I’ve been researching my family’s genealogy with my mom for over 10 years. It’s one of my favorite hobbies and it’s pretty exciting finding out about my relatives and my ancestors. We’ve been pretty successful in researching our family lineage and we currently have 7,682 ancestors linked in our tree. In fact, we’ve been able to trace our family back as far as the 1300’s in some of our family lines. But one of the things that I’ve always wondered is ‘Where do I get my height?’
My immediate family is tall. My 3 sisters are right at 6 feet tall, my dad is 6’6″ and my mom…well, my mom is only about 5’6″ (although she still claims she’s 1-2 inches taller than that). I have 2 first cousins both of whom are female and both are right around 5’11”. Pretty much all of the males in my family are over 6 feet tall and the females are around 5’10” – 5’11”. So which side of my family does the height come from?
Not surprisingly much of my family, from both sides actually, is from Ireland. We’ve got quite a bit from England as well. Then there’s a line from Denmark and Sweden too. And one line from Germany. While I haven’t found any royalty or famous relatives we did have some of our kin marry an aunt of president John Adams.
So back to my original question. Where does my height come from? And how can I find out? You can’t exactly find out how tall your ancestors are unless it’s written down somewhere or if there are stories handed down. Now, military records can give you some indication of height. I did find out that my great, great grandfather on my dad’s side was of medium height when he signed his World War I draft registration cards back in 1918. He was in his 40’s when he signed up, which itself is an interesting fact, but I also find it interesting that he was of medium height. His sons were all around 6 feet tall. But what does medium height mean?
My mom and I are currently on Ancestry.com and that’s how we keep track of our family tree. What’s really neat about Ancestry is that it allows the ability for others to contact you if they happen to either be researching the same family member as you or if they possibly have a relative within the same family line.
Several years ago I had a relative contact me on my mom’s side and they gave me some wonderful information. They told me that my mom had several great uncles that were over 6’7″ tall. We had always assumed that all of the height in our family had come from my dad’s side of the family but it appears that my mom had a little height on her side as well. Which is actually very funny considering that most of mom’s immediate family is actually very short.
I wasn’t sure about what to do with this new knowledge since I didn’t know if there was any way to corroborate this information so I turned to Ancestry.com. I started to look up the military records for as many of the men on mom’s side of the family and there it was, proof that her side carries the tall genes too! The military records actually indicate ‘tall’ and not ‘medium’ height. This doesn’t give me actual height, but it does tell me they were above average.
I guess my height comes from both sides of the family. I’d still say it primarily comes from my dad’s side, but it’s nice to know that we have a little on mom’s side too.
So as we continue to research my family I will continue to look into the height. My sisters and I recently bought both of my parents DNA tests. I’m not sure exactly how the genetic markers work within the tests and how Ancestry.com will match us up with relatives across the world, but I’m looking forward to getting the results back. I’m hoping to make contact with potential new relatives and find out if there is more ‘tallness’ that I’m not aware of. Although heck…maybe I’m just an awesome anomaly. I can live with that.
Either way, I love my genealogy hobby! It’s so interesting and it keeps me busy. If you are interested in checking out your own genealogy, here’s the link for Ancestry.com. Have fun!