*Edit: My new media adviser made me remove my new acquaintance’s name, I can’t identify him for liability reasons, even though he identifies himself ALL over the internet. Whatever. I changed all my references of him to “Nebraska”. And henceforth, I shall use aliases for any persons in blog entries on this topic.
By that title, I mean that I met with the first relative who is part of this CousinGate quest that I, as a genie, have bound myself to. And I said something very strange that I’ll never forget. I’ll tell ya how I screwed up at this & seared it into my memory- but only after I’ve met my genealogical obligations to this blogpost. What obligations, you ask? 1) To remind you, the reader, that family lines are important. 2) To encourage you to humor your ancestors & examine their traits based on the info available. 3) To tell my descendants about my newly discovered family member because there’s lots to say about him. Whether we like it or not, family research is important. Take a look at what I learned from meeting just one person & think about what you could learn. I talk to many people who are admittedly afraid to reach out to strangers & wouldn’t know how, so they rob themselves of this intriguing experience. Since it’s not in my nature to recognize anyone as a stranger, I guess sharing how I chased a guy down, compelled him to give me an hour of his day, acted afool, & lived to laugh about it may inspire someone else to make that first connection & start putting their family pieces together.
CousinGate: Ingersoll branch
I’m in Southern California this week because my son had a thing to do here, so I took the opportunity to reach out to a guy from my “Ingersoll” line whom I’ve been texting with & he happens to live in this area. I didn’t know for sure if he was one of MY people, but I just felt in my gut that he was. It didn’t really matter at that initial point because just his being an Ingersoll compelled me to want any info he was willing to share. So, to the coffee shop we went to discuss our people. This was my first time actually (meeting someone for this purpose), & it did not go exactly as I thought it would but, at least it happened & I will do better next time. So… here are 3000 words of how-to & not-to. I had no idea what to expect from myself, but now I know what I am in for.
I first learned of Nebraska’s existence on twitter. I searched for Ingersoll & scrolled through results to find the first lucky subject of my quest. When I got to him, I immediately felt & recognized his personal energy radiating through the little screen I was holding. I was stuck there for a minute, unwilling to keep scrolling, so that’s how I came about the decision to start with him in the first place. I then briefly searched whatever info was readily available about him, just to confirm what I already knew which is that he was not the kind of crazy I would typically avoid. (Side note: It sounds a bit silly to say that I picked him because I recognized him, I know that. But, if you’ve ever felt such a thing, you know that it IS a thing. If you have not, then let’s just say I’m silly & I am OK with it. Fair enough? Good. I’ve been called worse -and answered!. I don’t know where the ‘energy recognition’ comes from & don’t care because it works for me consistently. I don’t really spend much time researching it either, because I don’t want to screw it up with other people’s ideas since it works without me understanding how it works. Some people have theories of scientific nature that describe that “feeling” & you can find more about those somewhere on this page. Anyhow, I emailed him & he eventually responded.)
I made sure he knew that I’m in his area often & that’s when he offered the option to meetup & compare what we think we know. Or maybe I suggested it. I don’t remember actually.
Genie tip: It’s important to note that when it comes to ancestors & family stories, it’s always what we “think” we know.
Nebraska gave me an hour at a little coffee house in Santa Monica. I got there first, & I was just about to fuss about my sons smoothie taking so long, but then I didn’t because I sensed his presence, so I let the barista off the hook & turned around & yep, all 6’3″ of him was standing there… By this point, if he turned out to not be one of my people, I’d have been broken hearted and confused about my intuition failing so fantastically. I say fantastically because I still would have enjoyed meeting him. My son especially enjoyed the visit because at the end, Nebraska showed him 2 “ninja kicks” (which he’s been practicing ever since). Nick is passionate, to say the least, about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Kenzen had been a little concerned about an audition he had scheduled that afternoon. It was for a part in a Nintendo commercial & he really wanted the job but he feared being out ninja’d because he didn’t know any good kicks to demonstrate. Nebraska happened to know some & sent him off to the audition feeling a little better. Ultimately, Kenzen was still out ninja’d by a kid slightly older who was ridiculously overqualified, if you ask me.
We got to discuss a bit of how each of us came to be Ingersoll descendants & it was intriguing to me how similarly our traits developed in similar circumstances. It lends to the theory that character traits are inherited & that nature not only CAN, but DOES trump nurture. There’s evidence of a significant amount of elbow grease mixed in with our blood & if we “rolled it” in the genetic lottery, we are compelled to embrace it. I’ll elaborate a bit… Not only was the aforementioned point supported but, learning the tiniest bit about Nebraska confirmed the rugged nature which is familiar to me & if you’ve poked around on this site a bit you’ll know what I know about that. Right out of high school, he left home in pursuit of a place more suitable & he never looked back because he didn’t need to. Then, he not only thrived, but he kicked the crap out of thriving & excelled beyond even what he expected. He started a business that has now prompted the Forbes 30 under 30 thing to recognize his success & bid for an explanation from him. That’s kind of a big deal considering his backstory (which he freely shares the gist of on his own website so I’m not gonna tell it here). I was reading his blog yesterday & found that he agrees with this trait being inherited. He explains it as it applies to him here. Funny, it’s almost exactly what I said in my last blog entry only he found a word that he was satisfied using to describe this savage, half crazed nature & I have not.
On that note:
What do the character traits of my family members have to do with me? Sometimes very little on the surface, but sometimes a lot. Sometimes how you parent your children needs to changed based on their genetic roll because, after all, they inherited what you gave them. If you bestowed something crazy, you better know it.
When you are in the awkward situation where you don’t know whether or not someone in front of you is a biological family member, there’s no telling how you’re gonna act until you are actually there to observe yourself. I mean, do ya treat them like family or like a stranger? I figure the normal thing you’d do first is consider physical traits, then you’d look for character or behavior traits. At a glance, there were at least a few scraps of the same fiber to work with. The most obvious are physical, e.g. the shade of blue eyes that I can’t find anywhere in my family line, the literally thick, fair skin. (All of my living family, save for my paternal grandmother, who have blue eyes aren’t a clean blue (they have yellow, gold, or green ring around the pupil.) In fact, its practical to mention here that I look nothing like any of my living family members which is why I even learned about all this genetic madness to begin with. He definitely has gorgeous blue eyes, if I don’t say so myself. Whether we came about them the same way, who knows. I mean, I was not trying to stare at this guy like an obsessed lunatic with intent to memorize every single inch of her subjects self, regardless of how honest my intentions are. So I can’t say for sure what all the physical traits were or weren’t. I really was more interested in his pedigree & I only had an hour so… I kinda skipped the physical examination. Maybe next time. If I can catch him for a next time.
What is funny is that I don’t think he would have been offended or even uncomfortable if I did just stare at him, he seems bullet proof enough & probably get stared at plenty. And actually, if I had just stared at him a bit, or even researched him more thoroughly, then I would not have asked the goofy question I did ask that screwed up the remainder of my minutes henceforth.
We have a similar background that resulted in the same response. I, too, left home early, I was 13ish. That story is shared here on this website so I’m not gonna tell it again now. And, if you never know my story, it won’t matter for the cause of this blog post anyway. Suffice to say, I get asked to speak to at-risk youth all the time because I came from the most ridiculous circumstances & walked away relatively unscathed (unless you consider being called ‘Ts’ your whole life a scathe, in which case then maybe I am in worse shape than I think). I ended up opening & building an insurance agency that is capable of doing anything I want it to do & getting as big as I want it to get & making as much money as I want it to make. Right now I am focused on kids so, I’ve hired a great team who CAN do without me breathing down their necks. I’ve gone on to rock motherhood, fail miserably at wifehood, and kick the crap out of genetic genealogy. I still have a ways to go before I am making headlines & creating designer offspring with all of my collected DNA segments because… why rush a thing like that? (totally kidding…)
It’s relevant because not many people walk away from nothing with nothing & end up even being “just ok”. Nebraska & I both did, I mean, he’s got the whole Forbes thing but, he won at life way before that. The Forbes thing, well, that was him continuing the hustle just to show off 😉 My point: You have to have been born with the grit, the sweat of your toughest, coldest ancestors in your blood, & you have to recognize it, own it & roll with it. He does, I do, & everyone else says, “what the hell is this all about?” So there’s that. If we ended up not being from the same family, I would have been glad to meet him anyway & I would’ve asked him where the hell he’s been all my life, because I know every single emotion one feels & becomes immune to when they walk this dusty road. When you have the fortitude to do ANYTHING you want to, and still every single day you choose to be the best version of yourself, that’s what determines the shade of your soul. My soul is a bit dark and twisty but, that doesn’t mean his is. I probably won’t ever know much more about him than this very thing that makes up the core of who he is & the heart that goes with it. Everything else is immaterial anyway. I don’t know what ELSE he is made of, but whatever it is, it takes a backseat. Otherwise, he would not have jumped out of my twitter page & made me push his buttons (by that I mean click his links).
So, because the paperwork is seeming to scream very loudly that we are from the same “dirts”, I’m just back to wondering which ancestor(s) bestowed this savage spirit upon us, how it would look in the pedigree if we lit up the names in red of those who had this particular cluster of insanity that lends to our belief that we want to be the bosses of stuff? Would they all be in the same bloodline? Would it be one in twenty? One in a hundred? One in ten? Is there a branch that holds one in five? Not sure any town would be big enough for 1:5 of us. I didn’t really grow up with family around, but I know enough about them to know that my generation of my pedigree has just one radical: me. My grandma was also her own hero, so I can light her up red for sure & she’s the only one of her generation, everyone else around her faded into the background they were sewn onto. As I learn stuff about ancestors through circumstantial evidence like court documents, wills & old letters, I have some guesses at who might have been just as rough around the edges, but they’re dead so I can only guess. That’s why I also like chasing down the occasional living person. It gives me a verified reference.
Apparently he gets hit up to give speeches to people too, to teach them how to be fantastic. I don’t think I am quite as fantastic but I do think we both could make it very simple:
If a door is closed, open it. It’s a door, that’s how it works. If it’s locked, kick the damn thing down. If you want to get where you gotta go, you can’t be getting hung up on silly things like doors. This applies not only to business in general, but specifically to careers, relationships, education, & everything in between. You have to be unstoppable. He came to the same conclusion about it that I did: you have to be born with it. Side note: I went as far as to create a step by step guide for young women once, but, it’s probably useless to anyone who’s missing the genetic prerequisite.
That’s almost all I have to say about Nebraska, himself. Wait, one more thing. Nebraska won’t share his raw DNA with me (or anyone else like gedmatch, etc), so I can’t look at it & confirm whether we have any shared segments at all & I can’t even flirt with the idea that I might be able to isolate said segment & search for it in my kids DNA (which I don’t even have at this point). If he sticks to his guns, I am never actually going to know if we are genetic cousins, all I am going to know is that it is so on paper. We’re a few (ok 10) Ingersoll generations apart so, it would not be surprising if we share no significant DNA at all, in which case, our similarities are… coincidence? But, it’s possible that we share a lot, especially if we are also related down another of our family lines (& its looking like it) which would make us double cousins but with enough dna to make it seem like it was half as many generations (its not exact). Whatever the case, I am just sayin, there’s enough of a case to make me want to look closer. So, I am not done with Nebraska yet. Not only do I like him as a person, but he has somethin’ I wanna see. So, while I was not particularly looking to add people to my life with this quest, he isn’t getting rid of me any time soon. He may ignore me a bunch, he’s a busy guy & very serious it seems, but eventually he will open up & wanna know what I can tell him. I hope I don’t like the rest of my Ingersoll’s as much because I really don’t know how I would fit so many newly liked people into my conscious mind. But I do hope I come across one who pronounces it the same way my family does. By the way:
Ingersoll for “N” is Ingersöll which is most likely correct. Ingersoll for my family is pronounced with a long O: Inger-soul. My grandma thought it meant Angry Soul. I find this amusing & because of it, I don’t think I will ever say it the way Nebraska does. Edit: As I’ve done a little more research on my Ingersoll’s, the idea that they are Angry Souls might not be too far off!! They were Vikings, after all.
Before I change the subject, funny story about our blue eyes 😆 as we were enjoying our coffee, a stranger couldn’t stop herself from interrupting our conversation just to ask me if my eyes were real. I have 100 ways I love to answer that question, but, for Nebraska’s sake I just said, “yes they are”. She couldn’t believe it & her next question was, “really? Those are your eyes?” I almost couldn’t stop myself, because I have 30 years worth of canned responses for that question too. Again I answered appropriately. Then, she looked at Nebraska & saw he had the same potentially fake eyes, and I wanted so bad to tell her that his real ones were in his pocket bit I didn’t. Why? Because one inappropriate thing out of my mouth was enough for one afternoon. Oh, that reminds me…
Speaking of inappropriate statements…
I promised that if you read this far, I would tell you how I screwed up, acted afool, misspoke, lapsed into stupor or whatever you want to call it. Ugh, it’s not really in my nature to feel embarrassed but, I was totally embarrassed. Especially when he didn’t immediately answer my texts later in the day & I thought maybe he decided I was batshit crazy, after all & maybe my initial impression that I didn’t need to worry about his feelings was [gasp] wrong. Just… here, go ahead, laugh at me. I can take it…
So I should have known this was coming, because I was warned. The minute before the stupor happened, I felt like I had food in my teeth. I knew that wasn’t likely because I had not recently had any food, so I dismissed that & focused on not wasting a single minute on silly things. What the universe was really trying to say to me was, “shut your mouth for a minute & recognize what’s about to come out of it.” I just missed the damn memo.
I actually asked Nebraska, then still a stranger, what was under his clothes. Not exactly that way, I don’t think. You see… what happened was… I don’t really know. We were on the subject of his hobbies. Things he does when he’s not winning at Forbes & stuff… His Jiu-Jitsu & etc. We kidded about how people are always telling him he needs to be on TV as a Viking or other similar figure & I agreed that with his unique genetic traits, primarily because his physical characteristics are difficult to find in Hollywood, you know, the beautiful skin &… nevermind, it doesn’t matter. It was a legitimate statement.
Then, in some cursed lapse of common socialization sense, I said something to the effect of, “I have not seen (or maybe can’t see) your body but I assume you have muscles under there & whatever.” I may as well have just asked him to remove his clothing! I think that’s when my sentient self leaped out of my person & bolted down the street looking for a bus to crawl under, leaving my now mindless self there to continue the conversation (I do this trick at will, it ain’t my first rodeo) & I think that he gave me that look, you know the look… after that, I was more concerned with what was coming out of my mouth than what was coming from his. Hence, I’ve had to re-ask him some questions where I do not remember his original answer due to the effort I was putting into keeping the blood from surging into my cheeks & stripping me of whatever grace I hoped to have left.
I can’t even remember his response. I don’t even think I could hear it. I think he answered the question as if it had been phrased properly & we moved on without further ado. Thank you, Nebraska. I appreciate that!! If I had been diligent in my stalking of his social medias & photos, I’d have seen well ahead of time there were muscles.
I do not know if any other stranger I could have been sitting there with would have been comfortable beyond that point, or if I would have even said such a thing. I have no idea where it came from but I hope I do not do that again. But since it did happen, I am glad it was just him. Because, he can do exactly what I did & pretend I didn’t just say that.
So that’s it. Moving on now to what really matters about this whole blog entry.
Every genealogist is capable of mapping family traits, it’s only a little extra effort.
Afraid of what you’re gonna find? You should be. Dig around enough & you’ll be offended by your dead grandpa. You’ll find out Aunt Esther thought she was a real, spell casting witch, & that uncle Arthur shot his own eye out cleaning his gun. And you may find worse. But you’ll experience a wondrous enlightenment too.
Exhibit A: My sons paternal line has a long history of this majestic connection to wolves. That legacy is bright in my oldest son, he has a wolf hybrid & he trained her & she is intuitive & brilliant & they communicate & all this happened before I learned about his paternal history, & it made lots of things about him make better sense. Exhibit B: My half sister had a paternal line that was ridiculously loyal, to the point of being tarred & feathered. She has Aspergers Syndrome & not even this beast of a disorder could take her birthright away from her. She has that loyal trait & it’s been her undoing many times. Every family has their story & only occasionally does one’s surname give it up easily. Knowing the background may make them a bit easier to live when it comes to the less desirable characteristics.
But as far as bottling up what you inherited- Can’t do it, it’s not for us to decide who can handle it & who can’t. It’s not all peaches ‘n cream. My dark & twisty grit is a blessing & a curse. Not everyone would want to pay the price I paid for it. I understand every single day that there are just some things about me that are never going to change because of my tendency to raise the bar & do whatever it takes to reach the bar. It makes me a lousy wife, an awful housekeeper, an incorrigible employee (I’m fated to remain self-employed), an insensitive acquaintance, and a mother who makes her kids’ teachers cry. I’m the one who has to fire people, I’m the one that has to handle fatality claims for my policyholders, I’m the one who got stuck working 18 hour shifts when 9/11 happened because everyone else got all emotional. I have to do all the dirty work, if a lie needs to be told guess who they make tell it? Yeah, me. I’m a pain in the ass. But would I trade it for a more passive energy so that I could be the soft spoken, obedient woman who does everything with grace? Depends on what day you ask me. Sometimes, yes, I will say, “please take away my superpower & leave me typical.”
Meeting a guy like Nebraska makes me think, maybe no, I would not trade it. If it was given to us it’s because we can handle it. But you know what is interesting about him? For the genealogical record: He’s got lots of neat talents. He’s artsy, he is a badass in more ways than one (archery, bow hunting, Jiu-Jitsu, etc), he can play instruments, sing (maybe very nicely but I don’t know), he can write beautifully, he’s friendly enough, has the blue eyes people swoon over, he could sell an ice cube to an Eskimo if he wanted to & he doesn’t really mind being talked about on websites & magazines so he’s also comfortable in his skin which is helpful because no one likes a successful curmudgeon. And that’s just what I know at a glance. I am not sure what he didn’t win in the genetic lottery! Maybe he sucks at math? Maybe he lacks charisma? Maybe he can’t dance? I’ll trade him for that! He can have my Jaggers if I can have his guitar skillz. Everybody in my direct paternal line played an instrument, yet I can’t. I’m a little bitter about that. I can sing, but I will never reach my potential because I am too rough around the edges & won’t allow myself to feel the pain, honesty & passion that wins grammy’s. I am dying to know if Nebraska can do that.
Maybe I can predict where our tenacious trait is going to show up next…
Cute story: My youngest son said something recently that made me wonder what I’m in for as soon as he realizes who he is. He was wondering if there were any spiders under his “ninja warrior deck”. I asked him what he’d do if there was, and what if it was really big. He said, immediately & like it was a dumb thing for me to ask, “I’d climb faster.” While many kids (and adults) would lose their minds & either jump ship or set the whole thing alight to eradicate the threat, the idea of abandoning his mission was not even a thought. He immediately knew he needed to improve his own ability, taking ownership of the thing within his control which is his climbing speed. That’s one indication he might just have that thing everyone is trying to bottle up & drink. Oh there’s so much more to that little boy but, he has his own social medias for that☺️ (instagram.com/kenzenwolf) Ironically, Kenzen took note that he & Nebraska have all of the same interests. That is kinda creepy. Thankfully they don’t look alike because that would keep me awake looking to see if we were double cousins or triple or something that would explain it. As it are, I am not losing any sleep on it.