Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Father's Day Present for Someone Else's Dad

A couple of months ago, my son's kindergarten teacher asked me if I could do some work on his family tree. (Famous last words, "Sure!") Then he said that he would like to give my work to his dad on Father's Day. Since I don't do genealogy reports for clients, I didn't have any format with which to present my research to him. Luckily, at SCGS Jamboree last weekend, I came across this beautiful family tree chart. It is 22" x 28" and came with instructions to print and affix the ancestors' names on labels on the tree. It was a lot of work cutting the sticky printer paper just right and getting the labels straight on the tree, but when it was done I was pretty pleased with the final result.

James Family Tree

I concentrated on his paternal ancestors since his mother is from Brazil and I wouldn't even know where to begin with her genealogy. Luckily, his father is very "American" and most of his ancestors trace back to Colonial New England, so there were plenty of records from which to build his family tree. I was also very fortunate that he had some notable ancestors like John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. I purchased the story of his ninth great grandparents, "The Courtship of Miles Standish" by Longfellow and glued his descendancy from John and Priscilla on the inside of the cover. 

Luckily, the Mayflower Society booth at SCGS Jamboree had a very nice printed copy of "The Mayflower Compact". Since, at least, four of my son's teacher's direct ancestors signed the compact and he is descended from, at least, eight Mayflower passengers, it was also a fitting gift. 

Some of his ancestral surnames are James, Gries, Downey, Harris, Bell, Coop, Myers, VanCleave and Swearingen. I found some interesting tidbits like that he shares the famous Vanderbilt family's immigrant ancestor, Jan Aertsen van der Bilt, and his VanCleave ancestors were with my Proctor ancestors fighting in the Kentucky wilderness with Daniel Boone.

Although I had a lot of fun working on this tree, especially when I discovered that he and I are ninth cousins twice removed through our shared Mayflower ancestors, John Howland and Elizabeth Tilly, I do have to admit, I sure was relieved when this project was finished!

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