So, after spending countless hours of my professional life explaining to just about anyone who has ever engaged me on the topic of genealogy that more than likely they will not be able to trace their family back longer than perhaps two hundred years at best, I have hypocritically stumbled upon a major revelation in my own family background. I have found a royal connection and thus, centuries of ancestors are now open to me for study. This royal line is a direct one, going through my mother’s side, through her father and his mother and so forth. It leads to the Spencers in England (Yes, like Lady Diana Spencer who is my fifteenth cousin thrice removed – she’s obviously not in my direct line!) and straight to the Staffords who were the earls of Sussex and who, very far back and still in my direct line, welcomed a former Queen of France into the family who was in turn directly descended from the kings and queens of Jerusalem and then the tree leads (supposedly) all the way back to Julius Caesar who is, by some accounts, my 44th great-grandfather. Now, don’t get too excited. While it is true that royalty often kept loads of genealogical information, these inbred fools can’t always be trusted. There are many instances of disputed parentage, mistaken recordings or just plain fabrications to make a family look too cool for school. Case in point: Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from a goddess. So far, I have been able, by using the most reliable historical sources and, when that failed to deliver, basic historical consensus, to trace as far back on that line to the 580’s. Not too shabby. It certainly provides plenty of fodder for future research into my purported divinity.
But what about serious research, you say? What about the kind of stuff that you’re always talking about doing but not producing? Well, I’m hoping to get started soon on my biography of Zelda Nordlinger. I know you’ve never heard of her because she has a crazy name and you’d KNOW if you’d heard it. Anyway, Nordlinger was an intrepid Richmond feminist beginning in the 1960’s when she put up a notice at the local YWCA, asking for other women to join in a discussion group. Thus was born what would later become the Richmond chapter of the National Organization of Women. Anyway, I’ve done some research and wrote a couple of short (very short) articles on her. I’ve always found her exciting and so I’ve decided that her story needs to be better known. I did help put together an exhibit on her last year but it, like my articles, was very small. I’m amazed that no one has taken her on before but there you go. At least it is there for me to take, right? And I’ve got nothin’ but time.
Time. Well, it may be running short soon. I know it seems incredible but I’ve had three job interviews in the last few weeks! Well, make that two interviews and one offer of an interview that I had to turn down because the pay was even less than I made years ago as an administrative assistant. But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that the jobs are on their way back! The two I interviewed for both seem really great but you already know about Virginia Union University so let me tell you instead about the Valentine History Center. It’s the place to go for Richmond history but also, they have the most fantastic collection of historical photographs of the city and its people that you’ve ever seen. Take a look at any book that even peripherally talks about Richmond’s past and if there’s a photograph, chances are that it is credited to the Valentine. Seriously. It’s amazing. Anyway, the job I interviewed for is not really a professional job but I don’t care. It is as a research assistant and I’d still be processing collections and keeping up with my museum experience by accessioning artifacts. FUN! The main gig though entails lurking about the reading room. I’m so down with that. Even though the pay is bad and it is not full-time or even, as I said, professional (meaning, using my masters degree), I think this sort of job is just the sort of thing from which I could get some great, still professional-level experience. I won’t know anything about this job until sometime probably near the end of the month so keep your fingers crossed. VUU? They told me they would get back to all of us whether we got the job or not which I think is very kind. However, they said that would be during the first week of the month and I’ve not yet heard anything soooooo….I don’t know.