Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Clues Just Keep On Coming

As many readers know, I have been seriously climbing my own family tree for a long time. I have learned strange things, had childhood beliefs completely upended, and have enjoyed the journey and all its frustrations immensely

And then there is this.

Today, while checking on a new clue of my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Ann Shea, the mother of my great-grandmother Burke, of my maternal Burke family line, whom I hardly knew because we were in Jordan while I was growing up <Interesting side note: on one of our home leave periods, hers was the last funeral I ever attended>, I learned some interesting facts from her last Will that I think will keep my investigative juices running a long time.
  1. She gave me the names of her children, names I have never heard before. Keep in mind, she died in my hometown of Wilton, New Hampshire, in 1901, more than 48 years before I was born.
  2. She gave me the name of a sister who does not appear on my family tree. (Yay!!)
  3. She gave me insight into the feelings she had for a couple of her children and for a couple others.
To wit:
  • She bequeathed a daughter, Hannah E. Brennan, the sum of one dollar;
  • She bequeathed a son, John B. Shea, the sum of one dollar;
  • She bequeathed a grandson, John Foley, whatever sum was left unpaid in her personal bank account. Presumably, this was more than $1.00.
But to her daughter, Maggie Cain, she left "all the rest and residue" of her estate, both real and personal, specifying only that the sum of $100 be set aside for "an appropriate" headstone and burial. She left the decision-making up to Maggie, whom she also selected as executrix of her Will.

Clearly, there were family issues of which I have only learned about this day. Since I have no previous record of any of these names, trying to find out what was going on in my not-to-distant relative's family to make this happen will occupy my time!

Friday, May 3, 2019

More Discoveries As I Climb my Family Tree

I have been away from this computer and blog for a very long time. There have been no posts for almost a year. Obviously, there is a reason; life has a way of diverting the paths of rivers and the direction of the humans living on Earth. That was the case with me and I hope to make good on my promise of more regular posts.

This post has to do with realizations I have come to in the past couple of weeks while visiting my daughter and grandchildren in cold, rainy, snowy Maine. This first-in-a-while post will not be too long but I hope it will be informative for anyone newly interested in genealogy, the process of climbing your own family tree. First, a short lesson in basic biology.

Every human has two parents. Each of those parents has two parents, and so on. In my own lines, the names of those humans are Wilkinson and Batty from my paternal side and Burke and Thompson from my maternal side. But each of those names will have different names since tradition had the women take the man's name. In the Burke case, the female line's name was RAYMOND.

In genealogy, each line deserves attention to detail; in my case, that is critical because of a lack of accurate information from my childhood. (In other posts, I have described how wrong I was about some early beliefs and how little information I have from my parents and grandparents - none, really.

To recap quickly, I thought my maternal grandfather was from Ireland and his wife, my grandmother, from Scotland. My beliefs were wrong on both accounts and I have verified (a very important step in genealogy!) that my maternal grandfather's line has a long history in northern Massachusetts. In fact, in the mail just this day, I received documentation that my 7X GGF (7th great-grandfather), WILLIAM RAYMOND, was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1666, and he died there in 1709. I believe, though I have not completely verified, that my 8X GGF, WILLIAM RAYMOND was the first of my maternal grandparents' line to arrive in this country. According to my preliminary information, he was born in Glastonbury, England, and came west during the Great Migration, settling in Massachusetts Bay in British Colonial America, where he died in 1709.

I have not learned how he got here; whether he was a passenger on the Mayflower or another ship is part of my current research. As you can tell, picking one grandparent that I knew and following her ancestral path back to its origin leads to all kinds of new amazement.

And to think it all started when I learned her son, my grandfather, did not come from Ireland!