In the family

To take a break from writing a conference paper (of which I wrote half of this morning), I decided to scroll through the huge family ancestry chart my brother sent me ages ago. It’s fun to look at all of the names and dates and guessing what was going on in the world when various ancestors lived. I knew we had some American Revolutionaries in our family, but I didn’t know that some ancestors immigrated to the New World as early as the 1630s. We might even have had some relatives at the ‘First Thanksgiving’!

I skipped back to the medieval period and became indignant at the treatment of my somethingth-great-grandmother, Mary Bruce (the English locked her in a cage!). I find my relation to her slightly more believable than our supposed connection with Harold Haldrada (of 1066 fame) or better yet, Priam of Troy (as awesome as that may be). As an Academic of Very Old Things it is my job to be skeptical of information we don’t have any physical documentation of. The farther back in time it goes, the less verifiable it gets. Even so, it is fun to skim through, and this medievalist finds it more than a little entertaining to think that Robert the Bruce was an uncle at some point in the distant past. It’s a pity I can’t claim family relations in order to get a better visa for the UK…

I am back to writing about Thomas of Erceldoune, who is not, alas, in my family history, even if there is archival evidence of his actual existence.

Word count: 12,007

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