A Pointless, Time-Consuming Indulgence?
As my son Charlie said when he got his DNA results from Ancestry.com, “Okay. So I’m sort of disappointed…” Me too, a little. There weren’t any surprises. Not in my ethnicity – 77% Great Britain; 19% Europe West; and in the ‘Low Confidence Regions’ – Ireland 2% and Finland/Northwest Russian 2%. But our DNA search was a Christmas gift to all of us and I feel compelled to be as appreciative as possible, so…
Yesterday I began filling in the template for the family tree that is provided. For the first six or seven generations back, there are few questions thanks to the work done by my Grandmother Little (“Nana”) on my father’s side and my Uncle Willard Espy (“Wede”) on my distaff side. Plus there are reference books… lots of books. There is nothing much that tempts me to pay the monthly fee to get more information. Not on my family and not yet.
What interests me most, of course, are the stories connected to the names and both Nana and Wede provided plenty of those. Take Alexander Hamilton, for instance. He is my five times great-grandfather on the Espy side, born in 1725, probably in Ayrshire Scotland and was ‘a millwright and a mechanical genius’ according to one account. He came to America in 1741, was a “battoe man” in the French and Indian Wars and settled his family in Pennsylvania.
According to Wede, “there is no proof of relationship between our Alexander Hamilton and the Alexander, thirty years younger, who was George Washington’s first Secretary of the Treasury. But I am bemused by the extraordinary coincidence of names in the two families. Alexander Hamilton of Grange, grandfather of the Secretary of the Treasury had nine sons, including John Robert, Alexander, James (the great AH’s father), George, ad William (twice). Our Alexander had eight sons, also including John, Robert, Alexander, James, George, and William.”
There is a place on the Ancestry Family Tree template to input stuff like that – to say nothing of pictures which I also have – but, I ask myself, is it worth the time and effort? The only ‘plus’ so far to this entire, time-consuming job of transferring information from family notations to Ancestry’s Family Tree is that it can be compiled in one orderly, easily visualized form. And what would I gain by spending a monthly amount to hook into other information? I might be close to overload already.
Cuzzin Ralph can probably answer those questions for me. So far, though, I don’t think I can justify the expense. I’m pretty sure that I have access to more information about my forebears than I can make use of. But, have to admit… it’s tempting… and the jury is still out.