Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where did you come from? ....

... or more correctly, "from where did you come?" I've always been a stickler for good grammar (except for the excessive use of parenthesis)... to a fault most would say I'm sure. That's a question I could never answer. That is until today.

I was watching TV (for a change) on my couch the other day. (For those who don't know, that was meant to be a joke because I have a 47" TV and a DVR that will record 4 channels at once, so I watch WAY to much TV.) BTW, I have a "3 parenthetical phrases per blog quota and I just met it. Anyway, I saw a commercial for and was mesmerized. OK, not mesmerized, but intrigued. So I started tapping away at my already open laptop (I multitask by watching TV and surfing the web at the same time... crap, there goes another set of parenthesis!), over to I went. 8 hours later and most of today as well, I know the answers I've always wanted to know. For a nominal fee, this website alows you to search public records, census data, birth certificates, social security death reports, marriage liscences and periodicals to build your family tree. It was difficult at first, finding out maiden names of women 3 to 4 generations down was the most challenging, but after a few phone calls to grandparents I got on a roll. Once your tree gets going, you share geneology with hundreds and thousands of people whose trees are already done and accessable as a member of the website. It was really eye-opening.

At first, I was able to trace my lineage on both maternal and paternal sides back to colonial Virginia for the Fain side and colonial New Jersey on the Wright side. It was great, but I wanted more information. By upgrading to "premium" membership or something like that, I was able to access European records as well. That is when things got really interesting. On one direct lineage, on my dad's side of the tree, I was able to trace my ancestry 28 generations all the way back to the 1148, the DeStoke family in East Stoke, Dorset, England! Most of my lines ended in England, but the Fain's were from Ireland. I also found ancesrty in Germany, France and Wales. I also found a possible relation to Barack Obama on my mom's side. His mother, who was from Kansas like mine, has a line of Wrights in his geneology. I found no one common ancestor because It could take months to wade through all of the children of every Wright ancestor on both side for a common link. Although it would me interesting, I'm not sure I would ever brag about it to anyone.

We took a stab at Karen's family tree as well and found that lines on both sides, Boston (Borsdorf) and Poss, point to Germany.

I recomend everyone who is interested in their ancestry to do this, or if you are lucky enough to still have living grandparents, ask them. Soon you will lose that resourse, forever.

Well, that was my vacation. How was yours?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here's a red-letter day in the history of science, December 29, 2009

For the last 3 years, Karen has worked for Houston Independent School District. Working for HISD afforded her a luxury. Two weeks of paid time off every December. I saved my vacation so we could be off together this week. It was not to be because we got great news in November. Karen got a new job! She started working for Chevron Philips Chemical. It's a great oppurtunity, but does not come with a Christmas vacation! So here I am, sitting on the couch with my sleeping dog, watching Dexter on the DVR and starting my blog.

For my first blog ever, I wanted something epic. Other than the random, obscure movie quotes and references I will use in nearly every post (including the title of my blog... $.25 prize for the first person to recognize what movie that is from!), I'm sure this blog will fall short of epic, but since 2010 will prove to be the most important year of my life, 2010 will be epic. My goal here is to document the next year, and the following years as to never forget what these milestones feel like to mark and to share them with our friends and family. In June 2010, Karen and I will mark our 10th year of marriage. In the same month, our first child will be born. My life will forever be changed... and I can't wait. Stay tuned, this should be fun.

On Sunday, we got home from the last 9+ hour drive we plan on having for at least 2 years. In November, we made our annual trip to Alabama for Thanksgiving. It was great seeing everyone, especially our two nephews, Blake and Avery. Last week we made a trip to Mulvane, KS to see my mom, my sister Erin and her husband Josh. It was a good trip, we had snow (for the second Kansas Christmas trip in a row), and we had fun taking the dogs out in it. So we drove 0ver 2800 miles in two road trips in one month. The best part, I have to say, was coming home. I can't remember when I last felt a true sense of home, and it feels nice. I don't have a childhood home to go home to for the holidays, no house I grew up in, no childhood bedroom to sleep in, or a two-parent household anymore for that matter, so the holidays only seem to remind me of that fact. I hope to make that for my children, here. That is why I am excited at the prospect of starting our own traditions for the holidays starting in 2010. Thanksgiving is at my house next year. The plan (as of today) is for the Boston clan to head west in November for baby's first Thanksgiving. As for Christmas, I don't know if we will have company or not, but I do know that Christmas morning we will wake up in our own bed and open presents together with the baby and Charley in our own house. That sounds perfect.