DNA is innocent. DNA has no objective, no motive, no choice and definitely no other reason to exist but to be our building blocks. Last year I found out about all of the building blocks that made me who I am…well, at least physically…as a human being.
First and foremost I’m a history buff. I mean, I write historical fiction and do a ridiculous amount of research so I figured, why not research myself? I knew there were some questions about my lineage (see this post) but due to my DNA test I now know certain aspects of my pedigree were 100% TRUE and I’m good with it. However, what I didn’t know was, was tracing my ancestry would be so much FUN!
Let’s start at the beginning shall we? Below is my DNA Story, aka where all of my DNA came from geographically. Scientifically speaking, I’m kind of a mutt.
With that being said, I wanted more.
I started a tree. Guess what I found out? It does not grow on its own. You have to build it and then, no sleep. All you want to do is keep finding people and not to give away my age here but remember those old Breck commercials?
This thing grows more like weeds than a tree!!!
It goes off in all different directions and then these leaves pop up everywhere and you dont know which one to click on first!
Phew!!! More and more leaves and more and more people and let me tell you one thing, before the pill and other birth control…people had a LOT and I mean a lot of kids. I somehow imagine these families as the first models for baseball teams.
I was exhausted. Its expensive and its terribly time consuming but no, I don’t expect them to compile all of this information for free and once I got the hang of it, it wasn’t so bad. The problem is as a writer, I am constantly trying not to be distracted. Believe me when I tell you, this isn’t only a distraction it becomes an obsession.
A year ago I quit. I set it aside and walked away. I cancelled my subscription and gave up.
2 weeks ago, I decided to see it through. I promised myself no more than an hour or so a night (3-4 hours realistically) and to just try to enjoy it, along with the little surprises along the way.
Here are a few of my favorite surprises:
Poor Sir Richard Epson, my 16th Great-Grandfather.
Apparently he wasn’t a very nice guy. He was in charge of collecting taxes for King Henry VII. This little article here kind of explains what happened to him but the short attention span version is, Henry VII died and his lovely, darling son, Henry VIII was crowned king.
He didn’t like my grandfather very much.
He chopped his head off…not in the Ned Stark way you know, the one who passes the sentence should swing the sword but the end result was the same.
But…as if that wasn’t interesting enough, then I found this guy…
Yep. My 17th Great-Grandfather was a Sheriff of Nottingham and he wasn’t the only one. His son was too.
Despite this, I’m impressed with the fact that I expected to find bank robbers and peasants and instead, my English ancestry is chock full of Lords, Ladies, Knights and royalty. I found this little ditty on the interwebs as well. Its a bit difficult to follow but I’m related to all of these people. I may never sleep again.
Yes, those names at the top are my distant cousins, aunts, uncles etc.
And here I sit in my modest albeit comfortable home in the good old USA, dreaming of my ancestors in their castles and finery.
Damn you DNA. Damn you. 🙂
That Lady Diana connection though? I’ll be burning the midnight oil until I find her in the weeds.
More to come…I’m only in the 13th century.
So here’s an update: Someone on Ancestry used a photo of Sir Thomas More for my 16 times great grandfather, Sir Richard Empson! I’ve since fixed it on my tree but I’m fixing it here as well. Below is my actual 16X great grandfather, with King Henry VII of England their other cohort, Sir Edmund Dudley.