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Friday, November 03, 2006

Nor Did the Cow's Descendants Wish to Comment

There's an interesting column in Saturday's Times about the pitfalls of genealogical research. Some pitfalls are deeper than others.

Maurice Kellner, a county officer for Genuki, the genealogical body for the UK and Ireland, reports how he helped a woman in Tasmania seeking facts about her family connection to the village of Wappenham, near Towcester. He found that one of her ancestors had been sentenced to be transported to Australia for committing unnatural acts with a cow. “I’m not sure if she was grateful or not because she never contacted me back,” he says. [Link]



This reminds me of a lady who emailed me about researching the Nutt family in Manchester NH. Turns out she was closely related to George Washington Nutt, the midget entertainer, so I let her know and sent her the family tree. Apparently she was completely freaked, because her email back to me said, "I AM NOT RELATED TO A MIDGET!" and then she refused to answer any more emails.



How sad. The fact is, any of us could be closely related to a "little person" and not even know it.

A few years ago, I was researching the family of an elderly neighbor. I read some newspaper columns written about her father when he was a boy that remarked on how his growth was stunted. I asked my dad about this, and he explained, "Oh yeah, he was a midget." If I had relied on official records, I might never have known this.



I wonder if that Nutt would change her mind if you told her the midget left a fortune awaiting an heir to claim.



No doubt an inheritance would bring relatives tumbling out of the closet, regardless of whether the beneficiary was a midget or a real life axe murderer. Perhaps this woman had a "fear of midgets" which appears to be an actual phobia.


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