Rule number one

If your ancestor had no children, he’s not your ancestor. Period. Let’s say Henry married Judy, a widow with 5 kids. If you’re a descendant of Judy, that does not make Henry your ancestor.

Over the “free UK records” weekend, I have lost a big branch of my genealogy tree. Bummer. Eliza Florence Shelley, my 2nd great grand mother was born in England. That’s all I will ever know. I was hoping to dig up more, but what I found was several women with the same name, born the same year. How do I choose which one is Grandma? It’s simple: I can’t. There are no indications if she was born in Ludlow, Herefordshire, or Handbury. I checked Google maps to see how far away these places are, just in case. Too distant.  There are mentions of a 2 year old Eliza Shelley in Census records, who grows up to be 12, then 23 in further censuses. She has the same batch of siblings, so I believe it’s the same girl. But I am not sure she’s Grandma.

I looked at passenger manifests and immigration documents since the 1920 Census notes she migrated around 1880 and was later naturalized. Nothing.

I even looked directly into the UK government’s website to see if I could order a birth certificate. There, I must have done something wrong because I found zero people by that name. Strange.

It would be easy to pick the one that matches my mood of the day. Don’t we all secretly dream of being royalty? Of owning of the piece of the pie, or the crown? It’s also easy to work your genealogy tree retroactively: find the good old Edward Shelley, baronet, and say he’s grandpa. Unfortunately, if you read in details the history of the Shelley family, the ones who own the castle, Edward died “without issue”. So you’re probably related to “a” Edward Shelley (the thief maybe?), but you’re not getting a piece of the Shelley property!

And since it was that branch that was leading me to the Bush family, and unto Edward III, I have to admit, proudly, that I am a still only commoner!

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