Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hanging out at the Family Tree
I did it.  I slogged through 1,000 years of relatives; 1,000 years of oddities, strangest of names, and quirks of history famous and infamous.  How related are you when you go back thirty or forty greats ago: can there be one drop of blood left to share? 

One twig on the family tree is Bluetooth, Herbastus Haraldsson, "The Bluetooth" King of Norway & Denmark.  His picture comes complete with the Viking helmet with horns and a long blonde beard, but he's not smiling so I can't see the blue tooth.  The cellular gadget that was supposed to make our lives simpler was named after this guy.  Who knew?

His father was Gorm the Old or also known as Gorm the Sleepy.  He was the first King of Denmark.  Under Bluetooth's reign, Christianity became the official religion instead of the worship of the Norse gods.  Bluetooth's sons, however, still spent their summers raiding and pillaging in full-fledge Viking mode. 

One series of Kings are Richard the Devil, Richard the Good, Richard the Brave.  Another,  somebody, "The Magnificent."  There was one relative of a relative who should have been named Richard the Horrific who burned his bride at the stake in her wedding dress.  At a family reunion, I doubt he'd have too many cousins hanging out with him.  I'd prefer to sit across from kin like,  Ava the Pious, or Thomas the Pilgrim. 

One queen stolen away in a raid to be a bride was called "Puppet" or "Little Doll," while another was called "The Lioness."   I even found an Elizabeth marrying Mr. Darcy, but hundred of years before Jane Austen.  We have a Cinderella and a Drusilla.  There was even a Sir DoDo.  Oh my!   Another must have had a limited wardrobe and was known for all history as "Greygown."

One relative was probably quite popular at family reunion dinners.  He dished up his specialty on a plate and offered it to the king who was so impressed, it was "ordered to be served  to the king's table on a regular basis.  Known as "Magigernoun," or "Dillegrout," it was "claimed by lords at the respective coronations of the kings of old England." Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?"

Did you know that in jolly old England, you would be fined for every Sunday you were not in church?  Finally, the fines could add up so that you would lose your home.  To the Puritans who refused to attend the Church of England, it was a real predicament.  That's how some of my relatives became homeless, by not attending church.  Imagine that.  Time to cross the pond.

There were those who were persecuted to the point of leaving their homes to cross an ocean, who fought Indians, who fought in the Revolutionary War, who fought in the Civil War.  Others were knights who took part in the Crusades to the Holy Land, some dying on the foreign soil.  Nations were always fighting nations.  Yet, others were builders of castles to log cabins to catherdrals.  One fella would raid the stubborn neighbors and then make penance by a trek to the Holy Land  or by building another Abbey to atone for his murderous raids.

If we get one snapshot at making history.  What would you be remembered for?  "Mom Terrific,"
"Cheftess with the Mostest,"  "Mistress of Pinterest"?   One relative really was called, "Your Royal Highness."  That would be nice for a start.  Maybe, I'll teach the boys to call me that.  After all, it is a family name and should be passed down.  But sometimes I feel more like Gorm the Sleepy.

"Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly...And makes his families like a flock."
Psalm 107:38,41" 

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