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Old 07-06-2013, 05:56 AM
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In all my four lines, which I've traced back to the mid-1700s (so far), I've noticed that no one (at least to my knowledge) was particularly "special" or rose to great leadership, fame, acclaim, notoriety, etc. I'm a very "average person" -- neither overly ambitious nor overly retiring -- and I've found that most of my ancestors were of modest means and personalities as well. No one seemed to seek fame or any other sort of prominence in the world. This is fine, because I'm happy to know that they existed and learn what I can about how they lived and with whom, etc. But I wonder if other researchers have found that their ancestors' personalities and ways of going about life echo their own lives.

A good example of this is "Who Do You Think You Are?" -- they research celebrities, of course, and they find quite outstanding or notorious ancestors along their lines somewhere. What has been your experience?
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:27 AM
Location: california
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From the stories my parents told me on their growing up I can see a little truth to that.
My older brother takes after my grand father on mom's side, a wise buisness man , and I take after my grand father on my dad's side being an inventor. There are other inventors in dad's family as well.
We were not raised near our grand parents at all , they lived in Ill.and Wis. and we live in Cal.
My brother coinsadentally was named after Mom's dad, and I after my dad's dad.
There were two brothers in between us, named independently, whom died while they were very young.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:23 AM
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I take after my grand father on my dad's side being an inventor. There are other inventors in dad's family as well.
See, that's very similar to what I mean. How many people are inventors? And in the same family, over the years? Not many, most likely! I bet if you went back even further, you'd find more of the same patterns. Who knows; it's just a theory!
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:32 PM
Location: Little Rock AR USA
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That's an interesting question I had not given much thought until now. Some people see me as an "adventurer" who likes to go out and "see and do", and so was my Dad, although he left the family when I was three or four years old and we were never again together until I was an adult, and our direct ancestor was the same way back during the Revolutionary War when he was a Militia Captain and explorer. Everyone else on all sides and in between was "normal". So, that's a stretch, but kinda interesting to me.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:36 PM
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
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YES...My youngest son is slightly abrasive much like his great grandfather from what I heard...myself I am so freedom orientated to a fault...much like my father and mother..genetics do repeat themselves...There were moments years ago after my father passed away...that I found myself crossing a street and noticed I was walking with his particular gate.

The other thing I noticed was my step son who just had a child...people were saying...He looks nothing like his father and were insinuating that he was not his son...Then after the child's great grandmother passed away - we pulled up some baby photos of the great grandmother...The new little boy looked exactly like great grandma....and the personality is identical.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:47 PM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Interesting hypothesis, do individuals comprise the sum and total of the talents and interests of their ancestors, or is there a particular strain similar to a gene that weaves through the bloodline?

Both sides of my family have always had itchy feet, one side moving to the Massachusetts colony in 1636, the other side roaming all over the British Isles and being involved in all sorts of mischief, (including being part of Cromwell's supporters ) until my great-great-great.... grandfather came to America before 1810, (first US census he showed up on).

Lots of military background both sides including a captain in Rogers Rangers and a later captain of a militia group during the revolution, the other side had a Major in the Union Army Engineers at the siege of Richmond, and 2 cousins that died at Andersonville.

For some reason my family always seems to be in the wrong place at the right time for events like the California gold rush, all the wars, etc. We are even related by marriage (Libby was a distant cousin) to George Armstrong Custer who died at the Little Bighorn.

Most have been rural people and pioneers with small homesteads or working as tradesmen with their hands, usually some of the first to move into new territories. but a lot have become community leaders, politicians even up to a vice president, many have had a knack for invention, (which is a trait I got by the way), most have a lot of musical talent, just about all are innovative, creative, able to create what they needed from what they had, and a very hard headed determination to survive.

Many have owned their own small businesses, if not, they are usually management or highly placed employees with a lot of responsibility.

Very few have been involved in criminal activities, most never achieve greatness but have had a lot of respect in their communities.

What could be considered a genetic trait vs. learned behaviors passed down.

It is an interesting question to ponder
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:18 PM
Location: San Marcos, TX
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I don't really know, because I cannot know more than the few anecdotal stories that have been passed down. Judging from that, though, I'd say yes.

One of my female ancestors was an author and on that side of the family there were a lot of "bookish" sorts. One ancestor founded a college, for example. On that same side there were several ministers and clergymen though, for several generations back, something I always thought curious because my father was absolutely not a religious person.

On the other side the women are known for being fairly "fiesty" and I'd say that fits. Very much "take no crap" sort of people. My GGGG Grandmother in particular has a lot of "legends" surrounding her and her refusal to take any bull. In one story, she stayed behind while her husband went on ahead for a job, and she remained with her children to collect money coming to them from the land owner they had farmed for (her husband was a sharecropper). After the crops were sold, she went to the landowner for the money owed and he put her off. She went to him again, and again he put her off with some excuse. Third time, she took her gun and told him she wasn't coming back a fourth time; he paid up! She and her kids were on their way without further trouble.

In another story about her, she and her daughters were traveling on a steamboat from Louisiana to Texas and the Captain had a barge with a load of cotton attached. She feared it was a fire hazard and told the Captain she didn't want her children traveling with those unsafe conditions. When he wouldn't untie the barge, she pulled a knife out from under her skirt and proceeded to cut it loose herself!

I don't know how true or untrue any of these stories are but just going along with the general spirit of this woman, she sounds very much like the women in my family!

Also on that same side of the family, I've heard the story about how my Grandmother's "no-count" father was reported to have had inappropriate intentions/behaviors towards his oldest daughter. He'd run off long before, but when my Grandmother's mother died and the girls were just 11 and 13, he showed up wanting to take them with him. Supposedly my Grandma's Uncle let his shotgun do the talking and made it clear to him that he wasn't taking the girls anywhere, and that was the last anyone ever saw of him!

On that same side of the family there was a lot of moving around too, and I wonder if that is part of my restlessness when forced to stay in one area.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:44 PM
Location: too far from the sea
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Interesting subject. On my dad's side I met some of the relatives in the north of England and they were teachers--like us! Doing genealogy and that's how we met. And interested in gardening. But going back in time, I don't know because it just says they were farmers or workers. There wasn't much opportunity in those days for ordinary people. My gt grandfather in England was a boiler maker and inventor of some pretty clever ideas for the mills (but the mill owners stole his inventions). One of his descendants, my late uncle, became an engineer and was pretty inventive.

Also on that side of the family there seems to have been a feisty pushy woman who was my gt gt grandmother. Funny, but I had an aunt exactly like that!

And there is a mean-spiritedness that surfaced in some people on that side but I don't know if it came from that woman or not. A ruthless lawyer type, for example. Certain conditions must draw it out.

On my mother's side they've been here in New England since the 1630s and --
Lots of military background both sides including a captain in Rogers Rangers--

I've got that too and I've got the sister of Captain Robert Rogers, the commander of Rogers Rangers. Now that was one tough and probably mean person (him, not her--although she was very tough.) Loads of Rev, War Vets and a few Civil War vets but they were drafted, served, and came back to their farms.
None of us seem to have much of that hale and hearty survivalist mentality of those early settlers. I wish we did. But no one has ever been in any trouble either. No alcoholism or addictions. Nothing much out of the ordinary. Started out as Puritans, always were sort of boring and religious, good people, plain. I feel pretty plain and boring too unless I pull a card from the pack of English characters on the other side of the family.They're my wild side.
my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:02 PM
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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Good question and the answer can be yes. My brothers and I have discussed the fact that one of our brothers shares aspects of our mother's personality, which she got from her father, which he got from his mother - our great grandmother. Knowing what we know we can actually see that that those personality traits have endured through the generations.

I've noticed I have similar attitudes as some of my ancestors and have long thought I'd inherited the brain "wiring" of those ancestors, whom I have other things in common with. For instance, one of my grandfathers studied languages for the fun of it. Likewise. Two of my great grandfathers loved books and reading. Likewise.

If our faces and external bodies resemble our ancestors, our brains certainly can too.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:19 PM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 4 days ago)
Location: Cushing OK
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I have the dubious honor of coming from two parents where pure stubborness runs deep through the veins. My dad and I tended to 'face off' about just about anything and mom would intervene. It didn't even have to be about anything, just that one said the dreaded words or suggested them. It was more about how giving orders didn't work so well. Still don't.

But in my mom's family this just meant I was from grandpa's line. All of them were like that. They drifted from Maryland to Kentucky to Iowa before the civil war in search of a place where nobody was telling them what to do. The tradition continued in California. Yes, I look like my mom and my grandfather and aunts and uncles, but its the temper which is the sure sign.

Ask nice, maybe I will. Say it like you claim you can make me, not ever.

But both mom and dad's family lines were people who moved on to find better. They didn't stick. Mom's stuck in Iowa for the longest time, then California. Dad's is spread out ancester wise all over the south, but they stuck after his dad's generation in the same county in Alabama. But dad didn't. I like to think when I decided to desert California to a place nobody I could find (thought I could now) of family were from I was simply following old family tradition.

Most have been farmers, and later part of the family worked for Union Pacific. Nobody really went seeking fame or found it but they generally seem to have found a nitch. When they felt like it they moved on. I think in the end I fit in really well with the ancestors.

My son looks like me to and he is clearly of the family.
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