otherwise known as Ancestry.com. I am impressed.
Many years ago when Dad entrusted me with the family Bible and even before that, I was entranced with who was way back where. He had visited with this or that cousin in the area he knew to be descended from The Reverand John Murphy but their accounts were sketchy. Plus, they were descended from his first wife, Nancy Lamb. We were descended from the widow woman, Rosanna Moore Shirley, whom he married after Nancy’s death. They were not aware or not interested in the second wife. Records existed in the Monmouth Library but those researchers were desparately trying to connect with The Mayflower, a prestigious link at the time. I guess many believe it to still be prestigious. But, alas, our line went through Virginia, I found out later. Still, the legends surrounding Rachel Cooke, bride of John Murphy, married in 1774 and early settlers of Tennessee and Kentucky drew me.
Here comes the World Wide Internet Web and years worth of other people’s research and click, lookee, lookee what I found.
One fun link on the ancestry page is the Find Famous Relatives. Here’s a sampling of who I and my children and their children are cousins to. Stop here and consider that we all go back to Noah. But….it’s a little more impressive when you find a common ancestor only a mere 350 to 600 years ago. I clicked on the link for only 3 people, my great-great-great grandmother, Rachel Cooke; her husband, John Murphy, Sr; and someone in dad’s mom’s lineage from about the same era, Mary Gaddie. Here are the famous and the infamous:
Howard Hughes, Pretty Boy Floyd, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Austen, Samuel Adams, Sir Walter Scott, Marlon Brando, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, William Randolph Hearst, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wild Bill Hickock, Julia Child, John Wesley Hardin – the man who killed a man for snoring, Walt Whitman, the Winchesters who manufactured the guns, Florence Nightingale, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, and Elizabeth Browning, at least 7 presidents and 8 first ladies including Mary Todd Lincoln and the current Laura Bush.
When I find a person in the line, I have to click on the arrow indicating another parent or set of parents. Tonight, when I called up John Murphy, husband to the legendary Rachel who was known for her dark hair and sparkling eyes, I decided to see how far back the records go.
His line, my line, my kids’ and grandkids’ line, travels backward through Ireland, England, France, Norway, and Finland. The last recorded ancestor in that line in Ancestry.com is Fornjotur King Kvenland, born 160, died 250, son of King in Kvenland, apparently a giant. That’s why I’m tall.
It doesn’t make us better when we say we are directly descended from kings and knights. God doesn’t ask us our station or our lineage now or on judgement day. What matters is that we are His Child, a Child of The King. The main thing remains the main thing. Lineage is just fun to know.
I wonder where other lines go?