Family Search tells me that Abraham Lincoln is my ninth cousin, five times removed. (Of course, that depends on everyone in the food chain doing their research properly!) That's on my dad's side. On mom's, I'm a cousin to Stephen Colbert -- we share the same seventh great grandfather, I think. My former work colleague and IT guru, Kim, is also related through the "Lincoln" line on dad's side, though we're not quite sure of the specifics yet. But we're both Parmalees back then.
|Great Grandmother Delia Davis, the link to Abe Lincoln|
I suspect I'm probably related to a lot of you, as well!
This "revelation" has motivated me to do a final proof on my book (which has been sitting in my computer for far too long without being touched). I'd like to get it printed and offered to the cousins/relatives (mom's side) this year.
I started working on this in 2018, I think. Maybe earlier. I finally finished it -- more or less, apart from the final proof -- about two years ago. It weighs in at more than 30,000 words. But I keep adding to it as those in the family line have added spouses and then new generations to the list.
Before I do anything final, I have to wait for the baby of my cousin's son, Jeff, and his wife, Lauren to be born in April!
|Jeff and Lauren, expecting in April!|
I suspect that none of the younger generation are much interested in this project. But then, I wasn't nearly so obsessed until I was much older. But when I started digging, I discovered it was a fascinating look back, not just to see "who my people were" but what they did and how they lived. And that's what took it from being a list of names and dates to -- well, a story. And that story took me on quite a journey, from local haunts to Canada, England, and other towns in Michigan.
|At the kids table one Christmas.|
I've recounted here before that I discovered that the mysterious great grandfather Henry, about whom my mom and her sisters knew absolutely nothing, spent the last 13 years of his life in an asylum. So, I went to visit that place, located in Traverse City, Michigan.
|Northern Michigan Asylum, men's dorm.|
I also discovered that some of the earliest ancestors to come to the U.S. from Switzerland in the 1700s had fled religious persecution as Mennonites. So I decided to learn more about that.
|Mennonite Center, St. Jacob's Ontario|
Then my second great grandparents and their children emigrated from England in 1855, traveling in steerage. So, I dug deep into what it was like to travel steerage in the mid-1800s. I visited the church where they were married and where their children christened in England, as well as the site of their first home in London.
|St. James, Piccadilly, London, designed by Christopher Wren.|
Another great grandfather was a confectioner in the booming confection business in Buffalo, New York, in the late 1800s. So, I was down another rabbit hole, learning about Buffalo's role in our candy-making history.
|William S. Wood, confectioner.|
I remember my mother telling me many things about her family and her own youth and life, which has helped bring the generation of my parents into clearer focus. Between that, and talking with both mom's older sister and her best friend before they both died, I could tell the story of a generation that the children of my cousins actually have known. Interviews with my cousins helped tell not only their own stories but those of our parents as adults and our times together at the lake.
|The lake kids during my mom's era|
And now, it's almost done. Again. (I've rewritten the forward and epilogue at least three times and since I started added three new babies and three new spouses to the family tree!)
So, it will be one long proofing job, then finding the printer and -- big gulp -- a bound book in my hands. I'm aiming for Christmas!
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