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A Genealogy and Family History Diary.

I live within 40 miles of the graves of 9 generations of my paternal line. The first of my Dad's Puritan ancestors came over in 1635 and is buried in Watertown, MA. So is his son. The 3rd and 4th generation in America are buried in Groton, MA and the 5th, 6th and 7th of my direct paternal line are buried in Gardner, MA. My grandfather is buried in Salem, (I think, a little murky on this one) and my father sleeps eternally in a plot of land a stone's throw from a stark monument set up to honor the victims of the Witchcraft Delusion of 1692 in Danvers, MA. I don't know, but I think this qualifies me as a genuine "Masshole." It's feels a little bit un-American in a way.

I had no idea that my family lineage went so far back. This is evidence that I am, at least partly, capable of extraordinary dumbness. Finding people in New England with lineages that go way back should be about as shocking as finding out there are French people in, ahm, France, but it is a bit shocking to put all those pieces together in genealogy and come out with such a strong connection to a place.

Americans move around a lot. I mean a lot.  No sooner did Europeans get to America than they started moving around to find bigger, better plots of land. The New England migration began along the seacoast then slowly began to settle inland. The settlements went from Salem and Boston to the more western MA lands in Concord, then north and west of the provincial capitol of Boston. The Puritans and Pilgrims fought with, then decimated the Native settlers they found in present day New England. Those Indian people were driven, over the course of about 3 generations, almost entirely either into present day New York (and west from there) or were rounded up and sold into slavery after King Philips War. After the Native inhabitants were gone, the descendants of the English settlers quickly took their lands. Those, for better or worse, were my Dad's relatives.

I mentioned that I found there was something vaguely un-American about having a history that goes back so far in one place.  I talk to people all the time who had ancestors among the MA Puritan settlers or their colonial descendants. (The colonists were Englishmen, btw, not yet Americans. They were becoming Americans, but it took a long while.) It is more common to talk to people whose ancestors were in MA and then left. These descendants stretch across the United States. I have many a "lost" cousin in Ohio, Iowa, California, and Utah.  (Oh yes, Utah. Many of my distant cousins followed Brigham Young and Joseph Smith to Utah.  The LDS Church has strong, strong roots in old Puritan New England.)

There are diaries on DKos that begin in the general Kos population and pick up a number of commentaries from people who don't really get why this subject has such a fascination for some of us.  For this part of my family history, it is a fascination with place. I am, clearly, the descendant of the family members who stayed. Puritan and, later, colonial families could have huge numbers of children. All these children could not inherit land from their parents; there simply wasn't enough to go around. So each generation lost people to the westward (and northern) migrations.  Yet some in each generation stayed. They moved to central locations in MA, but they stayed here as Yankees. Later on, many of their children moved back to be closer to the Boston metropolitan area and stayed and stayed.

I live near the same brooks and stone walls that untold numbers of my "kin" have lived near. Though the landscaping and make-up of the woods and wildlife areas in eastern MA have changed a lot over the centuries, certain facets of it have stayed the same. My 7th and 8th great-grandparents might have admired the views of the Merrimac River   in spring and paused to take in the changing colors of "the fall" in New England. Later generations probably grumbled about fleeting victories and unearned losses in games of rounders (early baseball) and the earliest versions of what became the game of football. (First known as "the Boston Game," btw.)

I sing of place. That idea that some humans are held by long, long ties that bind to certain places. Some members of my extended family who lived in MA were illustrious, most were very ordinary. Some seem to have been hard workers, some were, no doubt, scoundrels and narrow in their outlooks. Some lived very long lives, some were cut down early by diseases like consumption (tuberculosis) and dysentery and other horrors. I have kin who died in long ago wars with the French, others who perished in the American Revolution and still others who fought in the War of the Rebellion (Civil War).)  Causes have rippled across this landscape, leaving searing scars on the land about the rights of individuals, abolition, religious diversity and women's rights. There is something about this place that breeds causes. And the people who take them up.

Anyway, I was wondering, how many of you feel that pull of place. You wander in a spot where you know distant (or not so distant) relatives lived and wonder how place shaped them. (For better and for worse. Not all stories are glorious or have happy endings. Place can nourish or suffocate, enlarge or shrink people in their fortunes. All that happened here as well to my kith and kin.)

Originally posted to Genealogy and Family History Community on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hear such lovely stories from people (27+ / 0-)

    who have had relatives who came here from all over the world.  I love their stories. I love hearing about how so many struggled so much to come here, live here and be here in America.

    My Dad's family is the others married into; the ones with the dominant culture of my family.  I get my accent, way of speech and general sense of culture from this Yankee background. My dropped 'r's' and long a's (as in "Ahnt" not "Ant" for a female relative) come from this place.  My politics were shaped by this area as well and I was astonished to find a long, long history of causes in my family, from the arguments of Revolution to the arguments for abolition and women's rights to the current struggles for freedom for LGBT people.

    I live here.  I am also from here. It is the place I come from, struggle against and the place I will one day lay down and rest.

  •  oh and a note on ancestors and Senate races (24+ / 0-)

    She is too "one of us." She so is one of us. She doesn't drop her 'r's' or torture her vowels like I do, might not remember long ago losses and pains, but she is so from here now. I hear it when she speaks. I feel it when she stands up for someone without power, stands up for a righteous deed.

    That is one of the great threads that binds this region. It is what drove generations to sacrifice for a cause and drove other people from other lands to come here.

    OMG, she is so from here now. Really. It's just "wicked we-yud"  to think otherwise.

  •  nice! (17+ / 0-)

    i'm into this, too.
    if you look at how you descended along your tree(youngest v. eldest son) you might have a hint why your ancestors chose their path--staying or pushing on.  an oldest child who would inherit, and so would stay!  a young one had to find his own plot to till.
    for me, i am the progeny of younger members along the line.
    on one side, entry was 1725 in one spot in PA until 1890, then westward the youngest went.
    on another it was delaware for many gens until after civil war.
    on another it was 1600's in new england, conn. to be exact but moved to MA and stayed there until youngest went to MI after the civil war.  there, they caught up w/ the Scots who jumped over the Canadian border.
    so even tho i'm a 2nd gen cali girl (dad born 1920's in Long beach, mom born MT on a homestead), i'm not only drawn to NE, but i've lived there and need to always go back and explore and dig around.  same w/ philly:  lived there and love to go back.  i feel it in my bones.
    and don't get me started on the mountains and rivers and big sky of MT!!!.
    i am a western girl, a gardener, a hiker, a fisher, an amateur historian, do-gooder, bookish, arty and a sports nut!
    these values run deep in my fam.  it is who i am.  i am of the land i come from.

    Give me back my democracy. 50% + 1

    by stagemom on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:34:55 PM PDT

  •  I have an ancestor (15+ / 0-)

    along my father's mother's line who was born in 1647 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. John Shattuck. My family went in a straight line from Puritans to Mormons, somehow the gene didn't pass to me.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:49:55 PM PDT

    •  Hi Cousin. (14+ / 0-)

      Yup, I have a gggg-grand aunt who was in the Shattuch line.  (Different spelling, but same family.) The Puritan side jumped from Watertown to Groton to the Lancaster, MA - later Gardner area.  They went with folks with the same groups and same last names. It's like the 7th sons of 7th sons all decided to jump stakes at once.

      Hi Cousin, nice to know you. (We are almost certainly multiply related.  Any Wheelers in the family tree.  I think we have firmly agreed in here that everyone with a MA connection has a Wheeler ancester in there somewhere.)

      Oh, btw, I just found a connection to the Marbleheaders in the early family. The fabulous and quite ornery Orne family. How delightful.  (Marblehead was a tale unto itself. I will tell that too one day.)

      •  Wow! We are cousins! (10+ / 0-)

        Members of that line were married and buried in Groton. It was in Groton that my Shattuck ggg++grandma hooked up with the Blood family. The Bloods traveled some and managed to make it into Upstate NY just in time to meet up with Joseph Smith.

        Nice to meet you cousin :)

        I will look for Wheelers.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:34:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are probably multiple cousins (7+ / 0-)

          I am related to the Blood family as well.

          I live in the Groton general area. Any specific sites I can take pictures of or look for markers in?

          Nice to meet you Cuz.  We almost certainly have ancestors who fought together in the American Revolution. Wow!

          •  Wow, indeed! (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MooseHB, edwardssl, klompendanser, brook

            Thank you for the offer and I would love to see any part of the Groton area. I have to run this morning but will get back to you later when I'm not rushing. Thank you so much for this, it is just too cool to find a distant relative like this and to explore my history.

            The emphasis here is on the Mormon history and for sure it is an astounding story. The trek of the pioneers is something to contemplate, the trials they faced and their determination of all who were involved. But, for many here the Mormon component is the only one that matters. There is so much more.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 07:24:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Richard Wheeler of Lancaster, MA, (7+ / 0-)

        was my 9th great-grandfather. He was one of the founding settlers, with his father-in-law, John Prescott. Wheeler was killed in a 1675 Indian attack.
        An offshoot of that branch includes Lawrences from Groton and Watertown.

        I had no idea, either, that my family had roots in early New England. (They go back as far as Elder William Brewster.) My parents had little knowledge of their ancestors but what they did say suggested the family arrived recently in this country. In a couple of cases, that was true.  But, of the rest, there were no hints.

        My ancestors tended to move frequently. Many were the sons of farmers, looking for land of their own, or ministers seeking their own congregations.
        Some of the earliest arrivals were Puritans, while others were Quakers, driven from the Massachusetts colony by religious persecution. Some ended up in Rhode Island, and quite a few in Connecticut.

        Speak the truth, but ride a fast horse.

        by Deep Harm on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:06:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I got Wheelers! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, brook

        For the record.

        Line goes back to 1623 on one side of my mother's tree.  Governor Conant himself.

        Lots of Thayers also.

        I voted Democrat on 9/27/2012.

        by MooseHB on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:20:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  sadly, I had to post this as a two-day diary (16+ / 0-)

    I only have a limited posting time on the computer. (Long story.)  I will respond as I can and, probably to the better, more briefly.  (Cell phone commentaries have their positive side, LOL.)

    And I do have a Halloween diary ready to go for Oct 30-31st.  It's on Salem and I am trying to get pictures to go along with it. Salem is a great unfolding story, and Halloween is a great time to tell some tales, don'tcha think?

  •  I only started my search for my ancestors (14+ / 0-)

    in 2002.  I had been told they all came from Germany during the Great Migration, and it turned out to be true, the first arriving in 1852 and the last arriving in 1886 (or so - haven't firmed that one down yet).

    Some came to Wisconsin first, only about a hours drive from where I live now in the Chicago area.

    One arrived in Cincinnati, where he stayed for 10 years before moving on to Iowa.

    The largest number, both my mom's and dad's sides, settled in the Dyersville (Field of Dreams) Iowa area, which is about 3 hours from me.

    Everytime I go to Dyersville, I feel the electricity.  I sit next to their gravesites, and I speak to them.  I go to the churches they attended, I stand next to the baptismal font, and am in awe that this is where my grandparent's (and some g-grandparents) were christened.  I walk on the very ground where they walked.

    I feel the connection.

    Some day, I will go to Germany.  I know all the villages they came from and I hope to experience an even deeper connection there.

    The biggest difference is that you have almost 400 years of cultural existence ingrained into your personal being.  My existence, on the other hand, is soooo much different than my ancestors.

    •  that is the part I hadn't thought of before (13+ / 0-)

      I started reading this group. I am the product of thousands of random choices and decisions that brought some wholely unlikely people together. (So are we all.)

      And I love history.  I just never connected the "store bought and taught" history of this area to me.  I just thought of history as an outer event. Genealogy, for better and worse, connects me to "what has come before."

      Some of these stories are tales of deep woe. Some concern people I would not want to spend an hour with in a closed room.  Not nice folks at all. There are heartbreaks and abandonments in any long story.

      I have a gg-uncle who was given away as a baby to live with another family.  (This family, the Knowltons, are one of the most fascinating in New England history.  Some of them from CT spied for Washington in NY during the War, some went to prison for writing books about female contraception in the 1830's.) I know the circumstances surrounding why a father would give up a middle-born son, but not the story about it. I am so dying to find out why this happened, why to the Knowltons and so forth.  Obviously that is a diary yet to be written.

  •  keep posting! i have to head off to art class, bu (9+ / 0-)

    but i'll be back!

    Give me back my democracy. 50% + 1

    by stagemom on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 05:59:56 PM PDT

  •  Long New England roots here, too (13+ / 0-)

    Some moved from Boston to CT, way early.  Others settled in CT in the 1630s, directly.  Mostly English, a few Irish.  Some came a little later, French Huguenots when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, but have been in the area a long time.  Some of them moved around New England, but quite a few of them have stayed in the same place.  (There's others came in the 1800s: from Germany and from Scotland.)  

    Some were Puritans, some were bent on making their fortune (and did so, with others lost at sea.)  Some arrived as servants, indentured or otherwise.  Many of them long, long ago.  When I follow thread after thread back, there's a lot of echoes, parallel stories.

    I've been visiting around local graveyards of late, and have found about as many generations as you have - numerous 9th great grandparents, though many of the graves from the 1600s are disintegrating and damaged; many are missing.

    "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party (quoted by Paul Ryan without proper attribution)

    by Land of Enchantment on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:20:07 PM PDT

    •  hey cuz..Huguenots (9+ / 0-)

      and their interesting history as far as I have read about it..very impressed with people taking their tradesman skills ( us'ns) and leaving for more German or Dutch climes, then the French Royalty threatening or even executing the now hostage stay behind family to get the producer runaways back to producing the royal wealth and also not making leaving a positive alternative.
        Religion, then, as is now seems a false front for theft and politics. Convert or die, but get back to work!

      The German 'princes' also fomented trouble to profit by recruiting the very same tradespeople and crafts people.

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 07:28:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Movement (7+ / 0-)

    The perception of people establishing colonies and moving from them is not really accurate.

    What tends to happen is that people establish a settlement and newcomers establish new settlements in previously unsettled areas (except for the most part they are not free of indigenous people.)

    In brief, its the settlements, not the settlers that tend to advance into new territory (if that makes sense). There are comparatively few families that once established in an area that move wholesale to new areas.

    Where there is movement of families, it tends to be as a result of individuals following new opportunities, personal wealth or fleeing conflict or disaster. Even then it tends to be "one hop" rather than a permanent migratory lifestyle.

    There are numbers of examples of this and often the result today is that certain areas are identified as "belonging" to particular groups. A couple of examples. US gateway cities like New York often have their "Little Italy"s or Chinatowns. In South Africa, the Voortrekkers (Dutch from the Cape area) moved north to found the Orange Free State but they did not move further north or west in substantial numbers. Even what is now the conurbation of Johannesburg and Pretoria have distinct English and Afrikaans speaking identities.

    So your experience of finding a long history of a family living in a particular area is not unusual.

    Why doesn't Mitt Romney carry an iPhone? 1. He has staff to carry his cellphone 2. He has an Ann Droid.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:38:47 PM PDT

  •  Some of my roots... (13+ / 0-)

    ...go back to 17th-century Massachusetts. But they're the ones who kept moving, generation after generation, to New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, the Rockies, and finally the West Coast (where I was born).

    I have no idea what it's like to have quite the sense of place as you do. Nice post!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 06:44:04 PM PDT

  •  I feel the pull of place and it is hard to explain (10+ / 0-)

    My family moved to my hometown in Ohio in 1822, from Western Pennsylvania.  Some of them live there to this day.  My family left for California in 1962, 140 years later.

    I grew up, for most of my life, away from my place of birth.  But it still exerts a gravity upon me.  It still feels like home, more than any other place I have ever lived.  And I have a feeling that, before I "say goodnight, Dick"...I will once again find myself back there.

    I know what you are writing about.  All my life, truth be told, I felt it in my bones whenever my family drove back to Ohio for a summer vacation.  

    We would drive for three days, starting from Los Angeles, and as soon as we got to Ross County, Ohio, I could roll down the car window and it smelled like home.

    It was a smell of leaves, of grass, hay, someone burning something far off in the distance, of gasoline powered lawn mowers, of Mecco BBQ grills cooking hamburgers...but it was also the hills.  When I looked at them from the car window driving into our home town...I saw them almost as someone who had lived there forever.  It was...and this is really hard to explain, as though I was seeing the landscape through many eyes...it felt so....well acquainted.  So second nature.

    As though I knew every inch of it.

    I still feel that way.  I can't explain it in any way that would make sense to most people today.  But when I'm there, I am home.  And, like you, I have several generations before me who are buried at the local cemetary.  

    I know there are younger people who will read this and scratch their head...not be able to relate in the least.  

    That's okay...there's nothing to be done about that.

    But places can exert a gravitational pull upon you.  Places can recognize even roots that were pulled up at a young age, and when they come back to the soil that they started in, that soil recognizes them, and you recognize it.  And if you are open, it can be  a nice homecoming.  

    I've lived in lots of places in my life.  But my soul has only felt completely at home in the place where I was brought into this world.  My mind hasn't always...but my soul always did.  There probably aren't too many people who can go to the local cemetary and see tombstones over the graves of their great, great grandparents.  

    I sometimes have felt, in my life, that I inherited a collective experience of the place where we all lived for so much of our lives.  It's the only way I can explain the sense of attachment I feel for that place.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:18:07 PM PDT

  •  I was born in Baltimore, MD, (6+ / 0-)

    and three or four generations of my family (depending on which branch you look at) were born there before me.  However, my sisters' sons may be the last generation of my family to be born there.  They are scattering to the winds, and since many members move after retirement, there may not be any family left there at all in a few years.  Despite the fact that I haven't lived in Baltimore for 30 years, it still makes me feel a little dispossessed, since so much family history and so many family graves are there.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 08:55:41 PM PDT

  •  Another genealogy fan here! (6+ / 0-)

    My earliest immigrating ancestors arrived here in 1643 (at least the earliest I've found). One  branch of the family lived in Salem for a little while, then left for Southold, Long Island (a pretty little village I'd been through dozens of times on my way to visit in-laws before I knew of the connection). And they kept going, but only as far as south central NY State. And Jersey, where I was born. I've been in Mass. for almost forty years, and, although I'm still, deep down, a Jersey girl, I feel tied to this place, through friendships, history, satisfying work, and my baby girl (who will be 17 in a few weeks -- I have GOT to stop thinking of her like that!). For me, though, one of the great pulls of genealogy is the connection I feel to history, which was never of great interest to me.

    And for the record, the woman who cuts my hair is a Shattuck. Small world!

    "Life and death, dispensed on a dollar basis. How ridiculous and fatally stupid, in what is still the richest country on earth?" Exmearden

    by burana on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:29:07 PM PDT

  •  Have you read the books by John Hanson Mitchell (6+ / 0-)

    which celebrate his home in Massachusetts? I'm reading Ceremonial Time, Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile, and recently finished Living at the End of Time. You'd feel a kinship with the author, I'm sure, as he muses about the people past and present who have lived on his land.

       

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:30:30 PM PDT

  •  My roots in America go back to 1644 and we still (5+ / 0-)

    own land in NH deeded by the queen of england, hand drawn on parchment paper from early 1700s.

    As fascinating and interesting as all that is, we are all connected:)

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 12:25:38 AM PDT

  •  Oh... my.... (7+ / 0-)

    Mayflower descendant here (through two lines to Edward Doty, both through daughter Desire Doty & her first husband William Sherman, multiple step-family & in-law connections to several other Mayflower passengers), then Robert Carver, nephew of Gov. John Carver of the Mayflower, who settled in Marshfield, MA....  then Winthrop Fleet (several lines since the people from that Great Migration arrived over a period of several years; some lines ended up in RI & CT)....  Plus Dutch Ft. Orange / Albany, NY (1630).

    My maternal Carver line then goes to New Brunswick when they were proscribed and banished (Massachusetts Banishment Act of 1778), and not even the Carver family historian who published a book in 1938 seemed to know much about where they went; right after I got my first computer I was experimenting with Google searches, put in a name (couldn't miss with a hit of one kind or another, there are three in a row from whom I descend), and I found a fellow in NB who had a web site, he had a book of abstracts of wills, one was my ancestor, so I wrote to the NB Archives, got a copy of my ancestor's will and two deeds where he's listed as one of the landholders..., along with a list of names that reads like a Who's Who of parts of MA and ME; later still, another researcher clued me in on a court case involving the first Carver of that same name and the paternity suit his wife (to-be) brought against him in 1733 (dismissed in 1734, so presumably they married 'cuz they had other children besides the eldest & namesake, born in Apr 1734 who ended up in NB).  The third Carver of the same name went to Vinalhaven, ME and some landmarks there are named for him, some named for the other Carver who ended up on the same island.  From Vinalhaven to inland ME where the descendants merge with Gilley (from Ireland) and Bennetts, then the migration of most of one family who went west to MN (only one daughter stayed in ME).

    My paternal Quaker RI line starts with the English-Irish-Barbadian Rodman name that eventually migrated to NY state (altho my first Dr. Thomas Rodman's bro, Dr. John Rodman, had gone to Flushing, NY and died there), then MN, but people who married into the line arrived in RI before the mid-late 1600s figure prominently (two of my ancestors signed the Portsmouth Compact), including Coggeshall (first prez of RI), Easton (fourth prez of RI), Jenckes, Sherman (not related to the Wm Sherman in MA), Rogers, Mumford, Tefft (one John was killed  beheaded in the Great Swamp Fight, while son #2, Joshua, was executed for treason - I descend via son #1).  The Great Swamp Fight is where a militia from Marshfield had gone to fight and my maternal Sherman suffered "bouts of temporary insanity" as a result of what he saw there [presumably PTSD - it was probably a blessing he died young] after he returned to Marshfield.  The Rodman family who moved to lower SE NY state met up with the Dutch line at that point.  By the time that line gets to upper NY in Ontario Co., that's where the line meets up with ancestors from Alsace, France (new immigrant, mid-19th century).

    Once both of those lineages arrive in northwestern MN, they meet and merge with new or second-generation Norwegians (where I've tracked my ancestors back to the early 1600s), Swedes, and Danes who arrived in 1882-1883.  Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have images of their records online, and in Norway and Denmark the web sites are free, as are the images (Sweden's have been put online by no fewer than three corporations that I'm aware of, but the last one digitized the images so they're in color on a pay-for web site).  The easiest country in which to do genealogy research by far, with the easiest, most flexible search engine, is Norway.

    If anyone's been counting: multiple English lines (back to the 1500s in some cases, and earlier in two lines), one Irish, Dutch (allegedly one of the in-law lines ties to Prez Martin Van Buren), Alsatian (Germanic names, but Alsace was under French rule by then but had previously been under German rule), Norwegian, Swedish, Danish... seven countries of origin, all of which I have proved on paper.  Who knows where before records were kept...?  I'm not sure, but one of my sub-specialty interest involves reading extensively about history before those records were kept, so I have some pretty good ideas about the migrations of the early Celts who moved ever farther west and north and became distinctive peoples who later were residents of what became various identifiable countries by the Medieval and Renaissance period.  Then there are the invading armies from other areas to consider.  [Hitler was an ass in his fanaticism regarding "pure races."  People moved hither, thither, and yon when they were not part of an invading army and the following settlers, farmers and traders, after those armies conquered even then with their wanderings out of Africa, and, for whatever reason, there has always been a mixing and blending going on.  Mother Nature loves hybrids and the strengthening of the gene pool.]

    Through the last eleven years I've had a computer, and while my interest in genealogy started in high school started with a genetics project in high school biology in my sophomore year (1962), and I did research off and on for 40 years, it's only been in the last ten years and finding reliable info and records via the internet that I have made daily, weekly progress in documenting my ancestors.  It has been a fascinating journey with nuggets of "Squeeeee!" info here and there.  I just found new info on one maternal gr-grandfather day before yesterday that confirmed a story a first cousin once removed told me many years ago, but he got the timeline wrong because he said his mother was there when gr-gramps got shot in the knee.  Wrong.  She wasn't born yet..., but the news blurb is in an Oct. 1900 newspaper in one MN community and now someone is going to see if the more local paper yet (which is still being published, incidentally) has more details than what has now been found.  See?  I'm STILL finding new info about my ancestors!

    Google Books and Archive.org have out-of-copyright books online, which includes family history / genealogy and contemporary history books and NEHGR articles, among other things (I even found an obscure letter to the editor from a no-longer-published magazine that my maternal grandfather wrote when he was only 17, something I did not expect to find in just doing a Google search on his name!).  I've filled up one 8GB jump drive with just those books alone and have more besides.  Many of those books from RI and MA are compiled birth, marriage, death records from 1620 forward..., and they're free downloads online!

    [Google's pissing me off because the book title hits that come up first are those that have been republished in modern books and they now have on sale.  Go to Archive.org and search first if a title is known.  Some of Internet Archive's book downloads link back to Google for the free download, but at least Internet Archive doesn't push Google's books for sale first.  Oh..., and don't confuse Archive.org with Archives.com.  Two different web sites.  There's a third Archive.com web site that leads one to an Arabic web site.  I don't know what that's about.]

    Ancestry has census data by names & census images.  So does Archive.org..., but the latter does not have the name index for the census, just the images by location, so if you know the location the info you're searching for on ancestors can still be found, by scrolling through the images.  FamilySearch.org has a searchable census database by name..., BUT, just within the last two weeks they've switched over to a new Java database and I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the damned thing because once the so-called download of the image takes place and the wheel quits spinning, the damned page is black!  That goes for the images for B-M-D in various states listed in the index.  Like I said, Hate, loathe even, the new Java images program on Family Search!!!  [NEVER use the other sections of FamilySearch with the pedigrees.  WAY too many are full of repeated errors.  Just use the section with the searchable database for images; sometimes the transcribers get the names all wrong, too, so one really has to watch the transcriptions.  Go for the images.  After 50 years of doing research I have finally dealt with enough family memory errors and wrong or partially correct family stories that I only work from copies of original documents now.]

    Genealogy is a fantastically fascinating hobby, more interesting than fiction when you find an ancestor who was both an adulterer and a bigamist.  (! True!  I have the documents that prove that.)  Or a Loyalist.  Or who took a whip to someone at a county fair horse race only to be shot in the leg.  Or a grandmother and gr-gr-grandmother who were midwives.  Or a gr-grandmother who saved her kids, sewing machine, and then saved the horses and livestock in the barn when there was a fire.  I mean, really.  Everyday heroes and wonderful characters are actually in my family, not just the famous early presidents, governors, and other "important persons" from the colonial period.

    Okay, most are just nice ordinary people, farmers mostly, some seafarers, merchants, and the like, but I'm the product of them.

    I refuse to judge any of my ancestors (even the adulterers); without them I wouldn't exist - or have the pleasure of finding all this nifty stuff!

    :-)

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 12:28:43 AM PDT

    •  Wow, a genealogy diary on Kos! (6+ / 0-)

      My two great loves in one place, how cool! My family too goes back to Mass., Connecticut, Delaware County NY, and PA to Ohio. I'm seeing a lot of familiar names in these comments.

      One thing that strikes me as I trace this migration is how groups of people seemed to move together. Some of the names I see in Plymouth Mass. I also see in Delaware Co. NY and then in NE Ohio.

      Then, as you've said, there's the historical things you learn that were never covered in school. My most interesting of late is the Patroon system in New York that somehow stayed in place even after the Revolution. Fiefdoms in America! I thought that was one thing they came here to get away from.

      I started becoming interested in tracing the family back in 1988. My Mom told me she'd heard of an old graveyard in a nearby county where some of her relatives were buried. I went, found them all, and started forming relationships between them - some of which was wrong.

      Ran into a barrage of "gee, I don't knows," and what looked like monumental disinterest for the next year, and had to shelve the project for many years.

      My "research" remained at that tiny bit of info until last winter. Several older family members had died and suddenly my neices and nephews got interested in the family's history. Since I'm one of the few left, and they'd heard I was doing this once, I got tagged.

      Thank the Gods for the Innertubz! Since restarting, and discovering Family Search Labs, sayong I've made headway is an understatement.

      Still working mainly on Mom's side, I've found:
      John Faunce, who came over on the Anne in 1623 and married Patience Morton (daughter of George Morton). The Faunces seemed to stay in Plymouth for a long time until one branch moved to Watertown. Then some joined the migration until my 2Xs great Grandmother moved to New York, Pennsylvania, and finally Ohio.

      Simon Smith, one of the founders of Haddam Connecticut. Just started on this branch. It doesn't look like they stuck around Connecticut too long. My 2 Xs great grandfather's family was in Delaware County NY in the 1790s.

      4 Xs great Grandfather, Captain Asahel Dodge of Lee Mass. has been proven to be from the Tristram line of Dodges. He and his and family migrated to Marcellus NY. and my 2 Xs great Grandfather was in PA in 1850.

      An indentured servant from England (probably Irish) in 1690s Virginia married a slave from Senegal and started a line of mulatto ancestors that resulted in my Grandmother. This branch has a long, fascinating and very well-documented history throughout Virginia, Maryland and Ohio. The most surprising thing I've learned from them is that interracial marriage ain't nuthin' new! It was so popular that laws were being passed trying to prevent it as far back as 1692.

      Now I'm ready to start on Dad's side!

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:24:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a Faunce or two or three... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        klompendanser, edwardssl, brook, Dvalkure

        ... in my database.  Edward Doty Jr. married a Sarah Faunce, so the Faunces are "in-laws" to my Desire Doty.

        The reason the names are all so familiar is because there was a genetic bottleneck at that point.  There were only a handful of people to partner with.  About half of the Mayflower passengers died that first winter/spring, and it was a while before more started arriving, but still, there were not a lot of people.  If you see a list of names of people from any given town/township, chances are they're related by blood or marriage or they're a step-family of some sort, since widows and widowers never stayed single for long.  Desire Doty married three times, had children by all three husbands (and one of her daughters, Experience, from her first marriage married Miles Standish (named for his grandsire), son of Alexander Standish who was married to Sarah Alden before he married Desire Doty Sherman Holmes (Alexander was Desire's third husband, and she was his second wife).

        There are lots of half-and-step-siblings throughout that period, too.

        It gets pretty interesting, genetically..., especially since later I have two Carver first cousins marrying, and both are separately descended from different offspring of Wm. Sherman and Desire Doty, so that makes me doubly descended from Edward & wife, Faith, & daughter, Desire.

        Yup.  I think in pedigree lines!  :-D

        Ancestors on Meow Flower

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 07:56:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hey cousin! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          klompendanser, edwardssl, brook, NonnyO

          From my rough and not completely documented files, Sarah was born about 1643 to John and Patience Faunce. She married Edward Doty on February 26, 1662/3, in Plymouth and had eleven children. That part I have documented.

          That she married John Buck on April 26, 1693, in Plymouth and died there on June 27, 1695 is the part I haven't looked into yet just because she isn't in direct line to me. All the side shoots will have to wait until I get the main branches tamed!

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:23:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's a little list... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            klompendanser, Pariah Dog, Dvalkure, brook

            ... of free, downloadable books, plus a couple of web sites, that may be of interest to you since they have to do with Plymouth Colony and Plymouth County, MA:

            Here are some more transcribed MA records online taken from books previously published (several towns listed):
            http://dunhamwilcox.net/...
            If you have Ancestry.com, there are (poorly filmed) microfilm records of early MA records.  My Carvers and others are in those books, but the same records are transcribed in these pages.

            Massachusetts Banishment Act of 1778.
            http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/...

            http://archive.org/...
            http://www.google.com/...
            http://www.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...
            http://books.google.com/...

            If you have other early MA records (transcribed into books) from other towns, tell me the name of the town and I might have it marked in my favorites file already.

            Or, (the reason I got onto this idea of saving links in the first place), run a name, go to "more - books" in the Google menu and take it from there.  Or do the regular name search and see if Google Books or Archive.org links come up, check out the books, download them.

            Have a large jump drive handy on which to store them.  I have OVER 8GB of books downloaded already, ergo a lot more books than what I have listed above.

            I'm pretty much at a point I need a title to look up the links in my Favorites file now because I have so many listed.

            There are all kinds of ways to get info.  I got my first internet hits by accident doing a name search after I got my first computer, and - sheer serendipitous dumb luck - I found reputable web sites (later found others that were not), and got some great info, and all that led to being able to acquire microfilm images from NB Archives, MA Supreme Court Archives, etc.

            Trivia knowledge is necessary, too.  Dates before 1752 for the months of Jan., Feb., Mar. are listed with double years because March 24 was New Year's Day.  After 1752 and New Style calendars, then Jan. 1 is New Year's Day.  (In RI, in particular, there's the Quaker number labels for the months and days of the week, all of which corresponds to pre-post-1752 and calendar changes.)

            Then there's spelling variations (no dictionaries or standardized spellings yet).

            And on and on and on and on....

            I love genelaogy!!!

            :-)

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 10:41:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              klompendanser, NonnyO, brook

              Copied and saved! I'll check them out! Already have th dunham/wilcox one I think. That sounds familiar.

              I tried ancestry dot com on a free weekend, wasn't overly impressed, and was a little more than cautious after reading some reviews. Plus they're a little pricey for me.

              Family Search Labs is a sister site, also run by the LDS church - and FREE! They don't have all the original docs available in digital. They'll link you to ancestry or fold three. But I have a few people who have ancestry accounts and will snag things for me if I ask.

              I've also had very good luck with the Gen Web projects... in some places. Others aren't so great and just have a bunch of links to outside sites. They rarely have digitized original docs scanned, but they have transcribed local records so you at least know what to look for.

              Find-A-Grave has also been nice to me, but comparing their info to other docs is a good idea. I just found some info on my grandfather's sister's first marriage and somebody had the wrong guy listed! The name was right, but not the generation. I pointed out to them that she was seventeen (and needed her father's consent) and the groom would have been 67. I don't think true love is that blind. Found and gave the admin the right info and it got corrected. Like you say, some databases aren't reliable.

              In fact that was one thing I noticed right off on ancestry. Too many people on there constructing family trees without doing any verification. They see a name that matches and just stick that person into their tree. I found my paternal grandparents in about six different trees and not a one of them was correct.

              My main problem at present is that things have been coming to me in great big hunks all summer and I was saving stuff like a maniac. Now I'm starting to try and sort it out into some sort of coherent order.

              I'm looking forward to writing "stories" about what their lives might have been like based on the histories of the regions and events that took place. Pure speculation of course, but hopefully educational.

              I'm with ya on loving this stuff!

              Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

              by Pariah Dog on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 11:38:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  :-) Ah, yes. The odd generational thing.... (0+ / 0-)

                My genealogy program tells me if a female is too young or too old to have had a baby born in such and such a year.

                It also popped up a warning when the death date of the father was when the mother was pregnant with said child in a couple of cases..., and it turns out (thanks to notes in birth records of the youngest child) that the father did, indeed, die while mother was some six or seven months preggers (this was in my Norwegian lines; the records are quite detailed and complete in many cases - depends on the minister keeping the records and region sometimes).

                Don't all genealogists have all the smart things functioning in their genealogy programs?  Or keep a handy-dandy pocket calculator right next to one's laptop or computer?

                A lot of the errors could be avoided if the various warning programs were turned on, or, at least not disabled.  They're annoying, especially in cases where there's an illegitimate firstborn and a marriage date comes a year or more afterward, but I'd rather the annoyance than being wrong.

                It would also help if people went by the documents and did NOT copy everyone else's errors year after year after year (one is NOT a "genealogy researcher" unless one actually does research and gets documents instead of copying the erroneous work of others who copied the same info from others who got things wrong...).  I plod along, document by document (birth every two years, or look for a stillbirth record - easy enough to do in Scandinavian records since the stillbirth records are kept with the birth records).

                When I first went online and saw the huge amount of info, I thought 'great, I can get info here...'  Well, no.  Wrong.  Too much of it is wrong, errors have been copied infinitum.  The closest I get to copying is getting info out of family genealogy books now, because in the two primary paternal and maternal lines of names that come down to my grandparents' generation the authors traveled to where the records were and either got copies or saw the originals, so I'm reasonably sure the records are mostly accurate.  So, it's off to plodding along and getting records.  That's actually easy to do in Scandinavian research because the documents are THERE, online, downloadable, and it's all original research.  Colonial American research has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb and a lot of it is correct..., barring typos.  Some of it is wrong, wrong, wrong.  (Two researchers in the Bigod Eggleston line - Hartford, CT - traveled to Settrington, England to find the actual records because there was a question about his mother's name since his father was married twice and the name changed all the time with the various online info.  They found the name, published their findings in NEHGS, and it's online.  Yes, he's my ancestor, too.)  One doesn't get much of a chance to do original research nowadays, but if one is lucky enough to have Scandinavian ancestors, the field is wide open.

                It was lucky I got a wild hair up my butt when I discovered MHS had put birth index info from 1900-1934 online.  I found additional babies my paternal grandmother had who were stillborn or only lived a short time and that filled in the gaps..., and then I got ALL the birth records for each of my parents and their siblings some five+/- years ago.  Precisely ONE birth cert. for one of my dad's sisters had the location in Sweden where my grandfather was born..., which took all of ten minutes for researchers in Sweden to find, which gave me the names of his parents, siblings, which ones emigrated..., and then I later found the aunt and uncle (siblings of my gr-grandmother) who came to America and settled near where he came, and on and on and on..., and that ONE piece of info enabled me to leap over a 45-year-old genealogy brick wall (all other info in US records has the generic 'Sweden' for his birth location, and I had already known the address where he sent letters to his sis was not the place they were born).  I walked around in the clouds for months over finding that one piece of info!  Then, this past Jan. the granddaughter of the youngest bro of my gramps found me via those exchanges on the Sweden genealogy list and wrote to me.  She's four years older than me, just had her birthday.  So, I'm sending her info on our mutual line and sending her info on her mother's lines, too.

                Scandinavian research is the easiest to do.  First name, patronymic name, location names (which can change because when a person moves the location name changes; it was always an address of sorts there) are "all" one needs, and one can keep track of females because up until the late 19th-early 20th century the patronymic naming system was in use, and women kept their own names their entire lives.  It's still used in Iceland and the Faroe Islands.  Scandinavian records usually go back to the early 1600s, sometimes only to early 1700s, except for a couple of places where fire destroyed records, and they're very complete.  Norway has the easiest databases and web site to use with the most flexible search engine (one web site, different sections by location)..., and Norway and Denmark have the images and census and emigration transcriptions both online for free, thanks to the taxpayers in those countries.  I damn near genuflect in gratitude in front of my computer screen every time I use their databases.  Sweden has opened up their records for corporations, has three web sites, all are fee-based, and only the last one with the colored digital images do I know how to use well, so I wasted my money on the other two.  I can't get a hit to save my life on the first two that have name searches and it's driving me bonkers.  And they have emigration databases so one can find one's immigrant ancestors in their records.  Immigrant years are listed in US census years 1900-1930, but they're not always correct.  The Scandinavian records have the precise dates they left, name of ship, etc.

                Ancestry sometimes has useful info, but you're correct.  one can find the same thing in Family Search via name searches.  The search engines on both could be improved.  The new Java-based image section on Family Search sux big elefant turds and I loathe it for the black pages it turns up.  Once one has the name, go around those fee-based sites Family Search has and go to Archive.org and find the census images by location (no name search available there, but the same microfilm images are free on Archive.org if you have the patience to scroll to the location and then scroll until you find the pages you need).  For certain townships in the small location where I was born and raised, there are only maybe 5-25 pages per township, not many pages.  I download them all, file them by year, state, county, township name, straighten the pages, then crop off the black borders that take so much ink, and when I get ambitious for documentation, print out the pages by clicking 'fit to page' on the print menu and it becomes a letter-sized printout I can put inside a plastic sheet protector.  [I can do the same with the Scandinavian records, particularly those from Norway and Denmark where the download menu is easy to use - right click, save as. Sweden's Java-based image section on one web site is... well..., iffy.]

                You're right about the GenWeb and RootsWeb pages for each state.  Some are very, very good.  Others..., not so much.  NY State has, by law, county historians.  Some county web sites have lots of info on them (Ontario and Yates Counties do; it's where some of my ancestors were from.)  RI is good, too, with lots of historical and biographical info, BMD transcriptions.  MA is sometimes good.  ME, sometimes good.  MHS in MN has a manageable B & D index, and a separate marriage index with an iffy name index (same thing can be found on FamilySearch for that one, and get hits where spellings are off since there's no Soundex file on the MOMS marriage index and those records go back to the 1800s).  Certain RootsWeb and GenWeb cemetery transcription pages are good.  Find-A-Grave - correct, the info's iffy and depends on who has put the info online and whether or not it can be backed up with documents.  I've also contacted people with correct info and it's not been put online, and then others are really nice and give permission to use photos with credits.  (I finally joined Find-A-Grave so I've been adding pix & info in some cases, but I'm so new I have little impact on any of it, but in time I'll add correct info where I can.  A genie friend of mine loves to go to cemeteries and transcribe headstones and take pix of headstones, and she's a member on the same web site - with the unfortunate acronym of FAG = Find-A-Grave.)  It all hinges on who's running or managing the individual county pages and which web sites they're on.  Almost all need updates because now some have broken links and/or have not been updated for years and years.

                One must tailor one's research to the various places where info is available.  Get documents.  Do frequent Backups (Dick Eastman does monthly reminders for backups via his free and daily genealogy newsletter; I know of those without backups who have lost all in computer glitches or natural disasters like floods and fires and they're sad, sad genie people...!)  Then do multiple backups; this is particularly important when you get thousands of people in your database (some are storing backups in Cloud databases now, plus thumb drives, plus CDs, plus sending backups to other family members not even located in the same state - really, with that many names, backups become exceedingly important).  My database is only as accurate as records and the last time I was online.  I do research often, almost always tweak my database almost daily, do little corrections of typos if not add vast chunks of info, so backups are important.

                You know you're an addicted genealogist when you start also buying canvas bags with genie sayings ("My ancestors did WHAT?!?"), and long- and short-sleeved T-shirts with genealogy sayings ("I'm a genealogist.  What's your excuse?!?"  Today's To Do List: {check mark} Get up {check mark} Do Genealogy then a long list of things listed with Do Genealogy in between them.  Then another has a tree with red and pink hearts instead of leaves, but the web site has another design of a tree with various colored green leaves for a genealogy logo.)  I have other things I plan on getting in the future (but not the 'family crest' shirts since those are fakes).  Zazzle web site has a good selection of various genealogy things; T-shirts are normally listed as 100% cotton (I'm one of those hyper-sensitive people who can't wear poly or other fake materials).  I get the XLG shirts to fit my now-fat girth..., but if the quality isn't what I was expecting I can use them as night shirts if one turns out to be a dud and I can't wear it in public.  With a laptop on a laptop stand that sits on one's lap, one can do genealogy research sitting in bed, too.  (Hey!  I'm practical...!  In the winter, especially, put a blanket over one's lap and sit in bed and do genie research.  :-))

                Genealogists must be flexible thinkers at all times to keep up with our ancestors and how many talents they had before the age of specialization came along to keep us focused on one thing only to the exclusion of multiple kinds of generalized knowledge and learning how to do multiple things for one's self.

                :-)

                I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

                by NonnyO on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 09:28:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO

              for the treasure trove. Have explored a bit of it and already picked up some relevant data.

              This diary is one I would nominate to be included in a giant book! So much great 'stuff'!

              Please join in the fight against PG&E proposal to use sonic cannons to map earthquake faults off the central coast of California ! http://tinyurl.com/cryjtkp

              by brook on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 10:21:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  image is definitely stolen! n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brook, NonnyO

          "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

          by klompendanser on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:59:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  :-D You can't steal... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            klompendanser

            ... what I give away freely since I permanently borrowed the image a few months ago....

            I have that same cat with the same costume with a different caption, only I can't find it this second.

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 10:07:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We have a GFHC open thread every Friday (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brook, klompendanser

        usually around noon eastern.

        You should come join us.  Maybe even host an open thread or two.  We'd love to read about your family's history and/or interesting (or not) discoveries.  Or you could share any helpful research techniques you're using.

        Let me know if you want me to send you an invitation to our genealogy group.

        •  I'd love to! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brook

          Through my research I've met many very serious genealogists who have been extremely helpful. Thus far though none seem interested in conversing beyond steering me toward what I'm looking for. Or maybe it's my long-windedness... fair warning, I can tend to go on and on about this stuff!

          The online discussion boards I've found all seem sporadic and/or the messages are all ten years old.

          So yes, please do send me an invite. I've only got one side traced so far, but my Yankees have a fascinating tale. Well, I was fascinated anyway.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 04:28:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ancestors in New England (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    figbash, klompendanser, edwardssl, brook

    Must be cousins of some degree.

    About 3/4 of mine were there in Mass, CT., R.I. - as early as the mid-1630's - and started the westward migration after independence.

    On a trip east a few years ago, I had the opportunity to eat at the restaurant in the old grist mill that an ancestor had built 350 years ago in Farmington, Ct. and browsed the bookstore that is in its warehouse.    

    Reflections on settlement and place - but not my place.  On history, the history of ordinary people shaping our lives doing ordinary things.

  •  Your diary comes at just the right time for me. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    klompendanser, edwardssl, brook

    Next week I will be cemetery walking in downstate Illinois from where my paternal grandparents came to Iowa in about 1910. I have multiple lines of ancestors who are buried there. They all moved in family groups to Illinois from Tennessee in the 1830-1850s. So many interwoven lines. Those TN ancestors had originally come from North Carolina and Virginia before that, the earliest known arrival being to Virginia Citte in 1622 and almost all before 1700.

    I was last downstate 15 years ago and even then it just felt right to me. Rolling hills, well wooded and sparsely populated. The hills. I have always loved the hills, all hills, hills and valleys. My mother's mother's family were the last of my lines to immigrant to the US which was in 1888. They were from Scotland. No wonder the hills live in me.

    Thanks, TayTay, for a remarkable post!

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 07:25:24 AM PDT

    •  Pay attention to thumping DNA! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TayTay, klompendanser, figbash

      After traveling all over the US, Scotland, and England in my 20 year family quest, I swear I can feel my DNA jump when I'm in the right place.  If you are searching a graveyard without an index, stop to listen to your DNA...it will head you in the right direction.  I found an ancestor's headstone in Edinburgh amongst 15,000 other graves!  Without a clue as to which was his, I walked right up to it 10 minutes after entering the cemetery.  I have many similar stories and have heard the same things from others.  Listen to your internal DNA!

  •  my focal point, my "home" is in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brook, TayTay

    an area of Wisconsin I only lived in for the first few months of my life, but that's where family congregated. My ashes will be buried in a little country cemetery, next to a couple of brothers, near my parents, paternal grandparents, maternal great-grandparents, and maternal great-great-grandparents, as well as all sorts of aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides. The hills and weird rock formations of the driftless area, as well as the cranberry bogs are part of my being, even though I've lived in a city many miles away for more than 30 years!

    Though my mother's family first arrived in WI in the 1840s, most of her lines go back to New England as the earliest settlers of Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies -- though most of those same lines had left by 1700 for CT, NY, NJ, and PA -- then on to OH, IA and finally WI. So while WI is my focal point, I keep looking back to Salem, Duxbury, Roxbury etc. for the rationale.

    Great diary, Tay Tay. I'll look forward to the Salem diaries.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 08:58:06 AM PDT

  •  Total tippitude for the Shirley Jackson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TayTay, brook

    title… and the genealogy.

  •  I could write a very similar article... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan, brook, edwardssl

    ...except that after many generations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, my ancestors traveled north to Vermont before, during, and after the Revolution.  Some family members traveled west, but some remained.

    I am the 8th generation of my family to live in the same town (with great nephews and nieces making ten generations)...and I live in the house I grew up in and was built by my 5th great-grandfather.

    I love every inch of Vermont, especially the Champlain Valley.  I have briefly lived elsewhere, but always with the knowledge that home was pulling at my heart.

    After my father's death, I bought the house from my Mom and have been renovating it ever since...OK, trying to keep it from falling down!  It was built in 1807, which by Vermont standards is pretty old.

    I get such pleasure from watching the trees that my father and I planted 40 and 50 years ago grow to maturity.  There are a great many changes going on around me, but Vermont remains the most beautiful place to live.  Home is where the heart is...but the heart remains at home for some of us!

    Found on the internet: "Liberals see George Orwell's 1984 as a cautionary tale. Conservatives see it as a blueprint."

    by Rev Steve on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 04:27:22 PM PDT

  •  Ancestors in VA and MA colonies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brook, edwardssl

    are pretty common if your white relatives have been in the U.S. for any amount of time.  I would love to see a graph of colonial population growth over time but those folks definitely did not die out; they made fruitful and multiplied.  Zillions of us of all colors descend from a handful of them. The advent of online genealogy has made finding these roots really easy, particularly as those family lines have been thoroughly traced already by hundreds of researchers.  All I had to do was do a little searching on my great grandma Chamberlain in Wisconsin, and a researcher got in touch and gave me her entire family story back to the Mrs. Chamberlain who died imprisoned in the Salem Witch trials.  I am sure my mother never had access to this information.  Yeah, Internet!

    I'll have to say the LDS church has done many people an inadvertent favor by posthumous fantasy conversions, because their records are so OCD and they are willing to share!  

    •  Oh and another fun gift from the tubes: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan, edwardssl

      If you look up census or property records, you can use Google Street view to see what is there now.  I found my g-grandma's house still standing in Rice Lake, WI.  I've never been there.

      •  You mean I'm not the only one... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl

        I Google map all the houses too. The one I lived in birth to 14 has been replaced by a plug-ugly condo which made me sad but the house Great-Grandpa built in Los Feliz still stands - and went for a pretty price according to the online record.

        I googled our home in Mexico City and it's still there but I can't figure out how to capture the wonderful close up to my puter.

        Anyone here have the secret?

        Please join in the fight against PG&E proposal to use sonic cannons to map earthquake faults off the central coast of California ! http://tinyurl.com/cryjtkp

        by brook on Thu Oct 11, 2012 at 10:33:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can also take screen shots (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brook

          I grew up in a town that fell to the myth of "urban renewal" back in the seventies. Translation, most of the town was torn down.

          But that's beside the point. The point is I always found myself wishing I had a picture of this or that place from my youth. Then I found the street view option of Google earth and was semi-comforted by the fact that I could at least look at the places that still existed. IE: had not yet been torn down.

          The pictures were so nostalgic that I wished I could save them somehow. One day I googled the question and found an answer!

          Look at the buttons at the top of your keyboard. Usually the third from the right will say PrtScn. That stands for Print Screen. There's how you can save street view images in Google Earth. I'm going to assume you're familiar with street view, and this is of course provided the area you want is covered by street view (remoter areas and most side streets generally aren't).

          Step One : In street view on Google earth, click the Full Screen option to enlarge the image you want. Moved the angle around until you get a good, clear shot with no sun glare, big trucks, cars passing etc. Once you have a good shot, hit that PrtScn button. Don't do anything else.

          Step Two. Open your Paint Program. Or you could have it open already. It's usually under Programs, Accessories. When it opens, go up and click Edit, then Paste. Alternatively, you can hold down the Control button on your keyboard and hit the "V" key (does the same thing).

          You now have a picture of the house, park, playground or whatever nostalgic location Google had an image of.

          Now, the down side is, you have an image of the the whole screen and that includes Goggle Earth's controls in the R/H corner. If you're fairly good with Paint or other imagining programs you can airbrush that out so it looks like a regular photograph.

          I suggest you not put off capturing images you may want as Google Earth gets updated quite often in some areas. I found a shot of my old neighborhood from six years ago with my favorite oak tree still standing - the tree had since been cut down - but I now have a nice pic of it in its glory.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 09:24:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you so much! (0+ / 0-)

            This is going to be very useful for me. I cannot travel anymore so this is how I can show my kids the houses of my youth.

            I appreciate your taking the time to do this more than I can say.

            Please join in the fight against PG&E proposal to use sonic cannons to map earthquake faults off the central coast of California ! http://tinyurl.com/cryjtkp

            by brook on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:39:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're very welcome (0+ / 0-)

              I now live 250 miles from "my hometown," and visiting is out of the question for me too since I have no transportation.

              I was so pumped when I found that method of saving the pictures on Google Earth. Hope I explained it adequately, but if you have any problems post it here and I'll clarify.

              Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

              by Pariah Dog on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:29:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, just thought of this (0+ / 0-)

                For those not overly familiar with street view.

                You engage it by grabbing that little orange guy and dragging him to the loacation you want to look at, right.

                If the location is covered in street view, the street will light up in blue. In fact all streets covered in that frame will light up in blue. If it doesn't, then that location isn't available for a street view. As I said, most rural locations and side streets haven't been photographed yet, so hope you loved on a main drag.

                Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

                by Pariah Dog on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:35:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I have lived in New England, Ohio, Calif, Texas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TayTay, edwardssl

    and it seems to me people in New England take a while to really accept you but when they do you are family.
    The friend ship is deep.

    People in the midwest are friendly and pretty quick to accept you and become friends.

    People on the west coast accept you as a friend right away but are always waiting for you to prove your friend ship before they let you deeper in their lives.

    These are my overall impressions thru the years. there are lots of exceptions to these generalizations.

    Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

    by arealniceguy on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 05:52:27 PM PDT

  •  Hession mercenaries ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TayTay, brook, edwardssl

    I was an adult before I realized that my family (on both sides) had been early colonial settlers. We just never talked about it when I was growing up in Indiana.

    When I finally got interested I was shocked to learn that my American family tree could be traced back to 16th century. Then I was even more shocked to learn that my earliest Rhodes ancestor came as a widower with five sons, all mercenaries for King George! I mean, the assumption is that our early ancestors were original American patriots, right?? Not red coats!!

    Rhodes, the elder, stayed and remarried after the war. He had a 6th son who married the daughter of an officer in Washington's army, so I did get some patriot blood after all.

    We're from simple people who kept moving to find a better opportunity for their families. Most of us stayed in Indiana and Ohio, but we also have cousins in Colorado and California.

    It took vision and fortitude to move west during the 19th century and the western cousins were generally more successful than their Ohio valley relatives.

    Thanks for an interesting diary! Loved the comments, too.

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 06:28:58 PM PDT

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