Guest post by Michael Whittlesey, in response to guest lecture by Dr. Christine Manganaro
The origin of my family genealogy dates back to mid 10th Century England. We were Whittles — the makers of swords and knives. The Whittles that resided upon hill crests, by the English term “ey,” were called “Whittlesey.” The Whittles who resided by coastal areas were called “Whittlesey.”
Thereafter, the Whittlesey name does not significantly appear again until 1368 when William Whittlesey became the Archbishop of Canterbury. My father was so happy to see the engraved name in stone of William Whittlesey on the outside wall of Westminster Abbey that he took a photo of it and mentioned the Archbishop proudly at his conversations at the poker table.
The genealogy of my family ancestors is much more of interest than I had imagined before my investigation. Apparently, my great-grandparents on both sides were of 100% English origin. How many more generations before them were English to my knowledge is unknown to me, but some interesting accounts have surfaced from my investigation.
First and foremost, the Poles and Romanians (especially Transylvanians) do not inter-mix well within their communities. Both ethnic races have a long line of purity in my mother’s ancestors until my grandfather (Louis Parat) married Marie Katich. Instead of embracing their children’s marriage, my great grandparents basically considered both of them as outcasts within their family and community circles. The specific reasons for their abolitions are unknown to me.
Secondly, my great-grandparents on my father’s side of the family were of pure English origin. It was not until an Irishwoman (Erin McGuire) married an Englishman by the name of James Whittlesey II that the inter-ethnic mixing occurred. Thereafter, my English heritage began its percentile decrease until my bloodline was a mere 12.5% English descent.
Technically, I am now more of a Gypsy than an Englishman, after the conclusion of my investigation. I now wonder if i shall be living in a trailer park or an English mansion upon my future release.