history is cool.

i basically just stumbled across a huge genealogical gold nugget in my family.
and no, i'm not related to oprah. ;)

i still think it's pretty awesome though...

but first, part the of awesomeness of this is the way that i found out.
as i mentioned previously, i've kind of been on this genealogy kick lately. i don't really know what i'm doing, but it's been fun to dabble in.

since my dad and aunt had traced back our family pretty far on some lines, i basically decided to cheat a little. i figured on the lines that go the furthest back, there would more likely be some research already done out there...since there would be a bigger pool of descendants to work with.

so i started searching around for the name of one of our further back ancestors.
william capps. born in 1724. my 7th great grandfather.

that's all we really knew about him...except for that his son was also named william capps (my 6th great grandpa), and he was married to a zilpha bulls.

when i searched these names i ran across the title of a book:
William Capps of Jamestown, VA, his Johnston Co., NC Descendants, and his Bulls and Rains Kin

Capps? Bulls? That all sounded familiar.

so i went to my local library to see if i could get an interlibrary loan or something for that book.
no dice. apparently libraries won't loan out genealogical materials.

but i got my library to give me a list of the libraries in the US that did carry the book...
there were only like 4...and they were all in NC, VA, or DC. not cool.

so i thought maybe at least i could get a librarian somewhere to check in the index of the book for me so that i could see if it was something worth tracking down.

i randomly called the first library on the list.
i had them transfer me to the genealogy department, where i gave the librarian all the info i had. he was really helpful, and he said he'd look into it and call me back to let me know if the book had any of my ancestors listed in it.

that was a couple weeks ago. fast forward to today.

i spoke to the library again.
the librarian of the genealogy department happened to have the last name Rains. he told me he had some good news for me. the book was indeed about my family, and it was also about his! we were related!

how crazy is that?! what a small world.
for me it filled in so many missing gaps of a mystery, and apparently it did for him as well!

so, to tell you a bit about our ancestor, we've finally traced back our first immigrant on that line of the family!

william capps, born in 1575 in norwich, england, was one of the original jamestown colonists. he was on the ship, the sea venture, which ship wrecked in bermuda on it's way to virginia. that shipwreck was actually the inspiration of shakespeare's play, "The Tempest".

they rebuilt the wreckage from the ship into two smaller ships after several months in bermuda, and finally made their way to jamestown... where he was on the first virginia council, and traveled back and forth from england with a message from king james!

ironically, 160 years later, his namesake and descendant would fight in the american revolution to be free of the british government.

history is pretty cool.
especially when it becomes personal.

so now i'm inspired to unravel more family stories. the irish side, the german side, the native american side, and who knows what else there is to discover!


  1. Love this Mandy :D How fun :) Wish my family could be traced back lol too bad Mexico doesn't have good records :(

  2. hey girl, you never know what you might be able to trace! PBS did a super cool documentary, and as part of it they traced eva longoria's family back like 12 generations!


  3. Wohooo...... First colonists from england.... now that is something to brag about! If you hit the road block with the German side let me know. I might able to help. I even know of a professional who has made this Genealogy stuff into a business in Germany. :-) What are the german names??? I might be able to tell you what region to look at.

  4. hey!! i have looots of german i think! my mom's side (zurfas, changed to surface in US) they say are from coblentz? but they would have come like in the 1700s supposedly. i need to track down the facts on them. i also have a lot of burkharts, who we suspect are german, but we can only trace them back a few generations. we have rudys who we think might be german too... but maybe they simplified their name or something?
    i also remember my dad saying that he thought he might have traced some of our german family back to bavaria... but i have no idea if he ever confirmed it. :( i wish i'd been more interested back then..


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