This story is probably not exactly a great moment in genealogy, but I believe it at least borders upon being interesting. Let me start by saying that for the past 20 years I have been involved in a “one-name” study of the Titus family, Titus being my mother’s maiden name.
I must emphasize here at the beginning that the term, “one-name study”, is probably one of the most gigantic misnomers that one can imagine. As we go back generation by generation in our family trees we find that the numbers grow almost exponentially, with the limitations pointed out by our Nigel Saint in the latest issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots. Suffice it to say that a one name study can end up with hundreds of thousands of names, with numbers varying depending upon the commonality of the name one is researching and how far back one goes in history.
So this brings me to my interesting moment in genealogy. A couple of months ago I rushed downstairs from my computer and announced to Jeanette (a relative by marriage) that I had reached ten million in my index of names in my Titus one-name study.
Now, in any long list of names some of them stand out in various ways. Three of my favourites, for instance, are distant cousins. One was Cora Clapsaddle, a good argument for female name change after marriage. Another was Odery Fish, presumably an unsavory character, and another was Pearly Gates, a girl with celestial aspirations. Others have historical interest, such as Mary Van Cott, great granddaughter of Maude Jemima Titus. Mary Van Cott was the 26th wife of Brigham Young, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1844 to 1877. That name, for some reason, tends to get me easy entry into LDS Family History Centres. Other cousins, a few times removed, are Mazo de la Roch, author of the White Oaks of Jalna novels, Harvey McMillan, founder of McMillan-Bloedel, the paper company, a few United States congressmen, and other luminaries.
Others are only pretenders to greatness: For instance, I have an Oliver Cromwell, a Richard Burton, a Charlie Brown, and a Johnny Walker, which, by the way, is a good name to relax with after a long day at the computer.
Which brings me back to my ten million. I was doing some research on the descendants of Moses Hubbard, the husband of Abigail Titus and I came to Aimee Seymour. (Abigail and Moses were her great-great grandparents). I checked the entries on Ancestry.com and found that Aimee had married a man named Ten Million. The Ancestry.com genealogy stated that he had been born on Oct. 14, 1889 and died Jun. 2, 1964. Of course, I figured it was some sort of joke and checked the U.S. social security records, which are also on-line. Sure enough, there he was, Ten Million, living in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death.
There is obviously room for more research here. My next step will be to look at the Seattle newspaper obituaries. I’m very curious to see if he had nine siblings named One, Two, Three, Four, etc. And by the way, in case you were about to ask, I only have around 186,000 names in my data base. That, of course, is in addition to the Ten Million.