Tag Archives: genealogy

The Fun of Genealogy

lucille-ball-19I love genealogy. I love the research aspect and more than anything I love the discovery aspect. My husband clings diligently to the “Adam & Eve” theory that we are all related and the rest is just a waste of time. That’s fine for him,  but I guess I am more about the how of the connections. If I am potentially connected to someone, I want to know how, by who, or is it whom. Either way, I want to know.

So, I am a huge fan of Ancestry’s “We are Related,” and Family Search’s “Relative Finder.” I spent yesterday tracking my connections to some of the famous movie stars I am potentially related to. I am always tickled when I can line everyone up to fit.

Below is my most current list of potential famous movie star relatives.

  1. Francis Phillip Wupperman (Frank Morgan)
  2. Eldred Gregory Peck
  3. William Edgar Buchanan
  4. Elizabeth Victoria Montgomery
  5. Humphrey DeForest Bogart
  6. Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (Burl Ives)
  7. Jackson DeForest Kelley
  8. Harry Lillis Crosby II (Bing Crosby)
  9. Jane Waddington Wyatt
  10. Jesse Donald Knotts (Don Knotts)
  11. Lloyd Vernet Bridges II
  12. Margarita Carmen Cansino (Rita Hayworth)
  13. Joseph Frank Keaton (Buster Keaton)
  14. Fess Elisha Parker II
  15. Lucille Desiree Ball
  16. Mary Frances Reynolds (Debbie Reynolds)
  17. Frances Ethel Gumm (Judy Garland)
  18. James Harrison Coburn

judy-garland-m6

I look at this list and two things stand out for me. I am potentially related to the two main characters of the Wizard of Oz, and I am related to a number of strong, beautiful and very funny ladies. Must be in my genes.

Where were they?

confusedAs I delve deeper into my family history, I have come to the conclusion that places are going to kill me. Well, not places so much as how they are recognized and what is where. As I look at records, I see a bunch of different words that I thought meant the same thing, but turns out they mean their own thing. Confused yet? Yeah, me too.

As a courtesy to those of you newbies to the genealogy world, I have made you a little cheat sheet. I basically did some geographical homework for you. Below is what I managed to figure out.

How can this help you? I have found that what an area was called has given me insight as to what the life of that family might have been like. I think it might make more sense when you have finished reading this.

A county is a large area that handles the smaller towns, cities, villages, etc., within its jurisdiction. This includes most of the legalities involved with the operation of the smaller entities. The legal middleman, if you will, between state and local.

A city is a pretty big permanent settlement. Although there is nothing carved in stone on how to tell a city from a town, a lot of cities have a specific administrative, legal, or historical status based on the law of the area. Take Massachusetts (a state); an article of incorporation gives approval by the state legislature that determines a city government from a town. In the UK, a city is usually a settlement with a royal charter.

A town is a place where people live. They are larger than villages, but smaller than cities. Each country may define its own guidelines for these classifications. In the USA we have small towns. In the UK the same size place would be called villages. Then again, a small town in Britain might be considered a city in the USA.

A township is an area that might be urban, but in many places, such as Australia, Asia, and Canada it could be an area that is actually rural and outside more of a small town. While in Europe this term is more historical, it is still relevant to records and how certain places were referred to. Generally, a township is a step below a county, but can also be a municipality.

A village is a cluster of communities that serve specific types of inhabitants, especially with regard to agriculture. Villages are usually permanent, but have been known to travel. Without going into the definition of a hamlet, a village is smaller than a town and historically speaking a hamlet grew up to be a village when it got a church.

A borough is an area that, while it may consist of a higher population, is most recognized because it has its own local government. Boroughs are more often found in Europe, but a few areas in the USA have taken advantage of this, the most well-known being New York.