Monday, October 10, 2011

Military Monday: Can You Hear Me Major Tom?

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites. Military Monday is an ongoing series by Cindy at Everything’s Relative.

Three years ago my brother posted about Major Tom Clark, a pilot MIA in Viet Nam.  Tom was well-known to our family because of his friendship with one of our uncles.  My brother recently posted a follow-up.  He also posted a link to another blog (Solomon's words for the wisewith Tom's complete story which I have included, in part, here.

On February 8, 1969 Captain Clark was flying an F-100D Super Sabre, of 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 37th Tactical Fight Wing, in a flight of four mission over Laos. The flight controlled by an F-4 Forward Air Controller, engaged a 23mm Anti-Aircraft Artillery battery. Captain Clark's aircraft was hit by rounds from the artillery battery, burst into flames, and crashed. No parachute was observed. Aircraft in the area conducted visual and electronic searches, with negative results. Subsequent to the incident, the U.S. Air Force determined Captain Clark to be Killed in Action (KIA), Body not Recovered (BNR). The Air Force posthumously promoted Tom to the rank of Major.
On February 12, 1991, a joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic team investigated the crash of Thomas E. Clark's F-100. In late 1991, a Thai citizen turned over to U.S. Officials in Thailand human remains as well as military identification tag and a partial military identification tag bearing Major Clark's name. The remains were identified as other than Captain Clark's. In February of 1992 a team worked to excavate the suspected crash site of Thomas E. Clark in the Savannakhet Province with no apparent results. In October of 2005 a joint team re-investigated the crash site excavated in 1992. Another bone fragment was found but later identified as not part of a human. In October of 2009 another joint team re-excavated portions of the crash site and recovered human remains. After extensive examination, including isotope testing, the human remains were identified as the remains of Thomas E. Clark.
The Clark family was notified in June 2011 that the remains of Thomas E. Clark would be returned to the family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going Dutch

I’ve written about some of my Colonial American Dutch ancestry (Ditmars and Voorhees) and it took me back to the early 1600s in New Amsterdam.  It seems probable, at a certain point, that my New Amsterdam history involves exclusively Dutch ancestry.  It wasn’t until the 1800s that the first of my original New Amsterdam lines married outside the Dutch community.  So, no matter how many more surnames I uncovered, they probably weren’t going to lead me much further than the Netherlands.

I found tracing the Dutch names to be a bit overwhelming—the Dutch names were often transcribed with inconsistent English spelling (plus, even the first names didn’t roll off my tongue), naming patterns meant there were people of the same name floating around at the same time, and, worst of all, a lot of really bad research had found it’s way into the viral internet genealogy world.  Fortunately, there are a lot of dedicated researchers working on my lines.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to match their efforts and, frankly, I just can’t motivate myself to do the work to uncover every Dutch surname.  In fact, the various families intermarried so much, I suspected many lines would actually merge.  I’m indebted to earlier researchers who provided much of the information on the various Ditmarsen-connected spouses.  
So, starting with a 4x great-grandmother Jannetje (Jane) Vandeveer, who married Isaac Voorhees, I found no documented sources about her parents, but several places indicated her parents were Jan Vanderveer and Seytje Vanderveer (see intermarriage comment above) and led back to Cornelius Janse VanDerVeer, the emigrant from Holland.  But no proof going back even one generation from Jane.

And then there’s Aeltje Suydam, a 5x great-grandmother who married Douwes Ditmar.  Her line probably leads back to, well, hmm…I dunno yet.  Not comfortable even speculating here, though names are out there in family trees.

Jannetje Remsen, a 6x great-grandmother won’t fare any better.  Hard to believe, but I turned up more than one Jannetje Remsen, but not one married to the right Johannes Van Ditmarsen (yes, more than one of him, too).

I had more success with my 7x great-grandmother, Catryntje Lott.  She was the daughter of Peter Lott and Gertrude Lambert.  She married Douwe Jansz Van Ditmarsen in 1688.  Peter emigrated in 1652 from Holland and became a landowner in Flatbush, NY and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church there. 

That leads me to Catryntje’s mother, Gertrude Lambert, my 8x great-grandmother.  I’ve seen her first name written as Gerritje, leading me to believe she is of Dutch heritage, but I found nothing about her parents.  I found trees with her birth in 1632 in Flatbush, but no sources.  Recently I found this, which made me wonder:

The next of the Ditmarsen wives, another 8x great-grandmother, Ariantje Lollensz, or something like that.  Her surname has been found in only one New Amstredam record, where her name was written Adryaenyen Lollenckx.  She had immigrated to America with her first husband (who died shortly after arrival) and son in 1664 and married Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen junior in 1665.  It is possible she was not Dutch, but that her name was later changed to the Dutch version.

The genealgocal trail for Aeltje Douwesz, married to Jan Jansz Van Ditmarsen senior, has some clues, including a 1635 Amsterdam marriage intention for Jan Janss and Aeltje Douwens, but there is nothing that definitively links this couple to my ancestors.  It is known that she arrived in America in 1639, possibly via Bermuda.

The final Dutch ancestor, a 9x great-grandmother, included in this post was not connected to the Ditmarsen line.  Mary Deurcant married Lion Gardiner, an officer in the British army, when he was in Holland.  She was born in 1601 in Woerden, Hoolland to Derike Derocant and Hachin Bastians.  She and her husband arrived in America in 1635.

And so here I find myself at the end of my first pass at uncovering my first immigrant ancestors in America.  I found out my family arrived much earlier than I ever anticipated and that they participated in some famous and infamous historic events.  I solved a few mysteries, including one I didn't even know existed, and discovered some new ones.

Now I’m going go back to the beginning to fill in the gaps as best I can.  I’ll be doing more research and less posting because of the nature of the work that will be required.  I’ll definitely need to spend some time at the Library of Congress.  I will probably need to hire a researcher for at least one line where I think the answers will be found in local records I can’t access online.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fones Home

There’s more than one wild child in the family, I’m sure, but there’s one who really stands out:  Elizabeth Fones.  Elizabeth led quite a life—interesting enough for someone to write historical fiction based on it, The Winthrop Woman.

Elizabeth Fones, my 9x great-grandmother, was born January 21, 1610 in Groton Manor, England to Thomas Fones and Ann Winthrop.  Ann was the sister of John Winthrop, a strict Puritan who became governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and who became Elizabeth's guardian after the deaths of both her parents.
Scandal number one:  Elizabeth married her first cousin, John Winthrop’s son Henry.  About a year after their marriage, Henry sailed to America, leaving Elizabeth behind because of her pregnancy--their daughter, Martha (my ancestor), was born while her father was at sea.  The day after he arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, Henry drowned in the North River.
In 1631 Elizabeth followed her uncle, by then Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, sailing with her daughter, Martha, to America. A year later Elizabeth married her second husband, Robert Feake.  Robert was already a large landowner and, subsequently, he and Elizabeth acquired additional land in Connecticut.  She is considered one of the founders of Greenwich, including what is today called Old Greenwich.  Scandal number two:  A woman with property in her own name was not considered proper by the mores of the times.  Sadly, in 1647, after experiencing persona crises, Feake went insane and abandoned his wife and five children.
Scandal number three: Elizabeth married William Hallett, without divorcing Feake.  In a transcribed letter in the Winthrop Papers, from John Haynes to John Winthrop, Jr. (Elizabeth’s brother-in-law):
Ther is cognisaunce taken by our Court, of somme partyes resident with yow, that are of ill fame, as one that was the wife sometimes of Mr. Feake and who it seemes did confesse her selfe an Adulteresse, (which is vppon record at the Dutch) and now pretends marriadge with another man, how trew, or legall is not well knowen. I am therfor to acquainte yow, that she with somme others are sent for by warrant to apeare att the Court heere to answeare accordinge to the tenure therof. 
Elizabeth and her new husband and family were forced to leave--to avoid a court hearing and possible death sentence--and moved to for the Dutch colony of New Netherlands, New York.  In September 1655, they survived an attack by Indians, but their house and farm were burned down.  Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake Hallett died in New York in 1673.
Seems like Elizabeth faced a lot of challenges, but it also looks like she could hold her own.  This is a Puritan I'll celebrate on Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Five Eights (Grandmothers, that is)

Now that I’m at the last of my 8x great-grandmothers (who’ve been identified), I decided to put them all in the same post. 


Hannah Pike (Pyke) was supposedly born around 1632 in England, married Maturin Ballou, and died in Providence, RI in 1715.  She was the daughter of English immigrant Robert Pike and Catherine (Unknown).   Robert and his future son-in-law, Maturin Ballou, were each granted 25 acres in Providence in 1646   and then admitted as a freeman in 1658.


Mary Warren, who married John Youngs, was the daughter of Thomas Warren of Southold, England.  Mary was married first to a Gardiner--her father’s will mentions his daughter’s daughter, Mary Gardiner, who would have been a child at the time of his death. 

I don’t know how uncommon it would have been for a woman to emigrate without her parents or a husband, so I suppose she might have been married in England and thus come to America with her husband, a Gardiner.  She was born around 1600 and died in 1678.


Joanna Boyce (Boyse), born in England to John Boyse and Joanna Stowe, likely came to America with her sister’s family or possibly as a newlywed with her husband, Peter Prudden.  Her birth, marriage, and death dates are undocumented.  She was not married yet in 1631 when she appears in her mother’s will (in England) and her first child was born in 1640 in Connecticut, and her will was written in 1681, so those dates provide a window when events occurred.  Despite the lack of records for those important dates, following her husband’s death in 1656, she is found in the Milford court records and they show she was a woman who knew how to manage her affairs and was not hesitant to claim what she felt was rightfully hers.


Elizabeth Bateman was born around 1631 in England to William Bateman.  She married Henry Lyon in 1652 in Connecticut.

There are multiple William Batemans in the records of the period.  In one instance in 1630 there was an inquest for a William Bateman and a second William Bateman sat on the jury.  A William Bateman was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 and a William Bateman of Concord was made a freeman in 1641.  It is thought these two are not the same individual because one person would not need freeman admittance twice.  I did see references to the fact that a William Bateman’s admittance was revoked in 1634, but indicated the reason was unknown.  If the admittance was revoked, there is the possibility it is one person.  There is some support for the revocation as I found in my research on the freeman’s oath:

At the General Court held at Boston, May 14, 1634: It was agreed and ordered, that the former oath of freemen shall be revoked, so far as it is dissonant from the oath of freemen hereunder written; and that those that received the former oath shall stand bound no further thereby, to any intent or purpose, than this new oath ties those that now take the same.

Maybe some intrepid researcher will decide this is an interesting avenue to pursue and uncover more details linking these two Batemans….


On the other hand, lots of details are known about the Winthrops, in fact so much is so readily available, I’ll just provide an overview here.

Martha Joanna Winthrop was born in England in 1630 to Henry Winthrop and Elizabeth Fones.  She was sickly, especially after her marriage to Thomas Lyons and then the birth of her only child, Mary, in 1649.  She died in Greenwich, CT in 1653.

Henry Winthrop died a few months after Martha was born.  He traveled to America, leaving his pregnant wife behind and drowned the day after he arrived in July 1630.  Martha and her mother Elizabeth, still in England, eventually immigrated to America where Martha’s grandfather, John Winthrop, was governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

I’m saving the good stuff for my next post—about Martha’s mother and the Fones line—when I start on my 9x great-grandmothers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In like Flint

Alice Flint is the last of my 7x great-grandmothers who I’ve uncovered.  Her parents were William Flint and Alice (Unknown). I’ve seen references that she was born in England and some that indicate she was born in Salem, MA.  And the date ranges from 1636-1640.  I’ve found nothing that cites an original source.   [9/17/2011 8 PM:  True confession.  I just realized that my original posting of this had some misleading info that I have now deleted]

She married John Pickering around 1657, after the death of her first husband, Henry Bullock.  Alice appears in the Essex County court record in 1652, accused of wearing a silk hood; but, because she could prove she was worth £200, it was discharged.  In researching this, I found this article, umm...story, umm...historical fiction, or whatever, and was amused by the amount of detail in “hearsay”:

Published in Wide Awake magazine, Volume 27, June 1888:

Alice's father, William, was born around 1603 in Great Britain, possibly Wales, but again, the sources I found seemed to rely on family tradition for the birthplace, as opposed to documented material.  It is said he arrived in America in 1640 and he does actually appear in Salem records in 1642.  It seems there is much more known about William’s brother, Thomas, but in Pioneers of Massachusetts, I did find information that William was an overseer of fences and highways and a juryman.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Southwick Saga

Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy has a nice post about my Southwicks—specifically, Provided and her father Lawrence.

Provided Southwick, my 7x great-grandmother, was born in 1641, married Samuel Gaskill in 1662, and died in 1727, all in Salem, MA. John Greenleaf Whittier’s The Ballad of Cassandra Southwick, although using her mother’s name, is about an incident in Provided’s life: she and her brother Daniel were sentenced to be sold into slavery for failure to pay fines incurred for not attending the Salem Church recognized by the Puritans.

Her father, Lawrence Southwick, was born 1594 in Staffordshire, England and was married in 1623, to Cassandra Burnell of Lancashire.  He left England for America with most of his family around 1636-37.  Once in Salem, he was a glassmaker by profession.  He died 1660 at Shelter Island, NY.

The Southwick story is filled with persecution by the Puritans for first supporting Quakers and, later, for being Quakers. Lawrence and Cassandra were eventually banished in 1659 under threat of death and went to live on Shelter Island where they endured a harsh life until their deaths from deprivation and exposure the following year.

The more research I do on my ancestors of this era, the more difficult it is to think about Thanksgiving without acknowledging what the Puritans were really about.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Whitman Sampler

I’ve discovered that I enjoy researching more recent generations than older ones.  There are certainly some interesting historical connections in Colonial America, but I like researching the 19th century better.  Maybe because there are fewer people laying claim to those more recent ancestors—they’re more mine.  Also, there’s just less to research because I’m only tracing back to the first immigrant.  Looks like my future posts will be short until I trace as far as I can and essentially start over by going back to the beginning to try to uncover new information.

So, short and sweet:

Another one of my 7x great-grandmother is Susanna Whitman, who was married to James Ballou, was born in Providence, RI in 1657-58 to Valentine Whitman (also Wightman) and Mary (Unknown).  She appears in her father’s will.

Valentine was the son of John Wightman, born about 1626 and emigrated in 1654 with his father and brothers (his mother is thought to have died in England) and settled in Rhode Island.  For a period of time Valentine worked as an Indian interpreter.  Records indicate he was made a freeman in Warwick in 1658 and died in Providence in 1700.

John Wightman was the son of Edward Wightman, the last heretic to be burned at the stake in England.  Little is known about John.  Undocumented sources indicate he was born in England in 1599 and died in 1663.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This Budd’s For You

Mary Budd, a 7x great-grandmother, was born in 1654 on Long Island to John Budd and Mary Horton.  She married Christopher Youngs around 1675.  She is named in her father’s will of 1684.

John Budd junior was supposedly born in England in 1620-23 to John Budd senior and possibly Catheryn Butcher--that would have made him 15-17 years old when he arrived in America with the family.   Numerous records from this time are difficult to associate with specifically the father or son, but items after 1670 are John junior’s.  His will of 1684 identifies his residence as Southold, NY.  He supposedly married Mary Horton, but I have not yet found any documented source for this.

Based on existing records, John Budd senior was in New Haven, CT by 1639, having sailed from London to Boston in 1637.  Stories of John Budd as one of the first settlers of Southold, Long Island in 1640 from Griffin’s Journal, have been disproven by New Haven records.  He was a resident of Southold, Long Island at least by 1649 because he erected a house there (Still standing, but moved to Cutchogue).   In 1653 he was a deputy to the general court in New Haven.  For the year 1658 there are many records of a dispute involving slander against one of his neighbors and then in 1660 he resigned as a lieutenant from the Southold militia.  Some stories indicate his problems were because he was a Quaker, or at the very least, supported the Quakers.  In 1659 he moved to Rye, Westchester County, CT (now NY) where he was a large landowner.  Records in Rye give an indication he was an early equivalent of a land developer and generated some of the same anger as they can today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Lyon, Part 2

So, I Googled ‘mary lyon thomas connecticut’ and clicked on the first result, a Wikipedia page for the Thomas Lyon House.   I have to say, discovering some of my ancestors have Wikipedia pages is kind of cool.

More to the point for this post…My 7x great-grandmother, Mary Lyon, who was married to Joseph Stedwell, was born in 1649 in Stamford, CT.  She was the only child of Thomas Lyon and Martha Winthrop.  She was about 4 years old when her mother died and was then raised with her half-siblings by her stepmother, Mary Hoyt.  She didn’t forget her heritage however; in a an assertive move following the bequest from her father of only a share of movable property, Mary pursued a claim on land that had gone to her half-brothers.  She went to court with the claim that a portion of her father’s land came to him through his marriage to his first wife, Mary’s mother.  The court agreed and she received payment in exchange for a quitclaim.  You go, girl!

Thomas Lyon, the first immigrant of this line of my Lyon heritage, was born in England about 1621 and it was supposed he was the brother of two other Lyons who immigrated, Richard and Henry.  (Henry was in my post earlier this week.)  It is known that Thomas was in Stamford, Connecticut by 1647.  At that time he was married to Martha Winthrop and wrote a letter to her grandfather, Gov. John Winthrop of Salem, MA, concerning the possibility of a bequest from her grandmother who had recently died.  Apparently there were complications at hand because of Mary’s mother’s marital situation (she married a second time while still married to a husband who was deranged) and because of Martha’s very poor health (They hoped for means to assist with her care). Fortunately there exist several letters Thomas and Martha sent to her grandfather and her uncle, John Winthrop, Jr, that give an interesting picture of the times and especially of the circumstances faced by Quakers.  (And include the entertaining spelling where Rhode Island is Road Island and Greenwich is Greenage.)  Thomas died in Greenwich, CT in 1690.

As I prepared this post, I received my first issue (Summer 2011) of NEHGS’s American Ancestors.  As I skimmed through the issue before settling down to read more thoroughly, I spotted a listing on page 56 in the Family Focus section under Family Associations.  It seems the Lyon(s) Families Association is sponsoring analyses of DNA test results.  Included in this listing was this tidbit of information:  The long-held presumption about the relationship of the three Lyon brothers was inaccurate.  It turns out Richard and Henry are connected to a fourth Lyon immigrant, William, and none of them are connected to Thomas.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Were You Lyon Then, Or Are You Lyon Now?

I’ve moved from my 6x greats to 7x, but I almost missed one 6x great-grandmother because the last name is the same as a 7x time great-grandmother (although from different lines).  I’m going to slip back to the six level for this post.

I found little information about my 6x great-grandmother, Joanna Lyon, other than that she was born to Benjamin Lyon and Bethia Condit in Lyons Farms, NJ, probably around 1691.  Most of the biographical sources actually were more about her husband, Joseph Prudden, than about her.   She was married before 1720 when her married name appears in her father’s will.  Her father gave her land and 15 pounds.  She died sometime before her husband’s death in 1776 (in 1761 according to the Lyon(s) Families Association), inferred from the fact that she was not mentioned in her husband's will.

Benjamin was born about 1668 in Elizabethtown or Newark, NJ to Henry Lyon and Elizabeth Bateman.  He was an influential citizen--a surveyor of Elizabethtown, a member of the Assembly, a Justice of the Peace--all over a ten year period.  Based on his will, he also owned a significant amount of land.

According to published genealogies, Henry Lyon was born in 1628 in Perthshire, Scotland, but I’m not confident that the date and location have actually been documented. Henry does appear in the records of the First Church of Milford, CT in 1649 when he became a member.  He later traveled to Fairfield where his brother, Richard, lived and there married Elizabeth Bateman in 1652.  He was dismissed to the Fairfield Church in 1654.  From there, Henry and his family moved to New Jersey.  He was Newark NJ’s first Treasurer and first innkeeper.  Then on to Elizabethtown, where in 1675 he was a General Assembly member, later a judge, Justice of the Peace, a Commissioner, among other public positions.  He owned land in Newark and Elizabeth, and between the two an area known as Lyons Farms.  He died in 1703.

It is now known the three volumes of the Lyon Memorial have errors, not surprising because family tradition and assumption is the basis for much of the early years.  The Lyon(s) Families Association has sponsored DNA analysis, so I know efforts are being made to evaluate Lyon lineage.  At one time it was thought Henry was a brother to another of my Lyon ancestors, Thomas, but DNA results show that is not true.  So many town records have been lost as a result of war, fire, and other disasters, I’m not not sure it will ever be possible to know the truth with any sense of reliability.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gardiner Family-In Which I Think about Being a Lady

This post begins with Elizabeth Gardiner, 7x great-grandmother, supposedly born around 1658, Easthampton, Long Island, NY to David Gardiner.  I couldn’t find records on Elizabeth for her birth or baptism dates, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist somewhere, just that the birth year can’t be confirmed here.  I did find her marriage to James Parshall in 1678 in American Marriage Records Before 1699 by William Montgomery Clemens.

Elizabeth’s father, David, was born in 1636 in Saybrook, CT but married in London.  His wife was the widow Mary Harringman supposedly, as there is a record of a marriage in the parish register from St. Margaret's in London, England.  However, from my research, I could find no proof that the David Gardiner of the parish record was my David Gardiner and according to a query on rootsweb, there are no NY records that mention even his wife’s first name. 

He died suddenly while on a trip to Hartford and he is buried there.  The inscription on the gravestone is interesting to me:

Born at Saybrook April 29 1636
The first white child born in

Wow.  Well. Sick. Dead. In one hour's space.  Wish I knew more of the story there.

David’s parents were Lion Gardiner and Mary Deurcant. Lion was born in England in 1599 and eventually traveled to Holland as an officer and engineer in the English Army.  He met and married Mary Deurcant, a native of Holland.  Lion, my immigrant Gardiner, arrived with his wife in 1635 and settled in Saybrook, CT, where he commanded the fort. In 1639 the family moved to Gardiner Island, purchased by Lion from the Indians, establishing the first settlement in NY.  Lion died in 1663 and is buried in Easthampton, Long Island.

Wikipedia has a very interesting page on Gardiner Island.  It’s been owned by the (my!) family for almost 375 years.  Maybe my brother has right to claim the 17th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island—or maybe I’ll make a grab for Lady of the Manor.  Can’t wait to tell my husband he could be my consort.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Woodin It Be Nice

Bethia Woodin, who married Samuel Gaskill of Salem, MA, is a bit of a mystery to me.  I find very specific dates for her on online trees, but I can’t find a reference of any kind that provides any legitimate confirmation for those dates.  I do know she’s the daughter of John Woodin because a June 30, 1721, bond for the administration of his estate:  “The condition of this present obligation is such that of the above-bounden Sam: Gaskell in rights of Bethiah, his wife, daughter of the said John Wooden who died at Carolina, formerly of Haver-hill, Decd.”  She appears in other estate documents as well.

I found a little more information on John.  He was born in England and, once in America, seemed to lead an itinerant life (Ipswich, Salem, Haverhill…) and died in 1678.  It would be nice to get my hands on an old issue of the American Genealogist, I’d know a lot more.  (Janet Ireland Delorey, “John Woodin, Brickmaker, of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and South Carolina,” American Genealogist 64 (1989): 65–74, 150–56, 238–45.)  I should probably order it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Hallock She Is

As I have pursued my maternal side back to colonial America, it has become apparent that the desire to have “important” ancestors, regardless of the absence of facts, is nothing new.   It has caused me to develop a healthy skepticism of published family genealogies.  If they don’t cite sources, I consider them the equivalent of online trees—possibly accurate and therefore useful for clues, but not much more.  It makes me cringe when they use phrases like “tradition has it…”

The published Hallock genealogies seem to have made up an ancestor.  But before I get to that-

My 6x great-grandmother, Anna Hallock, appears on the Salmon Records in a record of her 1706/7 marriage to John Youngs.  Anna Hallock also appears in a 1698 list of inhabitants of Southold, NY.  The name appears with other Hallocks that I surmise is a family.  If so then, it is likely her father is Thomas Hallock and her mother is Hope.  However, I find nothing to confirm this is the right Anna, so I’m not officially adding them to my tree.  Just Anna.

I guess maybe I’m naïve about genealogy research.  I don’t understand why someone claims a weak link is a solid one, or worse, claims the existence of a relationship that is not supported by facts.  I don’t mean the situations where there is enough information to suggest a probable, reasonable connection.  I mean...well... to quote nearly every TV legal drama ever produced, "Objection.  Facts not in evidence."  Two published Hallock genealogies provide an example.

From A Hallock genealogy: an attempt to tabulate and set in order the numerous descendants of Peter Hallock who landed at Southold, by Lucius H. Hallock, published 1926 that quotes from A Brief Sketch of the Hallock Ancestry by William A. Hallock, published in 1866:
Peter Hallock, the ancestor of those of the name in this country, was one of thirteen pilgrim fathers, including Rev. John Youngs, who in 1640 fled from civil and religious oppression in England, and landed at New Haven (Connecticut).
And at one point it states, "the following facts, which are confirmed by multiplied records and memorials" (emphasis mine) and then proceeds to list events, land purchases, etc that are attributed to Peter Hallock.  Yet, not only are these specific facts not confirmed, later researchers have determined that Peter Hallock (supposed immigrant) does not appear at all in early Southold records.  

William Hallock, supposedly his son, is the first to appear.  William is in the 1675 tax list for Southold (the only other Hallock in 1675 is a John).  Then William’s son Thomas is in his father’s 1682 will and in the 1698 tax list.  Thomas is possibly the above-mentioned father of Anna.  Later generation Peters do appear in the 1698 tax list, perhaps causing confusion for some researchers hoping for proof of the immigrant Peter.

At least I know the name Hallock (variation of Hallyok, Holyoke, Hollioak, etc)  existed in Southold.  That’s something, I guess.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Prudden shall we call him?, or, Prudent?"

My 5x great-grandmother, Sarah Prudden, was born in 1725 to Joseph Prudden and Joanna Lyon.  She married Benjamin Halsey in 1747 and she died in 1760, leaving behind about six children, all under 12.

Joseph Prudden was born in Milford, CT in 1692 to Rev. John Prudden and Grace (Uknown).  He later moved to New Jersey with his family, where he died in 1776.  He was married to Joanna Lyon of Connecticut.  It appears he had a bit of a checkered relationship with the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown.  I don’t think he was one of the prudent Pruddens.

John Prudden, born in 1645 in Milford, was the son of Rev. Peter Prudden and Joanna Boyse.  He had a successful career in the Presbyterian Church after graduating from Harvard in 1668.  John founded the New Jersey branch of the family.  He died in Newark, NJ in 1725.

Peter was born in England in 1601 and sailed to Boston in 1637.  He led a group who hoped to establish a Christian Commonwealth.  In 1638 the group moved to New Haven, CT, the site they selected for their new community.  At the New Haven, only church members were allowed any official civil role.   Sometime later, Peter led some of the settlers to another location, Milford, CT, where they established a Puritan community.  Eventually they were not able to sustain Milford independently and became part of the New Haven Colony, but not with out raising issues between the two jurisdictions.

According to the 1901 book by Lillian Prudden Peter Prudden--A story of His Life:

…disapproval of their "laxity" caused opposition to their admission because they had "taken in as free burgesses six planters, not in church fellowship."
The difficulty was only adjusted when the Milford deputies promised that these unchurched free burgesses should not at any time be chosen deputies, nor vote at the election of magistrates, and that in future, no one should be admitted to citizenship except "according to the New Haven plan."

Although a Puritan, Peter Prudden seemed to carry some level of tolerance.  That created a level of fondness for him that I lacked for other Puritan ancestors.

From the same book:

When poor Hanna Spencerf is convicted at New Haven, Mr. Prudden is there and pays the fine of ten pounds, perhaps deeming it sufficient punishment for her that she must be present at the whipping post when her lover, William Ellitt, is corrected.

The monotonous life was broken not only by church-going on Sunday and Lecture days, but by corn-husking, house-raisings and house-warmings, spinning bees, gatherings at weddings and funerals, and by training and election days with their sports of cudgel, back-swords, fencing, running, wrestling, nine-pins and quoits. At these times everybody present, including the minister, partook more or less of the liberally provided strong drinks.

Peter died in 1656 and Cotton Mather included a eulogy for Peter in his book Magnalia, in part saying,

(Prudden shall we call him?, or, Prudent?), who besides his other excellent qualities, was noted for a singular faculty to sweeten, compose and qualify exasperated spirits, and stop or heal all contentions.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not every Arnold is Famous

Well, my 6x great-grandmother, Catherine Arnold, wife of James Ballou, is apparently of unknown parentage, and is not the daughter of Elisha, although the book Ballous in America said otherwise.  

I found the following in several forums; I assume as an effort to correct the record as much as possible--

Gary Boyd Robert's "Ancestors of American Presidents 2009 Edition", pg. 243 says:
"Catherine Arnold, born at Pawtucket, R.I. 28 Feb. 1690, daughter of Elisha Arnold and Susanna Carpenter, married Ebenezer Bates, not James Ballou, Jr.".
His sources for that are E.S. Arnold, "The Arnold Memorial" (1935), p. 86 and "Rhode Island Genealogical Register 3" (1980-81):239.
The Catherine Arnold that married James Ballou Jr., 25 Jan 1713, her parentage is unknown. Same Roberts source above, pg. 67.

Given Mr. Roberts expertise and association with NEHGS, I feel I should accept this for now, but I still want to review these sources at some point.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Alice Pickering, my 5x great-grandmother, was born in 1703 in Salem, MA, the daughter of Benjamin Pickering and Jane Hobby.  She married Jonathan Gaskill in 1726 and they moved to first to Mendon, MA and then to Cumberland, RI.  I found several online trees that indicated she died after Sept. 17, 1778 in Cumberland, but I found no other sources for a date of death. 

Alice’s father, Benjamin, was born in 1666 in Salem, MA.  He was a mariner and then a yeoman, the latter occurring perhaps because he inherited land from his father.  In addition, Benjamin served at the garrison at Quaboge during the Indian war.  I searched to find out how Benjamin might have been involved in the Witch Trials, and found nothing (although Alice married the son of someone who was definitely involved).  Then, in 1701 he and his brother William agreed to divide the property they inherited—literally.  According to the 1897 The Pickering Genealogy by Harrison Ellery (the source of much of the information for this post):
By this agreement he was to have the west part of the house with one of the ovens and half of the cellar, the eastern part of the great barn, one-third part of the north leanto and all the land to the westward.
Benjamin died in 1718 and apparently some property had to be sold to cover debts.  His widow, Jane, outlived him by over 30 years, dying in 1750.  Jane is purported to have come from Plymouth, England but I found no documentation of that or of anything else about her other than the marriage.

John Pickering and Alice Flint Bullock were Benjamin’s parents.  John was born in 1637, likely in Salem, to John Pickering and Elizabeth (Unknown, possibly Alderman).  He inherited and purchased, from other family members, the family home and estate.  He was very active in public affairs and held many official positions for the town of Salem.  He served as a lieutenant in the militia and fought the Indians in the battle at Bloody Brook.  He died in 1694.

The elder John was the first immigrant of my Pickering line.  He was born in England around 1615, owned a house near Newgate, Coventry, and was living in Salem, MA by 1637.  He was granted land by the town and later purchased additional lots.  The town contracted with John to build their meeting-house and later to maintain the bridge (apparently there were some problems with the quality of the bridge and he had to pay a penalty of one bull and one cow to the town). .  It is thought he was not a member of the Salem Church because no record is found that he took the freeman’s oath or that he had any public positions, along with the fact that record was found of his wife’s membership. In 1651, John built his home that today is called the Pickering House, the oldest American home still standing and, to this day, has been home to the Pickering family.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It Only Takes One

My pursuit of family history is something I do because I enjoy it, but it is nice to know there's at least one family member who’s eyes don’t roll back in their head when the subject comes up.  One of my cousins is intrigued by the direction my Murray research has gone and took at sidetrip to Cayuga County, NY, our 2x great-grandfather’s birthplace. 

She sent me photos from her visit and I am posting them here to include them in the record.  I really appreciate it because I’m not sure I’ll ever make the trip there myself.

First up, the Auburn First Presbyterian Church where my 3x great-grandmother, Ruth Snow Murray, was a founding member in 1811 (structure now used by another church).

Brutus, NY probably looks much like it did in 1812 when my 2x great-grandfather, Erastus Murray, was born there in 1812.  Well, except for the power line.

Throopsville Rural Cemetery-The grave of Christina, the first wife of Erastus and my 2x great-grandmother, who died in 1856--not long after the birth of my great-grandfather, Albert.

Ruth and her daughters, Jane, Lydia and Lucetta, lived at number 26 in 1857.

Approximate place of 34 Canal Street where Erastus lived in 1857.  There are no homes now but there is evidence there were once homes on the street.

Auburn Prison, where Erastus was appointed a guard in 1859 (apparently you’re not allowed to get any closer for photos)

Current home of the he Cayuga Children's Home, formerly the Cayuga Asylum for Destitute Children, where Erastus’s children were taken before being bound out to other families. (original building at another location was torn down)

Gravestones of Ruth, Jane, Lydia and Lucetta.  Ruth’s is the tall one in the center, Jane’s is to the left, the small ground stone, then to the right, Lucetta and Lydia.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Part and Parshall

My 5x great-grandmother, Bethia Parshall, was the wife of two of my 5x great-grandfathers, first, David Youngs and second, Benjamin Halsey, but my blood relation to her is only through the Youngs marriage.  She was born in 1724 on Long Island, New York, the daughter of David Parshall and Mary (Unknown).

David was born in 1682 to James Parshall and Elizabeth Gardiner, probably on Gardiners Island, NY.  He had significant land holdings and was one of the richest men in the area.  (Alas, nothing from all these prominent landowners I keep encountering in my family history trickled down to me.)  He was in the Southold Militia, but otherwise was not as involved as other family members in the official activities of the town.  He died in 1726, a few months after Mary’s death.  

(As an aside on his wife Mary, some genealogies indicate she was a Gardiner, but that is incorrect.  I inadvertently passed on the error here.  See Errata, Controversies, Common Errors, and  New Discoveries  In Southold Genealogy”  for details.)

It is claimed in The History of the Parshall Family, published in 1903, that David’s father, James, was born in England, probably mid-1600s (or so), but, to me, it did not seem to have a solid foundation for that.  In The Parshall Family A.D. 870-1913, it suggests that James was not the first Parshall emigrant, but rather it was his father, Jonas.  There seem to be reasonable sources for the existence of Jonas Pershall, born between 1590 and 1595 in England.  However, the suggestions that Jonas sailed to Virginia because his uncle was associated with that Colony and that he had a son, James, born either in Virginia or New York, seem to be pure speculation.

Both books then pick up James Pershall at the point--He first appears in a Aquebogue, deed record in 1679 as a resident of the Isle of Wight (Gardiner’s Island).  Based on dates in other records, it’s reasonable to assume he married in about 1678.  Then by 1686, the family was living in Southold, NY. 

In my research I discovered there are many variations of the name.  I wonder why neither book connected James to Henry Pearsall (a known variation of the name) who emigrated from England and who is documented in Long Island records.  Maybe they did consider him, but were able to conclude there was no connection.  Maybe I need to do some digging.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ballou, Oui?

I was fortunate that the Ballou genealogy is available in a published format.  The original book (love this title) An Elaborate History of the Ballous in America, was published in 1888, followed by 1937 and 1942 addendums.  It was interesting that the 1937 addendum was compiled by the Historical Records Survey, Division of Women’s and Professional Projects, Works Progress Administration. 

But on to the family history—

Sarah Ballou was my 5x great-grandmother.  She was born in Wrentham Massachusetts (now Cumberland, RI), in 1713, the daughter of James Ballou and Catherine Arnold.  After her marriage to Uriah Jillson around 1734, she lived in Rhode Island.  (To clarify some of the jurisdiction name changes, see the comments and maps in my previous post)

Sarah’s parents were James Ballou and Catherine Arnold.  James was born in what is now Lincoln, RI, but was then Providence, in 1684.  James and Catherine moved from Providence (Smithfield) to what was essentially a wilderness region that would eventually be Cumberland, RI.  He built his home there, became a landowner of multiple tracts, and eventually donated the quarter acre property on which the Elder Ballou Meeting House was situated.

James was the son of James Ballou and Susanna Whitman.  He was born in Providence, RI, likely in 1652.  He inherited several tracts of land and added to them with later purchases,  eventually allowing James and his three sons sufficient land to all have homesteads on the property.  Prior to his death, James conveyed the land to his sons equally.  In his 1734 will, his other property was given to his children, with most going to His son Samuel who had cared for his father during his declining years.  James died sometime after 1741 when he made his final arrangement of his affairs.

The senior James was the son of Maturin Ballou (also Bellowe and Belloo) and Hannah Pike.  Nothing definite is known of Maturin’s origins or when he first came to America.  Some believe he was born in Devonshire, England around 1626, but as far as I can tell this is speculation.  He first appears in the Providence records in 1645, but was likely there earlier.  Some of the town records were destroyed by Indians in 1676, during King Philip’s war, so early documentation was lost.  Maturin is recorded as having signed a 1645 agreement giving him and others 25 acres each, but they would not have a right to purchase the land or vote until they were received as freemen of Providence.  Maturin was recorded as becoming a freeman in 1658.  He died between 1661 and 1663.

Maturin’s will was very detailed and divided his estate equitably among his wife and children.  It specified that his three sons and their heirs were to be equally responsible for the care of his wife Hannah and daughter Hannah.  Subsequent to Maturin’s death, both his wife and daughter required special care and chose Maturin’s son James to provide the assistance.  In exchange, they gave James their portion of the inherited estate.  Maturin’s other living son, John, was unhappy with this result and left the legacy of dissatisfaction to his son, John, who took legal action against his uncle.  In the end, the expense of care provided was deemed to exceed the value of the land and James retained the land rights.

In the Ballou book, the author claims the Ballous’ French origins are prior to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and that after that some descendants remained in England and that possible Huguenot origins have been debunked.  I wonder…I found it interesting that a quick search on found this:

Naissances et baptêmes de Haute-Bretagne, France, 1501-1907   
(Upper Brittany, France Births & Christenings, 1501-1907)
Mathurin Balue
26 août 1629 (26 Aug 1629)
Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine
Record Type:
ABGH Parchemin
Full Text:
BALUE Mathurin, Fils de Jean & Christine GUERARD, 26 08 1629
Source Information: Upper Brittany, France Births & Christenings, 1501-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.
Original data: association ABGH Parchemin. Base de données indexées à partir de registres de naissance et baptême. Rennes, France: ABGH Parchemin.
This database contains birth and christening data indexed from original parish and civil vital records by members of ABGH Parchemin, a genealogical association in France. Records approximately cover the years 1501-1907 for Upper Brittany, France. Information contained in the database includes: name of child, birth or christening date, and birth or christening place