Posts tagged ‘Family Search’

2018/01/14

Wrong Side of the Blanket

I am totally a descendant of Henry I of England, aka Henry Beauclerc, who was born in like 1068, which was a very long time ago!

And King!

At least if we believe Family Search, which is the Mormons, who are making sure that everyone who converts has a full record of their family tree so that they can go back through it and do the appropriate ritual to make sure that all of their ancestors can (if they want to) get into the right Realm or whatever; but it has the nice side-effect of making this huge genealogy database thing that the rest of us can use, too.

It has two parts: a vast database of public records of various kinds, digitized and indexed by all sorts of things; and a sort of huge family-tree Wiki which anyone who signs up (for free!) can edit, which is both wonderful and horribly full of data-quality problems omg you wouldn’t believe it.

I wrote to one person, on the system, asking her why she’d removed one very correct-looking father-son relationship from the Family Tree part, and she replied asking who the heck I was, and why I was questioning edits that she’d made to her own family tree? She was rather surprised to be told that the family tree is actually shared between everyone, and that her pruning out of relationships that she wasn’t personally interested in had been messing up everyone else’s trees, too.

In another part of my family tree, someone has been busy for the last two months changing the name associated with one particular entry back and forth between two completely different names. I’m guessing this is because they don’t actually understand how the interface works. They have also completely merged the information of two as far as I can see entirely different couples; the information from the two husbands has been merged into one, as has the information from the two wives. The resulting horrible mess has so far discouraged me from going in and actually doing anything about it, other than adding an incredulous annotation to the page.

But anyway! Descended from Henry I! King of England!

Great great great etc gramps

Great great great etc gramps

Henry, it seems, had an illegitimate daughter named variously Aline or Alix or Alice Fitzroy and/or von England, by a woman whose name is unknown at least to me. This daughter cleverly married Matthieu (or Matthew) I of Montmorency, which led to a line of like a dozen more dudes of Montmorency, named Matthew and Charles and Jean and Phillipe and Joseph and Jacques and things, until we suddenly get to Christian Berent Van Horn, born in about 1570. Not immediately clear what happened to Montmorency.

We then have four or five generations of Van Horns, until Styntje Van Horn marries one David Cossart in New York, America, in 1696. There is then a bit of a mess, or to be frank a horrible mess, as various Cossarts and Cossats and Cassets, all named David and/or Francis, father each other for a few generations, until we get to the birth of the memorably-named Massillon Cassat in the more civilized year of 1840. He has a daughter, she has a son, and that son marries my mother, and they beget me.

Hurrah!

So there you can see my descent, in terms of both ancestry and social status, from Henry I of England, through all them Montmorencies and Van Horns and Cassats, to your humble weblogger, sitting here with tennis happening on the TV.

Isn’t nature wonderful!

(And since it’s all on a random Wiki that your Uncle Irving could randomly switch all of the relationships around in at any time, any or all of it, at least before the last Cassat daughter of whom I have memories of personal testimony, could be utterly made up! But we don’t let that worry us; the past is always uncertain, even moreso than the future.)