Learning and Exploring

Family Tree Stories

Like I mentioned in my other post I don’t think its possible to come from my state or certain of the surrounding states and have a bland family history. We just don’t do that here. And it goes further back.

My grandparents love genealogy and went digging through archives over our state and maybe one or two others (that side of the family has mostly been in this state since Europe). They have tons of old photos and documents. Papau has scanned some of them, but they still have tons to go.

We have a ration card from my great, great uncle from WWII period with some of the tickets still in it.

We have photos of my great grandfather who was stationed in India during WWII. He’s holding a monkey in one of them.

We have a Swiss identity document from my great-great-great grandfather, my Papau’s great grandfather (his great-grandparents and his great grandmother’s brother’s family came from Switzerland).

Someone died from being kicked in the head by a cow.

Someone died from skinning a rabid rabbit.

Someone killed a man in a bar brawl.

My state is a byword for cousin marriages and low out of state movement, and yes, my great-great grandparents were first cousins. I’m almost absolutely positive going by last names and the counties involved that one of my crushes was a distant cousin (!!!).

Also, you know how Laura Ingall Wilder’s mom’s family married multiple times into her Dad’s family (2 sisters and a brother married 2 brothers and a sister)? Well, one of my great-grandmother’s older sisters (the one responsible for stealing my great-great grandmothers handsewn quilts one of which my grandmother was supposed to get) married my great-grandfather’s older brother. Then my great-parents married. Later, my great-grandfather’s sister remarried and married my great-mother’s brother.

Also, I feel like I’m related to half of the state if not America. Apparently it is possible to get a DNA test and not have thousands of cousins 4th cousins and closer like I have.

Which leads me to, my grandmother’s family was, uh, prolific. She was one of 5, which was small for her side. My grandfather had more sets of two kids in his family before my mom and her sister and reasonable large family sizes of 8 kids. My grandmother had HUGE families in her family tree, 8 seemed typical. The largest?

Her great-grandfather I think it was had 20+ children between 2 wives. Not at the same time (married cousins in our family yes, bigamy no, at least wait, I feel like there may have been a bigamy story or claim somewhere). No, in this case the first wife must have got worn out with 12 or so kids and then the next wife produced around 8. 19 were listed as still living in the the newspaper clipping of his death. I think 20 lived to adulthood, and there were around 2 that died as young children.

That isn’t the only case of a large family from two wives, I think the other was more reasonable, you know, like 14 or something.



  • Elizabeth

    This is so interesting! Definitely not bland. XD The list with the cow, the rabid rabbit, and the brawl fight made me laugh for some reason. The close marrying thing is always a terrifying concept but I guess it was a thing people did at one point.

    • Rachel Olivia

      Yeah, not bland. I think I’ll request a dna test if I marry anyone from my state and certain areas are just a no, I’m almost positive I’d be related to everyone from that area.

  • Catherine

    It’s great that you’ve been able to find out some stories, what people did and how they died! My sister’s being doing a bit of family history but it’s so hard to find out more than just names and where people were from. My uncle did an ancestry test and it came back 100% Irish – it’s not exactly a big place, so bit worrying!

    • Rachel Olivia

      My grandparents worked really hard at going to places when everything was paper and microfilm and their families kept photos and memorabilia, they have boxes of research and binders for their respective families, so I definitely have a lot to be thankful for.

      Obviously documents are important, but taking an ancestry dna test and building a tree helps, when you take a test, you’ll have cousins and such show (they can give a guess at how close the relationship but not exact), and you can look at their trees to verify, this helps when like everyone has such bland generic names.

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