Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Known Immigrant Ancestor Time Span

It's time for another family history challenge from Randy Seaver for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Reader Doug Greenhill suggested this challenge:  "What is the time span between your first known immigrant ancestor to your last known immigrant ancestor?"

(2) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status line on Facebook.  Leave a comment with a link to your blog post if you write one.

Of course, since I am out of town and don't have access to my family tree database, this week's challenge involves details from said database.  I knew it would happen.  But I can make estimates.

My most recent known immigrant ancestors were my great-great-grandparents Gershon Itzhak Nowicki and Dobra (Yelsky) Nowicki, who arrived in the United States on August 22, 1922.  They came on the S.S. Laconia, which docked in New York City.

My earliest confirmed immigrant ancestor is from the Gaunt(t) family.  It's someone who came in the 1600's, but I don't remember his name or what year he came.  Because I can't look up the information right now, I can push his arrival to the very end of the century, to 1699.

That makes the interval 1699 to 1922, for a total of 223 years.

I'm supposed to descend from someone who came on the Mayflower in 1620.  If accurate, that would make my time span 302 years.


Observant readers may have noticed that I slightly modifed the phrasing for this challenge.  At least Randy, if not Doug Greenhill also, used "direct ancestor."  Being an editor, this phrase drives me crazy.  An ancestor is someone from whom you descend.  "Direct ancestor" is redundant, because there is no such thing as an indirect ancestor.  If it isn't a direct line, the person isn't an ancestor but is a collateral relative.  Similarly, there is no such thing as an "indirect descendant."  Either someone is a descendant or is not.

I tried searching for links online to back me up on this and found an interesting situation.  It appears that at one point Dick Eastman denigrated this incorrect grammatical use of direct and indirect descendant, because there's a link on an old Facebook post to a 2012 post on his blog (I include the image for those who don't use Facebook):

But when I clicked on the link in the post to Eastman's blog,, the result was "Something's Missing / The content you're looking for doesn't exist at this address.  Continue browsing, or try searching for your content using the form below."

So I did try searching for the content on the form.  And the phrase "indirect descendant" no longer appears on the site.  "Direct ancestor" and "direct descendant" show up several times each, but in other posts, the text in some of them apparently copied from press releases and some in posts written by Eastman himself.  So what it looks like is that now that he has decided the phrases are ok to use, he deleted the one post that attacked them.  Or did I miss something?

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