It had all started with my Grandmother. She died a long while before I was born.
I had simply wanted to know a little more about her and had not intended to set out on an almost thirty year quest into my roots. My previous belief that families were either great or ordinary(or possibly even criminal) has been blown apart. The first and possibly biggest shock was that my Great Great Grandmother(who was listed merely as a servant in the censuses) had extraordinary forebears and that through her I was connected to a whole gamut of extraordinary people. The next discovery was,(of course )a convict cousin who had been deported to Australia. and a sad story of a mother who had given birth and died in gaol, having being imprisoned for what would nowadays probably not even be considered a misdemeanour.
I recalled the wise words of a dear friend, who cautioned me, that our ancestry is likely to be littered with all manner of individuals, both famous and infamous. Eventually I have begun to realise the interconnectedness of us all.
I had planned a family reunion, but as my tree has grown and grown, this has become a daunting prospect. Just where do I draw the line?
I really admire A.J. Jacobs but am unsure whether I am ready for a family reunion on such a grand scale.
Here he tells Conan a little more about his project and its objectives: