Friday, July 8, 2011

Fruit Off the Family Tree

My cousin Nancy (not to be confused with my wife, Nancy) in recent years has developed an interest in family genealogy. This is not something I am particularly interested in, however cousin Nancy contacted me one day, very excited for me to see a picture she had located of my great-grandfather, Bion Franklin Cole.

Pictured left is great-grandfather Bion, on the right is MY college yearbook photo from 1972.

I'm hoping that the family resemblance is limited to physical appearance only. The brief footnote regarding great-grandfather Bion reads: "...died in 1924 in a Hospital for the insane in Nebraska".

Cousin Nancy will be heading back to the family homestead in Wyoming to run down a lead that another of my grand-something's was possibly involved in a lynching of an alleged cattle rustler. More on that story soon.

27 comments:

DJan said...

Oh, my! Messing around in the family genealogy will undoubtedly be... interesting. And yes, it could have been YOU, you are so alike! I'm pretty sure you won't end up the same way. Cattle rustling, however... :-)

Infidel753 said...

A striking resemblance, but I wouldn't worry about the insanity issue. With eight great-grand-parents, any heritable tendency to insanity would be fairly well diluted by now.

Or perhaps Bion was an atheist, and that was judged to be insanity by the standards of the time?

Paul said...

Robert one cannot pick one's relatives...If you have any problems let me know...:-)

Robert the Skeptic said...

DJan This stuff can be interesting,, I just have never been strongly inclined to research it.

Infidel If anyone saw great-grandpa dancing the way I do today, they undoubtedly would have locked him away in an instant back in those times.

Paul Boy ain't that the sad truth.

Kay Dennison said...

Looks like, as my daddy would have said, "the nut didn't fall far from the tree"! My brother and I both look like my dad and grandpa as does my brother's son. In fact, other than my brother's hazel eyes, of us kids resemble my dad's family. It's like my mother had nothing to contribute.

Sanity is a relative term. And let's just say they had a different measuring stick for measuring it in those days.

billy pilgrim said...

i do see a slight resemblance to r p mcmurphy.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kay I was debating whether to use "nut" in my post title or "fruit". I guess the distinctions between the two implications is... indistinct. My daughters both look quite differently yet I see unique recognizable features in them both.

Billy I actually visited the mental hospital in Salem were "Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed. That particular "ward" was by then a storage facility for old computer equipment. Still a creepy place, though.

Orhan Kahn said...

If I followed my tree back to the root I'd end up looking into the Ottoman Empire. I don't want to know if my family was a royal or peasant, simply because they wore Fez hats and were OTTOMANS (furniture!).

Antares Cryptos said...

Somewhat unexpected, made me laugh.

Maybe it's better not to discover such things, who knows what the insurance companies of the future will do with such information?

I think I'm kidding.

Cognitive Dissenter said...

That's pretty cool!

And no worries about the insanity issue. Look who's running for president. For example. At least you know you're history and you don't ask burning bushes for advice about same sex marriage.

Jayne said...

Ah yes, the eyes have it. Though, I don't think we need to worry about the insanity part. I think you're an extraordinarily level-headed skeptic.
:-)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Orhan Ah, illustrious "seats" of government, were they?

Cryptos Probably cancel my mental health coverage, I suspect.

Dissenter Pfft, who would consult a burning bush!!?? I rely on my horoscope.

Jayne Yeah those intense beady eyes. Maybe had I worn a top hat in college I would have had more dating experience.

TechnoBabe said...

You look very much like your great grandfather. Everything is almost exactly alike except his nose is more pointy. I think that would be fun to see photos and learn about your lineage. I am a mutt so it would be hard to track down the info. Ha.

There are plenty of psych hospitals here in Nebraska even today, but I think back then lots of people ended up in one who did not need to be there.

Paul said...

Robert, I never met my biological father nor do I know anything about him...Perhaps I am lucky...He is the big family secret to this day...

secret agent woman said...

Ooh, I bet there is an intriguing story behind old Bion.

Jerry said...

Actually, you are in the perfect spot. Nancy does the research and you get to peruse the results. That is my kind of genealogy.

Robert the Skeptic said...

TechnoBabe My mother was born in Nebraska, she never told me about great-grandad Bion. Some things in the family are never spoken of.

Paul There are probably good reasons for that. Still I would think you would be curious. Ever thought of trying to find out? There might be an interesting story there.

SecretAgent Don't know as I just found out about Bion. As I say, my cousin is researching the Wyoming cattle baron relatives and some disturbing information my come out of it.

Jerry Right on the money. I prefer to see the finished picture rather than try to paint it myself.

Paul said...

I had my DNA tested by a Canadian company...That told me some things, but my family guard this secret (any information about my father) like the Unholy Grail...

MartyrMom said...

A joke: Shake your genealogy tree an watch the nuts fall!!

I love genealogy. I remember when my oldest son was young and would carry on about the possibility of being inbred.....little did he know

Our tree is missing some branches!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Paul My parents died before I could find out some of the family stories. There probably is a way to independently find out the info you seek without relying on family members.

MartyrMom My wife's relatives are Mormon, or some of them are. She has books, some multi-volumes, about much of her ancestry. I wonder how much of this family history is "sanitized" though, editing out some of the more unsavory stories.

KleinsteMotte said...

Due to the great wars it's tricky to locate the trail going way back in my family. I am able to find the Great grandpa only from references in family journals. That you have a photo is very interesting.

KleinsteMotte said...

Lucky that a photo was found. I see the similarity.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kleinstemotte I hear that the Internet has made all this family research work much easier.

Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living said...

Your nose is slightly different, but almost everything else appears the same. Does bean a skeptic also run in the family genes I wonder?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Gutsy I have no clue, I know most of my family was religious though not regular church attendees. I likely broke the mold... starting with the nose, apparently.

The Mother said...

Cheer up. They sent all sorts of perfectly normal folks to asylums (asyla?) in the old days, for everything from speaking out in public against injustice to being female.

Such things were simply not acceptable. Although the latter probably didn't apply in this case.

Marylinn Kelly said...

A remarkable likeness.