I recently received a comment on my book about genealogy The Fastest Growing Religion on Earth: How Genealogy Captured the Hearts and Brains of Americans.

Bullocks from the UK

Not very sophisticated, sure. I always have problems with people who use the term UK or United Kingdom since it is no longer United, or… er… a Kingdom. Usually the ones who identify themselves as such and are typing away on the internet what they think is clever but in fact is just obnoxious are in fact from England, usually the Northern parts, and likely unemployed and bitter in their cups. You get the sense after a while they don’t like Americans very much, no? In terms of what “bullocks” meant, I’m not familiar with the English terms, but a little research on the internet showed that it meant “testicles”, which in many languages and cultures translates into “fuck you,” so without wasting too much time on this I will assume that’s what was meant.

I thought it might be illustrative to use this (ostensibly obnoxious, and the author thought anonymous, comment, which is not so uncommon these days given what people think is the anonymity of writing on the internet or driving on the freeways) to demonstrate the type of genealogy research and sleuthing techniques that went into my genealogy research outlined in my book about genealogy The Fastest Growing Religion on Earth: How Genealogy Captured the Hearts and Brains of Americans.

This person’s facebook account identified him as Mark Shep from Tindham, England.

Let’s use his remark to illustrate some of the content of the book, where I was trying to find the identity of my grand mother. In this case I had my mothers birth certificate where her mother listed her name as Alice Pauline Woods. No such person existed, so it was obvious she was trying to conceal her identity. Logically she would have falsified her last name to hide the fact she had given up a child born out of wedlock to adoption. But maybe she didn’t want to lie “too much” so she kept the correct first and middle name. In fact that is exactly what happened.




And using this I was able to trace her and 40 other relatives.

Alice Lloyd, my grandmother

Alice Lloyd, my grandmother

I used the same logic for Mark “Shep”. A google search showed no Shep from Tindham, in fact that didn’t seem to be a real surname. Likely one would have cut it off so in fact there was a Shepherd from that place with reason to conceal his identity. Sure enough, he was connected to others named “Shepherd” but not “Shep,” and a quick search with the new name yielded this person.

Mark Shepherd aka Shep

So the next time you want to abuse Americans on the internet to distract yourself from your own life failures, Mark, try not to pick genealogists who can easily track your origins.

Mark Shepherd Facebook Page

Mark Shepherd aka “Mark Shep” Facebook Page




You can read more super-sleuthing tales in my book about genealogy The Fastest Growing Religion on Earth: How Genealogy Captured the Hearts and Brains of Americans here.

About The Author

Physician, professor, researcher, writer, filmmaker

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