Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Genealogical Alchemy

My main hobby is genealogy. That's why I am not a very active blogger.

To give you an idea of what an avid genealogist I am, I have an extensive family tree database, going back as far as the 1450s in some places, and branching out to distant cousins all over the world. Between ancestors, in-laws, and relatives near and far, I have over 22,000 names in my file.

Every now and then, I will do a Google search on one of the more obscure names to see if I can glean more information on my very extended family. One such name came up in news and blog searches, and it looked very interesting.

So I read (and watched) the news story. And I read blog commentary. It was bad news, if true, and it certainly looks like it is true.

Naturally, I checked to see if he is related to me. His surname is not a common one. However, I did not locate him in my family tree. I promptly put my mad research skillz to work on the Internet, and in just over an hour I was able to confirm that he is, in fact, my fourth cousin. (No times removed.) This means that we share a set of great-great-great-grandparents. No surprise, then, that I had never heard of him before this news broke.

If he were more closely related, I would definitely freak out. As it is, I just files things like this into the virtual scrapbook and say, "Now how about that!" Still, as a relative, I have to hope that there is another reason that he was trying to import and illegal substance. I did not know that such a thing as red phosphorus existed until I read this story. A part of me wants to believe that red phosphorus is an essential ingredient for making gold in an alchemy lab. If that were so, and my distant cousin were successful, I would make sure that we would not remain distant for long.

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