Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ancestry

I'm in this Native Texans group on Facebook, and recently one member asked the question, "How far back can you trace your Texas roots?  I knew that the first of my ancestors to move to Texas was Abraham Winfree, so I started doing a little digging.  According to my dad's memoirs, Abraham was born in 1801 in Louisiana, which at the time would have still belonged to France.  This would have made him a French citizen.   I did a DuckDuckGo search and came up with this little gem.

     (1801-1865) A native of Louisiana, Abraham Winfree first came to present Orange County in 1830. He purchased land by 1831, and in 1833 brought his wife Millie and their five children to Texas. Their homestead on Cow Bayou was near the Opelousas Trail (La Bahia Road), an important early Texas travel route. Winfree made his living as a rancher, cattle drover, shingle maker, and logger. The Winfree home was the site of an election in November 1836 in which Claiborne West was elected to represent local citizens in the Congress of the . The following year, Winfree was appointed county commissioner for his precinct. Eventually, the community that grew up in this area became known as Winfree. Abraham Winfree died in 1865 and was buried on his homestead in the same family graveyard where his wife Millie was interred. He requested that no stone be placed on his grave, and it remains unmarked. The cemetery became known as Winfree No. 1 after another family graveyard was established in the area. Winfree descendants continue to reside in Orange County. The community which still bears his name is testimony to the life of this pioneer Texas settler.

The whole thing got me interested in my ancestry again, so I started doing a little more research.  I found a site called Geni.com, and by looking at other people's work, I found what I believe to be my first ancestor to come to America.  He was a man named William Winfrey (Winfree) who was born in England in 1625, and died in Jamestown Virginia in 1650.

I started to make my own account on that page, but quickly found out that even though it claims to be free, if you actually want to do anything on the site, you have to pay for it.  Then a friend reminded me of the site run by the LDS church called Family Search, which really is free.  I'd started an account on that site a few years ago, but hadn't been back to it in a while.  I logged in and to my delight, much more information had been added since I'd last visited.  I quickly found myself and the tree I'd started.


I saw the little arrows that mean there is more information there, so I started clicking.


I found Great Grandpa Joe, and Great-Great Grandpa Abraham, and Great-Great-Great Grandpa Philip. And I kept on clicking...


When I got to a dead end, I just went to the next arrow down, and kept on clicking.


And clicking,


Even though I'd long since passed any names I recognized, I was still enjoying seeing the trail of my ancestry as it went back through to England.


And suddenly, there it was -- the Scottish ancestry I was so sure of, but had had no proof


...until  now.


There he was, Alexander Alistair Crottach MacCloud.  I wondered why he was born in a castle, so I clicked some more,


And some more.


Wait, did that say 4th chief?  Yes, it did.  This was getting interesting, now.  I kept on clicking.


Soon I came to a second chief, then a first chief.


I kept on going.


Wait, did that say "king"?  Yep, I'm descended from a king.


I noticed the names were sounding more Norse, which is to be expected, since the Vikings settled Scotland.  This was getting interesting again.



Click...


Another king, and this time, one with a name I recognized, Harold Bluetooth.


Seriously???? Harold Bluetooth is my ancestor???  I was getting excited, now,


And that's when I saw it.


ARE YOU @#$%***  KIDDING ME???????  By this time, I was pounding the arm of my chair and scaring the dogs shouting words that ought not be coming out of any good Christian woman's mouth.

One more click, and there it was:


Do you see it?  Do you see it?  RAGNAR LODBROK IS MY ANCESTOR!!!!!!


The very first time I watched the TV show Vikings, I literally went up and hugged the TV, saying, "My people!  I've found my people!"  Now, if the site is accurate -- and it believe it probably is, since the Mormon church takes this stuff very seriously -- and this guy is really my ancestor, that gesture was more than just symbolic.  The really are my people.

See, I told you my ancestors were Vikings!

Then, just for grins, I started checking out my mother's side of the family.  There's not nearly as much in her tree, but I did find this little gem:



Aaand, I'm descended from Ragnar Lodbrok on her side, too, from one of Sigurd's other children.  He had a bunch of them.  Also, Rollo, the Viking of Normandy.  I didn't do all the screen shots of that, since this post is already getting a bit tedious.  But it was there.

And somewhere in there is some Irish ancestry as well.  I knew I had it in me.  I just didn't know where.






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