Magnificent Obsession

MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

I have been searching for my ancestors for almost 20 years. I wish I had started before then. People who do not seek their heritage wonder why those who do are so intent on their search. I never wonder why I do it. The search is compelling. Why did my ancestors live where they lived? What happened to them? Were they famous? Am I related to Royalty? In my case, no. At least I haven’t found any Royalty in my family. But I did find a multitude of Royals in my granddaughter-in-law’s ancestors when I did her family tree. She has a rich heritage to pass on to her son as he grows.

But what is it that lures us into the past, years beyond years, wishing we could be there, wishing we could talk to them, wishing we could ask questions? We are haunted by our ancestors. They are in our souls. We want to know more, plain and simple.

I just recently discovered why my late husband’s middle name was Freeman. His father did not have that name, but his grandfather did. It turns out that his great-great grandmother’s name was Mary Anne Freeman. She lived in Deptford, England and her father was James Freeman, the same as my husband’s first and middle names. Now I wish that I had learned this many years ago when I visited England. I was within driving distance to Deptford and could have seen their homeland.

The question is what will happen to my research when I die. Who will continue the search and record all the links? Will anyone else in the family care as much as I do? Probably not.

However, if they pursue it or not, I have benefited from and enjoyed the search and the discoveries I have made. I have connected with my ancestors and felt their joys and sorrows. I just wish I had the time, money and energy to continue the travel to other places and possibly find more of them.

Denyer Family in England

I just found some of my late husband’s ancestors in England. I have not been doing much genealogy lately, but I keep a toe in the water so that if something turns up I can add it to my family’s history.
These ancestors, the Endicotts, were found in the 1841 census of a town in a part of London on the Thames. The town is Deptford and has a tumultuous history.
Deptford is a district of south east London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames. It is named after a ford of the River Ravensbourne, and from the mid 16th to the late 19th century was home to Deptford Dockyard, the first of the Royal Navy Dockyards.
Deptford and the docks are associated with the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Cook’s third voyage Golden Hind, the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh laying down his cape for Elizabeth, Captain James aboard Resolution, and the mysterious murder of Christopher Marlowe in a house along Deptford Strand.
My husband’s ancestors were not famous, but to me they are a part of my children’s lives, so it’s important to know them. The genes of the elders were passed on to their descendents. The men were sawyers, which meant they sawed the wood for carpenters. None of my children are carpenters, none work with wood, but all three are creative.
Many years ago my daughter and I spent 2 months on a trip to Europe. We were in London for about a week. However I was not doing much family history at the time and had no knowledge of the Deptford connection. I did know that my husband’s grandfather was born in London and we visited the house where he lived as a teenager. I had written in advance to the people who currently lived there to ask for permission to see the house. They were very hospitable and we were treated to a tour of the 2 story home. We even discovered a street named “Denyer” and tried to find other Denyers, but the telephone listing was so many pages long it would have been impossible to pin down any relatives.

Now I wish I could go back and visit Deptford. I have much more information than I had in 1973 and perhaps could find connections to our family. But my age makes that journey impossible. My daughter who accompanied me on the trip to Europe would like to make the same trip with her daughter at some point in the future. I hope that she will be able to do it.

Friday the 13th – One day late

The following article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at http://www.eogn.com.

Do you suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia? That’s the morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. According to some sources it’s the most widespread superstition in the United States today. In fact, many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor.

The number 13 is considered to be unlucky in many countries. For instance:

The Turks so dislike the number 13 that it almost doesn’t exist in their vocabulary. The number 13 is never spoken in polite conversation in the country.

On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.

Other fears do not seem to be limited to any one country:

If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).

There are 13 witches in a coven.

The Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests — er, disciples — betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion.

According to Katharine Kurtz in Tales of the Knights Templar (Warner Books, 1995):

On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars — knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren — in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities, and homosexual practices. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France — and the Order was found innocent elsewhere — but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force “confessions,” and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness.

Conversely, the Chinese regard the number 13 as lucky, as did the Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs.

In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.

In Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck.

The fear of Friday the 13th seems to be a recent phobia in America. In 1898, E. Cobham Brewer published a voluminous Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. He listed many old sayings and fables concerning both good luck and bad luck as well as other topics. Friday the 13th wasn’t even mentioned in the dictionary although one does find entries for “Friday, an Unlucky Day” and “Thirteen Unlucky.” (An ebook version of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is available at http://www.bartleby.com/81/.)

The phrase of Friday the 13th was never mentioned in American literature until 1907 but frequently seen thereafter. This apparently was caused by Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, published in 1907, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

Every month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year.

For more fascinating facts about Friday the 13th go to Wikipedia.com.

 

A BIT OF NAUGHTY HISTORY

This is something I never knew and now that I know it I think you should, too.  It’s the history of the middle finger salute.   Read on.

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers.  Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future.  This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as “plucking the yew” (or “pluck yew”).  (Are you laughing yet?)  Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, “See, we can still pluck yew!”

Since ‘pluck yew’ is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F and thus the words are often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute!  It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as “giving the bird.”

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing.

What is the Source of Your First Name?

Your parents may have given you a name that belonged to another family member, or someone they admired, an unusual name, a combination of other names, or maybe just something they liked.  Now you might be able to find out more information about the name they gave you.

 

I just found a great site I didn’t know about.  It is www.behindthename.com and contains information on the origin of first names, thousands of them.  You click on the first letter of your name and it brings up a list of names.  Scroll down to your name and click on it.  You will see the origin of the name, the various versions of it, the history of the name and sometimes the ranking of the name in the United States and other countries.  Be sure to click on the “Family Tree” and “See All Relations”.  They show fascinating information.

 

My oldest daughter has a name of Greek origin, Circe, and I already knew the history of her name before we gave it to her, but her father’s name, James, came up with a huge amount of history, not unexpected.  I am going to check out the rest of my family and suggest that they research their own name and that of their friends.  It makes for very interesting reading.

I don’t think my daughter would object to the information on her name below.

I would love to hear your comment on this.

 

 

GENDER: FeminineUSAGE: Greek Mythology (Latinized)

OTHER SCRIPTS: Κιρκη (Ancient Greek)

PRONOUNCED: SUR-see (English)   [key]

Meaning & History

Latinized form of Greek Κιρκη (Kirke), which possibly meant “bird”. In Greek mythology Circe was a sorceress who changed Odysseus‘s crew into hogs but was forced by him to change them back.

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VARIANT: Kirke

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