ancestors are from _______ (Ireland, Italy, etc.)”; made with the absolute certainty they that only came from that one country.

When I tell some people they also had many ancestors from other places, they often stare at me as if I had just told them they had ancestors from Jupiter, and assume I’ve been out in the sun too long.

I have ancestors who came to America from Hungary only a century ago. Although I know nothing of their parents, the normal assumption would be that their ancestors had been in Hungary for many centuries before then. After all, people stayed in the same places in the old days, didn’t they?

While my Hungarian ancestors were living their lives about 1640, supposedly in Hungary, another one of my ancestors came to America from England with seven of her younger children (who all married and left numerous descendants in VA and MD). Her name is Anne Lovelace (PIN 21293 in F&P, PIN 29085 in Presidential), and she was the widow of Rev. John Gorsuch. She was English; therefore her ancestors were English, right?

A 20 generation ancestor view of Anne in Presidential (with “Include siblings” and “Cousin Smart” de-selected) fills in only 1,060 boxes on her ancestor chart. This is only one percent of her ancestry during that time period. But what does this small sliver reveal?

It does show that Anne did have many English ancestors. It also shows that at the very same time many of them were living, she also had ancestors living in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Holland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, many places in Spain, and very many places in France. How many other places would I find if I knew the other 99% of Anne’s ancestry?

Looking at the maps that appear from our Family Forest project of connecting the dots of recorded history, it appears impossible for someone to have ancestors from one part of Europe without having ancestors from all parts of Europe.