Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday Night Fun: Ancestor Roulette

Every Saturday Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings presents a fun challenge.  This time it’s a game of Ancestor Roulette.  Here are the rules:

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born? Divide this number by 100 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel").  Who is that person, and what is his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on Randy's blog post.

5) NOTE: If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then "spin" the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

Here’s mine:

1.  All of my great-grandparents were born in the latter half of the 1800s, which with rounding up puts me at #19.  However, I have no #19.  If I round down to 18, I’m in no better shape because there is no #18 either.  When I use myself or my children, I have to round up to 20. 

2. Drum roll, please.  The person who occupies #20 is Patrick Walsh, one of my great-great grandfathers on my father’s side.  Patrick was born somewhere between 1830-1840. He married a girl named Mary.  And he died.  Yes, I’m pretty sure he died; however, I don’t know when.

3.  Three facts:
  • Patrick must have lived in the United States since his son claims to have been born in either Virginia or Michigan, depending on whether we trust the 1910 census or family lore.
  • Patrick was born in Ireland according to the marriage register of my great grandparents John Fleming Walsh and Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh.
  • If we can trust family lore, Patrick broke away from his Walsh family that either owned or operated a distillery.  I have found a James Walsh Distillery operating in the 1870s in Indiana, and Paris Distilling operated by N. J. Walsh in Ohio 1890s. If one of these is "ours," that would be any Irish descendant's dream, wouldn't it?

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Wow, what an amazing little game, and brought us a fun finish. It's funny the census is a strange little game we play along with isn't it. Sometimes they are right on, but even with my own father they have his birth and death records correct but they also show him born in the right place but his death in Texas. So even having died in 2000 a person's records can be wrong!

  2. What a great game! I wish I could play along. :)

  3. Fun game! I would go with family lore...since the cencus' I looked up had name misspellings. A distillery? Very cool!

  4. This was a fun game! I think if you find the distillery, you should go visit and demand a family discount :-)