Sunday, January 24, 2016

Two Degrees of Separation - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on Sunday

Randy Seaver hosts Saturday Night Genealogy Fun weekly on his blog, Genea-Musings.   Last night's fun assignment was this:
Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation?  That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor."  When was that second ancestor born?

This is an interesting assignment to me because only two of my grandparents were alive when I was born, and no great-grandparents.  Which means I've met only two living direct-line ancestors older than my parents!  Below are both direct-line ancestors and collateral lines.  Either way, the span of  years is short.

Direct Ancestors
I knew my maternal grandfather, William Carl Robert Meinzen, who was born in 1892 and died in 1979.  He knew his father, Henry Carl Meinzen, who was born in 1837 and died in 1925.  There is a span of 113 years between my birth and the birth of my great-grandfather.

I knew my grandmother, Emma Virginia Bickerstaff Meinzen, who was born in 1893 and died in 1973.  She knew her grandfather, Ellis H. Bickerstaff, who was born in 1840 and died in 1907.  There is a span of 110 years between the birth of my great-great-grandfather, Ellis H. Bickerstaff, and my birth.

Collateral Lines
I met my paternal grandmother's sister, Della Virginia Gerner, once (or possibly twice) as a child.  She was the daughter of Fredrick K. Gerner and Elvira Bartley.  She was born in 1874 and died in 1968.  Her maternal grandfather was Dixon Bartley, who died in 1899.  He was born in about 1806.  Between Dixon's birth and mine there is a span of 144 years.

I met my paternal grandfather's sister, Emma Doyle Lengauer, when I was a child.  She was born in 1886 and died in 1956.  She lived near her paternal grandfather, Andrew Doyle, who died in 1908.  He was born in 1836.  There is a span of 144 years between his birth and mine.

Sometimes I think about the stories my great- and great-great-grandparents may have told their children and grandchildren -- stories that would have spanned a century or more -- and that they never passed down to me!  Henry Meinzen was born in Germany.  Imagine what his childhood and youth might have been like in the mid-1800s.  Imagine the stories Andrew Doyle could have told of England in the mid-1800s.  Even stories of every-day activities would have been interesting.
It is a sad loss.

Of course, it's possible that Henry, Ellis, Dixon, and Andrew were like my own parents and didn't tell stories of their childhoods.  Either way, it's sad.

Thanks for hosting Saturday Night Generalogy Fun, Randy.


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  1. I remember one great-grandmother. One other great-grandmother was still living when I was little but I don't remember ever meeting her. It's possible (and probable) that her dementia was such that my parents kept me from her.

  2. I think you are so lucky to have known one more generation beyond your grandparents, Wendy! Have you written down your memories of her?


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