Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When Trees Converge

Henry II, King of England

Open disclaimer: This information is based on accepted lineage for royal lines in England. I am not claiming that these lines are 100% accurate but, as most amateur genealogists, I am working under the assumption that they are, until I prove that they are not. I am not trying to claim royal heritage, I am just trying to trace my family lines.
I have already disproven what I thought I knew about my family tree a few times. It happens. Think about your lineage like ebbing and flowing tides. What the waves bring in one day help you piece the puzzle together. But what they bring in the next day may completely alter the picture you had developed. You have to be willing to be flexible to do this work, which I am.
I subscribe to the same theory that a lot of people in the world do. If you go back along all of our family trees far enough, we are all related, somehow and in some way. I have been lucky enough to find common ancestors among my friend group, which is thrilling in itself. Friends become cousins and remind you that every man, woman and child walking the street is, somewhere in the tree, a cousin. It’s the way genealogy humbles me. This is not just a quest to find the rivers that end in the pool of me. It’s the quest to uncover the pattern of flow between the humans of the world. We are deeply interwoven.
Imagine my surprise and delight when my family research led me to stumble upon a discovery I assumed could happen but never expected to find. I have 1,289 names on my family tree. There are 869 that belong to my father’s line and 420 to my mother’s line. And one of those names duplicates between the two of them.
My mother and father share a common ancestor in Henry II, King of England (1133-1189). In my paternal line, Henry II is my 26 times Great-Grandfather. That’s a lot of generations between us. He had a bastard son with his mistress Ida de Tosny, William Longespee, who was later legitimized as the 3rd Earl of Salisbury. My father is descended from this son. In my maternal line, Henry II is my 27 times Great-Grandfather. My mother is descended from the marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Acquitaine, his legitimate Queen. Their son John, King of England and father of Henry III is my ancestor.
From there, the lines diverge and follow very different paths, crossing oceans to a New World, to find each other again in a small town along the Erie Canal. And even from Henry II backwards, their lineage is different. My father’s line is full of Norman conquerors and Viking explorers of the North. My mother’s people travel south into indigenous France and Italy. But Henry II is the meeting place of two lines, a crossroads where blood meets blood, separating into separate bodies of water to cross and meet again in me, seven hundred and eighty-seven years later.

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