What’s My Line?

What do people mean when they say “My line goes back to _________”? Oftentimes this statement is accompanied by something similar to “I’ve traced all of my line”.

Many people seem to mean the line of their father’s father’s father’s father’s etc., and think that is the only ancestral line they have (or at least the only one that matters). In charting terms, this is one of only two straight ancestral lines they have. The other straight ancestral line they have is the line of their mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s etc.

In between those only two straight lines on an ancestor chart are a countless number of other lines that zig zag back to wherever humans actually came from.

Which line is most important? Is it one’s father’s father’s father’s father’s line, as many people believe? What if just one connection on one of those countless number of your other zig zag lines never happened? Would you be here today?

Certainly you would not be here as the person you are. Each and every ancestral couple you have was absolutely essential to you being you, and would therefore have been of equal importance. No substitutions could have occurred, or you would not have been you.

If there had been a single substitution somewhere in the past, would you have been born as someone else, or would you have never existed?

Too Much Fun

As I have been racing toward the release of the world’s most interconnected digital collection of ancestral history, I’ve been having too much fun to stop for log entries.

Yesterday, in the last half hour of the workday, I made a connection that deserves a log entry. With the addition of just two new people and one attachment 3,960 fully-sourced boxes were filled in on my own ancestry chart.

The Mayflower Society estimates that there are 35,000,000 living descendants today from the small group of Mayflower Pilgrims in the early 1600’s. If that estimate is even close to the ballpark, then easily 200 million living people will also share that same 1300’s ancestral connection with me. It would be truly amazing if even one person who reads this Captain’s Log does not have at least once ancestral pathway that passes through that intersection.

One of my own ancestors, Sir Roger de Northwode, 2nd Baron Northwode, was a dead end yesterday. Then I found a source that shows him to be the son of Sir John de Northwode by Agnes de Grandison. The same source shows Agnes to be the daughter of William de Grandison by Sibilla de Tregoz.

Since Agnes’ sister Catherine, another one of my own ancestors according to recorded history, had already been attached to 3,958 fully-sourced boxes on her own ancestry chart in the A&E Family Forest, all I had to do was to attach Agnes to that same ancestry. This quick connection gives me, plus all of those hundreds of millions of other living people, at least ten more ancestral pathways to Charlemagne and his ancestry in the A&E Family Forest.

I wonder what excitement lies waiting in my path today?