Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Are Family! I Got Ethelred the Unready in Me!

Grandpa Unready - Smiley Family Photo Album

I have this thing for history. No, let me get it right. I have this THING for history. While some people dream of retirement on a sandy beach somewhere doing crossword puzzles and drinking magharitas, I dream of retiring to a university town, on a beach, doing crossword puzzles, auditing classes on the 15th century sacking of Kiev and drinking martinis. Okay, so my dream isn't too different from other people's.


I've been doing some family tree research over the past...well, since I could read. My family always thought it was funny, "Oh look at Leslie. She likes pictures of old dead people." Sometimes they threw rocks at me and... well, okay, they didn't throw rocks at me. But sometimes they made fun of my hair and called me a "goddamned bleeding heart liberal."

Anyhow, I was looking up something after a long day over the keypad, when I found...well, it would be more honest to say I sorta stumbled into...some really cool stuff (that other people had spent the time, money and travel researching)that made my year.

Through my mother's (the Smiley's - isn't that damned precious?) family tree, I found that I am (and this means you too, Wendy) a direct descendent of some of history's more interesting historical figures. You see, in case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a little odd. Where most people might long to be descendents of Queen Elizabeth, I'd rather come from Rasputin or some guy who invented the spork. That kind of thing.

Imagine my extreme and total bliss to find that I may be (pending DNA testing, of course) the great, great, great, great, (you get the idea) granddaughter of Ehtelred the Unready! And Lady Godiva! And that dude they think is the originial Old King Cole! That's right! Eat it, Mean, Rotten Uncle Terry. (Oh, and I should say that is actually his name - Wendy will back me up here.)

So back to history and relatives who are not alive and living in Indiana, Ethlered the Unready! How cool a name is that? It sums up his reign and insults him simultaneously! And Old King Cole WAS, after all, a merry old soul - who didn't want to hang with that guy? He had Fiddlers Three! I want Fiddlers Three! Just to follow me around and, um, fiddle whenever I want!

And there really was a Lady Godiva! I had to explain to my 21-yr. old niece that no, she's not the Chocolate Lady but a real noblewoman who rode naked through the streets to protest her husband's unfair taxation of the peasants (she was less impressed than if Godiva had been the Chocolate Lady) I ate an entire box of bon bons. Then I threw up. Apparently, you shouldn't eat the WHOLE box in one sitting. (In my defense, they should put warnings on those things.)

Sigh. I'll have to do some more work on this. To be continued...

(Anyone interesting/strange/possibly demented in your family tree?)

From now on:
HRH, The Assassin


Christie Craig said...

Ahh Leslie,

Your question baffles me: (Anyone interesting/strange/possibly demented in your family tree?)

The reason it baffles me is that I don't have to look back to history to find those relatives. They are alive and kicking.


Leslie Langtry said...

Oh, I hear you sister. I totally hear you. And aren't they surprised when they find themselves in our books!

Then again, maybe we're the interesting/strange/demented ones?


Keri Ford said...

My grandma has been doing this for years. All I know is that from my momma's side of the family we came from Scotland.

So I might have some of that wild highlander in me. :O)pass the mead.

Terri Osburn said...

This must have taken some major research (or stumbling) to find. But it's cool none the less. Imagine if we gave our presidents names like that in the history books. W the....

Years ago I learned I had some great uncle Marmaduke who owned a plantation before the civil war. But he was from my dad's adoptive father, so no blood relation. Whew.

My relatives are less strange and more angry. There are so many on both sides who refuse to speak to each other. No idea what's up with that.

Gemma Halliday said...

It’s like we were separated at birth. I love genealogy! Okay, the highlights of my family tree: the first pub owners in the US, one of George Washington’s spies, and Braveheart’s sister. (The real one, not Mel Gibson.)


P.S. I’m reading Stand By Your Hitman. I’m at the Bob part. I laughed so hard on the Stairmaster at the gym, I almost fell off. You have a demented mind, girl. I love it!

Bookmobiler said...

"(Anyone interesting/strange/possibly demented in your family tree?)"

I don't know.


Are we related?

Wendy Roberts said...

I'm Russian so perhaps I'm distantly related to Ivan the Terrible? Not a big history fan but I did enjoy your post he he!

Leslie Langtry said...

Gemma, sounds like we need a road trip to the location of this pub! And William Wallace's sister! Awesome!

I love hearing from you guys on this subject. It might have to be a multi-part series or something.

Did you know Ivan the Terrible was known originally as Ivan the Great? Then he snapped and got the other moniker.

I'm such a geek.

Refhater said...

My Dad and I are big into genealogy. We can trace his side of the family back to 1535. Not quite so far on mom's side, but almost.

We've discovered that we're related to Lord and Lady Macdonald of Scotland, Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, & Woodrow Wilson, William Beebe (biologist and explorer,)Elswyth Thane (Author, related by marriage,) Don Beebe (NFL player,) and the Mars family (Mars Candy Company.)

There are 2 odd things that run through the generations. There's been a William or John in every generation on my dad's side since 1535 to present day. And we're extremly clumsy. (Some of our relatives actually blew themselves up with natural gas.)

Crazy said...

Everyone in my family tree is a little deranged

Leslie Langtry said...

You're the Mars Candy Heiress??? I'll need an autographed Mars bar!

You guys have some great stuff! And I'm with you on the deranged relatives thingy!

Anonymous said...

I wish we were related to the Godiva of chocolate making.. I would so use that to get some free stuff. I can so totally see the naked lady riding on horseback as being from our gene pool though. I guess that's pretty cool too. I want to know more!

catslady said...

My husband's uncle does genealogy and I'm pretty sure we had a horse thief or two lol. I had a distant relative do some work on my father's side - unfortunately we never got a copy of it but I do remember him saying there was some Italian royalty way back when.

Anonymous said...

Hey, cousin!!! Old Ethelred is supposedly my 29greats-grandfather. *g*