One of the downsides of our patrilineal naming scheme is that I have tended to identify more with my father and my father’s father, and so on, following the line Rukavinas back in history. Talking with my mother over the holidays reminded me of the folly of this lopsidedness, and so I started to peer down my maternal line.
While having the last name Rukavina is, in the Prince Edward Island context, a semaphore for “not from around here,” that my mother descends from Scottish and Irish immigrants means that I’m likely more of here than not. I’m as much Scottish as I am Croatian, genetically-speaking; and as much Ukrainian and Irish too.
My mother’s mother was a Fraser from Ontario; her mother was a Mathison, whose mother was a Rae, whose mother was Ann Dryden (which is one of our two connections to Canadian hockey royalty).
Following the Dryden line back to into deepest Scotland, thanks to the genealogy obsession of the Mormons, proves remarkably easy, and so I’m able to identify my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather as Alan Cochrane of that Ilk, born 1432 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
As you might imagine, having a relation whose name includes “of that Ilk” is rather delightful to me.
Also in my family tree are William “The Notorious Intriguer” Cunningham, Baroness Isobel Moncrieff, Sir Lord Archibald “Bell the Cat” Douglas, Lady Margaret Catherine Hoppringle (and isn’t that a delightful last name).
According to Rootsweb, 12 generations back I have 8,190 grandparents with a ballpark 705,588 descendants. So, in other words, I have no rightful exclusive claim to use “of that Ilk” or “The Notorious Intriguer” as part of my name.
But I’m likely related, thus, to many of my fellow Islanders at some point in the family tree.