So when in the course of my research I stumbled upon an ancestor named King Edward IV, I felt just a little chagrin that I snoozed my way through World History class in 11th grade. Not that anything I learned that long ago would have stuck, but still. So, as I researched my royal line, I inadvertently learned a little history in the process. When I figured out who's related to who how, I mapped it all out. Ta-da!
- green = crown
- orange = child born out of wedlock
- yellow = the rest of the males
- pink = the rest of the females
- yellow yarn connecting the green cards = the order the crown was passed down
- pink yarn = marriages
- vertical white yarn = cousin distinctions (because I didn't have enough room to spread out the original siblings, some of the cousins ended up right next to each other like siblings, so I put the yarn there so we could know they weren't siblings, but cousins)
I'm sure you're dying to know what I learned. Surprisingly, after four days of intense research, very little.
- Someone in there married Ferdinand and Isabella's daughter when she was only 9. Then he died and she was married to his brother. After multiple years of that marriage, he divorced her. Oh yeah, that sounds familiar...Catherine of Aragon and King Henry VIII. :-)
- Someone in there's wife died of the bubonic plague. This one, I think, was just some random cousin. But it was still cool.
- Prince Edward was only called the Black Prince after he died.
- King Richard III had King Edward V and his younger brother Richard locked in the Tower (when they were kids!) and killed for the crown because Richard III didn't have lots of land, but if he had only waited like a year, someone else died and left him a bunch of it and he wouldn't have needed to be king to be rich.
- Two years later, King Henry VII killed King Richard III. Reminds me of "live by the sword, die by the sword". And "you reap what you sow".
I found out that my 4th great grandfather died in the Civil War. He was from Kentucky, and I found a record called U.S. Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865, meaning (probably) that he served with the North. I guess that clears up any question when someone asks me where I'm from, I can officially say the north now. I can't let William Hubbard die in vain! Although I guess he hasn't, because now, not only do I know what century the Civil War happened in (last week I had no idea), I also know it was 1861 to 1865, and no I did not have to look a couple sentences up to know that. I actually know it! When my son gets to learning history like this in school, I am so having him repeat my research.
Another 4th great grandfather was born 3 days after (and 132 years before) me in the SAME CITY I was born! For all the moving around my family tree has done, I think this is amazing.
Indirectly, I am also related to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Emily Dickenson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jane Austen, John Wayne, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn, 4 former Presidents (including George Bush!), 6 former first ladies, 2 former British Prime Ministers, Oliver Winchester, Samuel Morse, Samuel Adams, the guy who invented the Hubble telescope (or else it was named after him), and most notoriously James "Wild Bill" Hickock.
I have learned so much history doing this. I found a book at the thrift store about Anna of Byzantine, and I was actually excited to read it! That has never happened before. I have tried doing my husband's genealogy also, but I kinda hit a wall with his great grandparents. I took pen and notepad and asked his granny a bunch of questions, and even though she moved away from her extended family young and didn't have many answers, it was still fun asking the questions. It would be so neat if I could do interviews of a lot of old people and record their knowledge of "the olden days". To really trace the line back on the internet, you need to already know the last 100 or so years of people's names, dates of birth and death, and places of birth and death. Knowing what cool little stories I have found in my own long-lost family, I wonder what other stories are out there, just waiting to be discovered.