Climbing Family Trees: Charlemagne's Greatest Accomplishment by Michael Jensen

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Charlemagne's Greatest Accomplishment by Michael Jensen

“Charlemagne’s Greatest Accomplishment”
Michael Jensen
There are so many stories connected with genealogy that have happened to me over many years. Perhaps a love story would best relate how the past and the present intertwine. When the Ancestral File T was first introduced I was a new volunteer at our local LDS Family History Center and went to the annual Utah Genealogical Society conference in Salt Lake City. That year's featured speaker was introducing the new five CD-ROM version of Ancestral File T. Ancestral File T was introduced as the "Descendancy of Charlemagne". Of course, the expert went on to explain that over ninety percent of the people in Europe, the United States and Canada descend through Charlemagne or his family that he put in power.
On the way home I stopped in a bookstore to see if I could find a good history of Charlemagne. I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I ordered one of 300 pages in French. The clerk convinced me that it would be months before the book came in and suggested another in English. When it arrived a few weeks later I was never so disappointed in my life. It was a glorified comic book of 36 pages and three paragraphs of text spread out with less than a sentence per page.
In the disappointment over the Charlemagne book I researched an old "Book In Print" book and found that Bullfinch, of the Bullfinch's mythology fame, had written a three volume set. The third volume was the History of Charlemagne, but it was out of print. I called my daughter in Salt Lake City and asked her to go down to the largest used book store and see if she could find this three hundred dollar set of books at a less expensive “used” price. My daughter, Amy Jo, said she needed a Chemistry Handbook for work and had to go there anyway, so she was happy to look for my book. She called me from the store and said that a clerk had found a newer printing of Bullfinches and it was only fifty dollars. Thrilled, I told her to buy it for me.

Two hours later she called back and said she had just got off the phone with the clerk of the store and had received not one date, but two! It seems that Bob, the clerk, noticed that she had purchased a Chemistry Handbook, a History of Charlemagne and a Science Fiction book, leaving her name and number for the store to call her when the books came in. Seeing they had a lot in common, he said he couldn't wait and wanted to call her right away to ask her if she would like to go see the movie “The Last of the Mohicans” with him. When she agreed he then added that in order to see the film in its "true" context they had to see the movie "1492" first. Two dates.
Of course, at Thanksgiving he came home to meet us and by Christmas they were engaged. In June they were married. All because we’re related to Charlemagne. Out of all of the great accomplishments that Charlemagne had, I would say this was one of his greatest!


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