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Mar 27, 2010


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Dana Ames

Husband's family came from England, not on the Mayflower, but soon thereafter, and established the Ames wword company in MA, which later became the Ames tool company, swords falling out of fashion... A very distant relative gave the land for Iowa State U. in Ames, IA. Husband's maternal grandfather started doing geneologic research, but stopped abruptly without telling anyone in the family why...

On my side, my dad told me there was horse thievery going on with one of his ancestors, but he didn't elaborate as to which one. His folks came from the Sudetenland (I think) and were farmers, but my dad's father had a more regular income as a brakeman for the AT&SF RR. My mother's mother's grandfather (I think) was a Professor of Music in Italy. One of the treasures I retrieved after my mother died was her mother's work permit from Italy, which she was able to get at age 16, about 1909.


Michael W. Kruse

Dana, Melissa went to Iowa State as did many family and friends what interesting connection.

I've heard other people become concerned when the find a less then reputable ancestor lurking in the family tree. Those folks are our heritage as well. Those are some of the fun ones to learn about. Never understood why people get so upset about it.

Have you ever tried to nail down immigration records for your folks? Sounds like you've got some rich heritage to explore.


The Gen 8 shift from New England to the Midwest is an interesting one. Especially after so many generations in Plymouth. Wonder what sort of family tensions there were over the move and later daughter Lucy marrying an immigrant.

Michael W. Kruse

You have a discerning eye.

William Cotton Holmes got caught up in the Hoarce Greely "Go west, young man, go west!" craze at the end of the Civil War. Along with some other Massachusetts friends, he moved to an unsettled spot in northwest Missouri in 1870 where they spent a year clearing land and building homes, then brought their families out. Lived there for 20 years before moving to the Prohibitionist settlement of Harvey, IL (Chicago suburbs). Lucy, who actually went by the middle name Augusta, encouraged the folks to move there so her younger brother could get a good education. He went on to become a banker. Augusta battled life threatening illness through much of the '90s

Carl Peter Kruse was living alone in a sod house in central Nebraska, having immigrated from Denmark. Having never married and now 47, he put an ad in the paper for a pen pal in 1899. Augusta answered and became his pen pal. They had a chaperoned meeting in Oct and married in Apr 1900.

Augusta died in 1906 and Carl Peter died in 1934. I have the letter Augusta's sister Laura sent to my grandfather (Carl Holmes Kruse) that same year that tells the whole story. It was quite scandalous to the Holmes side of the family, though not to Laura. First, there was their 19 year age difference. Second, they met and "dated" via the mail. And third, she married an "immigrant!" I have a letter written by William Cotton's brother that makes provisions for my grandfather ... then a boy ... but makes clear that under not circumstances was my immigrant great grandfather to get his hands on any of the money.

Reading these letters and learning about the places and events has been a wonderful window into the era for me.

Travis Greene

"Assuming you have no overlap in your family tree we each have 2048 9th great-grandparents..." Not necessarily a safe assumption :)

Interesting you had somebody end up in Orlando. I'm a 6th generation Floridian, so he was probably bumping elbows with my kin. My earliest ancestor in North America was on the 2nd ship after the Mayflower, and spent some time kidnapped by Native Americans. All my ancestors on that side were here before the Revolution, and you can see them creep further and further to the south until they end up in Florida just after it became a U.S. territory.

Michael W. Kruse

My great-grandmother's unamrried sister, Laura, took their widowed father to Orlando in the early 1920's. He died in 1932 and she lived there until she died in 1956, I believe. She was very active at First Presbyterian Church Orlando, long before it become the megachurch it is today.

Any recollection of who the Mayflower ancestor was? We could be related. :-)

And what is your exception to my 2048 quip?

Travis Greene

My mistake, it wasn't the ship after the Mayflower, it was the second ship to Jamestown. His name was Thomas Graves:

As for your second question...cousin marriage is quite common in many parts of the world, and probably not unknown in many of our family trees.

Dana Ames

An older cousin (mother's side) was doing lots of research but hasn't sent me copies for quite a while. I'll have to ask her to send me what she has- maybe I can build on that, or maybe she's already done all the work...


Michael W. Kruse

Jamestown. Cool! That is fascinating piece of American history. That is someplace I've always wanted to visit and haven't been to yet.

I see what your are saying intermarriage. That is what I meant by "no overlap" If I have one Mayflower era ancestor to whom descended through four of his children. There weren't lots of marriage partner choices in the early years for the colonies.

Michael W. Kruse

Finding someone else who has already done all the work is always a plus. :-)

Carol R.

"Who Do You Think You Are" really has some beautiful production touches. For example, the music "Hallelujah" playing behind Lisa Kudrow's visit to ancestral sites; and the Civil War battlefield expert's sensitive and caring explanation to Matthew Broderick on how his ancestor died. I expect that the Polish historian who helped Lisa find her distant cousin had already scoped out the situation ahead of time and had alerted the cousin's family, and knew that Lisa was going to have a wonderful surprise. I hope the whole series comes out all together on a DVD.

My most "illustrious" ancestors were also on the early New England side. Samuel Gorton - google him for interesting information - who once said to some local judges, "you're not justices, you're just asses!" Yes, they had puns in those days! And Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, one of the translators of Chronicles for the Bishops' Bible.


Michael W. Kruse

I think it is quite evident from the show that there is a lot of acting going on. My guess is they have nailed down the facts that trace back to an ancestor prior to doing any filming. Still, it is fun to follow the narrative as it unfolds.

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