Subscription genealogy websites are booming in popularity. It has never been easier to unearth fascinating facts about your kin, thanks to Ancestry, My Heritage, Footnote, Find My Past, and FamilySearch (a non-subscription site), among others.
Naturally, this led me to wonder about the descendants of the Seven Dwarves. Were they having any luck with their family trees? Were there other famous animated characters in their ancestral lines? And how about some background on the Dwarves? Did they always work as miners? When did they move to the forest? Were they related or just sharing rent? And what’s the real story with Snow White? Is there any truth to her family lore? What was her mother’s name. Was she really an only child?
This is where a genealogist’s mind goes. And then, of course, she has to investigate. After an initial survey of records online at Ancestry.com, here are some surprising facts about the Seven Dwarves and Snow White I uncovered. And of course, I know they are facts. After all, I read them online…
1. Dopey: Poor maligned Dopey was actually a pretty responsible guy. He married, had at least two sons, and served in the Army Air Corp during WWII. Way to rise above the label, Dopey!
2. Sleepy: Sleepy managed to overcome some obvious physical limitations to make it as a 6’1″ professional baseball player. It may have been prior to the steroid testing era, but it was also prior to steroids, so he’s clean.
3. Doc: Bespeckled Doc was, in reality, a Chinese immigrant!! This came as perhaps the biggest surprise to me. But there he was, Doc Toy Nom, on San Francisco passenger lists for 1896, intending to settle in Montana, apparently.
4. Sneezy: Disney appears to have perpetuated a misconception about how Sneezy got his name, and generations have grown up thinking he had allergies, when IN FACT Kentucky birth records PROVE “Sneezy” was just a nickname for “Nezial”.
5. Bashful: Bashful, it turns out, narrowly avoided being nicknamed “Fatso”. Bruce, as he was named at birth, was first called Bashful in his high school yearbook in 1948, when the annual popularity contest named students as “Smartest”, “Best Dressed”, “Most Talented”, and “Most Bashful”, along with “Fattest Boy”, “Biggest Eaters” and “Skinniest Girl”. I kid you not. So while Bruce may have wished to be remembered as “Most Likely to Succeed”, he became famous for being Bashful, so it was a good trade-off.
6. Happy: Not surprisingly, Happy lived to be 103. I learned this on the Social Security Death Index. You knew he was Happy, but did you know he was Faithful, too? No wonder he lived to be 103!
7. Grumpy: Well, what do you know?? Grumpy was Jewish!
Snow White: And finally, I should catch you up on Snow White. I was delighted to discover Snow White on a census record with her parents Stirling and Mary, and siblings Bird, Bertha, and Pearl. Apparently the kingdom was in Union County, Georgia, and there were more in her family than we were led to believe. And props to her parents for sister Pearl’s name. Bird is actually not bad, either.
Her early training as a spooler in a cotton mill may explain her skill with a spinning wheel later on.
So, there you go. The rest of the story. And all for the finding on Ancestry.com. There are fairy tales, and then there are FACTS. A good genealogist knows how to sort it all out 😉