Tag Archives: John Singer Sargent

Whose Ancestor is THAT?

10 Aug

As I’ve mentioned before, The Squire has been deeply involved with his family tree, tracing parts of it back as far as the 800s. Obviously, there are other people out there also looking for the same ancestors, and it is possible to search for a name and gets hints about folks who might be related to you.

You have to be careful. The amount of misinformation is appalling – children born three years after their mother died, couples married before one of them was born, and such. People just copy what another researcher had written down, without even checking to see if it is accurate.

What has really surprised both of us are the portraits people put up to represent their forbearers.  The Squire has been working on this long enough that he now recognizes when a picture is out of place. My knowledge of historical dress helps track down correct time period, and sometimes even the picture involved.  One was the famous Portrait of a Young Lady, done by Botticelli, which was about 100 years out of whack. Another was a portrait from the time of Henrietta Maria (after whom the state of Maryland is NOT named) used to depict a woman born in 1700. Henrietta Maria died in 1669! The absolute worst was a lady from the time of Henry VIII, represented by a painting – by John Singer Sargent! If people are going to ‘snag” portraits, they really ought to check the clothing styles, and the dates.

If you are going to the trouble to trace your family history, don’t throw the entire tree into question by using obviously fake stuff. People will question everything you have out there.

And that’s the truth!