Having a full-time job means I spend a lot of time away from my family tree. More time than I like. But, in a way, it is a good thing. When looking at your family tree day in and day out, it can be frustrating, making you feel stuck and getting nowhere.
I have also had people tell me that they do not like the subscriptions to the big databases because they have taken all records that they have to give. But, this is not true. Remember, the big databases add new records all the time, meaning new hints are bound to occur. For instance, Family Search added about 180 new records from different countries, including the U.S. just last month. Find My Past updated titles and added new titles. Ancestry also updates and adds records regularly, lately adding about 40-50 collections. Chronicling America, one of my favorite newspaper databases, does the same thing. They’ve added and updated 100s of records. MyHeritage is doing the same, adding billions of records each year.
The old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true for taking a break from your research or at least move it in a different direction. During my recent vacation, I hopped on Ancestry and learned that I had some new hints on one of my proverbial brick walls, my 7th great-grandmother. Low and behold, it was her will! That will listed her children and grandchildren! That hint led me to her father and his will! I have been able to add her mother and siblings, expanding that whole line.
You can also take a break by moving in a different direction. For instance, a lot of people tend to focus solely on their direct line. By not researching sideways; brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., you are missing out on a full picture of your direct ancestor. You can then develop a more detailed picture of their lives. When I first started out, I did this exact thing. I concentrated only on my direct lines. By adding their siblings and their children, I’ve been able to expand my tree so much.
You do not need to stop researching to take a break. I like to review some of the sources I have attached to an ancestor. With experience, I’ve learned more about reading records. I review older sources and often find some information I have overlooked or apply what I have learned to that older source.
Remember, not all family records are online. Archives, libraries, and local family history societies may be able to help. Write to a few and see what they have. They are very helpful and sometimes will assist you for free.
You can also look into an ancestor’s social history. The history around your ancestor can add context to the world your ancestors lived in. The internet, including YouTube is full of how-to videos with research tips you haven’t tried yet or a record collection you haven’t heard of.
Do not let that brick wall stop you! Take a break, go a different route and get a fresh outlook for when you return.
If you need someone to take a look at a brick wall you have, give me a shout. I am happy to dig around and give you a fresh angle to search.
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. Williams’ 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.
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.
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!
The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks- Week Five Challenge: “So Far Away”
I live in the United States of America, Florida, to be exact. But, my paternal ancestor, John Loggan was born in 1699 in Ahoghill, Antrim, Ireland. (It is referenced that his father was from Restalrig, a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland.) This is interesting because I was told that my daddy’s ranch in Washington state was called Restalrig.
John arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, around 1717. He married Margaret Carr, I am still researching her. They had nine children together (6 boys, 2 girls, and one unknown). Margaret was born in Massachusetts in 1703, but I am unable to find their life from when John arrived in 1717 to when they married in 1724. They are mentioned in the Mayflower Source Records from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register as descendants, so I am still researching that angle.
Through the Logan DNA project (https://pre1800logans.groups.io/g/main), it is thought that this John is from the Barons of Restalrig from Scotland. This project suggests that John Logan #1034, is directly related to the Gawn Logan family #1032, which suggests our Logan line immigrated from Scotland to Ireland, where they lived perhaps several generations before moving on to Connecticut.
Two of their sons, John and Mathew, served under General George Washington during the battle for New York City in the American War for Independence. When the Army was hopelessly surrounded, the General evacuated his entire army under cover of darkness and moved to Philadelphia. John and Mathew most likely were at Valley Forge later on. Source: The Logan’s of Scotland by James C. Logan
John Logan, the founder of the Washington, Connecticut family, was descended from a long line of Scotch barons deriving their name, Celtic in origin, from the ancestral home, Logan, in Ayrshire. He came from the north of Ireland with the Gordons, Kassons, Keigwins, Parkes, Wylies, and other Scotch Presbyterians, under the leadership of Reverend Samuel Dorrance, a graduate of the University of Glasgow.Their party, after experiencing a great many unusual difficulties, came from Marblehead Harbor and Boston to Connecticut and buying up the Volunteer grants at Voluntown, forming the nucleus of the Presbyterian church Ekonk hill. –Source: A National Register of the Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Volume 1
“Among the first settlers of Voluntown, Conn., were a number of the thrifty Scotch-Irish, of whom large numbers emigrated to New England and Pennsylvania early in the last century. The most of those who settled in Voluntown were from Ulster, the extreme northern county of Ireland, and separated from Argyleshire, Scotland, by the narrow North Channel. They formed so large a proportion of the inhabitants of Voluntown, that they organized a Presbyterian church, the first, and for and called to be their pastor the Rev. Samuel Dorrance, himself lately arrived from Ireland, but a graduate of Glasgow University in Scotland. From these old Scotch-Irish families, the Campbells, Dixons, Douglases, Edmonds, Gibsons, Houstons, Hunters, Kassons, Kegwins, Kennedys, Parkes, Wylies, and others, have descended many of the prominent men of Connecticut, as well as of other states west and south where their descendants have settled.’ John Parke and wife, James Edmond and wife, Patrick McCallan and wife Elizabeth and daughter Elizabeth, John Gaston, John Wylie and wife Agnes, James Parke, Elizabeth Jordan, and perhaps William Cady and wife, John Logan and James Campbell, though the exact date of admission of the last four is uncertain.”
The Rising Sun Inn (6 Romford Road) was built in 1748 by John Loggin/Logan as a 1-1/2-story five-bay lean-to house. In the first half of the 19th century Matthew Logan (John’s son) altered the house to its present configuration by increasing the width of the front elevation three bays to the left (north), raising the roof to two full stories thereby providing for a ballroom, and building an ell. Presumably, the present 12-over-8 sash and window and doorway cornices date from that time. When patronage of the inn declined toward the end of the 19th century, the road in front was moved away, creating the present spacious lawn. While the age of the accompanying barn is undocumented, it surely is old, and with its weathered vertical siding, and large size is a prominent presence in the Sunny Ridge Historic District. Historic photographs show additional barns that formerly stood behind the house.The Sunny Ridge Historic District
There is a black and white real photo postcard of the Logan Homestead, formerly known as the Rising Sun Inn, at 6 Romford Road in Washington, Connecticut, at https://www.gunnlibrary.org/gunn-museum/. Search for “The Logan Homestead July 1913”. Trees loom over the front of the two-story, home with clapboard facade and dark trim and shutters on the multi-paned upper windows and double sashed lower. A roofed front portico is surrounded by a railed fence. A single-story addition is visible to the rear beyond a deck to the right. Tree branches (birch?) form an X pattern at the right corner of the residence.
Interesting Note: From the Jacob Larwood and John Camden Hotten’s History of Sign Boards, pg. 118. “The Rising Sun was a badge of Edward III, and forms part of the arms of Ireland, but the Sun Shining was cognizant of several kings.” “The Rising Sun may have been a favorable omen for a man beginning a business. Such signs were adopted for businesses, as well as inns.”
The Hollister name is in our tree. A Hollister Logan lived in this house, and I have a letter from her (actually a friend wrote it for her as she was in her 90’s) about her study of their genealogy, but hadn’t been able to find much.
John then married Dorcas Root in 1771 in Washington, Connecticut. They did not have any children together, but she had three children with her first husband, John Royce, who is also my 6th great grandfather. Their daughter, Azubah, married John Logan, Jr.
John, Sr. died on December 2, 1777, in Washington, Connecticut, having lived a long life of 77 years, and was buried there. Dorcas died the same year; the same year a smallpox epidemic raged through Washington, Connecticut. His grandson, Matthew, also died the same year at age 2. Not sure if this was the reason for their deaths, but it could be.
The Gunn Historical Museum in the Washington Green Historic District, in Connecticut, has many of the Logan artifacts, photos, stories, etc. Gunn Historical Museum
DNA has proven my connection to this John first through a Yahoo group I joined many moons ago (now https://pre1800logans.groups.io/g/main). Later, I found out that a gentleman that had helped me for years and I are 3rd cousins, 1x removed. He is also the President of the Clan Logan Society International! We share our third great grandfather, Lemuel H. Logan. Together we are bound to find the connection between John and Scotland.
Other Logan name variations are: Loban, Lobban, Loben, Logan, Logane, Logen, Loggan, Loggane, Loggans, Login.
In this 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, Close to Home, I decided to write about Mary Yeula Wescott, my great grandaunt. She was born 27 December 1889 at Poyner’s Hill in Currituck, North Carolina, where her father, John Thomas Wescott, was the keeper of the Poyner’s Hill Life-Saving station. She was the third of six children born to John and a year younger than my great-grandfather, Albert.
At a very young age, Mary loved to read and write. She was first published at the age of 12 when she decided to enter a writing contest for the St. Nicholas Magazine: An Illustrated Book For Young Folks by Mary Mapes Dodge. The following was published in January of 1903:
Poplar Branch, N.C.
Dear St. Nicholas: I am a little girl twelve years old, and I live on one of the sand-bars of North Carolina, five miles from the mainland. The nearest store and post-office is five miles away. My papa is the captain of the Poyners Hill Life-saving Station. We are bounded on the north and south by sand-hills, on the east by the ocean, and on the west by the Currituck Sound. The land near and on which the station is situated belongs to the Currituck Shooting Club, the club-house is the nearest one to us except the station. The club does not allow any of the station men except papa to build on the beach. We live only a few steps from the station and a little further from the sea, while the club-house is on the other side of the beach. So you see, we have it lonely here sometimes. Inclosed [sic] find my contribution which I hope is worthy of a prize.
Mary Yeula Wescott
The poem she enclosed won her a silver badge.
BY MARY YEULA WESCOTT
My little friend Annie
Came over to play.
We stayed in the house,
As ‘t was stormy that day.
She had her doll, Susan,
And mine was named Jane ;
We dressed and undressed them
Again and again.
We made them fine bonnets
For each little head.
They wore them to parties,
Then came home to bed.
Ann stepped on my finger,
And said she was glad.
I got up and slapped her,
She ‘d made me so mad.
Then I knocked Susan’s head off,
And Annie broke Jane.
We cried, and we quarreled
Again and again.
Then I said I was sorry,
As much as could be;
So I forgave Annie,
And she forgave me.
Mary continued to send in poems and articles as did her brother, Albert, and her sister, Laura. However, it was Mary who continued to write to them until at least the age of 17.
My Dear St. Nicholas League: I am sending to you today my verses for the September competition and I am so sorry to remember that I have but three more. Does everyone get old so dreadfully fast?
Your subject appealed to me this month, for I have several relatives including my father, who are members of the Life Saving Service to which I have a reference in the poem. This small band extends along the coast of the United States and guards its coast from the ravages of the storm. They maintain a constant watch along the shore and at the appearance of a distressed vessel launch their frail boats and, pitting their strength against the force of the waves, give aid to the distressed seamen. When the sea is so high that launching a boat from the shore is impossible, the beach apparatus is used and the sailors are brought from the vessel by means of a ” breeches-buoy,” which is drawn shoreward over a cable that has been shot across the vessel from the shore and fastened to the mast of the distressed vessel.
On our part of the coast, storms are numerous, and a rescue of this kind is a frequent occurrence.
I thank you so much for the encouragement you have given me in my endeavors to win that coveted cash prize.
But whether I succeed or not, I shall ever remember with gratitude the pleasure and benefit I have derived from your interesting work. Long life to you, my dear St. Nicholas League, and best wishes from your devoted League member, Mary Yeula Wescott (age 17).
It must have been this magazine that sparked her love of books.
Mary went to school in Durham and graduated from Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1914 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Magna cum laude. She taught Latin in local schools and went back to Trinity. In 1920, she took a leave of absence to attend and then graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Simmons College of Library Science in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924, where she also worked in a government position while attending school. Mary returned to Trinity College, her alma mater, to work at Trinity College Library (now Duke University Library).
About 1932, Professor William K. Boyd organized the work of the Newspaper Department and placed Miss Allene Ramage in charge of it. Miss Ramage, aided by Miss Mary Wescott and Miss Eva E. Malone, prepared a checklist of these papers under the title Bibliographical Contributions of the Duke University Libraries: a Checklist of United States Newspapers. This publication has been of value to many librarians and scholars throughout the United States.
Part I: Alabama––Georgia
Part II: Idaho––Massachusetts
Part III: Michigan––New York
Part IV: North Carolina
Part V: North Dakota––Vermont
Part VI: Virginia––Wyoming
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
She worked there until she retired in December of 1954 as Head of the Catalogue Department. A dinner was given in her honor on 14 December 1954. Among the special guests was Lawrence Quincy Mumford, Librarian of Congress. Mr. Mumford, who had known Miss Wescott since his student days, summarized well her contribution to both college and university when he spoke of her retirement as the termination of “a valuable career in librarianship.”
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
“Pride in her profession, friendliness, compassion, and a delightful sense of humor — these were the characteristics that made Mary Wescott deeply loved as well as highly respected. Exactly what her personal philosophy was, one would not presume to say. One feels though that possibly she expressed it in the last stanza of a poem she wrote long ago — “The Dream of the Sea.”
O my Heart keep young, we would cross that main
With its raging tide;
We would enter those fields of glad abode
On the other side —
And we, how we long for the mighty strife
And the waves’ wild sweep —
To battle our way to the rich reward
And then to sleep! “
Seven months after Mary retired, she died in her sleep. She never married.
By the way, I have never been able to determine where the name Yeula came from. The closest I found was that it could be an Indian word meaning Upward slope. Fitting for a woman who never stopped climbing.
Many people are taking DNA tests to try to figure out their heritage. When the traditional research methods are not working, a DNA test can help break through a brick wall by working alongside the “tried and true” family history research methods. A DNA test on its own is not going to solve the puzzle. I cannot stress this enough.
If your research hits a brick wall due to immigration or migration, name changes, or missing records, DNA may suggest clues that can lead you to new relatives, surnames, or locations. First, identify other descendants of your brick-wall ancestor who have also taken a DNA test (or ask other descendants to take a DNA test). Use the shared or “in common with” feature provided by your DNA testing company to identify other DNA matches connected to the same brick-wall ancestor. Review those matches and their trees. Look for people, surnames, or locations that match the information you already know about your brick-wall ancestor.
When I assist clients with their research, I mainly focus on the “tried and true” method I mentioned above. Starting with the client, gathering their vital records, birth certificate, baptismal certificate, marriage certificate, divorce information, etc. etc. Then their parents and grandparents, collecting the same information, including death certificates, naturalization records, land records, wills, newspaper articles, house history, etc.
Even if you know all this and have done your research, sometimes you just hit that proverbial “brick wall,” and it seems you can’t get any farther. In this case, you have to find other avenues. More and more archives are digitizing their records. And, if you read my post on my Facebook page, Loganalogy, then you know I have hit a couple of gold mines with the genealogical societies.
Please do not get scared off by their pricing on their pages. This week I will have received about eighteen pages, one family tree, and a source record from four different societies and was charged only $10 for the whole lot. Because I know how hard they work and the passion they have to help others, I paid a bit more as donations.
Some people may have the desire to know about their ancestry, but they do not have the time or resources to pursue it. That is where people like me come in handy. I am not a certified genealogist (it is on my retirement list); however, I am a Family History Research Specialist.
Let me customize a package that works for you, whether you need a whole family researched, one line, one person, or you need advice on where to go next with your research. I can help.
Visit www.loganalogy.com today, read my blogs, my finds on my ancestors, and let me help you find yours.
It is the American Genealogical Biographical Index and one of the most essential printed genealogical sources in the United States. But, I did not always know that. It was a hint, a source in Ancestry.com that would come up periodically on my New England ancestors. I never really understood it except for it to confirm a birth or some other fact. Ah, the ignorance of the early days!
Recently, I looked back at some older entries in my family tree to see if I could find new leads on some of my more elusive ancestors. One was Margaret Car(r), my 6th great-grandmother. She married John Logan, the ancestor who came to Connecticut through Massachusetts. Although I know John came from Ireland, I do not know anything about Margaret before she came to Connecticut. Although I know they married in Massachusetts.
One of the first clues I looked at again was the AGBI. In researching it, I came across a blog by Diane B. of OneRhodeIslandFamily.com. In it, she wrote, “The Boston Transcript was a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper that regularly carried a page of genealogical questions and answers. That feature ran for several decades in the late 1800s/early 1900s.” And, it is indexed in the AGBI!
Even more exciting was learning that I can order them and over 800 printed genealogies and other compiled sources from the Godfrey Memorial Library. From their website, “Godfrey Memorial Library is the owner and publisher of the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI) which contains more than four million names, statistics, and sources for research including local histories, church, and vital records, military lists, and more. It also includes over two million records from the Boston Transcript. AGBI is the largest and most important genealogical reference set ever published and clearly the best starting point to find any early New England settlers. This is an index to the books and periodicals on our shelves.”
Did I just stumble upon a gold mine? We’ll soon find out as I mailed out my request a couple of days ago. I printed out their order form, and for $10 each entry, I can soon find out what they know about my ancestor.
You, too, can access this gold mine at https://www.godfrey.org/agbi.html. Print and fill out the order form, then use the information from the AGBI index for each ancestor requested. I limited myself to three ancestors, including Margaret.
Another source attached to Margaret is regarding her marriage in Marshfield, Massachusetts to John, titled “Mayflower Source Records.” Upon closer inspection, it was from the New England Historical and Genealogical Register called the “Mayflower Source Records: Primary Data Concerning Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard” by Gary Boyd Rogers. It’s a source of material where the majority of the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims settled by the end of the 18th century. Am I, is Margaret, descended from a Mayflower passenger?
Exciting stuff! New revelations to dig up for sure.
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