Echo of the Past documents my journey in rediscovering my roots after my last computer was destroyed and I lost the 10,000 names on my family tree.

I'm an ethnic mutt. My background is varied and the world is small; it's likely that my research will help somebody, somewhere, so please feel free to use me as a source if need be.

Feedback is more than welcome, and I read any and all comments I get. I'm also up for trading links. If you're interested, email me at: PrettySiren@gmail.com with "link request" as the subject line. (Genealogy and history sites/blogs only please.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Ancestor Articals (and some useful general history articles)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've written many articles on my ancestors, historical cousin, and just really on history in general. I've done my research and I've made sure my articles are as historically accurate as possible. Hopefully, my articles will be of some interest to some of you who want to learn more about the people behind the names.

I also wrote some general historical articles that might shed some light into the way our ancestors lived for some people.

*Note: the direct links to the articles are highlighted in red. Simply click, and you will be taken to the correct page.

Ancestor Articles:

1. History and origins of Christianity (For those of you who are able to trace your genealogy back to the Biblical patriarchs. It's a rather general article, but some interesting tidbits as well.)

2. Biography: Queen Christina, King of Sweden (King Christina was modern Europe's first and only female king. She never had any children, but many people alive today are related to her through shared ancestors (which makes her the cousin of many modern people, such as myself).

3. Biography: Philippa of Hainault, Queen Consort of Edward III

4. Biography: Queen Margaret of Scotland (I'm a direct descendant of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland. She was canonized in the 1200's and a truly inspirational woman.)

5. Biography: Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette's direct line of descent has died out, however I and many others alive are her cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.)

6. Biography: Matilda of Boulogne

7. Biography: Blanche of Castile (She was the Queen Consort of her husband and later Dowager Queen and Queen Regent for her son, Louis.)

8. Biography: Mary of Burgundy (Though, personally, I refer to her as Marie de Bourgogne, as that's what she would've been called in her native tongue. Very tragic figure, you lived a short life.)

Historical Articles:

1. The first people of the world (This article takes us back in time spanning from the first bipedal hominids to walk the Earth to the first great city states in ancient times.)

2. What race were the ancient Egyptians? (Where they black? Were they white? Were they from Mars? [Joking on that last one] This article answers the age old question: what race were they?)

3. What is the Stone of Destiny? (This article is definitely a read for anyone who's descended from the Biblical patriarchs, ancient Irish kings, Scottish royalty, or English royalty. It's about the Stone of Destiny, or the Stone of Scone. In its lifetime, the stone was said to have been Jacob's pillow stone in the Bible. It was taken to Ireland and was the Blarney stone. The stone was split and half was given to the King of Scotland. Scottish monarchs were crowned atop it until the English captured it. Scottish college students stole it in the 50's and returned it to Scotland and -- I'll just let you read about it in the article. One thing's for certain though -- that stone's had a helluva rockin' -- pun intended -- life.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Link and Success

New Link

As you can see, if you scroll down to my links, I've added a new link: Elegant Survival. The site is owned and operated by M-J de Mesterton, and its tag-line "Stylish Living on a Shoestring" says it all. I would definitely recommend it to ladies (and gentlemen) of all ages who are interested in refinement.


It took a little a lot of digging, but I've found the first name of Isom Wakefield Sparks's wife (who I mentioned in my previous post). Her name is Amy E. Yocum, my great-great grandmother. I don't know much about her, other than her mother (or was it her grandmother?) lived to be 110. I'm still doing some research on that line, but I've always suspected the "E." in her middle name stood for Elizabeth. She descends from German Catholics whose surname was originally Joachim (it was changed in the early 1800's). I'm not Catholic, so I don't know for sure, but it seems that a lot of the Catholic women in my family tree bear the middle name Elizabeth. But that could just be a stereotypical assumption on my part. (Any one have any ideas?)

One thing I do know about Amy E. Yocum is that she is descendant from a woman named Anna Merkel (I remember this off the top of my head). Through Anna Merkel, I'm the 7th cousin, twice removed, of Laura Bush. (I'm related to her husband three different ways on another side of my family -- but that's a different story.)

So yeah. I've definitely got some more research to do on this line. I've done it before, so it should be difficult now. Right?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tada! Family Tree -- Activated

Alright, so I took the lazy option, screen capped it, and then blacked out the names of living relatives. All of my editing looks craptastic, please forgive me for that. But I typed an explanation at the top of what you're exactly seeing, for those who aren't familiar with FamilySearch.org's family tree software.

Family Tree

As you can see, it only goes to the fifth generation. When I talk about certain ancestors on this blog, I might make screen captures of their family tree, so you can see how they're interrelated, etc.

The reason the parents of Paul Jones Campbell and Dorothy Keith are blank is because we know nothing about them. They are my maternal grandfather's parents and our family hasn't spoken to him in almost forty years. If you have any information on the parents of Paul Jones Campbell and Dorothy Keith, I would highly appreciate it.

The only info I have on Paul Jones Campbell is that he was born in 1894, possibly in one of the Carolinas. He died in Alabama (in or near Scotsboro) in the late 70's. Dorothy Keith was born c. 1905. She died at the age of 29, sometime in the 1930's when my grandfather was very young. My grandfather's stepmother claimed that Dorothy Keith was "of the Boston Keiths".

I'm still looking for the first name of Isom (Isum) Spark's wife. I had it on my old computer, so I'm confident, with digging, I'll be able to find it again; however, I know she was a Yocum (and that the family name was originally Joachim before her birth).

EDIT: Because of the layout of this blog, you have to click the photo to see the whole thing, as it's cut off on the blog.

Family Tree

Sooo, I've gotten some feedback and many people are interested in seeing my family tree. Right now, I've got over 1,000 names on there, so I obviously can't post the whole thing. But I'm working on that.

I can either draw it out poorly with my electronic drawing tablet or I can somehow finagle some screen captures that come off as sensible (blacking out the names of living relatives, of course).

But yes. I just wanted to let those who are reading know that I am working on the family tree issue and I should have it resolved soon enough.

Until then,
Stay tuned!

P.S. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ancestor Articles

I've written articles on a few ancestors. If you'd like further information about the people behind the names, hopefully my articles will be a great starting point.

Articles on Henry VIII:

The Cruelty of Henry VIII

Biography: Henry VIII

Lady Margaret Beaufort:

Biography: Lady Margaret Beaufort

Anne of Brittany:

Biography: Anne of Brittany

More article postings will follow in due course.

Until then, adieu.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thoughts About The Kingdom of Heaven (Movie)

I watched Kingdom of Heaven today. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend it. I expected the movie to be overly preachy and pointlessly violent. However, I was surprised to find that there was an overwhelming message of peace throughout.

What many people may not realize is that the characters in the movie were actually (loosely) based on real people -- people who have many descendants alive today.

Since this is a genealogy blog, I'll focus on my own relatives.

The King of Jerusalem in the movie was Baldwin IV. He was the son of the half-brother of my ancestor Geoffrey Plantagenet, duc de Normandy. That being the case, King Baldwin IV is my 1st cousin, 28 times removed.

Much of the movie was romanticized; though he was a leper, Baldwin IV never wore a mask. However, I was proud, in a way, of the scene right after he died, when Sibylla removed his mask, because it showed his true face, the face that many lepers possess if they don't have access to modern leprosy antibiotics. And when they showed his face, it was clear that the movie-makers intended the moment to be beautiful, instead of frightening. I found that very touching. Sibylla was looking at her brother's face for the first time in many years. Rather than being disgusted or frightened, she looked down on him in sisterly love and sorrow for the fact that he had been cut down in his prime, due to a terrible disease.

Another aspect of the movie I enjoyed was that even though it was, again, romanticized, parts of it also rang very true -- especially at the beginning when they were in France. Today, what happened to the body of Balian's first wife would be appalling, but back then, suicide was considered a major crime against God. Still, it was unnerving to think about.

On another point about Balian: he wasn't a very young man (like Orlando Bloom, who played him in the movie) when he went to Jerusalem. He was in his forties, which might be considered young today; back then, however, it was considered to be getting on up there in years. Furthermore, it's never been proven that he and Sibylla were in love. Balian actually married Maria Comnena who was Sibylla's stepmother. That made Balian the step-father to Sibylla's younger half-sister, Isabella, who would go on to be Queen of Jerusalem after Sibylla.

Sibylla, on the other hand, married Guy de Lusignan AFTER she was crowned Queen.

By-and-large, it was the lives of Balian and Sibylla who were most heavily fictionalized.

All-in-all, though, I thought the acting was great. Orlando Bloom's performances was kinda blah, though.

How am I related to the kings of Jerusalem? Through the Warrens, of course, which you can read more about here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Alley Family

Many Americans alive today, such as the actress Kirstie Alley, can trace their Alley line back to a man named John Alley. I'm one of those Americans.

John Alley was born around 1460 in Great Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Very little is known about John. He's the oldest verifiable person in that line (though there are two candidates that could potentially be his father: John de la'Lee -- various spellings -- of Brittany and, in my opinion, the more likely Willelmus Alley of Great Wycombe). Some sources suggest that John, like his son William, was a mayor of Great Wycombe, which might have been so. Still, I haven't yet independently verified the assertion.

In the 1480's, John married a woman called Agnes (last name unknown). John was believed to have died after August 11, 1506 in Chipping, Bucks, England. There was a will floating about of John's; I saw it a long time ago. When I find it again, I'll post a copy; wills provide amazingly accurate information about a family, because it comes from their own mouths.

My descent from John Alley is as follows:

John Alley m. Agnes

Mayor William Alley (b. c. 1487; d. aft 1550)

Bishop William Alley of Exeter (b. 1510; d. April 15, 1570) m. Sybil Bodleigh (b. 1515)

Archdeacon Roger Alley of Cornwall, Vicar of Pyeworthy (b. 1535, Devonshire; d. 1610)

Jerome Alley (b. 1560, Devonshire; d. 1635, England)

Thomas Alley (b. November 27 1581, Oxford; d. 1656, Oxford)

William Alley (b. 1605, Oxford; d. aft 1632, Salem, Massachusetts)

Henry Alley (b. 1630, Oxford; d. c. 1690, Haverhill, Massachusetts)

Abraham Alley (b. c. 1670, Virginia) m. Winnifred James (b. 1670, England)

Abraham Alley (b. c. 1690, Prince William, Virginia; d. 1760, Brunswick, Virginia) m. Mary

Drury Alley Sr. (b. July 1, 1724; d. 1797) m. Winnifred Alley (his sister)

Shadrick Alley (b. May 1, 1751, Iredell, North Carolina; d. March 1835, Iredell) m. Mary Price (b. 1754)

Howell Lafayette Alley (b. June 26, 1779, North Carolina; d. Aug, 1864, Iredell) m. Ann Turbyfill -- alternate spellings: Turbeville, Turbyville -- (b. c. 1781)

Hamblin Alexander Alley (b. 1799, North Carolina; d. June 1, 1879, Mississippi) m. Martha Ann Turbyfill, relative of his mother (b. 1813, North Carolina)

Miles Glenn Alley (b. December 1841, Tennessee; d. 1929, Texas) m. Canarisa "Caney" Louisa Bell (b. June 8, 1848; d. December 6, 1932, Dyer, Gibson, Tennessee)

Mary Agnes Alley (b. December, 1882, Tennessee; d. November 14, 1949, Dyer) m. Bobby Happle Ramsey (b. August 14, 1879, Tennessee; November 4, 1945, Dyer)

Glenn Newton Ramsey (b. July, 1908, Dyer; d. 1998, Florence) m. Ida Ellen Renaud-Cole (b. 1916; d. October 19, 1972, Florence, Alabama)

Glenn and Ida are my great-grandparents on my mother's side.

As I said in an earlier post, I plan on doing updates on my Scottish heritage. I'm still adding names, links, etc. right now, so I wanna get to a stopping place before I post it here.

Until then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Tudors and The Bells: Is it Fair to Take Liberties with Historical People's Lives for the Sake of Entertainment?

Has anyone ever watched The Tudors? 'Cause I have been lately. And I got to say, the show, entertainment-wise, is phenomenal. As for the historical accuracy, some things are very spot-on, such as their portrayal of Sir Thomas More in the early part of the first season. I can't testify to later portrayals of his character, as that's as far as I've gotten in the series. But the rest? Some inaccurate stuff is bothering me, such as the melding of Margaret and Mary Tudor (called Margaret on the show, the king's sister).

This annoys me greatly, because I'm a direct descendant of Margaret Tudor. She and Mary were separate people and it was Mary who married Brandon, not Margaret. And Mary wasn't the queen of Portugal, but the queen of France. (She was married to Francis' father, Louis. Margaret, in fact, was married to the Scottish king.) Furthermore, Margaret/Mary didn't kill her husband.

I understand that for the sake of entertainment, it's almost completely impossible not to take some liberties. But at what price? Is it fair to slander someone who's too dead to defend themselves?

Take my relation, John Bell, for instance. In the movie, An American Haunting, he's portrayed as an incestuous daughter-raper. If he was a daughter-raper, I would know about it, being a rather close relation. To go further still, his wife Lucy, in the extend/unrated version (whatever, I'm not sure, so don't quote me -- it could've been in the main film shown in theaters, but I don't remember it) is shown to have killed him. This did not happen. No one knows exactly what killed him, but I'm certain it wasn't his wife. There was a lot of interest in the Bells at the time. If she had done it, she would've been caught and prosecuted.

Again, is it fair to label John Bell a daughter-raper and Lucy Bell a murderess when they, like Margaret Tudor, are too dead to defend themselves? Those who think it's fine to do so would probably use the argument that it's all in good fun, for entertainment purposes, but what's the price? After all, these people have real, living relatives and descendants. Is it fair to tarnish our family -- my family -- like this? Remember: the majority of people watching this show and this movie thoroughly think that what they are watching are accurate portrayals of what really happened. Is it fair to purport ridiculous things for the sake of good viewing?

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely enjoy The Tudors and An American Haunting. I think the storytelling, acting, and direction is phenomenal. I enjoy it even more when I remember it's all in good fun. But still, there's always that nagging voice in the back of my mind that can't help but be offended when faced with made-up events that put my relatives in a less-than-stellar light.