• Ancestrydotcom — the more I found, the worse it got

    A while back, my wife gave me a subscription to Ancestry.com. This she did simply to shut me up because I was always complaining about how big her family was and how little mine was. She has like a million people reaching way back to the beginning of time. My family has six people and I only know three of them.

    Anyway, this ancestry stuff is pretty complicated. For the first three months of my one year subscription, all I did was try to figure out how to start. I worked and I worked hour after hour for what seemed an eternity and there was nothing on my page. I figured that I’d best go back and read the instructions.

    Well, as it turns out, you have to start at the other end of the line because you can’t start at the far end because you don’t know who he was until you get there. That’s the way I read it anyway. What this means to you laymen and laywomen is that you have to start with yourself and go backwards until you get all the way to the first guy and this first guy lived about a million years ago.

    So, I put my name on the first line, followed by my date of birth and then place of birth. Next there were several lines where you can list your father and mother and then their fathers and mothers and so on and so forth. It took me a week to find my birth certificate so I could get the information about my parents. It was kind of disappointing.

    My mother was named Helen and she was born on a farm somewhere in Arkansas. There was no occupation listed for her. My father’s name was Edwin. He was born in Tennessee with a listed job of “gas station attendant.” I thought, “What?  Gas station attendant, what the hell is that?” I changed that to “Oilman.” That was that. I had covered a whole generation in just two weeks.

    The next generation I worked on was my grandparents. Their names were Eddie A. and Audrey. That was as far as I got on my father’s side of the family. It was a dead end right then and there. I looked and looked but I could go no farther. Finally I figured maybe I should look at my grandmother’s maiden family. That was a streak of genius, because I found about a million people that stretch all the way back to Jamestown in 1610.

    I found a document that stated that Pettyplace Clouse landed at Jamestown on the English ship “Starr” in the year 1610. I thought, “Holy crap!” This guy is important! He was one of the first white people to come to this country. Well, that was that too, for it was as far as I could go with that family line. I was happy though, because my old great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaddy was an important guy, a founding father.

    I thought, “Wow, I gotta get to know about this guy some more!” Well, I know you won’t believe it but there was a whole lot of information about this guy in the history books. It took me some time to find it, but when I did, it was well worth the trouble. Well as you might guess, being a member of the mighty Sanders family must have made him a very important fellow in his day and age. Yes indeed.

    I started reading. I read and I read and the farther I got the worse it got. Here’s what I found:

    Pettyplace arrived, like I said, in 1610 to the little settlement of Jamestown Virginia. He wasn’t the first guy to come to the settlement but he did have a long list of first in his records. OK, let’s go.

    Pettyplace was the first guy to be punished for public drunkenness in Jamestown. I guess he sort of stood out because all the rest of the people were like Quakers. The people of Jamestown built the first “stocks” so my ancestor could put his head and hands through it in the public square. There he was accused of stealing the rum from the English Ship Star which could not be proved because Pettyplace claimed he bought some Everclear alcohol from the Settlement store.

    A week after that, Pettyplace became the first rapist in the country. He had impregnated the sister of a Cherokee princess (Sac-a-j-go-away-a), which explains more of my ancestors. As it turned out, raping an Indian was no crime at that time. The records say that Pettyplace began stealing food and other hock-able items from everybody in the fort. After that, none of the Quakers would give him any food.

    Next Pettyplace became the first recorded cannibal in the Americas. The thing that gave him away was the odor of stew cooking on his stove because the rest of the people didn’t have any food at all. It was odd but Pettyplace was gaining weight day after day while everybody else was skin and bones. From that day forward Pettyplace became the first white man to be tried for murder, the first man convicted of murder and the first guy executed on American soil for cannibalism.

    At least, now I can explain my unnatural craving of meat and the disdain I have of vegetables. I didn’t know what to do, so I put “Chef” on his occupation line. Like I said before, after that things got worse and worse. Throughout my ancestry cannibalism pops its ugly head out here and there at about every other generation. Just like clockwork, you could predict which generation would be cannibals.

    As it turns out, those of my generation are not cannibals. Thank God! You can imagine, though, that I’ve been keeping a close watch on my son Joey. Sometimes when I fall asleep on the couch, I keep a stick close by, just in case. After all, he is my son and I love him dearly but that doesn’t mean he won’t eat me. I’m scared as hell, because he won’t eat one leg at a time, he will eat my arms too. I have seen him eat two pizzas all by himself.

    I have a plan though. I will keep him full of beans and bologna. That way he might not get hungry for my wife and me. He always says he likes beans because it’s the “musical fruit.” That boy does like to fart, for it makes him so proud. The only bad thing about it is that his girlfriends don’t hang around very long, especially after I tell them I think Joey is a cannibal.

    That was the jest of my Ancestry dot com experience. I could not believe we paid good money for it.

      • Ralph

      • December 14, 2013 at 10:30 am
      • Reply

      Did you have any family in the Donner party?

    • Funny. I have friends who have found long lost relatives. Yours seem well worth the search.

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