In which our intrepid hero delves further into the black history of his progenitors.

I’m about 1700 entries into my family tree, and I’ve noticed a couple of problems. The first would be familiar to Sandman readers—Wilkinson articulated it A Game of You:

I was one of seventeen children. We were all named Wilkinson—I suppose it was roughest on the girls, but we all got used to it in the end. I blame the parents, really. […]

Mustn’t grumble. Our parents were the salt of the earth. Lovely people. It was just when they found a name they liked, they stuck with it.

Imagine a family; we’ll call them the Bakers. Thomas Baker married Mary. Thomas’ father, also named Thomas, married a Mary, and Mary’s father, Thomas, did the same.

Now, our original couple, Thomas and Mary Baker, settled down in the backwoods of wherever and had twelve kids.

Their first daughter, Mary, died at the age of six months, so they named their next daughter Mary—and she died in childbirth. Their next child was a boy, so they named him Thomas. And Thomas promptly died on them, so they had another daughter, who they named Mary. This time, they got lucky, and Mary Jr lived to adulthood. Her younger brother, Thomas Jr, survived, too, helping to raise their younger sister, Mary Ann.

Thomas Jr met a nice young lass named Mary, and Mary Jr and Mary Ann both married Thomases when they came of age. Thomas Jr’s wife died after popping out fifteen children, so he remarried, to another lass named—you guessed it—Mary.

Repeat for four or five generations, and watch your humble blogger go slowly mad, trying to keep track of them.

The other annoying thing is just how much people used to breed before the advent of that great libido-draining phenomenon we lovingly refer to as television. It’s one thing to fill in a family with two or three children per generation, but try keeping track of twelve to fifteen. These people obviously took their barefoot and pregnant very seriously, indeed.

Still, I can’t help but dream that I might find a Delapore in the family line. That would rate well off the awesome scale.

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