Sunday, April 11, 2010

A (not so) slight detour

I have always been mildly interested in my ancestry but never put any effort into it.  The show "Who do you think you are?" has sparked that interest in both Steve and me, and we have joined for one month, just to see what we could find out.

Well, joined isn't right.  "Thrown ourselves into head first without any idea of how deep the water was" would be better.  We stayed up until 2:00 am Friday night/Saturday morning researching things and spent a lot of time yesterday and today on the site.

I, for one, have found quite a bit on my father's mother's side.  It can get very confusing, because there is so much information out there, and I can link to quite a number of members' trees, but I have found pretty solid evidence that we have deep colonial roots through my great-grandfather's (Wilbur Andrews) side of the family.  His mother was Mary Edna Ball, and that just opened everything up.  I did not know this, but the Ball family is huge, and I even found something on Google books for a lawyer called Abraham Lincoln Gary (I would give more information, but my cat Simoon is sitting on my notes and the printout from the book - ooh, wait - she sort of moved...) from Rush County, Indiana that gives his lineage back to the 1600s.  Mr. Gary's mother, Phoebe Jane Ball, is the sister of William Ball, Mary Edna's father, so they were cousins.

Anyway, long and confusing, but through this book and other information I found on, I found a few relatives who were soldiers of the Revolution!  Another search found pictures of graves for them, Zopher Ball and Caleb Ball, plus a number of others in the family.  Zopher Ball's grave has a backing stone saying he was an Ensign in the Revolutionary war, and a bronze plaque from the Daughters of the American Revolution stating he fought in the war.  Caleb Ball's stone states he was in the War of 1812.

Based on what I've found, I've barely scratched the surface of how far back I can go.  Going back from Zopher Ball (I think that name is so cool, but Steve won't agree to name a son Zopher if we ever have one), I have only followed the fathers.  I've noted the mothers, but I'll have to get back to them later.  If I'm figuring things out right, my ancestor William Ball who was born in 1615 came here from England in 1674, and I can follow his fathers back (using others' family trees) to the 1200s.  There are a lot of Williams, Johns, and Roberts, so I'm not convinced yet I have everything right.  I stopped at William DeBaliol (1251-1313).  A few of the member family trees have his father being a King of Scotland, but there is a lot of conflicting information.  I want to verify each of the steps, using information if possible before I start calling myself royalty.  :)

Looking through all of this is fascinating.  I know some information on my mother's side.  We're German but for a time lived in German colonies in Russia.  I will definitely try to research that more.  For my father's side, though, I assumed I wouldn't be able to get very far.  I never heard about anything.  Come to find out there's an enormous amount of information out there, and I'm a part of a huge family that people have researched for years.

I can't wait to delve into the mothers and see what I can find out there!

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