Ancestry.com

Today as I updated my journal with a Liev video, I recalled that Dad’s uncle was a Vaudeville performer. I googled to see what I could discover, and whoa, Surprise! The only Miller in the Vaudeville listings is Emmett Miller, a semi-famous musician, known for influencing country music. I couldn’t find much more, but apparently, he did a lot of his performances in blackface. I’m shocked. The Mueller’s were abolitionists and it seems incongruent that a generation later we’d have minstrels in the family. Probably not him.

Curious, I signed up for a free trial at ancestry.com. I sucked me in like an immense black hole. I spent the entire day engrossed in searches, trying to piece together my Dad’s family. His three uncles were brilliant, and one of them had an “eidetic” memory like Liev. Of the other two, one married a Native American and disappeared into the mountains (prospector/trapper) never to be heard from again. The third wound up working for the Bureau of Investigation, (or whatever the FBI was before it was the FBI). I am curious to track these men and see what became of them, especially since one of them might have been similar to Dad and Liev. We shall see.

The most unusual thing I discovered is the peculiarity of names a century ago. I recall childhood stories told by Grandmam. Names resonated with beauty: Pearl, Ruby, Olive, Della, Rose, Lillian and Ivy. I assumed these named were unique to our family, but these were popular names for the period. Here’s a great link for popular names for each decade. Be warned; this site is addictive!

Anyway, I was surprised to find household after household full of iterations of these familiar names. The size of the families also surprised me. Women had children until they burst. After one delightful child, I sneeze with caution (or poise pads!). What of my fecund ancestors!

Bless suffrage. Bless Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood, Ortho Tri-cyclen. What would I do with seven children? Lordy, what am I going to do with even one during winter break?

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