I’ve been using Family Tree Maker Software to deal with my family tree since I was on Windows 3.1. I find that it’s easier to set up the technical, genealogy side of my life than actually explaining the “family vine” that I call my family.
I only have to go as far as my parents and my grandparents before I start confusing people and making them wonder if I was born in the back woods of Alabama or Arkansas.
And before all of you who were born in Alabama or Arkansas start e-mailing me and calling me and telling me that I’m prejudiced toward your state… I am NOT the one that started this stereotype.
Don’t get me wrong. My family tree is easy for ME because I’ve been there since it started. But over the years, I’ve realized that when I attempt to explain it to people who WEREN’T there from the beginning, I get confused expressions, lots of questions, and a whole “sorry I asked” sort of reaction.
I realize that I’ll have to explain more details later so that it makes sense but here are just a few of the highlights:
* My great-grandfather adopted his grandson and thereby he became his grandson’ s father.
* My grandmother spent a lifetime lying to my uncle about who his father was, thereby creating a very confused and shocked 50-year-old who thought his mother walked on water.
* My parents divorced when I was seven. Sounds simple, but hold on to your hat… A year and a half later, my dad married my babysitter. And then three and a half years after that, mom married the (now divorced) neighbor. And since the babysitter happened to be the neighbor’s niece, my mother became my father’s aunt-in-law, thereby making me and my father cousins by marriage.
Yes, you’ll probably have to read through that more than once and even draw pictures to connect the dots… and even then there’s no guarantee of any of that making sense!
I do want to reiterate, especially after that last line, that it was by MARRIAGE, NOT by blood. 🙂
To me, it’s been a huge joke over the years. Adults doing dumb things because they’re young and stupid and don’t know any better and, as with all of us, they make mistakes.
My brother, on the other hand somehow sees it as an embarrassment that reflects upon him, even though HE had absolutely ZERO to do with any of the decisions and choices along the way. I don’t understand it. But my brother and I have very different personalities and very different ways of dealing with what gets thrown at us in life.
In a nutshell, that’s my family tree. I promise it will make much more sense as we go along… well, maybe it won’t… but it won’t be for a lack of trying.
p.s. I’m sure I’m not the only person with odd family ties and connections. So, if you’re feeling brave (or have just been looking forever for someone crazy enough to understand and not pass judgment) feel free to share in the comments… I won’t tell! 🙂