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and that's why everything about me makes sense

i have a pretty extensive family tree going, kind of an endless project that satisfies my ocd curiosity about the past. i pick it up to add to it again every six months or so, in the hopes that someone on the internet has come up with more information than was previously available, especially people who pay for professional services, which i'm too cheap to do. [someone once told me that rick santorum had managed to trace his family history back to the year 90. if that's true, it's just mocking me, because i have to go through life knowing that there is something i enjoy at which rick santorum is better than i'll probably ever be.]

i lucked out this week and added not just a little information but generations worth of names to one branch of the family, all because it suddenly occurred to me that one dead end several-greats-removed grandmother had a famous brother whose history i could track. her brother was famous mostly for being tall and for taking a lot of people with him when he died violently in a losing battle, which is the sort of thing that scots really respect. and my thinking was correct. while no one might have taken much notice of his sister, the famous several-greats-removed uncle does have his lineage available online.

these admirable folk were named macbain [insert simpsons joke here], although it may have also been macbean, or possibly macbeth, because it turns out that people who like to guzzle scotch and dance around swords in wool skirts aren't that careful about spelling their family name. in point of fact, it's unlikely any of them could spell their family name.

the macbains were famous for fighting, but during the brief window when they managed to have land and survive, they came up with the family crest and motto you see above. the picture is indeed a cat with a shield and the motto translates to:

never touch a cat without a shield

i'm guessing that my ancestors, when they weren't fighting, were some of scotland's first cat domesticators and it seems like they learned the hard way that there are things that can wound even the toughest scottish hide.



so rather than get all full of themselves and do a more traditional motto like "we rock" or a vaguely threatening one like "we are coming to smash your bones", the macbains thought that the most important thing that they could give to their heirs was the secret that you might not want to just grab hold of that kitty who lives in the barn, no matter how fluffy and sweet she looks. [and since they were twice forced to fork over their lands to settle their debts, that was the only thing that they gave to their heirs.]

interestingly, before the family took the name "macbain" [or whatever the hell it was], the family had gone by the name "macfail", which does say something about how bad some of those early cat-touching attempts probably were. i'm guessing the sudden name change came about when they figured out the using of the shield bit. you can even see in the crest that they also realised the lure of the multi-coloured string in such work.

so there you have it. i'm descended from a long line of cat-wranglers. genealogy is awesome.

Comments

Bellyhead said…
Descended from CAT PEOPLES! AHHHH! This is just too awesome, Kate!
Kate MacDonald said…
I know, right? It's like everything suddenly makes sense. I'm a GENETIC cat lady!

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