Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Writer Relations

A recent blog post by Lolly resulted in much procrastination as I began building my family tree at

I was impressed at discovering numerous historical documents (Census surveys, etc.) linked to my father, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents and was surprised to see a hefty portion of the family tree on this side of the family inserted automatically (and correctly) after inputting and confirming information about my father and grandfather.

I especially was excited about being able to view the passenger manifest for the ship on which my mother and her family traveled from Germany to the States in the late 1950s. However, this experiment made me sad that I do not know a lot about my mother's family in Germany and probably never will, as those who would know such information--my grandparents and my uncle--have passed on.

Anyway...the fun part of the Web site is clicking on the link to famous relations and viewing an extensive family tree to see how they are related to you. It says the list is only as accurate as the information keyed in by users, so I don't know how true it is. I also tend not to believe much of what I find online, but I found it amusing and quite fitting that most of the people on my famous relations list were writers or poets.

Henry David Thoreau (Walden) apparently is my 6th cousin, 5 times removed.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 6th cousin, 5 times removed
Robert Frost, 7th cousin, 4 times removed
Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie), 7th cousin, 4 times removed
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), 7th cousin, 4 times removed
Clement Moore (Twas the Night Before Christmas), 4th cousin, 10 times removed
Emily Dickinson, 8th cousin, 3 times removed
John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men), 9th cousin, 2 times removed
Edgar Lee Masters (Spoon River Anthology), 9th cousin, 2 times removed
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice), 7th cousin, 8 times removed

True or not, I'm hoping this provides another source of much-needed motivation to keep working on my novel and short-story collection. However, I'm sure to be the least talented writer in my family. LOL


Serena said...

I wish I had famous writer relations!

Anna said...

Oh, it's not all it's cracked up to be. LOL Too much to live up to!

Unknown said...

Hi Anna! Yes, I know I've got to work on my own blog..... Anyway, what exactly does it mean when you've got a cousin "twice removed?" I never understood that one. I'm going to go check my family tree and see who's hanging off my branches!

Love ya!

Anna said...

I actually have no idea what that means. I just know that when I looked at how I was supposedly related to these people, we both had a common ancestor (like a 10th great-grandfather or whatever) and one of his children was related to my grandfather down the line and another of his children was related to the celebrity down the line.

Unknown said...

Interesting! I got absolutely nowhere with my family tree. There was nothing out there for my maiden name! Oh well. I think I may write in my blog tonight... Take a peek if you'd like! :)