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I want ancestors with names like Rudimentary Montagnard

 I Want


Barbara A Brown

extended familyMs. Brown’s “I Want” article was originally posted in 1994 to the National Genealogical Conference, FIDO bulletin board forum.

“Yep — I want ancestors with names like Rudimentary Montagnard or Melchizedick von Steubenhoffmannschild or Spetznatz Gianfortoni, not William Brown or John Hunter or Mary Abbott.

I want ancestors who could read and write, had their children baptized in recognized houses of worship, went to school, purchased land, left detailed wills (naming a huge extended family as legatees), had their photographs taken once a year — subsequently putting said pictures in elaborate glass frames annotated with calligraphic inscriptions, and carved voluble and informative inscriptions in their headstones. I want relatives who managed to bury their predecessors in established, still-extant (and indexed) cemeteries.

I want family members who wrote memoirs, who enlisted in the military as officers and who served in strategically important (and well documented) skirmishes. I want relatives who served as councilmen, schoolteachers, county clerks and town historians. I want relatives who ‘religiously’ wrote in the family Bible, journaling (sic) every little event and detailing the familial relationship of every visitor.

In the case of immigrant progenitors, I want them to have arrived only in those years wherein passenger lists were indexed by National Archives, and I want them to have applied for citizenship, and to have done so only in those jurisdictions which have since established indices.

I want relatives who were patriotic and clubby, who joined every patrimonial society they could find, who kept diaries, and listed all their addresses, who had paintings made of their horses, and who dated every piece of paper they touched. I want forebears who were wealthy enough to afford, and to keep for generations, the tribal homestead, and who left all the aforementioned pictures and diaries and journals intact in the library.

But most of all, I want relatives I can find!!!”

As a family historian, do you have friends and family ask you how to get started in family research? This is a hard question to answer in a few minutes. Refer them to the book below to help them get started in this fun hobby. Purchase several – Books make great gifts!

WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources

Click here for all historic books by Donna R. Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. One of my New England ancestors was named “Thankful Shepherdson” I thought that was pretty cool…lots of other great names, mostly “Old Testament” names dangling off that side of the tree!

    1. I love the old New England names.

    2. she was my 6th great-grandmother. Her son (5th great grandfather) was named “Ebenezer”…ya gotta love it!!!

  2. I have an ancestor named “Aramannus Lemley.” I thought that would make research easier, but turns out there were 3 of them in the same time period – all moving between the SC/GA/AL area and NOT related! My husband’s Burdeshaw ancestor was just as difficult. The original name was Bourdajeau (French), but over 40 years, I’ve found it spelled at least 43 different ways, making a computer search for the name very difficult.

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