Thursday, October 21, 2010

family history-ing.

For a religion assignment we were required to go onto new family search (an LDS family history website) and find when our ancestors joined the church and plot where our family is from on a map of the UK. I became obsessed.

I have a feeling that I am going to become the crazy aunt who keeps records in her basement and goes on trips to cemeteries to find the graves of her family members. I can see it now. I am already planning a family history trip to the UK to show my future children where we came from. I'm in trouble.

I discovered some pretty amazing things...

1. QUEEN ELIZABETH II (the current queen) IS MY COUSIN!   [through Grandma Poole]
  • I started clicking and came across Lord Edward Beauchamp Seymour. His name sounded important so naturally I googled him. He was born inside the Tower of London because his mom, Catherine Grey, was a prisoner there. Rad. Catherine Grey was the sister to Lady Jane Grey, the 9 day Queen of England, and granddaughter to King Henry the 7th. 
  • Long story short: Catherine Grey's great grandchildren include Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Jenna Masters.
Yes, you may curtsy to me through your computer screen. 

And if you were wondering, yes, she does let me call her cuz. I'm thinking of stopping by Buckingham today for some tea.

Yesterday we went to Salisbury Cathedral (pictured above). I found out that night that Catherine Grey is my very great grandma, and it turns out that she is buried at Salisbury! What are the chances?! Here is me at the cathedral she is buried in. Pretty swanky graveyard if I say so myself. I could get used to this whole royalty thing!

2. ONE OF MY GRANDMAS WAS HANGED IN BOSTON!  [through Grandma Poole]
  • My many times great grandma Mary Barrett Dyer was hanged in Massachusetts on June 1, 1660 at 9:00 a.m. for being a leader in the Antinomian movement. She was a leader in this movement with Anne Hutchinson claiming that God speaks directly to his people through inspiration rather than through a clergy. (yay! go ancestors!) She and her family and Anne Hutchinson were banished from the Puritan colony of Massachusetts for being Quakers. They went to settle Rhode Island with Roger Williams, there her husband William Dyer signed the Portsmouth Compact.
  • Mary returned to Boston 4 times to preach against the Puritans, publicly and willingly defying the law. The first 3 times she was arrested and released. She was arrested again for the 4th time and since she wouldn't denounce her Quaker faith she was hanged as a martyr. These were her last words:
"Nay, I came to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust laws made against the innocent servants of the Lord. Nay, man, I am not now to repent."
[repent meaning denounce her faith]

This is a statue of her that can be found in front of the Massachusetts state capitol in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Apparently her marriage to William Dyer is recorded at St. Martin's-in-the-fields, a church in London. I can't wait to check it out!

  • My great great great grandma Janette Bleasdale joined the Church with her family in Lancashire, England in 1843 when she was 9. When she was 10 her family left for America but didn't have enough money for her way so she had to stay behind, by herself, and work for 3 years to earn the money to sail to America. The family she was supposed to sail with was robbed so she had to make the trip alone. Talk about strength! She was only 13!

This is me and Natalie at a monument erected in Liverpool as a memorial to the 52,000 Latter Day Saints that left the UK in the mid 1800's to settle in Utah. Almost all of them went out of the Liverpool Harbor. We both have family members that left from here so we decided to join them and hold hands. :)

  • Ok so I don't have any Native American blood in me, but a lot of my family members settled San Bernadino, California with the Latter Day Saints in the 1800s. I always knew I was a pure Californian!
  • I always knew that my dad was German but I found out that my Grandma Masters side (so technically the Smith's [her maiden name]) are mostly Welsh. I was so excited because Wales is such a small, forgotten country, its native language is a Celtic language, and I am going to Wales on Thursday! Most of my Welsh family joined the church when the missionaries came to Wales in the 1830/40's and sailed across the sea to America and crossed the plains to Utah. 
  • I am basically UK through and through. I have tons of family from Wales, Scotland, and England and then some from Germany... no where else. How then did the crazy man in Chicago tell me I should be cast as a Spanish for a TV show?!
  • My dad's name is Gregory Masters. 2 days ago I found out that 8 generations back there is a Gregorius Meschter from Silesia, Germany. Meschter is the early form of Masters and apparently Gregorius is the early form of Gregory. My dad wasn't even named after him, what a weird coincidence! 

Left: Gregory and Melinda Masters
Right: Gregorius and Magdalena Meschter... strong family resemblance, don't you think?

  • While comparing maps in class today, Nikki and I realized that we share the same great grandpa, James Kenyon, from Lancashire, England. Who would have thought that I would find so many long lost cousins while here? First the Queen, now a girl I live with... who's next? 
  • One really cool thing is that Nikki is a convert so she figured she was the only member in her family and that none of her geneology would be done... but this entire line was done for her!
As you can see I am a little excited about all this family history stuff. It has just become so much fun because I am living in and visiting the places where they lived. It is so fun to read their stories and have the name on the chart come alive. I don't know many stories from my Masters side so I can't wait to find some!

More to come!


  1. haha! You are cute. This made me laugh. Genealogy suits you!

  2. haha you're just happy that I'll take it over!

  3. haha i love this!! you are too cute! I definitely have not yet gotten into this thing yet, so lucky you crazy aunt! for future reference- the hbll is open the 2nd and 4th sundays just for the family history center!

  4. "We're not worthy!" (Said while on the knees bowing). Remember us peasant folk back here in in the usa though! ( and if you decide that you are more english than american, just remember we totally won the war ;) )

  5. thanks for the hbll tip, my favorite guard! can't wait to see you there when i get back and for another reunion... we better have one!!

    and mike, thank you for bowing. you'd fit in here. people bow to me all the time, on the tube, at the park, at church, last night at Thriller I even had someone bow to me.. at least they recognize, right?! don't worry, i will always be more american. i could never give up my free refills. never.

  6. Jenna Masters! Don't think that you can just use America for her refills and ice machines! I fear that the dark side (the British side) is taking over you young one (ok i know thats a Star Wars reference and you have yet to see star Wars, but just run with it ok?) :)