Freaky Friday’s ~ 1630’s Massachusetts

Freaked Out Letters Funny A Little Crazy Word

I have found many, many ancestors who have married their first cousin. I have even found some who married their Aunt or Uncle. Back in the early days of the colonies, there were not a lot of choices as to who they could marry. Some of them even immigrated from a country that practiced intermarrying with relatives so it was commonplace. In today’s society, it is definitely frowned upon and in some places in the country, it is illegal!

My first recorded incident of first cousins marrying begins in 1629. Myscotland_16th 9x Great Grandfather, Christopher Lindsay (1592-1669), immigrated to Lynn County, Massachusetts from Scotland. He came over with his brother Daniel of whom I have very little information. He was wealthy and purchased a lot of land in the County.

Abigail shipHugh Alley (1608-1673) my 9x Great Grandfather, immigrated from England to Boston aboard the Abigail in 1635 along with his younger sister, my 9x Great Aunt, Margaret (1620-1669). By 1640 they too moved to Lynn County. Hugh married Mary Graves (1609-1674) in 1641 and they had 8 children, 4 sons, and 4 daughters. The oldest daughter was named Mary (1641-1681) and their third daughter was named Sarah (1651-1731).

Meanwhile, Christopher Lindsay marries Margaret Alley in 1644 and they have 3 children, 2 sons, and a daughter. The sons were John (1644-1705) and Eleazer (1646-1717).cousin1

In 1667 John Lindsay marries his first cousin Mary Alley. In 1668 Eleazer Lindsay marries his first cousin Sarah Alley!

This also makes Hugh and his sister Margaret Grandparents to the same 2 sets of grandchildren. This makes my head hurt!

It doesn’t matter how long ago this happened or the circumstances that brought it about, I find this Freaky!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ The Name Game

freaky-friday-logoHave you ever come upon an ancestor whose last name is slightly different from their parents? Names like “John/Johnson, Anders/Anderson or perhaps, Issac/Isaacson”? Cultures that traditionally used patronymic family names gave the child the father’s first name then added the word son to it. In Norway, each son of Anders was an “Andersen” and every daughter was an “Andersdatter”.

The first known Patronymic naming of a child was in 1612. It became a very popular custom for those who had ventured to the New World. Many of the immigrants came seeking a new life or a new start so with that came a new variation of their name. I have one such ancestor name, John Dods. He was born in Great Neck, Yorkshire, England in 1571. He arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 and married a woman named Jane shortly after that. When they began to have children (I only have proof of 2 sons) the boys were named Jesse and Benjamin Dodson.

Following this principle, I started doing some research into other cultures naming traditions. Basically, I was hoping to find any information about one of my brick wall ancestors, Jane Virtchworth. There is absolutely no documentation to be found for her. The source of Jane’s name appears to be a private letter written more than 100 years ago which stated, “Benjamin Goodin came from Wales and settled in Baltimore, Md ca 1750. He was m in Va in 1762 to Jane Virtchworth. He d. aged 101”. This information comes from “Descendants of James (Timothy) McClintock and Some Related Families…” by A. Louise (McClintock) Shelton, published in 1985. See footnote on page 19 for more details regarding the source of this letter. So during my research, I came across the following information:

Among the Welsh, every male child of David would be an “ap David” and everyWalesMap daughter a, “virtch David”. Using this information we could assume that Jane Virtchworth was really Jane virtch Worth. Her father’s first name was “Worth” and his family name — a patronymic — would have been “ap [what ever his father’s first name was]”. So my next step will be to search records in the Culpeper County, VA, and the Maryland area sometime between 1750 and 1762 to see if there may be an immigrant who arrived from Wales and has the first name of Worth with a daughter named Jane. This will be a tedious task and there is no guarantee that this method will work. However, I believe it would be worth a try.

I wonder how many other “Freaky” ways of attempting to tear down brick walls there are?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday ~ “We Were Cherokee”

ff imageGrowing up I was always told that we were part Native American. On my mothers’ side, I was supposedly Creek and on my dads’ side, I was supposedly Osage, Cheyenne, and Cherokee. For my mothers’ side, I can find no proof of being Creek. My Great Grandfather was our link to this bloodline, but unfortunately, he is also one of my solid brick walls, and the few documents I do have give absolutely no indication that he was. All of the “proof” we had were the far fetched stories my mother told us.

Now, on my dad’s side, there is no proof whatsoever that we have a drop of Native can you prove it questionblood in us. However, every cousin I have ever talked to or corresponded with swears we are Cherokee. So, for over 20 years I have searched the archives for any proof. When genealogy made it easier to find documents etc, I spent a multitude of hours researching. Still nothing. I had one cousin tell me that I apparently am not smart enough to figure out that we are Cherokee. I just laughed. I guess he didn’t realize that the fact that most people in our family have high cheekbones is not proof enough to claim we are.

A few months ago, I decided to revisit the rumors of our Native Heritage. I started with my oldest Hughes ancestor and began to slowly go over all of my documents and notes. I spent a couple of days making my way forward hoping to find one little hint. I took a break and called one of my two living first cousins to try to get more information about why the family believed the story. He told me that my Grandmother Hughes had told him when he was a young boy that we were Cherokee and that it came from our Hayes side a couple of generations back from her. He is the only living cousin who met our Grandmother, so who was I to doubt it?

George W Hayes Finished pic 2I returned to the search determined to find something. I abandoned my search of the Hughes’ and switched to the Hayes’. I was determined to find a link to our story. It didn’t take long. My 2x Great Grandfather, George W. Hayes (1817-1898) was where I found my answer. He was a wealthy man and during the Civil War, he provided aid by way of finances and supplies to the Confederate Army in North Carolina. In Burke County, North Carolina they had a unit called “Company A the Cherokee Rangers”. Although George never joined the army nor fought in any battles he was made an honorary Captain in the unit.

I can see how the “story” may have gotten started. He or his wife could have told a telephone-gamechild or grandchild that he had been in the Cherokee Rangers and just like the “game of telephone” each time the story is passed to another person part of it is changed. So, I can see why we came to believe that we were Cherokee. This whole concept is kind of Freaky because it makes one wonder what other family stories have been changed this drastically?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Fridays ~ What’s Your Name?

Freaky Fridays imageI, like many others, have several ancestors who have given two of their children the same name. This usually occurs when the first-named child had died, so the next child of the same gender born after the death of the first child will be given the same name. I have a couple of ancestors who have lost 2 children at a young age so the next two were named after them. So, there were two Benjamins and two Rueben’s in the same family.

Last week I came across a Freaky naming pattern. My 6x Great Grandfather, John PageJohn Page who had a total of 13 children, 12 with his first wife and 1 with his second. John was a prominent figure in Virginia history. He came from a long line of Page’s who lived on Rosewell Plantation located in Gloucester County. He had attended William and Mary University where his roommate was Thomas Jefferson. They became lifelong friends. He fought under George Washington in the French and Indian Wars. He also served in the Revolutionary War, was a Congressman from Virginia, and became Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

With his first wife, he named his 3rd son after himself. John #1 was born in 1768 on the Rosewell Plantation. He died of pneumonia a few months later, also in 1768.

Five years and 2 more children later John #2 was born in 1773. His mother Frances came from the Burwell family who was also prominent in the area. They owned Fairfield Plantation not far from Rosewell. Fairfield was the largest Plantation in Gloucester Count encompassing thousands of acres which included Carter’s Creek. The creek had been named after an ancestor. In the summer of 1784, John #2 accompanied his mother and siblings to visit their relatives at Fairfield. The children with their cousins went down to the creek to swim. No one knows exactly what happened, but John #2 drowned in the creek. He was 11 years old. His mother died in 1784, a couple of months later, some say it was from the heartbreak over her sons drowning.

fairfield-plantation-historical-marker 2In 1789 John Page Sr then married Margaret Louther. I assume they must have had other children before John #3 was born but I can find no record of them. John Page #3 was born in 1797. He was the only John who lived to be an adult. His father died when he was 10 years old. John was an attorney and lived in Williamsburg. He died age 40 at the home of William Anderson, Jr., and was originally buried in William’s father Richard’s plot in Richmond’s Shockoe Hill Cemetery. His remains were later disinterred and moved to Hollywood.

I wonder why John Sr would name 3 sons John. Could he have been desperate to leave a namesake? Or perhaps because of his prominence he had a big ego? One may never know!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ It’s Not Unusual

freakyfridayI have previously written about my children’s’ unusual names. They have used the fact that I did this to proclaim that I had been a hippy. However, I had a good explanation as to why they were named what they were. My oldest son I named after my maternal Grandparent, the only one I had met, John Pleasant Smith. He had been named after his father, Pleasant m, so I wanted to keep it in the family. Growing up we called my son “Pleasant”. My next child, another son. I named Starr Douglas, The Douglas was for my dad. Because my older son’s name was unusual, I wanted this sons’ name to be also. When I was 8 months pregnant I saw a Senator on TV who was named Starr. I thought that sounded good. My last child, a daughter, I named Jerusha Jane, The Jane was a family name passed down through many generations. The name Jerusha came from a character Julie Andrews played in the movie Hawaii. It just fits with the name Jane!

I started thinking about all the unusual names I have found on both sides of my family tree. Some of them were obviously pasted down while others were a complete mystery. I would love to know where the person who named them got it from. So the following are a few of the odd ones I have found and a few thoughts as to where they came from.

I have discovered odd names dating back to the beginnings of our country. Most notable are some of the names that were given by my 10th Great Grandfather, Elder William Brewster who came over on the Mayflower. Since he was a religious man and spiritual leader, I assume some of the names reflected his circumstances at the time of the child’s birth.  For instance, his daughter Love was born in 1595. She was the first Patience 2daughter born so I think maybe as a father he was expressing his “Love” for finally having one. His second daughter, Patience was born in 1600. I believe he named her this because the family was having to develop “Patience” because of waiting for the right time to run from the persecution from King James 1 because they had turned their backs on the King’s religion. The third daughter was named Fear and she was born in 1603. They must have lived with a lot of “Fear” during this time as many protestants were being killed for their faith. His last son was born in 1605 and he was named Wrestling. Perhaps William was “Wrestling” with his faith as they prepared to make their escape to Leyden, Holland?

SteadfastNext up is the children of my 11th Great Grandfather, Thomas Starr. His first son, born in 1589 was named Comfort. Maybe it was a prophetic naming since he did give “Comfort” to others by becoming a Doctor of Medicine. Thomas and his wife Susan had 13 children. Only 3 of them had “normal” names. Listed in order of birth is Comfort, Moregift, Mercy, Judith, Joyful, Beloved, Constant, Truth-Shall-Prevail, Steadfast, Suretrust, William, Nostrength and Jehosephat. With these names, your guess is as good as mine!

On my maternal side of the family, I am descended from a long line of the surname offountain Page. Some of the more unusual names were Fountain, Granville, Axcell, Marble, Mann, Tayloe (no it is not a typo!), and the only female of the bunch, my Great Aunt Dytha. Maybe they were all named after a place their parents had visited?

I just think some of these names could be considered “freaky”. What is even freakier is this list of names is just a very small portion of the unusual names I find in my family. What are some of the unique or strange names you have found in your lineage?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Freaky Friday’s ~ From Generation to Generation

ff imageDo you ever wonder why some things are done a certain way in your family, but the same thing is done differently in a friend’s family? How about the foods you eat or don’t eat? Well, thanks to a cousin who shared a few stories with me I now know the answer to these two questions.

Mitchell Willard Sr is my 1st cousin. He is now in his late 80’s and is one of only two 1st cousins I have left. He is the only living cousin who got to meet and spend time with our Grandpa Charley Hughes (d. 1944). Here are a couple of stories.

My paternal grandparents lived on a farm outside of Lexington, Lafayette Co., Missouri.Charley & Virginia Hughes new pic Grandma Virginia (Jennie) Hughes would send Grandpa into town to buy items from the store. Is was quite a long trip so by the time he arrived in town he would be hungry. Among the small list of items to purchase she would always have him buy 30 hot dogs. On the way home he would always eat a couple of them uncooked Grandma knew that no matter how she would scold him he would insist on eating 2 so she always added those to the total number.  Why is this so interesting to me? Well, growing up my Dad ate hot dogs uncooked, so I did too. Of course, I would dip mine in ketchup and now I add a slice of cheese to them. My 3 children also eat hot dogs uncooked and now my Grandchildren do the same thing. I never knew until this story was shared with me that Grandpa Hughes did this and I always wondered why we adopted this way of eating them. This is definitely a strange thing to be passed down from Generation to Generation…LOL.

Grandma & Grandpa Hughes and Mr & Mrs Lewis (Neighbors) editedApparently, my Grandma Hughes loved peanut butter. She ate some every day. Grandpa Hughes hated it. He said the smell made him sick. So, Grandma would try to eat it outside when the weather was good. Missouri can have some pretty harsh winters and during that time she had to get creative. She discovered if you mixed peanut butter in a bowl with Karo Syrup that the sweetness from the syrup hid the peanut smell. She would mix up a bowl and just eat it with a spoon. As far as I know, Grandpa never found out! Grandma told my cousin that Grandpa being “sick” from the smell was all in his head. She then found she could eat peanut butter spread directly onto a banana and that too seemed to soften the smell. My dad also ate peanut butter both of these ways and so do I. Only one of my children does it and three of my grandkids.

What makes these two stories freaky? The fact that I just found out about them about 7 years ago, but I have been eating this way my whole life. Yes, my dad also ate hot dogs and peanut butter this way, but I had no idea it was a generational thing!!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Freaky Friday’s ~ “How Old Were You?”

Freaky Fridays imageI have always thought it is kind of freaky not knowing a birth date of an ancestor. I know in a lot of rural communities the county seat was far from where a family lived so a birth was sometimes reported and recorded up to a year after the event. However hard it may have been to remember the exact date the child was born, at least they could remember the year. Not so with my paternal Grandfather. In this case, I have proof of his date of birth but the year is up for grabs!

Charleys HS use thisCharles Hughes was born on December 20th. His Headstone says he was born in 1868, his death certificate says 1865, my Aunt Margaret’s handwritten genealogy says 1864, a page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and the family tree in my babyCharleys DC book says he was born in 1867. This is a seven-year gap! There are no birth records to be found anywhere in the State of Missouri, not even in Benton County where it is said he was born. His parents had all of their 11 children in a span of 24 Bible transcriptionyears and there were several gaps between children so I can’t definitely say, “This is the only year he could have been born.” I have sent away to the state archives in Jefferson City and they can’t find anything. All of my Grandfather’s siblings passed away long before I was born. My Dad and all 10 of his siblings have passed as well the one in 1988. Out of over 60 first cousins, there are only 3 of us left, me and two much older ones. Neither of them knows for sure either. I have all but given up on ever finding the year of his birth.

Another freaky thing about my Grandfather is that his first marriage was in the year Grandparents H1900. He would have been between 32 and 39 years old. In those days most people didn’t wait that long in life to get married for the first time. He had only waited 9 months between when his first wife died and when he married my Grandmother. I have copies of both of these marriage records but I can’t find anything prior to these. Unfortunately, the name Charles or Charley Hughes was a common name in Missouri. I have found a couple of possible records but the information on them is too vague. Both of the records just state that he is over the age of 21 at the time of the marriage. Both of his other marriages were in Benton County, MO and I was told that the actual marriage licenses were lost during a tornado back in 1910. So, this makes it more difficult.

I know having the lack of proof regarding these events is pretty common, but I find it especially “freaky” that both of them happened to Grandpa Hughes.

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

864, A page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and the baby book family tree says he was born in 1867.

Freaky Friday’s ~ Is The Invite In The Mail?

freaky-fridayMy blog on Wednesday for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks was about a 9x Great Uncle named Jonathan Singletary who changed his last name to his mother’s maiden name of Dunham. It was quite a story. However, as I was researching Jonathan I came upon a very Freaky discovery. Let me explain.

When I write a blog I spend several hours doing research, checking sources, and tryingresearch-clipart to write in a way that is understandable. I don’t rely on just one source, I will scroll through page after page of information to make sure the information is correct, comparing facts, etc. To be honest, sometimes it can get downright boring! Here is another confession…..this time it wasn’t just the story about a family scoundrel that got me interested in this particular family line. It was a person I found at the end of one of the lines.

presidential-sealI have several “famous” people on both sides of my family. I have Patriots, war heroes, pioneers, Mayflower passengers, and 3 Presidents I am connected to. As of Wednesday I now have another President to add to my list. I discovered that I am a 9th cousin to Barack Obama. To say I was shocked is an understatement!

 

I wonder if I contacted him if I would get an invite to their next family reunion? No, I don’t see that happening, that would be too freaky!

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ When A Lie Becomes A Truth

Howard Hughesfreaky-fridayWhen I was a young child, I sometimes wished my last name wasn’t Hughes. During this time Howard Hughes was a very popular guy. Not just for his being a well*respected business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world, but also for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle.  The eccentric part always seemed to get the most attention.

I remember when I was about 8 years old my dad would drive my sister and me to the YMCA for Saturdays “kids only” swimming. He would drop us off and come back 2 hours later to take us home. We did this all year round because the winters were mild. We were one of the few kids that came every weekend, so there were always new kids there. My sister couldn’t tell the truth to save her life. No one, with the exception of my mother, believed her when she talked. Because my sister, at the age of 12 weighed 200 lbs and she was allowed to bully and abuse me, I found it was easier and safer to participate in her lies than to contradict her.

le & me
My Sister on the left, me on the right

 

One of her favorite ones was to tell people that we were related to Howard Hughes. We called him “Uncle Howie”. I usually didn’t talk much. My “job” was to just back up her lies. I have to tell you, some of the stories she told about us and Uncle Howie were so far out there I couldn’t see how anyone would believe them. Of course, she was talking to kids between the ages of 6 and 12. However, I could tell by the look on some of their faces that they knew what she said wasn’t true and I would be so embarrassed.

Fast forward to 2020. My husband and I watched a documentary about “Uncle Howie” and he asked me if I thought we could be related. I laughed and said, “Not very likely!” Well, that planted the little seed in my head so for the last 3 weeks, I have been doing research on him, seeing if any of the dots connected. A couple of days ago I ran that line through all the dots, and I found that we are related. Very, very distantly but close enough to consider him “kin”.

My sister passed away 8 years ago, but I think she would have been amazed that her lies had become truth. This was really a “Freaky” find.

 

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ “What is “Freaky?”

freaky-friday-logoHave you ever researched an ancestor and saw something you thought was “freaky”? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess that depends on what your definition of freaky is. The word was first used back in 1832 and the meaning hasn’t changed since then. However, in today’s world, something freaky oftentimes means something that is creepy. Merriam Websters Dictionary defines “freaky” as being strange or odd. So, when you find something in your family tree that is freaky it isn’t always a bad thing.

You may wonder “Why the language lesson”? I did it to make a point. The definition of this word has stayed the same although most people consider it differently. This is how it can be when we find something in our family line that we feel is freaky. We look at it through our 21st -century eyes and that makes it difficult to wrap our heads around it.

One example is in my Coffey line beginning with my 4x Great Grandfather, Benjamin. He1st cousins and his wife Mary “Polly” Hayes had 8 children. 4 of his sons married their first cousin and one marrying the daughter of his Grandfather or to put it in easier terms, he married his aunt! Within 3 generations this family had over 15 intermarriages of cousins. To me, I consider this strange, odd and freaky. These types of things are rare in this day and age, but back in the 1700’s it was a common practice for many reasons. Families lived close together in small communities that didn’t include very many non-relatives. So when it came time to get married they had a limited selection. Looking at the facts surrounding the time frame helped me to put it all into perspective.

emigrants 1700Another situation that could be considered freaky would be how entire families just loaded up their belongings and moved hundreds or thousands of miles away. Today it happens all the time. My husband and I have moved from Arizona to Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Tennessee and back again. That is 4 long trips and a lot of miles. However, the entire process was pretty easy compared to the 1700s. We could research information about the area, find housing and jobs before we left here. Moving, although tiring was simple, just pack up the U-Haul and go. We had detailed maps or GPS so we knew exactly how to get where we were going. My ancestors would make the decision to move, raise the funds, sell most of their belonging and if they were lucky within a year or two they could begin their move. They were basically in the dark when it came to what the destination looked like. They had “crude” maps and they just prayed it was correct. Instead of it taking 2 days to drive to their new home it would take weeks or months to get there. Then they had to build their home and plant their gardens and crops and begin anew. They were the brave, adventurous ones. If we had to do this most of us would never leave the area where we were born. Looking back, what they did could be considered freaky.

I am sure that you can think of many things your ancestors did that we would never do today. That in itself would make the action “freaky”. So when we look back on their lives remember, we don’t have to understand the why of what they did as it was a different time. I am sure if they could have seen into the future they would have thought we were all a little “freaky”. My search for the “odd and strange” will continue!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.