renice.com web


Sunday, April 11, 2004

Family Ties 

Iffy's comments about his moving up in Google rankings on the search term iffland had me googling wernette this morning. Today mine is the first link in 81 pages of links to Wernette's. And as Iffy suggests, I know I owe at least part of it to inadvertent "link bombing". The other part of it comes from having a personal website up for so many years. At the time I put my site up, my web searches for Wernette's were resulting in only 2 other people.

According to a family tree that my father gave my daughter, I come from the line of Wernette's stemming from Bernard, son of Jean Baptiste Wernette Sr. of Wittelsheim, Haut Rhin, Alsace. Even though it had always seemed to me that the Wernette clan was not as blindly prolific as good Catholics ought to be, there are still plenty of us residing in France.

While I was growing up, my father fretted about his ancestry and his legacy. From a family of 5, he was the only survivor of the June 1936 flood that swept away Nixon Texas, east-southeast of San Antonio. His parents and 2 sisters were buried in Nixon Cemetery when he was 8 – they had always called him Bubba. He worried that, since he hadn't had a son, his family name would die with him. During our family's vacations, he compulsively checked for Wernette's in local phone books in every town we stopped in. I always wondered what he planned on saying if he ever found one, but it didn't matter because he never did.

When Switchboard first loaded the country's white pages to the web over 9 years ago, I searched for Wernette and found over 200. I compiled the list, sorted by first name as well as by city, and sent the 2 printouts to my dad. He was ecstatic. I think it was the best gift I'd ever given him.