Friday, January 18, 2008

Family Trees

My mother, Vivian Kirkpatrick Madsen, spent the last ten years of her life working on our family genealogy. I was fortunate enough to be the one who typed her work for her and, in remembering these special stories of my family I decided it would be fun to start sharing some of them. She put endless hours of research into the years and we each have a set of five three-inch binders of photos, certificates, and memories of people she contacted.

I guess what started all of the endless hours of family research for Mother was when we discovered that we are descendants of Danish royalty on my father’s side of the family. She was certain her family tree must have interesting people to brag about as well. I remember when we were younger my Grandfather Madsen would never talk about the family. He would shrug our ancestors off as horse thieves and such. One day at a family reunion my father’s cousin let the facts out of the bag. Years and years ago when King Fredrik VIII came through a small town in Denmark, he noticed my great, great grandmother and wanted her in his bed that night. That was the beginning of this part of the family tree. Of course, we cannot prove this as the records are sealed, but there is a great family resemblance along the branches of the tree. Poor old King Fredrik VIII ended up dying in a bordello in Hamburg, Germany, as stories passed along through the ages go. He only reigned as king for twelve years.

When I heard the story, I had to laugh as I’d been telling my oldest daughter that she was a princess since she was a little girl. The child absolutely would not allow anything to be put under her mattress. I honestly say, it didn’t matter what I tried, she would know it was there. Hans Christian Andersen’s Princess and the Pea came to mind every time she would complain. When we heard about being of royal blood, she looked at me and acknowledged that I’d been right all along, she was a princess.

It’s fun to know where you’ve come from sometimes. It has been for us. I hope you’ll enjoy some of the stories as I can get them on my blog over the next couple of months. Oh, and by the way, the day my mother discovered she was a direct descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, who came over on the Mayflower, she felt vindicated. She did have someone that almost elevated her to the height and glory of our royal blood. (grin)

10 comments:

Carla said...

Hi Marlene!

I love geneologies. Your family tree sounds awesome--must be what makes you such a interesting lady. Can't wait to read more of your family stories. :-)

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Marlene,
What a great story about your family. I'm looking forward to hearing more. Yes, family tree research can be fun and surprising. You never know what you'll find. ;-)
Jeanmarie

Susan Macatee said...

That's pretty cool!

I wish I knew more about where my family came from. All I do know is that my family's of mixed Irish and German descent and my father's family originated in Switzerland.

Marlene said...

Thanks, Carla. I like being considered an interest lady. I will just blame it on my genes.
Marlene

Marlene said...

Thanks Jeanmarie. I am like you, I love finding out where I came from and who is responsible for getting me here.

Marlene said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, Susan. I hope some day you'll find a way to trace your family tree more thoroughly.

Kristin-Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin-Marie said...

...from one royal line to another ... hail!

Georgie Lee said...

I love your story. I wish my family tree had such an interesting story.
My sister has been researching our family genealogy. I keep asking her if she's found a title for me but she hasn't. It seems we are a family of peasants.

Marlene said...

There's nothing wrong with being from a line of peasants, Georgie Lee. Have you seen what kinds of scandals some of the royals have been involved in over the centuries? Have fun learning about your family and don't forget to enjoy being around what family members you have right now.