Sometimes it is the answers you do not find. A couple of months ago, I received an email from a man in the UK looking for an old friend who he heard had passed away here in America. At first, I didn’t answer thinking it was one of those scams, “You’ve inherited $5000 lbs from Uncle Larry.” In addition, I research family history, not long lost friends. However, he wrote again and his story piqued my interest.
His friend was a psychiatric nurse in the UK and used to travel to America through his work. This friend also changed his surname, maybe by deed poll, from his birth surname to his adopted surname. Tragically he died while in America, his friend heard, by being hit by a train or hit by train shrapnel.
“TH” (alias for the person who contacted me) thought the incident was bizarre and had contacted his friend’s brother, but the brother wouldn’t discuss anything with him, further adding to the mystery. The brother traveled from England to America to take care of the details when he died, but “TH” doesn’t believe the body was brought back to the UK. With only an approximate birth year to go on, I looked through all my resources, newspapers.com, etc., and found no mention of this friend or incident. Without knowing where his friend died, it was fruitless. “TH” continued his research from his end and wrote me again a few weeks later.
“TH” had found out that his friend had died in New Jersey. Thanks to “Reclaim the Records“, he was able to find the death index. That in turn gave him the exact birth and death of his friend. With that information, I found his friend’s birth parents and confirmed that the record pertained to the right person. “TH” was close to the information he provided but forgot that our date formats are different than theirs.
I still could not find a newspaper article on the incident. Curious about the name change, I wrote the National Archives of the United Kingdom to search their deed polls. A “Remote Enquiries Duty Officer” emailed me right back and explained that he could not find a deed poll entry for a name change for “TH’s” friend. The gentleman also explained that “Changes of name by deed poll are only recorded officially if a fee is paid to have the deed enrolled in court – not many people do this and so there is often no official record other than the original deed poll issued to the person themselves.”
With further research, I found he was issued his social security number in Arkansas in 1988, but could find no further records. Next, I wrote the New Jersey State Library and the researcher was very kind. She had access to the Morristown Daily Record from 1995. She tried several different searches to see if she could find an obituary or article about either the train accident or an obituary for him but did not come across anything. Doing a general search for “train accident”, “hit by a train”, or “train” for June 6, 1995, and broadly for June 1995 did not have any results. She also did a general search in NJ Newspapers via NewsBank as well and did not find anything either.
I then heard back from the New Jersey History and Genealogy Center. They too searched different newspapers from 1995 and could find nothing on the friend or any mention of a train accident or similar. Could it be that this isn’t how he died? Unfortunately, because “TH” is not a relative, he cannot obtain a copy of the death certificate.
I built a family tree in my Ancestry account and found their biological parents, but no hits so far.
Now I have two questions, 1) Did he really die by train? 2) Why won’t his brother share the specifics with “TH”?
The hunt continues…
This was out of my realm, but very interesting for me as I love mysteries and researching. Investigative Genetic Genealogy is the popular way to solve crimes now due to DNA and it is very intriguing. However, not only can it be used to solve crimes but, I believe it can solve family history mysteries and help adopted parents or children, etc.
But for able to get into this part of genealogy, I need more practice in the genetic part and Reverse Genealogy. I hope to broaden my research skills and do just that!
Updated 7/31/2022– I recently watched an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in which actress Allison Janney is tracing her family. In the episode they trace her ancestor, Stephen Hopkins who was caught in a hurricane on the Sea Venture and ended up stranded in Bermuda. The ship’s name kept nagging at me. I kept telling my mom, “I know this story or something regarding the Sea Venture.” Well, below is the story of my ancestry and the Sea Venture!
The Sea Venture, also known as the Third Supply, was the flag ship for a flotilla of six hundred men (and women and livestock) on six ships and two pinnaces. On the 23rd of July, a hurricane separated the Sea Venture, with it’s captain, Christopher Newport from the other ships. The ship started taking on water after four days, and thankfully was able to make it to land on an island; the Bermuda’s. All of the passengers, about 140 men and women, landed safely, although the ship was wrecked between two reefs. Allison Janney’s ancestor was one of those men.
Ruby Chapman Wescott’s line took me back to Jamestowne. (The original colonial spelling for Jamestowne included the “e.” That spelling is used here when referring to historic Jamestowne).
To revisit the history of Jamestowne, I’ll just give this paragraph:
“In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. In December of that year, 104 settlers sailed from London with Company instructions to build a secure settlement, find gold, and seek a water route to the Pacific. The traditional telling of early Jamestown history portrayed those pioneers as ill-suited for the task. But 20 years of archaeological research at the site of James Fort suggests that Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and many of the artisans, craftsmen, and laborers who accompanied the gentlemen leaders made every effort to build a successful colony. On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed on Jamestown Island to establish an English colony 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.” —- You can read this and more at https://historicjamestowne.org/history/history-of-jamestown/
This leads us to Alice, last name unknown. Alice is my 11th great-grandmother. Alice’s first husband was Thomas Pierce. Both were born in England around 1585. They had a daughter named Elizabeth. I need to tell you a little of Thomas’ history in order to understand Alice’s.
Thomas Pierce was the Sergeant at Arms of the first legislative assembly of Virginia which met on July 30, 1619. The First House of Burgesses by Kate Langley Bosher
Thomas arrived on the “Margaret” which sailed for Virginia.
Update: 4/27/19- Through my wonderful Isle of Wight Facebook Group, someone was able to provide me with page 545 from the book Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635 by Martha W. McCartney. In it, it states that Thomas was indeed on the “Margaret” on 15 Sep 1619 which set sail for Bristol and
It is assumed that he traveled with his wife Alice and daughter Elizabeth. Thomas appears to have been a relative of Lt. William Pierce, of the “Sea Venture” (1609), who served under George Yeardley, Captain of the Governor’s Company of soldiers. His daughter, Jane Pierce, was the third wife of John Rolfe (who was also on the “Sea Venture”), you know, the guy who married Pocahontas.
Thomas Pierce established the plantation south of Martin’s Hundred along the upper side of the James River. On March 22, 1622, the Indians attacked throughout the colony, then known as the English Colony of Virginia. In history, it is now known as the Indian Massacre of 1622. The colony’s tobacco economy led to constant expansion and seizure of Powhatan lands, which ultimately provoked a violent reaction according to Wood, Origins of American Slavery (1997), p. 72.
Thomas Pierce , his wife, child, two other men and a French boy were officially reported as killed at this plantation.
THE LIST OF THOSE MASSACRED – March 22, 1622
The following is transcribed from “Colonial Records of Virginia”, R.F. Walker, Superintendent Public Printing, Richmond, VA, 1874, Clemmitt & Jones, Printers, pp 38 – 68. Click here to download the document.
At Mr. Thomas Pierce his House over against Mulberry Island. Master Tho: Pierce, his Wife, his Childe, John Hopkins, (could he be related to Ms. Janney’s Stephen?) John Samon, A French Boy.
Named by the first colonists for its dense population of wild mulberry trees, Mulberry Island shows up in some of the earliest maps of Virginia as well as the writings of Capt. John Smith.
It is not known exactly how, but Alice and her daughter apparently survived the attack and it is thought they were two of the twenty captives that were ransomed from the Indians. The only other of these twenty who have been identified are Mrs. Boyce and Jane Dickenson, both widows of men slain at Martin’s Hundred. These captives were held for about ten months.
In fact, it is more realistic to believe what is written on Historynet’s website:
These female colonists, perhaps 20 in all, were virtually the only captives taken by the Powhatans in the uprising. Few details of their ordeal have survived, and information about their lives is almost nonexistent. In fact, we may never know if they shared the fascinating, if often horrifying, adventures of more well-known Indian captives in American history. It is certain, however, that these women witnessed the violent deaths of neighbors and loved ones before being abducted; that they lived with their enemies while the English ruthlessly attacked Indian villages in retaliation; and that they received no heroes’ welcome upon their return to the colony.
No matter how she survived, she did because by October 10, 1624 Alice had married Thomas Bennett, my 11th great-grandfather. Alice Bennett was a witness before the General Court at the trial of John Proctor for cruelty to his servants. She was sworn and examined as to the beating of Elizabeth Abbott, serving maid of Mr Proctors, and stated that she found her by the waterside by Mr Burrow’s plantation lying behind a boat wrapped in a rug. Whereupon this examinat, with Her Husband and Richard Richards carryed her and delivered her to her master. Anthony Barham swore that he saw Mr Proctor strike Elias Hinton one of his servants. (VA Mag., 19, p. 389) (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 289)
At General Court in October 1624, Elizabeth Pierce chose her father in law (step father), Thomas Bennett, as her guardian. (VA Mag 20, p. 155). She was unmarried then because John Filmer to who she was engaged had just died and left all his property to her. This was the reason for her choosing a guardian. It is probable that this Elizabeth Pierce afterwards married Anthony Barham. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 290)
Alice is again shown in the following records. The name Jackson is from Elizabeth marrying Richard Jackson.
1642: June 10, 1642, George Hardy received a grant of 300 acres on the easternmost side of Lawne’s Creek adjacent to Alice Bennett (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)
1642: 19 Jun 1642, John Stocker patented 200 acres adjoining Mr Hardy’s land and the widow Bennett. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)
1647: 19 Jul 1647…Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson and Sarah Jackson, the daughters of Richard Jackson…150 acres of land. Alice(X)Bennett
1647: DB A P 4, 19 Jul 1647 Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson & Sarah Jackson, the dtrs of Richard Jackson, 150 Acres land. (to be possessed immediately after my death) , the land & housing on the S/S of the swamp to Mary; the land on the other side to Sarah. Sig: Alice (X) Bennett Wts: Edwd. X Garrett, James Piland. (Isle of Wight Co. VA, Deeds 1647-1719, Court Orders 1693-1695 and Guardian Accounts 1740-1767 abstracts by William Lindsay Hopkins)
The Richard Bennett above is not our Richard. Thomas Bennett is ours and he is the father of our Richard Bennett (not listed) who is the son of Alice and Thomas and half-brother to Elizabeth.
The internet and genealogical websites are full of misinformation as far as the Richard Bennett’s are concerned. Our 10th great-grandfather is the Richard Bennett, Sr. of Isle of Wight, VA. The other Richard Bennett is of Nanesmond County, VA, the Governor of Virginia from 1652-55. The confusion lies in that both of them have father’s named Thomas who came from England. The governor is about thirteen years older than our Richard and they are both connected to Jamestowne.
Thomas Bennett was also a member of the House of Burgesses as he represented Mulberry Island in 1632. Burgess Journals 1619-59, pg. xiii.
Records were destroyed in the Civil War so nothing more is known about Thomas except what was found in the will of Anthony Barham, who was one of Elizabeth’s husbands. Because of this will, we can trace his descendants.
Richard Bennett, Jr., my 9th great-grandfather, was born June 1, 1644, in Isle of Wight, Virginia. He married Ann, last name unknown, and they had five children. Again, you can read about all five in the above link.
He made his will on March 3, 1720:
Will of Richard Bennett Jr.
Isle Of Wight County, Virginia
March ye 3rd Day 1720 In the Name of God Amen. Rich’d Bennett in ye upper parish of Isle of Wight County in Virginia being sick & weak in body yet in perfect memory thanks be to God for it Do therefore do make this my Last Will & Testament as followith-first I Commit my soul to God our Heavenly Father trusting to be saved by Jesus Christ our only Saviour and my body on Earth to be Decently Buried & as for my worldly Goods I bestow as followith
I Give and bequeath unto my son Richd Bennett to him & his heirs lawfully begotten of his body two hundred acres of Land & over it being Land where on my Son Richard now lives
I give & bequeath unto my son James with ye other two hundred acres of Land where on he now lives. I lay to him & to his heirs lawfully begotton of his Body forever it is a Coveyance of four hundred acres of Land I bought of Mr John Coffers pattin of Land being fourteen hundred & fifty acres
1 Give & bequeath unto Jane Coffer & her two sons Rob Coffer & John Coffer to them & their heirs Lawfully of their body for ever my plantation and land whereon I now live I lay to them & to their heirs for ever it being part of Land Which was bought formerly of Mr Wm Miles
I Give and bequeath unto Jane Coffer a small trunk & a Gold Ring and a Great Iron pot
I Give & bequeath to Rich Coffer my Long Gun
I Give & bequeath to Magdalen Coffer one Great pewter Dish and one Great Basin
I Give and bequeath to Francis Manggum my Gran Daughter a feather Bed & all ye belongs to it 2
I Give and bequeath unto my Daughter Silvester a Couple of Dishes & a Couple of plates
furthermore I do appoint Jane Coffer & Wm Allen to be my full and whole Exct to pay my Debts & to Receive what is owing to me & when these my Debts being paid ye rest of my Goods within Doores and outDoores to be Equally Divided amongst my Children
Desiring this my trusty friends Jno & James Carter to See this my Last Will & testament fulfilled In Witness here of I sett my hand & Seal Rich’d R Bennett (Seal)
Richard Jr.’s daughter, Ann Bennett, married John Coffer circa 1699, my 8th great grandparents. You can continue this line by reading my previous blog post, The Cofer/Copher Families- Part 2.
Inside the fort at Jamestown, in the cellar seen just below the back wall of a stone foundation, archaeologists found a pendant that dates to the Virginia colony’s earliest years. A seventeenth-century church tower and the 1907 tercentenary obelisk are also seen. ~website at history.org
As always, if you see anything amiss, let me know. Until next time…
For more information, click on the items below.
If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.
It’s been seven months since I’ve blogged. On this day of the celebration of our freedom, I’m thankful I have the freedoms to do the things I want to do. For the past several months, I’ve been working on, what I call, my “yarden” (@marleesyardening on Instagram).
It has been truly “plant therapy” for me. When I am gardening, I am truly free of the stresses in my head. It has truly helped me heal my mental and physical health. Did you know that researchers found that bacteria found in the soil actually helped activate brain cells that could produce serotonin?
Have I missed researching my ancestry? Absolutely. But, I am not good at balancing two hobbies at once. When I give myself to something, I give it all.
But, it is now too steamy, too hot, and too humid to work outside. In between the feel-like temperatures in the 3-digits and the breezy evenings, I am still able to maintain the garden. This was my goal. To get the garden to a point where it took only a little bit of maintenance. After several projects and a lot of planting, I can sit back and enjoy it.
According to the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scots-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, MD, MA, the Galbraiths were from a remote part of Stirling, Scotland in the “Parish of Baldunoch.”
“A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1” states that In Frazer’s statistical account of the inhabitants of the Isle of Gigha, the following occurs: “The majority of them are of the names of Galbraith and McNeill, the former reckoned the more ancient. The Galbraiths in the Gaelic language are called Breatannich, that is Britons, or the children of Briton, and were once reckoned a great name in Scotland according to the following lines translated from the Gaelic:
“Galbraiths from the Red Tower, Noblest of Scottish surnames.”
My Galbraith line starts with Martha, my 3rd great-grandmother, born about 1800. And, according to the Pennsylvania Vital Records, Vol. II and Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 164 : 1921, married John Stitt on 23 October 1817. According to the same DAR Lineage Book, her father was John Galbraith and her mother was Anne, last name unknown. They married about 1786.
John’s parents were James and Martha McClelland, as the lineage shows. The lineage book also states, “James Galbraith was county lieutenant with the rank of colonel, 1777, and also served as private in the Pennsylvania troops under Colonels Miles, Bull, and Butler. He was born in Cumberland County; died, 1802, in Pennsylvania.”
I have not been able to find anything more about John, but his father was James, born about 1743 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according to the DAR lineage and the Sons of the American Revolution. He married Martha McCelland about the year 1760. He was a captain in William Peebles company in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania March, 1776.
In the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, 1886, it states, James Galbraith ,5 (John ,4 Andrew ,3 James ,2 John ,1) born about 1741 ; died prior to 1790 ; was county lieutenant of Cumberland county in 1777 ; a soldier of the Pennsylvania Line in the Revolution; in 1783 , resided in “Washington borough , near Carlisle ;” married Martha McClellan , daughter of John McClellan ,* of Donegal .
James’ father was John born about 1717. (notice the names alternating and staying in the family).
John married Jennet McCullough about 1742. Not much is known about this John either.
His father was Andrew born about 1692 and married to Mary Kyle.
Andrew Galbraith,3 (James,2 John,1) was born about 1692 in the North of Ireland; came to America with his father, and settled along the run which has its source at Donegal meeting house, now Lancaster County, Pa., in the year 1718. Upon the organization of the county of Lancaster, he was appointed the first coroner, afterwards, in 1730, one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, a position he held six years. In 1732, he and his neighbor, John Wright, were candidates for the General Assembly. At that time, none but freeholders were allowed to vote, and the only polling place was the town of Lancaster, where all voters were obliged to go. Mr. Galbraith took no active part in the canvass himself, but his wife mounted her favorite mare, Nelly, and rode out through the Scotch-Irish settlement, and persuaded them to go with her to the county town. She appeared at the court-house leading a procession of mounted men, whom she halted and addressed. The effect was that her husband was triumphantly elected. After his first election, he seems to have had no opposition. He took out a patent for two hundred and twelve and one half acres, May 2, 1737; and was one of the first ruling elders of the old Donegal church; appointed a justice of the peace in 1730, a position he held until 1747, when he removed west of the Susquehanna; he served several years in the Provincial Assembly, and was one of the most prominent of the pioneer settlers–a safe and trustworthy officer. After the year 1746, when he disposed of his farm, very little is recorded concerning him. (Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German. William Henry Egle, 1886.)
Andrew’s father, James, is thought to have been born in Donegal, Ireland about 1666 and emigrated about 1718. He was one of the founders of the Old Derry Church. He was said to be a “man of prominence.” James married Rebecca Chambers about 1689.
He died 23 Aug 1744 at age 78.
James’ father was John, wife unknown. He was born about 1646, born in Baldunoch, Stirling County, Scotland. It is thought that he died before the emigration of his sons, James and John.
From William Gilbreath of the Clan Galbraith Facebook group:
We do not know if James of 1666 was born in Ireland but he came from there in 1718. We don’t know that his father was John and we have failed to link James back to the first Galbraith family of Ireland, who arrived there abut 1613. Our last Chief from Culcreuch fled to Ireland in about 1625 and left living sons in Scotland who might have lines to the present. We are pretty sure that Group 1 links back to the 1400s at Culcreuch–but we do not know if the Chiefs maintained the DNA into the future (or past to Bretnach of 1150).
From Dana Love same group: We know the two groups have the same YDNA Haplogroup and most of the same markers which leads us to believe they were related at some point, but they are several generations apart. We haven’t found any source documents to tie them together.
DNA has become an important tool in genealogical research, and as more people take the test, the number of matches increases, making it even more useful. Hopefully this will be true for these family lines.
I had to repost this blog. Evidently, when you downgrade your package in WordPress, they delete everything from the time you upgraded. Luckily, it was only a few, as I had not posted in some time. And I had copied them to my Google Drive. However, I doubt I’ll upgrade with them at any point in the future because of that policy.
November 2021 has made me yearn to dig back into my family history and writing. The yard in the fall needs less attention, and I have more time off from work. I always find stepping away from family history awhile gives me more to work with…. more hints, records that have become available, and it gives me more clarity and motivation. So, here I am! I hope you missed me.
Over the weekend, I jumped back into my family tree and stumbled upon my 10th Great-Grandfather, Nicholas Granger.
I exist today because of this brave boy. He is estimated to have been about 9 years old when he was shipped over. Not all immigrants are adults, nor do all come with their families.
(All wording is how it was spelled in colonial records.)
In 1618, the Virginia Company formerly presented a petition before the London Common Council asking that one-hundred poor and vagrant children, who “lie in the streets… having no place of abode nor friends to relieve them” be shipped to the fledgling colony of Jamestown at the city’s expense. (See: Theodore K. Rabb, “Sandys, Sir Edwin (1561–1629″).
Seventy-five boys and twenty-five girls were accordingly transported for “running wild in the streets”, for being vagrant, on 27 February 1618; though it should be said that none of those apprehended and sent over were formally convicted in the London court system. (See “Records of Individuals ordered to be sent to Virginia, ca. 1618-37 from Bridewell Royal Hospital”).
Only a small number of these children survived in the harsh realities of early Virginian life, including two “Bridewell boys” called Nathaniel Tatum and Nicholas Granger who appear to have found some success in their new world. (For records of the two boys, See: Accession 26237, Library of Virginia: “Records of Individuals ordered to be sent to Virginia, ca. 1618-37.)
Nicholas married Elizabeth (—–) circa 1627. His wife was probably the Elizabeth Gringer, aged 33 who made a deposition in Mar 1634/5 in N’hamp County..4
On 13 Aug 1638, Alice Robins was reported as saying that if Nicholas Granger had not come to Virginia, he would have been hanged; but 9 year olds were not hanged, even in 1619.2
Side note: Alice was in the courts a lot according to my research. It seems she and her husband liked to cause trouble.
Virginia Colonial Abstracts Transcript pg. 154
(Original Mutilated. Pg. 204. The fragments show:) “The deposition of R…this deponent aged…that he goeinge to…Nicholas Granger…the said p…Robins…her one…Robins…wise…Upon…Allice…the wife…whore…also at one…and Crabbing…therefore ordered that said woman for her misdemenoes shal be towed over the Creeke tomorrow at ten of the clock”
Goodwiffe Robbins’ wife was brought into court for slandering Richard’s wife Mary. Goodwife Robins’ wife Alice received twenty lashes for this offense. It appears that Alice Robbins was a disagreeable person evidenced by the fact that she was quite often in court. For her slanderous offense she was “…lashed to the end of a canoe and towed over the creek”.
In another deposition, she is quoted as saying that Mary Hudson “was as badd as anie salte Bitch.”
Nicholas witnessed a will on 1 April 1639 at Northampton Co, VA. It was on this date that John Stringer and Nicholas Granger witnessed the will of Nicholas Harwood, who named a godson Nicholas Granger and gave him 500 lbs tobacco.1
Nicholas was mentioned in a will on 1 April 1639 at Northampton Co, VA. He was shown as Goodman Grainger in the will of Nicholas Harwood and was to be paid for “my dyett and attendance”.1
In his will of 1 Apr 1639, Nicholas Harwood remembered goodman Grainger for taking care of him and left funds to buy a “cowcalfe for Nicholas Grander, my godson”. A certificate for 200 acres, naming his wife Elizabeth as one of the headrights, was given by court to Nicholas Grainger on 3 Aug 1640.
On 1 Oct 1647 in N’hamp Co, Nicholas Granger deeded a heifer to his daughter Christian Granger. This was witnessed by Henry Armitradinge, who was involved in a similar deed the same day. Those deeds were in contemplation of marriage.2 Christian married Henry Armitradinge in 1647.
Nicholas patented land on 20 September 1647 at Northampton Co, VA. It was on this date that Nicholas Grander patented 350 acres in N’hamp Co near the head of Nassawattocks Creek, adjacent to the land of Stephen Horsey, but this land apparently was already included in a patent to Col. Francis Yeardley and was lost. He also had another patent for 350 acres on Pungoteague River and Pocomeck Creek, which he assigned to Nicholas Waddilow, which is mentioned in a new patent to Waddilow on 2 Apr 1655..2
He took the oath of allegiance to hereby engage and promise to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as it is now established without King or House of Lords on 25 March 1651 at Northampton Co, VA. He was shown as Nicholas Granger.4,5
Nicholas died after 25 March 1651 at Northampton Co, VA.4
What a brave man to have come from the streets of London to Colonial Virginia.
My line stems from Nicholas’ son, Nicholas (abt. 1627).
[S497] James Handley Marshall, Northampton Co, VA, Abstracts of Wills & Administrations, 1632-1802, p. 4 (will of Nicholas Harwood).
[S888] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 119 (Granger Family).
[S887] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 68 (Muster of the Eastern Shore).
[S888] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 120 (Granger Family).
[S497] James Handley Marshall, Northampton Co, VA, Abstracts of Wills & Administrations, 1632-1802, p. 34 (Oath to be faithful to the Commonwealth of England).
Hello followers! It has been many months since I have written. I could blame it on the virus, and I will. It did start because of Covid-19. When the students from my school were sent home in March, I had additional admin duties. Yes, I was blessed because I was considered “essential” and was able to work many hours from home, but I was swamped.
Being home, I spent a lot of time in my yard and garden in between having to be on the computer. I started concentrating on the garden as it reduced my stress level. I have blogged about this before; gardening helps you forget the world’s problems and be in the moment. If you want to follow my trials and tribulations with my “yarden”, follow me at @marleesyardening on Instagram.
I also wrote an article for Family Tree (U.K.), and it was published this month. You can read it here (although it looks much better in the magazine itself!) My Wolcott Family, I hope you enjoy it. You can also follow my Loganalogy posts at @Loganealogy on Instagram or @Loganealogy on Facebook.
Recently, I was able to help my cousin’s wife’s family with her mother’s history. Here is their story.
“Both my mom and my Aunt have been trying to replace their U.S. naturalization papers for years. After 9/11, they haven’t been able to renew their driver’s licenses, which means they can’t write a check, travel anywhere, etc. The problem has been the lack of documentation of their immigration from Latvia to the U.S. in 1949. Their names were missing from the ship’s manifest, the courthouse clerks I contacted told me they didn’t have a record of them, they weren’t listed at Ellis Island. It was like they didn’t exist. We consulted an immigration attorney, worked with Senator Bill Nelson’s office and spent countless hours on the phone with USCIS and the local USCIS field office. Aunt Roz was going through the same nightmare in California… she hired an immigration attorney, etc. Nothing.
A few weeks ago, we decided to ask Matt’s cousin Marlee, a genealogy consultant, for help. All we asked her to do was to verify the ship the family was on and what port they arrived. Last week, Marlee sent us 25 perfectly clear documents: scanned copies of the original immigration cards for my entire family, the amended ship manifest with their names on it, my grandparent’s work application, written notes about the camp in Germany they were in, and how they had to flee Latvia, even the list of items in my mom’s suitcase when she arrived. My Aunt and I were both in tears when we received it all. We are kicking ourselves for not seeking Marlee’s help sooner, but we are so thankful we finally did.”
I am happy to say that you’ll be hearing from me more often as I help others discover their roots and find connections, especially my own. If you know of anyone who would like help building their family tree, let me know.
Hello Followers. I wanted to check in with you since I have not written a blog in quite some time. The last real blog was March 19, so almost a month now. Like you, my family has been self-isolating. Not only from the virus but the crazier people who do not think it is a serious threat.
My son and I are both essential works so we have been working except for my Easter vacation. I am working four hours in the office and four hours at home. My son works all day in the warehouse. Neither of our companies allows outside visitors. We are both very careful as my mother, who is in her late 70s, lives with us.
Since I am working from home I have not had a lot of the extra family history time I see a lot of people talking about. But, I have tried to take advantage of the free sites and free records that have become available. It’s funny, some of the records I have run across have names that I could have used a couple of years ago. But, now I at least know I am on the right track.
I did have success with my 80 year old uncle’s tree. Back on Thanksgiving he was telling me about his brick wall with his grandparents on his mother’s side. Her father seems to have disappeared after deserting her and her brothers. The name he always went by with this family seems to actually be a nickname. In tracing the date of birth and his birthplace, we tracked down what we think is his real name.
With the help of the West Virginia Archives and History Library, we followed these coincidences and found all kinds of information on his family. But, until we find a document where he uses his nickname along with his real name, we cannot be 100% sure it is him. Or, until we can find some DNA matches. Once we entered his real name into our database, a whole slew of information and family members popped up. Including others on their public trees who seemed to have come to the same conclusion. And, here’s the kicker, it seems there is another family who this man deserted…under his real name. We hope to connect to this family to find some answers.
I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening, my other great passion. We had some umbrella palms start to take over so we had them pulled out, by the root balls. Little did I know a few years after I planted them, they would become evasive! They loved the wet clay soil, too much! I’ve since been filling the spaces in with some organic matter from my compost pile. I’ve also added a few pieces of cardboard and will mulch and soil over that. It’s like having a blank canvas to start planting in.
And, my flowers are blooming. Always a welcome sight and lifts the spirits. My garden is defintely a great boost for my mental health.
I cannot seem to concentrate enough to pull an ancestor story together for a blog, but I did want to check-in. I hope that you and your family are safe and well. As our ancestors did from their pandemics, this too shall pass.
The last couple of weeks have been busy! Sure, I am busy working my full-time job, but my dabblings with my family history, as well as other’s family history, have kept me hopping.
However, this makes it all worthwhile.
This young girl is my true young protégé! She is so very excited, as are her mother and grandparents. Showing her documents and how to read them has been amazing. It helps that she is smart as a whip.
We use Zoom, video conferencing, where I can annotate, share our screens, and make notes on a whiteboard. She has genuinely picked up on chasing the leads and picking apart the information in the records.
Johann Henrich Heilig is my 6th great grandfather. He was born in in 1700 and married Susanna De Wees Rittenhausen in 1729. I wrote about the Rittenhouse family and their papermills here. Also, join the Rittenhouse Family Descendants and Friends Facebook page and learn about all the wonderful things they are doing to preserve the Rittenhouse legacy. There is a Rittenhouse Town Board of Directors. They also manage the Homestead House (1707) and the other houses in the village, as well as a Barn that was built during WPA and the grounds.
Some historians place Henrich’s birthplace as Hannover, German. But, other more recent historians say it is Baden-Wuerttenburg, Germany. Johann arrived in Philadelphia in 1720 on the ship “Polly.” Ships were not required to furnish a list of passenger names until 1727. Since their names are not shown on any lists after 1727, they must have arrived prior. Most information I have found says 1720.
Records state his Naturalization was on 11 Apr 1747. According to the Pennsylvania Archives. The requirements at the time were that they had to be a resident of the colonies for 7 years.
Henry, as he was now called, was by trade a clockmaker. It was a skilled and respected profession. At that time, clocks were for navigation and surveying, as well as time keeping.
Henry and Susanna lived first in Cheltenham. And, bought parcels of land in 1749 and 1750. It was on the boarders of Pennsburg and Upper Hanover Townships in Montgomery County. This land was from William Parsons who was a surveyor for the Penns. The homestead passed from Henrich to his son George. George passed it on to his son George Jr. and finally passed to the Hoch family in the 1860s. The house remains in the Hoch family today.
Prior to 1684, the Lenape Indians roamed the hills and fished the streams of the land on either side of the Perkiomen Creek. In 1684, the Indians lost this land when William Penn purchased it for reportedly “two watch coats, four pairs of stockings and four bottles of cider”. In time, Pennsylvania Germans settled in the area. Around 1840, the area now know as Pennsburg began to take on the appearance of a village. The hub consisted of a general store, a carpenter and blacksmith shop and several houses.
Most of the land was owned by the Heilig Brothers. They owned and resided in the oldest house in Pennsburg located at Seminary and Fourth Streets. The Heilig Brothers took it upon themselves to refer to this village as “Heiligsville”. Residents had their own ideas, and out of loyalty to the then Pennsylvania Senator, James Buchanan, wanted to name the area Buchanansville.
As the village grew in size, a meeting was held in 1843 at the Hilleg’s family store to decide on a permanent name and lay out boundary lines. After a week long bitterly contested battle, it was finally decided to name the village “Pennsburg” after William Penn.
Henrich and Susannah had five children:
i. Heinrich Heilig, b. 1722 , ii. Jurg George Heilig, b. 1720; d. 1796, Upper Hanover Township., iii. Johannes Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.). iv. Anna Maria Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), m. Michael Slonaker., v. Susanna Heilig (Source: Willbook I – 1796, 149-150.), b. 1726; m. Henry Deany.
Johannes or John changed the surname to Highley. The other children kept the German spelling of Heilig.
Henry is even listed in the U.S., Craftperson Files, 1600-1995.
Henry was buried along with this wife in the mostly Rittenhouse family cemetery, Methacton Mennonite Cemetery. Click here for a partial list of burials with links to tombstone photographs. Henrich’s and Susannah’s are below. This cemetery is located in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, PA.
There is a wonderfully thorough history written by Linton E. Love, a descendant of the Rittenhouse family. In it are the descendancts of Henry and Susannah. Linton has created a database and another database extending from the 17th century up to the 21st century from Claus to his 12,810 descendants as of March 2005!