On my mother's father's side I got back to 1845 in Italy with the birth of my great-grandfather. I do have the name of his father, but no dates to go with it. On her mother's side, my second great-grandfather was born in 1808. But all of these ancestor's lived in a country that did not unify as Italy until 1860. Good luck searching records.
On my father's side of the family, his mother was born in Pennsylvania with both of her parent's immigrating from Polish Russia (no date established) and Polish Austria (1888). I found my great-grandfather's and great-grandmother's parents somewhere around 1850, but no exact dates. On the paternal side, my great-grandfather was born in Polish Russia around 1860. There is no info further back than that. My grandfather arrived here in 1913.
When I got to my ex-husband's family, what a revelation. Now, my only interest in this is for my three sons. I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law that continued even after my divorce from her son (which irritated my ex no end).
Once when we were talking she gave me some old family photos. We got to discussing her family coming to America from Ireland, her father in 1888 and her mother in 1890. Her parents married in 1901. She mentioned that her mother was a distant relation to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and I have yet to work on that connection.
But, she also mentioned that my husband's father was related to President Warren G. Harding through his grandmother Barbara Capitolia Harding. And so, that has been the connection I have spent hours trying to sort out. Do you have any idea how many Hardings are out there?
First let me tell you that my ex-husband and President Harding were third cousins twice-removed. And that is where the difficulty lies. So many irrelevant names to search through. But finally, after much perseverance I found the common ancestor, Amos Harding 1766-1839. Among his many children were two sons, George Tryon Harding b. 1790 was my ex's 4th great uncle. His brother Benjamin Franklin A. Harding b. 1802 was my ex's 3rd great-grandfather.
Three generations later: Warren Harding is born in 1865 and my husband's grandfather is born in 1880. And here he is, William Frank Hammond, Sr.:
I have to say this is absolutely fascinating. My in-laws were separated when my husband and I started dating, so I really never spent much time talking to my father-in-law when we visited in Chicago. And I know that he never got on with his older sisters so I am not sure how much info he would have provided about family history. But interesting that my mother-in-law had some knowledge.
I just wish I had spent more time talking with my ancestors when they were still around to tell me stories of their early lives, though my Polish grandfather never did want to talk much about it. I really should start writing down notes of what I remember and keep it with the family tree.
Have you ever researched your family?
P.S. I just read that there are over 35 million descendants of the folks on the Mayflower. Wish me luck, lol.