Friday, December 10, 2010

Desperately Seeking Mel!

by Pa Rock
Family Historian

As reported earlier in this space, I am getting back into genealogy after a thirty-year hiatus.  I have an eleven-year-old grandson in West Plains, Missouri, named Boone Macy.  Boone is in the sixth grade and smart as the proverbial whip.  One of my goals in this new genealogy push is to show Boone enough of his personal family history so that he will become hooked on history.  History is important.  Think how much better and richer our country would be today if George Bush had read some history - or anything else for that matter!

I am using the subscription services of, an amazing company that can scour its enormous data base and provide family tidbits in milliseconds.  Much of what is available through this company is the accrued work of other genealogists, which makes it somewhat suspect, but the company also has complete U.S. census records through 1930, Social Security Death Indexes, military records, many courthouse records, immigration records and ships' passenger lists, and a whole host of things that allow for honest research and source citation.

Yesterday I was searching for information on a couple of Boone's female ancestors.  I had their first names, but couldn't get anything beyond them without discovering their maiden names.  I found one through a 1913 marriage license on  The other was more complicated, but I eventually located her maiden name in the obituary files maintained by the McDonald County Library in Pineville, Missouri - a wonderful repository of information!

But back to Boone...

Boone's mother was born a Wallis, and by using all that has to offer, I managed to follow her Wallis lineage back to the year 1482 in Scotland.  With that name and that location, I kept expecting to bump into William Wallace, or at the very least, Robert the Bruce.  No such luck yet, but I will keep digging.  Young Boone is eighteen generations removed from that earliest Scottish Wallis.  I emailed the lineage to him tonight.  Not only will it be great for show-and-tell, it is also a very practical lesson in history.  If Boone studies the dates and locations that I provided, he will see when his Wallis family left Scotland and came to America.  He can also trace the family's migration from coastal Virginia to the Missouri Ozarks.  He can then sit down with a good history book, or the Internet, and develop theories as to why his ancestors moved when they did and where they did.

And while he does that, I will still be on the trail of Mel, uh...William Wallace.  He can run, but he can't hide!


Don said...

This is apropos of absolutely nothing. Just want you to know how much I appreciate what you write and the way it's written.
I won't be saying much, but I'll always find a way to keep up to date on your meanderings.

I look forward to shedding the shackles of employment in a few short years. Your example has shown me what it might then make sense to do with my time.


Pa Rock's Ramble said...


What a nice comment! Drop me an email sometime and let's talk.