Sunday, May 15, 2011

Better Big Hoss than Chumlee

My parents' search for their ancestorial history has finally gotten interesting. It finally starting to resemble an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Part of what they have found that is so interesting at the same time may be proof that my dad's family is related to the Harrison family from Pawn Stars. Better Old Man and Big Hoss than Chumlee.

Thursday night, with two minutes left of Grey's Anatomy, my dad calls me to see if I am watching anything. "Well, yeah, sort of." That was either sarcastic or a lie because this was just before the end when Alex revealed to Hunt that Meredith tampered with the Alzheimer's study. But the end of Grey's Anatomy has nothing to do with this story.

Anyway, Dad calls because he wants me to order a book from Amazon: Robert Carter of Nomini Hall: A Virginia Tobacco Planter of the Eighteenth Century. That night they had gone up a limb of his grandmother's tree to find that this man was a 6th, 7th, 8th grandfather, I'm really not sure what the number was. Anyway, this Carter was the largest land owner in Virginia and had 500+ slaves. I looked up a little something earlier on Wikipedia so I could tell more in this post, and evidently, he was tight with the King of England and into the colonial government.

Robert Carter was also the grandfather of President William Henry Harrison, known for being the first President to die in office and was only the President for 32 days.  Some blame his death on the bad weather on his inauguration day. If I recall correctly, which I may not recall correctly, it was because he gave a really long inaugural address. Yeah, that would be our family. I'm not sure about that.

William Henry Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison was also President. That means that I had a 12th cousin 6 times removed serve as President. I don't actually know what numbers those are supposed to be, and I really need to educate myself on the removal part means because I have never have really understood that part.

There was an episode of Pawn Stars a couple of months ago where Rick talks about how they thought they were related to the Presidential Harrisons. So, perhaps, we are 8th cousins 20 times removed. I asked Mom if she tracked back down the other tree to see if she found the Pawn Stars on Ancestory. She said she had not.


To that I say, just don't find Chumlee.

Speaking of relatives, over 50 of my dad's relatives gathered at my Uncle Mike's party barn this afternoon in part because it was Aunt Lois' birthday. Among those in attendance were my dad's first cousins and some of his mother's cousins. I guess I really should have paid more attention to the family tree Aunt Carol had drawn out on the barn door to figure out who some of those people were.

I'm really not quite sure why every one is so obsessed with ancestors all of a sudden. Aunt Carol's husband, one of the at least four Bills that were there, said it was coming of a certain age thing. Dad was trying to explain this new found relative to everyone.

Nine of my twelve first cousins on that side of the family were there. (Four belong to my dad's half-sisters - so I guess they are half first cousins?) Why has talking about family turned into a math lesson? This side of the family doesn't get together often for a number of reasons. Let's just say they are all a lot more alike than any of them would like to admit and leave it at that.

When we drove up, a car pulled next to us, and when the driver spoke, I honestly had to look a minute to figure out who the heck it was. I had not seen my cousin, Wes, in seven years at my Grandmother's funeral. I got to see several of my cousin's kids for the first time. Including Wes' daughter who took immediately to me for some reason.

This leads me in a new direction to this discussion. One of the two nights that I was into this Ancestory stuff, before I decided I had better ways to waste my time online and that it absolutely frustrated me to no end, I tried to figure out why so many people were named Royal and how far back the men had Marion as a middle name.

Future generations of the family may be curious about how some of the names of more recent generations were chosen. My name is very unique comared to to the popular names of Brian (my parents went really popular there), Chris, Josh, Kim, Mike, Kay, John, Robert  and Linda of the past few generations. may marvel at the names in my family.

One of my dad's cousins is married to a man named Jessie James. Not the tatooed one that was married to Sandra Bullock though. (Which reminds me of a tattoo story - remind me to tell you the story if I forget to come back to it.) And not the outlaw either.

Oh, and then there is Shrimp. That's not her real name, but the name she is most known by in the family. That one is my dad's cousin.

It's really the youngest generation that may attract the most attention. I don't know any of the stories behind these na$es, but applaud the urge to go outside the box. Mo (a nickname) was sick, so didn't get to bring her daughter Pepper today.

Another little one we didn't get to see was Meadow. She was sick, so didn't get to come either.

And then there are Biblical names. Great-great-great-great-grandfather Hezekiah would be quite proud of baby Michael Cephus. Honestly, I kept thinking of Bocephus, I really hate to admit.. His sister is Shalom, my almost two-year-old-new-best-friend.

Ok, back to my tattoo story. My Dad and his brother Mike were over by the giant Jenga game made with 2x4s. As they were showing some of the kids how to play, I ask Peyton, "do you think Pops and his brother look alike?"

She's contemplating this for a moment then says into my ear, "Pops doesn't have a tattoo."

"Forget about that tattoo! I know he doesn't have a tattoo, other than that..."

"Well, then, yeah, they kind of do."

That's Peyton for you. I love her!

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