December 20th, 2008

Thin, Exercise, Serious

As I wrap up my genealogy work....

...Some random facts from tonight and past work

1) In 1654 an ancestor of mine (Lord Thomas Pell) basically "bought" Westchester County / western Long Island from a local tribe -- for a big bottle of rum.

2) Nienburg, my Opa's last name, is almost entirely dead in Germany. According to's surname stats, there are only about 100 people in Germany today with that last night. 40 of them are in Berlin, most of the rest are in Hamburg.

3) I have a relative -- gotta assume so, there's not many Nienburgs -- named Wiebke Nienburg.

4) Almost all the historical records I've found relating to the Nienburgs are ship records. This isn't surprising since the family hails from Bremerhaven, which is all shipping and fishing. I've found records of my great-grandfather going in and out of Germany for years, going to England, Germany, South America. This is consistent with family stories of him never being home (except to father kids). Tonight I found records for his brother, who went out to sea at 16 -- to Rangoon. That was what men did back in the day.

5) A lot of the historic mentions I've found of City Island and the Darlings have to do with boats as well. I did a lot of research in old NY Times and there are reports every season of various millionaires' yachts being redone over on City Island. I found a great story about a "negro" rowing around to the Darling sail loft (they were sailmakers) and stealing all these expensive sails, then being chased around Long Island Sound. Sounded exhausting!

6) Coolest names in my family tree:

Jehu Burr
Irmgard Nienburg
Bathsheba Pell
Caleb Pell
Charitable Pell

7) There are around 20 John Pells in my tree. Also about 20 Thomas Pells. This is confusing, except, well, typical. If I had been a boy, my name would very likely have been William or John. My brother is Thomas, after my dad's uncle.
Nomi 2, Disgusted

German + Japan = Super Cool Place of Awesome

Had the most awesome dream today -- went on a trip to Germany and somehow Germany and Japan had fused to create this Super Cool Place of Awesome. It was kind of scary though, too, since the Awesome involved staged fake battles all over the city, including flying dinosaurs, Godzilla, and street parades by gothic / Goth gangs. The best part was this 3D virtual video game / movie we were playing, set in Atlanta, which had as one of the action points this little creature who keeps being in danger of falling and then being rescued. At one point he's placed on the tippy, tippy top of the spire on the Bank of America building and starts to fall. But then at the last moment Super Emo rescues him. Super Emo dies in the attempt (which might have made him happy if he were not emo) and everybody in the audience cheers and high-fives.