I know virtually nothing about my family history beyond my great-grandparents — and even that generation is mostly just names and a few photos to me, with the exception of John Noble, the Vaudevillian. I grew up knowing I was a mutt, mostly Scottish and German, with an Irish great-grandmother, and knowing nothing about the ancestors whose origins laid the features upon my face and the nature in my bones.

Recently, Shaker Westsidebecca generously offered to explore my ancestry with her wicked genealogy skillz. I gave her everything I knew — names, locations, occupations, dates of birth, dates of death. I had more information than I thought, but there were gaping holes, waiting to be filled by someone with the requisite talents for this very particular research.

For the past few weeks, she's been unearthing all kinds of fascinating stuff, some of it very surprising indeed. So far, she's discovered I am in fact very German, and a little Irish, but also Hungarian, French, Spanish, and English!

And no Scottish — yet! That's probably because the (presumably, based on the name) Scottish part of my paternal lineage has been in the States so long that Becca is many generations back and still in the U.S., and the (supposedly) Scottish part of my maternal lineage goes straight through the aforementioned John Noble, who may have invented his entire identity!

Or maybe I've got no Scottish ancestry at all! I sure never knew I was significantly Hungarian and English, nor a little French and Spanish, so apparently anything is possible!

(And fortunately I have zero investment in any particular history.)

Suffice it to say, we've encountered some fun mysteries and lots of intriguing information. Becca told me, "I am blown away by how much family history you have." So am I.

I'll be sharing more information in the future, so long as folks find it entertaining, and today I'll start with this amazing article Becca found about a bar fight in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC in April of 1866. Jacob Thomas was my great-great-great-grandfather, and he was a barber.

[Content Note: Description of violence. Note: "The 20th inst" means the 20th of the current month.]

image of newspaper clipping; transcription of the text is below
SERIOUS AFFRAY AT GREENPOINT — A MAN DANGEROUSLY STABBED. — This morning, about half past twelve o'clock, an affray occurred in a drinking saloon at Greenpoint, which resulted seriously for one of the parties engaged, who was twice stabbed with a dirk knife. It appears that at the above time a barber named Jacob Thomas, doing business on Franklin, between H and I streets, accompanied with an employee named Jacob Schale, went into the saloon of one McNally, corner of Franklin and G streets.

While there he began skylarking with the proprietor, who had been indulging rather freely in liquor, and struck him over the face. McNally became angry, and attacked Thomas, beating him over the body with his fists. The latter defended himself as well as he was able, when a number of drunken ruffians, who were in the place at the time, also began to assault him. With this combined force, he was overpowered and dragged about the bar-room.

Schale seeing how his employer was being used, ran to his assistance, when he likewise was assailed, and in defence, he states, drew a dirk knife. During the melee he stabbed one of his assailants in the right side, the blade coming in contact with the ribs, and in the right leg, the blade this time entering just beneath the knee pan.

The injured man, who is named Luke Fagan, aged about thirty years, and employed as a driver on the Greenpoint cars, was conveyed to his apartments, in the same house, and Dr. Peer summoned. Officer Reed of the 47th precinct, was notified of the affair, and succeeded in arresting Schale, who had fled to the shop of his employer, and was about escaping out of a rear window when taken. He is about twenty years of age, and but recently arrived in this country.

This morning the prisoner was arraigned before Justice Dailey, and committed to jail until the 20th inst. Fagan's injuries are of a serious but not necessarily fatal nature.
Was this written by Benjamin H. Grumbles?! I expected it to end with an account of the heroic immigrant Jacob Schale, who saved my grandfather, breaking out of jail: "...And then the rascal attempted to abscond the scene on his pennyfarthing!"

Trust that there is more skylarking and plenty of affrays where this came from. My family history is some wacky shit, not that anyone who knows me at all would have expected any different, lol.

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