a tree-rific journey into family history

Trapped in Our Tree: a look back at two years of family history research

On September 24, I will complete two full years of my genealogical journey into my family tree as well as my wife’s heritage. The best part of my work has been the experiences I cannot measure: conversations with family, connections with other researchers, knowledge of local history, family artifacts, intriguing stories, solved and unsolved mysteries, seeing our ancestors in the context of a greater historical narrative,  etc. While I cannot quantify those experiences, below are some things I can measure.

People in tree: 9327

Marriages in tree: 2891

Most marriages: Sarah Bell Aitkens Abbey Reagan Long Casteel Land (1873-1921)

Space used: 19.7 GB

Earliest birthdate in tree: 1530 William Jollifee in Winterbourne, Dorset, England

Unique places in tree: 1454

Most popular county in tree: Conway County, Arkansas

Media (unique items attached to people such as pictures, documents, etc) in tree: 2788

Media not yet added to tee: 853

My ancestry: Dutch, English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Native American, Russian, Scottish, Welsh

Wife’s ancestry: African, Scottish

Most generations: I can trace my niece, Katherine (born 2012), to her 15x great grandfather, William Jolliffe (born 1530), for a total of 18 generations

Most incestuous: I have seen one branch (not direct relatives) that commits incest three consecutive generations in the 20th century.

Out-of-state research roadtrips: three- Haywood County, Tennessee, Lincoln County, Tennessee, Tate County, Mississippi

Workshops/fairs attended: four

Books printed for people: six

Ways I spent money: gas, travel meals, printing, subscription, Family Tree Maker software, Arkansas Death Certificates, an obituary from Nashville, workshops, and probably other ways I do not care to recall

Blog posts: 20

Popular first names:

Sam/Samuel/Sammie/Samantha- 70

Rose/Rosa/Rosie/Rosetta- 73

Charles/Charlie- 74

Tom/Thomas/Tommy- 87

Anne/Anna/Annie- 79

Henry/Henrietta- 83

Martha/ Mattie- 83

Elizabeth/Eliza/Beth/Lizzie- 88

George/Georgia- 101

Robert/Bob/Bobby/Roberta/Robbie- 119

Mary- 206

John/Jonathan/Johan/Johnny- 221

James/Jamie/Jamison- 237

William/Bill/Billy/Will/Willie- 296

The past two years can best be summarized as follows: I’ve climbed high into my tree, and I can’t get down!


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2 thoughts on “Trapped in Our Tree: a look back at two years of family history research

  1. zpfactor on said:

    So interesting! Man that’s a lot of Williams. And how does one get married that many times. Is that 7? Or is her maiden name included in that string of names. Surely it would’ve been more difficult to part back then (or was it more recent) — did the men die?

  2. In her short 48 years of life, she managed to pack in five marriages . Divorce was not as common back then. I am unsure what happened to #1 and #2. (Some of this is based on research done by her great-granddaughter.) She changed states which may have eliminated the first. The third died of influenza. #4 and #5 were divorces, and #4 eventually murdered her. Sad stuff.

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