Everyone should make a family tree!
Family trees are great. I'm making a family tree. It should be done by the end of the year, maybe, and to a very limited extent. (UPDATE 2018, didn't happen!)
I met a guy in the bank, who looked like what I imagine King John would look like, tall, lanky, black hair and beard, and he had a similar snarky attitude to the guy in the Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie, who played King John. I told him I was researching history and he told me he was doing a family tree on the internet and he found out he's related to King John! That blew me away, especially because I studied King John from primary sources to find out a little about his personality. He even had the same meticulous attention to detail which is more than the average and characteristic of King John. It goes to show that some aspects of personality and genetics can be re-expressed, even if heavily diluted, (mixed), which is actually a bit of a myth. Collections of genes express themselves at intervals down the generations rather than being totally 'mixed' away. This is why so many people can look like each other if they are apparently unrelated for many many generations. The same types keep popping up. We always see someone who we mistake for someone else due to a resemblance.
Both my father and mother grew up in starvation conditions, my dad between the wars and my mum under the Stalin regime. The whole of Europe was poor in the 50s.
Although my dad came from a very poor family on a farm with only half an acre of fruit trees, I also have a picture of his grandparents dressed in very fine clothes, from about 1904, and presumably taken in Russian Poland. This helps in assembling the family tree. In Poland about 95% of the population have noble names. Firstly, there were lots of them and secondly, peasants took the names of their masters, so it's hard to see who's who. I have church architects on my dad's side, who come from near Lublin, and on mum's side, a German from Silesia, a few very minor nobles (gentry) and some others. Mum grew up in the province of Great Poland. I might be related to a certain Kaspar Glatz, a semi-famous individual who was a protoge or follower of Martin Luther.
During our trip to Poland we went to the Silesian town of Glatz/Klotzko, where this man from mum's side came from, about 150 years ago. It's in a huge wide valley in the Sudetan mountains, which is disapointingly so far from the mountains that you can't see them. The town square is amazing, staircases going up and down because it's all built on the side of a hill. The Klodzko fortress is amazing Prussian or Austrian fortress with a maze of underground tunnels going for miles and miles.
It's because Klodzko is a border town, between empires. I told one of my Czeck friends my ancestor was from Klodzko and she said: 'wow, you're almost Czeck!' The fortress tour was fantastic. At one stage we were crawling thru the tunnels and wondering when it would ever end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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