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Flickr_-_USCapitol_-_Signing_of_the_Constitution

As broadcast legend Walter Cronkite would say: “You are there.” Perhaps, you aren’t or weren’t there, but were any of your ancestors?

In 1787, delegates from seven of the newly created states traveled to Philadelphia to begin deliberation for revising the Articles of Confederation. The result was historic – The Constitution of the United States.

Were any of my known ancestors living in the area in 1787? My four times great-grandfather, Adam Goul (1761-1845), had arrived in Pennsylvania around 1773 and in the first census of the United States, 1790, he was living in a small area called Kingsessing in Philadelphia. It is quite possible that he witnessed some of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention out and about in the Philadelphia area during the four months they were hashing out our government structure. Adam may have spoken with some of the men there and saw General George Washington from a distance. My newly found Lewis ancestors were living in Delaware county, Pennsylvania putting them right next door to Philadelphia. Perhaps at some point, one of them came across one or more delegates.

What would have been the feeling of the residents of Philadelphia besides being war weary from the Revolutionary War? Were they aware something so important was taking place just down the street? What were the newspapers reporting? And given what our country has seen at many political conventions, were there protesters outside the building that would come to be known as Independence Hall? And just what would today’s media sound like if all the technology of today was around back then?

 

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia twice – once when I was a child and another the summer before my senior year of high school. At each visit, I stood in Independence Hall gazing at the area where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. That whole city is full of history and through my ancestors, a bit of mystery as I wonder if Adam realized that he was in the middle of the most important events in our country’s narrative.

Top Image: Wikimedia commons – public domain.
Two bottom images: Original and digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.

Wedding Wednesday

“Abel Lewis taking the said Elizabeth Jones by the hand did in a solemn manner openly declare that he took the said Elizabeth Jones to be his wife.”

Those written words could belong to any number of couples who are marrying, but Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones aren’t just any couple. They are my four times great-grandparents. The words above explain in detail the union of this couple who would go on to produce several children – one being my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr. I’ve often come across marriage records for ancestors that just give their names and the date of marriage. Not very many record what transpired at the wedding.

I have to admit that as I read the rest of the marriage record, I was overcome with emotion. It was only recently that I learned their names. They aren’t as familiar to me as some of my ancestors. Yet, reading about the union of Abel and Elizabeth caused me to be very thankful that they were married – or I wouldn’t be here. It’s sort of silly getting a little misty over a wedding that took place on October 10, 1759.

Except . . . the groom would only live seven more years and die six months after his youngest child – my ancestor, Abel Lewis Jr, was born. Abel Sr wouldn’t see his children grow up or know his grandchildren. He wouldn’t live to a ripe old age with his bride, Elizabeth.

“Promising with the Lord’s assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until death should separate them.”

Source: U.S., Quaker Meeting Records. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Ancestry.com. Citing Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones. Accessed 23 May 2016.

Scandi-What?

Scandinavia

A few weeks ago, I received the results of my AncestryDNA test. Some of the information was just as I expected – more than 50% Great Britain and quite a bit from Western Europe. Knowing the amount of ancestors that came from England as well as Germany led me to realize that the test was pretty accurate. Then there was that 12% Scandinavian. Scandi-what? I couldn’t quite figure where that DNA came from unless it was so far back in history when the tribes from that part of the world went out to the area of Great Britain and Germany. The other explanation was that it came from those few brick wall ancestors that I had yet to go further back in time past the early to mid-1800s.

Comparing my tree with those people who were a DNA match resulted in quite a bit of Scandinavian surnames. Who are these people and how did we match? I was at a complete loss. Until Saturday. Yes, that explosion you heard coming from Mid-Missouri was a brick wall that imploded, tumbled down, and shook the earth with a magnitude large enough that it would have finally shaken California from its roots.

My brick wall ancestors include my 2nd great-grandfather’s (William Amore) parents. I have no names for them except that William had listed on the 1880 census that his father was born in England and his mother in New York. Then there is my great-grandmother, Frances V. Ogan (or Foster – depending on which census is used) who was married to James Emory House (parents of my paternal grandmother). Reports are that Frances was left on a doorstep. She was raised by Evan and Susannah (Fritter) Ogan who were old enough to be her grandparents. Then there is Abel Lewis (who I learned is a Jr) and his wife, Nancy (or Ann) Johnson (or Johnston).

Within the last six months, I have found enough documentation that Abel and Nancy Lewis were my 2nd great-grandparents. Their daughter, Julia Ann Lewis, was married to Florus Allen House and became parents to my great-grandfather, James Emory House. However, information for Abel Lewis was sketchy at best. Luckily, I found someone else who had been researching this particular Lewis family and contacted him. Not only has he provided more information and documentation but as soon as he did that, other doors opened.

Nancy Johns(t)on, Abel Lewis Jr’s wife, was the daughter of James Johns(t)on and Catherine See. I had come across the See surname in several of the trees of people who were a DNA match. It was beginning to make sense. Catherine See, my 4th great-grandmother, was the daughter of Johann Frederick Michael See (or Zeh) and Catherine Margaret Vanderpool. Going back one more generation, Catherine was the daughter of Wynant Malgertsel Vanderpool (or Van der Poel) and Catherine de Hooges – both born in New York in the 1650s. But in the 1600s, the area was New Netherland – a Dutch colony.

New Netherland map

Wait a minute, Dutch? As in Holland? Amsterdam? The Netherlands? Okay, that is Western Europe. Still not finding any Scandinavian ancestors. So let’s just keep moving back further. Catherine de Hooges was the daughter of Johannes de Hooges and Margarita Post. Johannes was the son of Anthony de Hooges and Eva Albertse Bradt – both born in North Holland and both died in New Netherland. Eva was the daughter of Albert Andriessen Bradt and Annetje Barents Von Rottmer. Annetje was born in Germany but Albert was born in – wait a minute – Fredrikstad, Norway! He was also an early settler of New Netherland; arriving with his wife and two children (one was my ancestor, Eva) at New Amsterdam (now tip of Manhattan) on March 4, 1637.

Albert’s parents, Andries Arentse Bradt and Eva Kinetis, were also born in Norway (and for those following along, Andries and Eva are my 10th great-grandparents!). I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg for me. The door has now been opened to my Scandinavian ancestors. So much has been written about some of these men who sailed from the Old World to the unknown of the New World in the 1600s. They were men who helped shaped what would become New York City, Albany, and the state of New York. They were businessmen and farmers. Their friends were the Van Rensselaers and other prominent Dutch upper middle class to upper class settlers.

For further reading, I urge you to plug in some of these names into Google and see what fascinating people they were!

(Images: both images from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

scientific testing photo from pexels

Oh happy day! Happy dance! I can’t stop gushing about a DNA match I discovered yesterday – less than one hour after I received my AncestryDNA results! A match that more than proved what I have assumed for many years – that Charlotte Reed is most definitely my 2nd great-grandmother!

If you remember, I offered up corroborating evidence in my blog post, Is This My Charlotte? but haven’t found enough documentation to say proof-positive that is the person I thought she was. But yesterday all of that changed when I discovered a DNA match that went directly to Lucy Minerva Imus (apparently the person’s tree didn’t go one generation further to Matilda Reed – Lucy’s mother). That means that I am related to the person who descends from Charlotte’s niece! The person I match is my 4th cousin!

Reed DNA Match Chart

Confirming that Charlotte is my 2nd great-grandmother confirms that Zachariah Reed born about 1793 in Maryland is my 3rd great-grandfather. So, who was his wife – my 3rd time great-grandmother?

Booya! One brick wall torn down! On to the next!

(Top photograph: free at Pexels.com)

air-balloon-balloons-birthday-42067

Eight years ago on April 18th, I decided to take the leap from a Tripod hosted website (which is still in existence) to a Genealogy Blog. I am still reaping the rewards of that decision! Not only did I become a part of the larger “genea-blogger” community but I’ve learned so many tips, tricks, and techniques for research and blogging!

In the last eight years, I have written 551 posts and received 664 comments. The blog has had 59, 547 views and 11,704 visitors (I don’t have a way of knowing how many views and visitors are unique or the same). The day I had the most views was September  6, 2014.

The best part of this journey is the distant cousins that have found me! Some of them had very little information about their family history until they found my blog. That is what keeps me excited about writing and researching.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll still be writing eight years down the road, but I hope you – my readers – will stick around as long as I’m here!

Thank you!

follow-friday

Sometimes I am a little slow to read or find articles posted the same week as my “Follow Friday” and at least one of the posts below is from a couple weeks ago. I’ve still read it this week!

Susan Peterson explained how easy it is to Create Your Own Clip Art for blog posts. She has some great tips!

To piggy-back on Susan’s post, I ran across 6 Steps to Organize Your Blog Images on Tonia Kendrick’s “Solopreneur Diaries” website.

Are you on Pinterest? Are you following Geneabloggers? If you haven’t followed yet, I urge you to do so – there are many boards there (Genealogy Bargains, May I Introduce You To…, DNA Genealogy, Photo Resources for Genealogists, etc.) that may help in any aspect of genealogy, research, websites, photos, or blogging.

What useful tips or articles have you found this week?

follow-friday

The blog post that had me by the heartstrings this week was from DNAExplained by Roberta Estes about a daughter that was born too early and passed away without a name or a proper good-bye – The Invisible Child. Her article made me think about my own mother who lost a child at 5 months gestation.

Randy Seaver, at Genea-Musings, never fails to amaze me with tips, ideas, how-tos, or some humor. Yesterday, he posted Ancestry.com Provides a Relationship Calculator, and my first thought was “are there still people who aren’t familiar with that?” I was thinking that it is the line on the person’s profile that says “2nd great-grandmother” – etc. But then I started reading the article! It is not what I thought. Once again, Randy told me something I did not know nor was I aware of!

I believe that Amy Johnson Crow is my hero when it comes to Ohio research! I learn new and interesting things about researching in my home state. Her article, 5 Ways to Prepare For Your Courthouse Research Trip, is not just for those with Ohio ancestors. This couldn’t come at a better time for me because I’m planning on doing some courthouse research this summer when I’m in Ohio. Thank you, Amy!

Denise Olson (Moultrie Creek Gazette) provided some tips on publishing a family history book in Build Family History Books with BookWright. There are many types of services to do this, and Denise helps narrow down those choices.

What have you been reading this week?

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