Thursday, December 21, 2006

"I am not a crook" either

A while back, I wrote here about how I had discovered that someone had researched some of my family tree. It's time for an update, and the title gives you a clue about the outcome.

I have loaded the family tree into, which does a fine job of pointing you in other directions about distant relations. It's especially true for pre-1800 names, which have been researched, posted and shared by others. After a while, the family trees tend to intertwine.

I've got something like 450 names up now, including everyone, dating back to pre-1492. I have visions of my relatives standing on the docks, waving goodbye to Columbus, even though my relatives were in England, Scotland and Ireland while Columbus didn't start anywhere near there.

Just the other day, added a new feature: connections with celebrities. It looks over your tree and the trees of celebrities, and lists the results. It's not quite perfect yet and is in the Beta mode, since the computer takes in some information that is at best iffy. For example, in one of my connective charts, there's someone who allegedly had a child at age 12. That seemed a little difficult for me.

However, one name did jump off the chart for me -- Richard Nixon. Since much of my main branch had Quaker ties before 1860, I should have guessed that America's leading 20th-century Quaker might have a connection. Still, I looked over the names. I assumed that Nixon's line was pretty accurate, since Presidents usually get a thorough job of research in such matters. And while I haven't searched SE Pennsylvania cemeteries yet, the names on my list seem to be well-researched too. So, I think it's fair to guess that there is a very good chance that President Nixon and I had the same ancestor, Gayen Miller, around 1700.

I broke this news to some of my relatives, but they haven't checked back in yet. Maybe they are too stunned. Maybe they haven't opened their e-mail.

A couple of other celebrities on the list seem like a good connection too -- Shirley Temple, Raymond Massey, Mrs. Herbert Hoover. But Nixon is the one I'll remember.

I always wondered why I had such a heavy beard.

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