I'm addicted to ancestry.com and I'm having a great time trying to go back as far as I can to see where my family came from. Along the way, I've had a few surprises.
I've found out that I'm not as Irish as I thought, which bums me out. My grandma always thought that my grandpa was 100% Irish, but he was only 1/2 or 1/3. I'm just as French and English as I am Irish.
Also, going into this, I thought that I'd certainly get a couple hundred years back, being that we have names, papers, and dates. The ways I've always defined myself: German, Irish, and Finnish? They've left me out in the dark. The English and the French, though? I'm all the way back to the 10th century, and it's a lot of fun.
Of course, I now need to go through and double-check those family members, because as I get my bearings on the site, I'm starting to learn the lame tricks or lazy things that people do to keep their trees going. What is the #1 favorite thing for people to do? Insert a famous person!
Believe me, I want to be related to Queen Elizabeth I so bad I can taste it, and I do get geeked when I see a famous name pop up on a tree, but I also have a healthy skepticism and the internet, so I do a search when, oh William Wallace pops up in my direct line, y'know, just to check things out. Oh, lookee there! It turns out that it's really easy to check on the actual family relations of historical figures and especially royalty! So, no, so far I'm not related to any rebel leaders, high kings, Lady Godiva (seriously), or Elizabeth Tudor. I'm not even related to the guy who saved the life of Henry VIII (her dad!) once & got a title for it. I checked.
Additionally, I'm pretty sure that most women didn't have their first kids when they were 5, or their last one when they were 80. Now, I was dubious about the late-30's and 40's for mothers, but I poked around and found out that women had children quite late back in the day. They pretty much started at puberty and didn't stop until a) menopause or b) death, whichever came first.
I am, however related to Gov. John Winthrop, 1st gov. of Mass., and a founder. My family has been in the New World for hundreds of years, both in Canada and in the Colonies. My family has been a part of Michigan and Detroit for hundreds of years- when Detroit was still a French territory. And George Washington is a distant cousin, as I'm sure he is for a bajillion people.
Overall, I'm having a lot of fun, though I do get frustrated every day with the stupidity of some people and what they'll blindly put on their trees and then allow to proliferate. Now, if you'll excuse me, instead of going to bed, I have to go double check and see if I really am 1,456,894th in line for the throne of Belgium.