Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family Research

Last week, after discussing the early colonists in America during history class, I remembered that a few years ago Mom tried to research the Cunningham family but had no luck because she couldn't find my great-great grandfather anywhere. I decided to do some research of my own and found a free site called, where you can type in a name and find out about that person, their birthplace, how many years they lived, etc.... So I went here and began some research. To make a long story short, I've managed to trace the Cunninghams all the way back to 1066, when the first Cunningham Wernebald, a man from Flanders who is said to be of Norman descent, arrived in Scotland with William the Conquerer. It's been exciting, so I thought I'd share it with my readers. I won't give the entire line, as the early years are confusing and not very reliable up until the late 13th century, but I'll mention some high points. A Cunningham supported Robert the Bruce during the Scottish War for Independence and was awarded a lot of land for it, and his grandson married a member of the Bruce clan, which could make us part Scottish royalty. A Robert Cunningham sat in the Scottish parliament and may have been murdered by members of the Montgomery clan (from what I've read, we Cunninghams had a looong feud with the Montgomeries that led to castles being burned down and people being murdered). An Alexander Cunningham moved to Dublin, Ireland, and the family lived there for a few generations. In 1636, Captain William Cunningham and his family arrived in Virginia on the ship "Speedwell" (the ship supposed to sail with the Mayflower but couldn't due to problems). During the War for Independence in America, there was a Cunningham known as "Bloody Bill" for his taste for blood and for killing Patriots. Another interesting detail is that a close relative centuries ago was a good friend of the Scottish reformer John Knox. It was fun to do all this research, and I've thought about doing other branches of my family, but I haven't found some of the names I need to jumpstart the project.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Animals and Creepy Crawlies

Today has been quite a day for animals and insects, causing happiness, anger, and fright on three separate occasions. When Mom, Mandy, and I went to Petsmart to look for a few things when we stopped to admire some hamsters, get a new Betta fish (since Mom's classroom Betta Jay-Z was given a merciful flush down the toilet a few weeks ago), and then we stopped to admire some adorable kittens. Some were quiet, some wanted a lot of attention, and some enjoyed chasing my finger across the plastic that covered the bars of the cages. It made us want to get a new kitten, but there's no convincing Dad, as he wants to lower the cat population from seven to three (which is not easy since Mom doesn't want to get rid of any of the cats).

When we got home, the angry occasion began. For the past two weeks, we have had a weaver spider living in a large web in front of our dining room window (Mandy named him Rhys). He's been quiet, but it's been freaky to watch him move (especially since I fear and loathe all spiders). Well, when we got home from Petsmart, we noticed that Rhys had caught something huge in his web. It took us a split second to figure out that he had caught a hummingbird, probably when it crashed into the window then got caught in the web (so far it's been a miracle that no other birds have hit Rhys' web). We panicked and ran outside, but we feared the hummingbird was already dead or close to it. Mom destroyed the web so both Rhys and the hummingbird fell. When we returned outside a few minutes later, the hummingbird was gone. We hope that it flew away and got rid of Rhys along the way.

The terrifying occasion had to do with a stupid roach. For the past few months, Mandy has held possession of a toy brown roach (unnamed, considering she names everything) that she uses for pranks. Well, she had just closed my laptop after checking Facebook, so I decided to get on. I opened the laptop and gasped in terror when I saw a roach there. I soon realized it was only that stupid roach, but Mandy and Mom laughed. Mandy hid the roach, so my evil plan of finding it and burying it where she'll never find it is on a halt, though I'm going to keep an eye out for it. Maybe I'll get her back and put it in her bed at night... hehe.