Monday, January 21, 2013


"Geneological unravellings are always a forbidding entrance to any biography." This is the third sentence of an (actual) book I started tonight, William Wordsworth; a life by Stephen Gill. Oxford University Press, 1990. (note the double "ll" in "unravellings")
I know! I haven't finished with Thornton Wilder yet, he is resting in his Kindle after discovering the "key" to Finnegan's Wake. (Not to be revealed here; it's in the book . . .) but picked up the Wordsworth which I just got (used) when S was interested in the portrait on the cover. Neither one of us had suspected that Wordsworth had such a magnificent nose! And it's looking to be a very interesting book!

The thought about the genealogical unravellings really chimed with my recent biographical wanderings, from Gustav Mahler to David Foster Wallace. Sometimes it is hard slogging until you get to the actual biographee.

So, guys, it's Presidential Inaugural Ball night; even now people might still be dancing in their elegant custom-made clothes. And I just got an email from my adored cousin, Randy, about our own ancestry. Here is the scoop he sent me on our ancestor-in-common with President Obama. 

"Through Solomon Chamberlain we are descended from Thomas Blossom, our common ancestor with President Obama. Thomas' daughter Frances (namesake of her uncle Francis Blossom) was born in England and emigrated to Plymouth in 1629.  They had sailed with the original Plymouth company in 1620, but the Speedwell on which they were sailing sprung a leak and had to turn back.  Thomas Blossom had been living in Leyden and was the first deacon of the Plymouth congregation.  He died in 1633 in a smallpox epidemic, his daughter married the widowed William Palmer. Their daughter Ann married Henry Rowley (they were somehow all related).
Their daughter Sarah Rowley married Jonathan Hatch in 1646.  Joseph Hatch, the son of Sarah and Jonathan Hatch married Amy Allen and their daughter Amy Allen Hatch married Jonathan Delano. Amy and Jonathan Delano are the parents of  Elizabeth Delano and she and Joseph Chamberlain were the grandparents of Solomon Chamberlain.  His parents were Joel Chamberlain and Sarah Dean.  Solomon is the grandfather of Effie Redd Jameson."

Effie was Randy's grandmother, and her sister, Susan Elizabeth Redd Butler was my grandmother. [In case you missed it, their sister, Artemesia Redd Romney, was the grandmother of Mitt Romney.] I don't know anything yet about Thomas Blossom, but hope to find out. I hadn't known we had ancestors on the Speedwell; I only knew about our Mayflower ancestors, John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. In the book I read about the Mayflower tribes, the author estimates that 10 percent of Americans have at least one Mayflower ancestor. Notice the Delano, I think we have a connection also with FDR.
What geneological unravellings have you found lately?? Good night.

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