11 July 2015

Flocking Together: Birds of a Feather

It started out as a lark, so to speak. Cousin Jack (the one who claims he had his ancestors stolen right off the Internet) and I found a new young cousin, Heather, via Facebook. She is related to both of us through our BYRD line. Heather thought it amusing that we had both BYRDs and ROBINS in our family trees.

To tell the truth I had never thought much about it before -- I've been tracking down these ancestral turkeys so long that I guess I don't pay any attention to what their names might mean otherwise. However, her comment got Cousin Jack and me to comparing our charts and databases in depth and we've discovered we have several nests of different kinds of birds perched upon our branches.

In addition to a covey of New England PARTRIDGES (not in a pear tree, thank you very much), we've found a bevy of QUAILS/QUAYLEs, flushed out a murder of CROWs, and a company of PARROTTs. We had a good laugh about these feathered finds.

Then Cousin Jack chirped, "Don't forget about the SWIFT side of the family," And I said, that's not a bird —- that family name comes from an ancestor who was fleet of foot (probably running from the law from what I know about that side of the family).

"Swift is also a bird," Jack cooed, "they build edible nests, and besides haven't you ever heard of chimney swifts?" I hadn't, but by golly, he was right. This old lady learns something new every day in genealogy, so I added the SWIFTS to our nesters.

Then it was my turn to get Cousin Jack.

"Put the GOOSE line into our family aviary," I warbled. He started to twitter in protest, but I pointed out that the name was an old occupational one for a breeder of geese. And, that they had feathers (the geese, not our ancestors). So into the gaggle they went.

We have now added to our avian: A charm of FINCHes, a watch of a NIGHTINGALEs, a muster of PEACOCKs that appear out of nowhere in early Georgia, a bank of SWANs, a loft of PIDGEONs, a cast of FALCONs, a herd of CRANEs, plus a CARDINAL and a WREN.

I figure any day now we're going to turn up some really funny fowls in our family trees  —- perhaps a CUCKOO, WOODPECKER, FLYCATCHER or even a TITMOUSE.

However, I'm beginning to think I have gone into ornithology rather than genealogy. Cousin Jack is still worried about ancestral theft on the Internet. He should be so lucky to have these birds stolen.