The love letters between William and Ada have prompted me to peer into that branch of the family tree a bit more.
I decided to do the ancestry.com 14 day free trial last night to see if there was any new info on there. I have some basic info about that part of my family, but not a lot of details.
Well, as it turns out I stayed up most of the night finding out all kinds of cool things about Ada’s family. Most of my family tree branches go back to somewhere in the 1700′s. William Wilkin’s family line all comes from Germany. It was like a bunch of Germans came to New Jersey, met up and got married, and moved to Highland County, Ohio and then continued marrying each other. So, William…German.
Ada on the other hand…wow. Ancestry.com is so neat–it has every record linked up so when you enter a name it automatically puts information right at your finger tips. All you have to do is click and discover.
I followed Ada’s family line all the way back to Gloucestershire, England. Apparently my ancestors were the Berkeleys, of Berkeley Castle. Their names are things like “Sir Thomas The Observer Berkeley” and “Maurice The Magnanimous Berkeley” and apparently they were important historical figures. How cool is this?
I had a major geek out moment…I’m still having it, actually.
Since they were important people there are all kinds of stories and records and paintings. There are pictures of their burial places. The family records exist back to the year 900-something. Holy crap!
Their castle still exists today.
New life goal: Visit Berkeley Castle. Check out the website!
Ada was harboring all kinds of interesting things in her family heritage. I’m so amazed that these are my direct relations and I’ve never heard a thing about it until now.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore interesting…it got more interesting. I kept following the family history of the Berkeleys back farther, just curious exactly how far back in history these records would go. Know what I found?
No shit. My 28 times great-grandfather was King Svend Ulfsson of Denmark. He’s said to be one of the last of the great Nordic Vikings.
Brain explode! (I only know he was my 28 times great grandfather because ancestry.com actually calculates your relation to each person once you put the info in your family tree.)
According to a study of his skeleton he was tall and walked with a limp. I prefer to imagine him like Eric from True Blood.
I can read all about his history, see the coins he had minted, read about his battles. I can’t even explain how exciting this is, or even why reading about my dead ancestors is so exciting in the first place…but it is. It really, really is.
My 27 times great grandfather, the King’s son, was named The Staller Eadmon. Somehow The Staller battled his way over to England, where he spread his seed and ended up creating that famous Berkeley line of ancestors. The Berkeley ancestors eventually had a son who decided to leave England, and he sailed into New Jersey. Then his children got married and moved to Highland County, Ohio…and soon there after Ada and William met each other and started writing their letters.
Here’s my 17th great grandfather The Third Earl Sir James de Berkeley. He lived from 1355-1405.
This is my 10th great grandmother Isabella Berkeley who lived from 1631-1664. She wasn’t much older than me when she died.
Her grandson Philip came to America.
I wish I could afford an ancestry.com membership. Too bad it’s rather expensive.
What happens to your family tree info once you cancel the free trial? I’m sad it will probably disappear. I can’t imagine trying to write all of this info down somehow, but I don’t want to lose it.