Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family lines

I spent part of the weekend taking a look at the family tree.  My dad has been working on it for a few years and has made a lot of progress.  There’s now 1,447 people in the tree.  He’s got back 13 generations on one line to 1660 and most others to early 1700s.  On my direct descendent line (excluding all the sibling lines - aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) there are 136 folk.  This part of the tree is complete back to my 4th great-grandparents.

The thing I find interesting about both elements of the tree (my direct line and in general) is the lack of mobility and mixing.  On my paternal side my grandfather’s line is from west Cumberland and grandmother’s line from Bucks/Northants.  On my maternal side my grandmother and grandfather’s lines are from the West Midlands.  There are only a handful of people not who were not born or died in those areas, including the few that emigrated to Australia or the US.  On my direct descendent line there's only one person not born in England: Francis Higgins, born in 1785 in Ireland, who moved to Cumberland and married Ann from Gosforth, and whose granddaughter, Isabella, married John Kitchin in 1860 (my 2nd great-grandfather).  With the exception of the small number born/lived overseas, there are very few people born elsewhere out of the 1,331 other people in the tree - 6 in Ireland, 3 in Scotland, 2 in Wales, 1 in Germany.  Pretty much everyone married someone from within a few miles of where they grew up and lived there their whole lives.  Seems stasis is something of a family trait.

5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - This is really interesting! A very long time ago, someone in my family did a similar thing and its interesting the patterns you find.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My brother did ours and traced my father's family back to Alsace Lorraine in the 1500s. My maiden name NASE was spelled at least eight different ways over time so they were probably illiterate for a long time. I think the original spelling was Nehs. It was fascinating to find they landed in Pennsylvania in the 1600s and stayed there up until this day.

Rob Kitchin said...

I was going to write another post about names at some point. There's one line where the name changes over three generations: Ansloe --> Anslow --> Hanslow. There are also lots of interchange between Kitchin and Kitchen in the tree in general, though my line remains Kitchin throughout. Back to 1500s is good going. It's partly because the records in the US are so good in a lot of places. In Europe a lot have been destroyed in wars. In the UK the censuses are useful, but before they were introduced you're relying on parish records. And I can see how people become fascinated and obsessed with filling in the blanks.

Dyer Wilk said...

It gets a little confusing for my family because my father's side emigrated from Scotland to Canada, Anglicized the name and essentially nullified their roots in an attempt to fit in, which included some manipulation of the genealogy to make it look like we were descended from royalty. This kind of honesty went on for a good hundred and fifty years until my father traced the family tree. It's not so fun to dig back in time and find out your family were egotistical liars. Why should I care that my ancestors cut peat? It's far more interesting to me than being lied to and told I have roots extending back to Charlemagne.

Rob Kitchin said...

Dyer, for the initial movers I'm not sure it is egotistical liars so much as taking the opportunity of the move to reimagine lineage and reposition oneself in a new place to a position better than the one left. That seems a relatively sensible tactic of upward mobility, despite it rewriting the past. How it then plays out in subsequent generations is a different matter.