Recently, I’ve been undertaking three projects: an online Second City writing class, an Oscar trivia thing (that might make appearances in/near this space), and some genealogical research.
By ‘research’, of course, I mean ‘dicking around on on Ancestry.ca’.
It’s resulted in some interesting stuff already, though, oddly, very little about my paternal grandparents. This is largely because my granddad was born in the States (to Canadian parents) and he and my grandmother (and my dad) lived in Ohio for several years (my grandfather died there in 1961) and my ability to investigate is limited by my cheap refusal to pay for access to worldwide records for $24.95 /month (seriously, the fuck?). I don’t have that kind of disposable income, especially now that I’ve got a jolly line of credit to pay down.*
Unfortunately, this almost limits research into my ancestors from Scotland, Ireland, Germanish places, and elsewhere. Bah.
Delightful things I’ve learned so far include finding out that one grandfather was named Alonzo. Perplexing things include not knowing who my great-great-grandmother was born of, because the only woman listed as married to her father was only ten years older than her. Scandalous!
Or, y’know, way back when, the records weren’t so well kept sometimes. And new immigrants maybe didn’t understand what info to give census takers. There are several different misspellings of the various Wilhemina/Wilhemine/Wiliminies (seriously?) in the family (there are at least three, two great-great and one great-grandmother). Sometimes Carl is Karl, Charles, or listed by his middle name in various registries. A great-great-great-grandmother allegedly comes from a town in Pomerania that, based on rudimentary googling, never existed. A Prussian Brigadoon, perhaps.
Regardless, it’s an interesting/fun way to pass the time. Have found no evidence of my maternal grandfather’s ‘squaw relatives’**, though, which is a bit disappointing. Didn’t find evidence of her family coming from ‘near the Swiss border’ either. Prussia and the British Isles (possibly centuries ago via Norway) seem to be the roots of me. No wonder I like the Northern Seas so much. And am so fucking white.
Anyway, after stumbling across the middle name ‘Alvina’ in my research, and being reminded of great-great-aunt named Jamesina, I have become intrigued by the idea of masculinizing girl names – the reverse happens a lot. Even names like Leslie and Hillary have been snatched away from men. So can men take on slightly altered lady names successfully?
Using strictly female names from my family tree, the results are inconclusive. Some examples:
Violate (wrestler or career criminal)
Well, okay, not entirely inconclusive, because they all largely like minor characters in a poorly translated RPG video game based in a society not unlike ancient Rome. But, given the sad state of babynaming, some of them could catch on. Yikes.
* Details too boring to expand on, but I’ve consolidated debt/am able to pay for some house repairs/able to breathe again as of last week.
** This alleged link was brought up during a marital argument. What a wonderful old racist my grandmother was.