We family historians can never get enough of a good thing, right? So in the fall of 2012 when my son and his fiancée tied the knot I was thrilled for two very different reasons: a) my new daughter in-law was going to be an awesome addition to the family, and b) with it she was bringing an entirely new family history for exploring – a welcome relief after staring at my own brick walls for too long.
Before long, I was in the thick of researching her family tree, especially those lines that would lead (where else but?) to New England. Soon enough I could see a possible Mayflower line in her grandmother’s Martell family. There seemed to be a clear path to Mayflower passenger Henry Samson. And while I wasn’t intent on signing up my new daughter-in-law for the GSMD, I knew I had to be able to prove this for my own benefit – and for any future grandchildren (wink). Continue reading Birth marks→
Following up on correcting the charts in my Seeing double blog post, the chart showing my ancestor Anna (Salisbury) Slade was a recent disappointment and involved removing some ancestors from my charts. The chart identified Anna’s parents as Daniel Salisbury and Anna Hale, and had Anna as the child of Rev. Moses Hale (Harvard 1699) and Mary Moody of Newbury, with several early Newbury ancestors including Henry and Jane (Dummer) Sewall, who were the parents of Judge Samuel Sewall (1652–1730), known for his involvement in the Salem witch trials. Continue reading Bye-bye-bye→
Paul Revere’s famous ride is often the jumping off point for thinking about the Revolutionary War. But there is a lesser known patriot – a woman, too – who helped win the war and changed the course of history.
Her name was Sybil Ludington, and she was born 5 April 1761 in Connecticut as the eldest child of Henry and Abigail Ludington. On the rainy night of 25 April 1777, as British troops were advancing to attack Danbury, Connecticut, Sybil, only 16 years old at the time, took off on her famous 40 mile horseback ride to alert approximately 400 militiamen under the control of her father, Colonel Henry Ludington. She was chosen for the task because the original messenger, who had ridden to notify her father of the advancing British troops, was too tired from his first trip and could not proceed. Continue reading In praise of Sybil Ludington→
My Daughters of the American Revolution lineage is filed through Bernice Crane of Berkley, Massachusetts. I have other ancestors that I could have chosen, but I chose Bernice for a special reason – he is definitely my most interesting patriot ancestor.
Bernice and his wife Joanna (Axtell) Crane were Tory sympathizers at the beginning of the Revolution. One family story says that Bernice Crane, a sea captain, “carried word to the Torries in New York until the Whigs ran his small craft ashore, when he became a patriot.” This decision was likely also influenced by the tar and feathering of his next door neighbor and cousin, Lemuel Crane. Continue reading Patriots→
Not long ago, I was searching for a record of an 1830s marriage between two prominent Scottish families. I was certain I would have an easy time locating this particular record, having identified the parish and county in which the couple were married, so I began my search. Yet while I searched several sources, including Given Name Index to Marriages in Old Parochial Registers to 1855, and Scotland Marriages, 1561-1910, I found no record of the marriage. I attempted the search again using every variation of the surname I could think of, but struck out. I then turned to published genealogies regarding the two families, but found no mention of this particular couple’s marriage. Continue reading Irregular border marriages in Scotland→
The announcement Tuesday of the (probable) identification of the remains of four men buried under the chancel of the first parish church at Jamestowne, Virginia – first discovered in 2010 and unearthed in 2013 – has now made the front page of The Wall Street Journal and appeared in other leading news outlets. While not the first Englishmen to die in the nascent American colony, they were nearly so, probably interred in Virginia soil in 1608 and 1610, more than a decade before the Mayflower arrived on American shores; these men were certainly among the colony’s founders. Continue reading The Jamestowne Chancel Burials→
A number of new bloggers made their début on Vita Brevis during the first half of 2015. Tricia Labbe, of the Society’s Membership Services team, wrote in February about breaking through a brick wall on her father’s mother’s family, the Dionnes:
So you’ve decided to join a lineage society. Maybe you’ve found an ancestor who meets the qualification for a society you’ve known about for years. Or possibly you’ve just found out about a society that sounds really interesting and you want to join. Either way, deciding to join a lineage society is just the first in a series of decisions about your membership. Continue reading Choosing a Lineage Society→