John Dilbeck's Genealogy
I am not a genealogist and only have a passing interest in my family history. My mother is the one who spent about 30 years researching and doing her best to document information about the Dilbeck, Godfrey, and other assorted family lines.
I don't know how accurate any of this information is. I put it online as a favor to my Mom a few years ago.
With her death, we lost someone who was very knowledgeable and helpful on these topics. I will not be updating this genealogy section in the future.
In Memory of Mattie Lee Dilbeck
Posted on November 25, 2008
Today, instead of talking about business or marketing, I'm going to tell you a brief story about a woman I admired a great deal, my Mom.
After fighting against a long illness, Mom died on Friday, November 21, 2008.
I wrote a little about her this morning: In Memory of Mattie Lee Dilbeck.
I'm going to miss her.
Until recently, I have never been particularly interested in genealogy and my family tree. I'm pretty much a loner and I already have more family than I can remember their names. My mother, on the other hand, grew up with lots of cousins and she has always been a bit of a family historian.
In 1975, she discovered the Census Bureau Archives in East Point, Georgia, just a short time before moving to Murphy, North Carolina. A clerk looked up 'Dilbeck' for her using the Soundex system, and Mom's been hooked ever since.
In those days, she knew very little of her family background or of Dad's.
Now, she's been researching for a quarter of a century. It was difficult and time-consuming at first. She visited lots of courthouses and libraries. With the coming of the Internet and mailing lists, she's learned lots more.
In a way, she's lucky. She started this young enough to have lots of old relatives to talk to and she learned a lot that I'd never be able to learn if I were just starting now.
As I said, I've never been much interested in this. However, earlier this year (2001), something happened to pique my interest, at least a little. After all this work on her part, Mom finally borrowed a copy of a book that suddenly, in one fell swoop, extended our family tree back over 1,000 years farther than she'd managed to discover. The book seems to be well-researched and I've been able to verify much of it and haven't invalidated any of it. So, I'm going on faith that it's correct or, at least, mostly correct.
Mom was content to trace her family to the first Sullivan to come to America from Ireland in the mid-1600s. She's much more interested in her cousins and other kin in the southern Appalachian region than she is in any that may have come from Europe.
I'm just the opposite. I've had a life-long interest in knights, armour, swords, and all that goes with it, but I'm not too interested in the areas in which she's interested. She's never liked that about me, but it's the truth. However, I'm now -- just a little bit -- more interested than I was. I've been interested enough to help her set up a website on MyFamily.com, and I'm going to be publishing part of our family tree (just ancestors, not current relatives) on this site.
So, I started reading this book, and the next thing I know, I'm surrounded by more knights, ladies, earls, dukes, princes, princesses, kings, queens, and emperors than you can shake a stick at.
For me this is remarkable. Just two years ago, I was trying to come up with a good persona to use in playing with the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA). I wanted to base it on something at least remotely relevant to my true family history. I couldn't come up with anything. The ideas several of us tossed around were way off the mark. (Apparently, the Dilbecks may be traceable to Belgium rather than England.) I decided that I was interested in a persona related to early England around the time of the Norman conquest, but I didn't even know when that was, exactly.
You could have knocked me down when I learned that one of my ancestors was the granddaughter of William the Conqueror, and that made him one of my ancestors. This was remarkable!
The more I read that book, the more interested I became. Since then, I've read a dozen books or more about medieval European history and it's incredible to see my many-times-great-grandpa's and -grandma's names in those books. Suddenly, the period of history I'm most intrigued with came alive!
I've always kidded Mom that I knew I descended from Royalty and I was mature enough to handle it now, and she always denied it. (Of course, she didn't know it, either.) But, now, suddenly my kidding wasn't any kind of a jest. It was fact.
(She still denies, however, that she buried a fortune in gold when I was born so I wouldn't grow up spoiled!)
So, perhaps I'm a bit of a snob and didn't even know it. Perhaps I am just enjoying what I'm learning about my ancient family connections. I don't know.
I do know that they didn't bother to leave me any wealth, titles or castles, and they picked the wrong side of the rebellions. Apparently, they were lucky to escape with their lives, and the family fortune has fallen on hard times for the last three centuries or so. It's like living the fairy tale where I'm just another peasant, and then I suddenly learn I'm next in line to reclaim the monarchy.
Well...don't get carried away there, John. It's not quite like that, at all!
No, but it's still interesting.
The Overview will trace my ancestors back to some pretty famous folks. The Detail page is the start of an index to my ancestors. There are several pages of stories that relate to my family in one way or another, and there are several dozen pages devoted to specific ancestors and relatives. It's been interesting pulling this together, and I hope you'll find some of it interesting.
Mom is still a little embarrassed by my interest in all this, and still a little miffed that I'm not interested in the parts she's interested in, but I keep reminding her that we're all different. At least she finally found a way to get me involved, at all.
Welcome to my family's history, or at least a part of it.