The project I just finished, “Every Day is Somebody’s Birthday (Volumes I and II) gave me ideas for my next projects.
These are the working titles and descriptions of what comes next.
Quaint Little Villages: My New England Ancestors. I am descended from hundreds of the residents in the “quaint little villages” celebrated in songs like “Old Cape Cod.” My ancestors came to Plymouth on the Mayflower and to Massachusetts on the ships of the Winthrop Fleet and the Great Migration. They settled in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. I plan to tell their stories as I place them in a specific community in place and time
Carry Me Back: My VirginiaI am descended from hundreds of the 500,000 or so individuals who lived in Virginia in the 17th century (half of them were enslaved, and my ancestors owned some of these slaves). I have ancestors all over eastern Virginia – from Jamestown to the Northern Neck to Norfolk, from the Shenandoah Valley to the Chesapeake Bay. I plan to tell their stories as I place them in a specific community in place and time.
Over the Hill: My Family Story in Antebellum America. : My ancestors moved around a lot. This project will focus on the time when they decided to leave the east coast environment where they had settled and developed over 150 or more years. They all moved west – over the mountains, to the Ohio River Valley and beyond. Of the families that had settled in eight of the original colonies in the 17th and early 18th centuries, none of my direct ancestors were still living in these original states by 1830.
I have already done the genealogy research to support these three projects. I know who was where and when they moved. But I want to put these people in context. This should keep me busy for a while.
This is the end of my series of blog posts on my ancestors’ birthdays.
In the two years I have been working on this project (really?) I have come to understand much more about my family history than I ever imagined. Yes, there was some drudgery involved.
But the effort to dig a little deeper into each birthday story helped me find new resources, re-examine things I thought I knew, and place my ancestors into context in a way I had not done before.
Creating a personal map for each birthday celebrant helped me understand the geography of each person’s live. Some of my ancestors stayed in one place for their entire lives; more of them moved, in some cases several times and sometimes hundreds of miles, during their lifetimes.
Finding and using pictures of individuals, scenes, grave markers, documents, and so forth became a task I particularly enjoyed. Some of the pictures are ones that I had inherited from my parents; more were pictures I found online, where other family historians had placed them for others like me to find and use. Some were publicly available pictures from other websites. Some were pictures I took while I was doing on-site research.
I commemorated the birthdays of more than 300 of my ancestors over the 365 days of the calendar year. Some days contained several birthdays. The birthdays were not evenly distributed among the months; January and March contained the most birthdays, while July and October contained the fewest birthdays.
This project grew while I was working on it. As I worked on each entry, I discovered information about other ancestors, whose birthdays I then added to my list. I finally had to stop doing that – the project was eating me alive. At the end of April, 2019, I stopped adding new people to my list.
This means there is more to do. Always, more to do.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my maternal 7th great-grandmother Elizabeth Maritje Delgyn (1704-1778). I need to say, from the outset, that these Dutch names are difficult to research. They were spelled any number of ways, and it’s hard to track who’s who. Add to that the fact that in some records the names are Anglicized – Jacobus becomes Jacob, Johannes become John (or Hans), Meritje becomes Mary, Geertje becomes Gertrude. Katarina become Catherine – but sometimes the names are not anglicized. And the last names are transcribed any which way — Delgyn and sometimes Dildine or Dildyn, Wyckoff is sometimes Wijkof, and so forth.
With that caveat, here’s what I think I know about Elizabeth. She was the last of six children born to Hans Jacob Delgyn (or Johannes Jacobus Dildine) and the improbably named Maria Catherine DeVeaux Jung in Germany, I think. One story says that her father died on board ship as the family was travelling from Germany to New Jersey. I don’t know that for sure, but once the family arrives in New Jersey there is no further mention of the father.
Elizabeth married Nicholas Wycoff in 1723 in Monmouth, New Jersey. Nicholas’s great-grandfather was Pieter Claesen Wyckoff, who came to New Amsterdam in 1636 as a 10-year-old indentured servant. The Wyckoff home in Brooklyn is still standing and is identified as the oldest home in New York City.
The Wycoff name is prominent in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Readington, New Jersey, where Elizabeth and Nicholas lived. As a side note, the Woertman family name (which would be Anglicized as Workman within two generations, is also visible in these records. Elizabeth’s granddaughter, also named Elizabeth, would marry Abraham Workman in 1770. Elizabeth lived long enough to witness this marriage.
Elizabeth and Nicholas had 11 children, including my 6th great-grandfather Samuel Wycoff, who was their second child.
Elizabeth died in Readington, New Jersey, in 1778. I don’t know where she is buried.
I connect to Elizabeth through my Workman family line.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my paternal 7th great-grandmother Elizabeth Carr (1691-1764). Elizabeth was the second of eight children born to Ezek and Susannah Brownell Carr in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island. Elizabeth’s paternal grandfather, Robert Carr, came to New England in 1635 on the Elizabeth and Ann and soon settled in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where he was a tailor. Her maternal grandfather, Thomas Brownell, died after a fall from a horse when Elizabeth mother was only 10 years old.
I don’t know much about Elizabeth’s father Ezek except that he owned land in Newport and was probably a farmer.
Elizabeth married Samuel Wilbore in Little Compton in 1713. Samuel’s great-grandfather John Wilbore came to Massachusetts in 1633. Samuel’s family was prominent in Little Compton.
Elizabeth and Samuel had 13 children, including my 6th great-grandmother Susannah Wilbore, who was their third child.
Elizabeth died in Little Compton in 1764. I don’t know where she is buried.
I connect to Elizabeth through my Ellefritz family line.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my paternal 9th great-grandfather John Packard (1655-1741). John was the youngest of 11 children born to Samuel and Elizabeth Stream Packard in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
In the course of researching John’s life, I came across a remarkable publication: “Celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the landing of Samuel Packard in this Country August 10, 1638.” This document was published in 1888 on the occasion of a Packard family reunion in Brockton, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. More than 400 people attended this event, including members of the Packard family from across the country and even from other countries.
Miss Sophia B. Packard gave a speech, one line of which struck me: “There is nothing like being born well.” Miss Packard went on to say that she and some friends and family used their “privilege” (as we would call it today) to go to Atlanta, Georgia, and establish schools for colored girls. They started with 11 girls in the basement of a colored church, and their 1888 enrollment was 650. The point of her speech was contained in this statement: “If you care for the country, you must care for the women and the girls. . . . the colored no less than the white, but far more.” I like this. In 1888, the South was recovering from the Civil War; Reconstruction had ended, and with it the hope for racial equality in the South. The era of Jim Crow had begun, and the speaker was right: this initiative was needed.
So get this. A little more research revealed that Packard Hall in Atlanta is one of the main buildings of Spelman College, a historically black women’s college that grew out of the efforts of Sophia Packard and the woman described as her “partner and long-time companion Harriet Giles. Go, cousin Sophia! As a side note, the partnership between Sophia and Harriet is featured in a 2017 blog post by Mary Lynn Bernard, aka Riese, who writes aboute feminism, sexuality, and power. Her blog post was titled” 16 Lesbian Power Couples from History who Got Shit Done, Together.”
The praise lavished on Samuel Packard at this gathering was fulsome. Samuel was described as a farmer and a tavern-keeper, but well-educated and civic minded. With 12 children, 10 of whom lived long enough to have children themselves, Samuel and Elizabeth populated their village in Plymouth and provided descendants who were significant in the town for generations. One attendee at the 1888 event commented that there were more Packards in Brockton than there were Smiths – testimony to both the fertility and longevity of the members of this family.
When John was born, the Packard home was full of young children. Although John’s oldest sister, Elizabeth, had come to Massachusetts with her parents in 1638, the rest of the children were born in Plymouth. His older siblings included 2 sets of twins (age 9 and 3 when John was born) and three other children under the age of 10.
John married Judith Winslow in 1671. Judith may be the daughter of John and Mary Chilton Winslow. John came to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621, and Mary was a passenger on the Mayflower. I’m not entirely sure about this, however; the official records of the Mayflower Society don’t show Judith as the daughter of John and Mary. She may be the daughter of one of John’s brothers (he had three brothers who lived in Plymouth), or of some other Winslow family. Other genealogists have tried to prove this connection, to no avail. I have had no better success.
John and Judith had seven children, including my 8th great-grandmother Mary Packard, who was their third child. I can’t find out anything specific about the lives that John and Judith lived in Plymouth.
John died in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1741. Both he and Judith lived long lives; he was 86 when he died, and she lived to be 90 years old. They are both buried in First Cemetery in Bridgewater.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my paternal 8th great-grandmother Sarah Chatterton (1661-1745). Sarah was the first of nine children born to William and Mary Clark Chatterton in New Haven Connecticut. I don’t know anything more about her parents.
Sarah married Samuel Benton in New Haven in 1679. Samuel was the son of Andrew and Hannah Stocking Benton. Andrew was a civic leader in Hartford, where he owned land and helf public office. During the 1670s, Hartford was swept up in the witchcraft hysteria that we most commonly associate with Salem, in neighboring Massachusetts, but this peculiar obsession manifested itself in many other towns in early New England, including Hartford. A woman named Anne Cole was among those accused of witchcraft in the 1660s, a time when several people in Hartford were hanged after being convicting of consorting with Satan and bewitching other residents of the town. Anne Cole was acquitted of these crimes, however, and Andrew married her after the death of his first wife, Hannah Stocking, in 1672. Samuel was 14 years olde when his mother died and when his father married Anne; this must have been a strange time in a young boy’s life.
Samuel was an original proprietor of the town of Harwinton, Connecticut, and served in several public positions, including selectman and constable. Sarah and Samuel had six children, including my 7th great-grandfather Daniel Benton, who was their fifth child.
Sarah died in Hartford in 1745. She is buried in the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford, along with 25 other members of the Benton family.
I connect to Sarah through my Ellefritz family line.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my paternal 8th great-grandfather Edward Wheeler (1669-1733). He was fourth of 13 children born to John and Sarah Larkin Wheeler in Concord, Massachusetts. Edward’s grandfather, George Wheeler, came to Massachusetts in 1638 and, along with his brothers, occupied a prominent position in the town. He and his brother Timothy co-owned an inn in the town in the location where the Colonial Inn now sits.
Edward’s father, John, served as a soldier for Massachusetts in King Philip’s War in 1675-76, and inherited a good deal of land when his father, George, died in 1687. Edward’s mother, Sarah Larkin, was the daughter of Edward Larkin, who was a turner (someone who worked with wood) and a wheelwright in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was also a farmer. He had come to Massachusetts in the late 1630s, and in 1657 was named to be a member of the local artillery unit.
Edward married Sarah Merriam in Concord in 1697. Sarah was the granddaughter of George Merriam, who had settled with his two brothers in Concord in 1637.
Edward and Sarah had 13 children, including my 7th great-grandfather Nathan Wheeler, who was their second child. Edward was commonly known as “Deacon” Edward Wheeler, and he was a weaver by trade. I can’t find why he is called “Deacon.”
Edward died in Concord in 1733. He is buried at the South Burying Place in Concord, along with 21 members of the Wheeler family.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my paternal 7th great-grandmother Mary Carter (or Cater) (1710-1773). Mary was the first of five children born to Edward and Sarah Cotton Carter in New Hampshire
Some records show that Mary was born in Connecticut, but this doesn’t make any sense to me. Her parents never lived any place other than New Hampshire, and all of her siblings were born there. Her grandparents were from Connecticut, and she moved to Connecticut after she married, so that’s where the confusion might come in.
Mary’s earliest immigrant ancestor were John Cotton, a famous Puritan minister whose grandson, Cotton Mather, was instrumental in bringing charges against those accused of witchcraft in Salem. John Cotton is identified as the most influential theologian of Puritanism. She is also descended from Richard Carter, who settled in Boston in 1641.
Mary married William Enoch Manley in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1727. William was the great-grandson of Thomas Hartshorn, who had come to Massachusetts in the 1630s.
Mary and William had six children, including my 6th great-grandfather, also named William, who was their second child.
Mary died in Connecticut in 1773. She is buried in the Old Wintonbury Cemetery in Bloomfield, Hartford County, Connecticut.
I connect to Mary through my Ellefritz family line.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my 6th great-grandmother Annetje (Anna) Smith (1706-1782). Annetje was born in New York City, and was the only child of Tryntye Wybranstz and Abel Smith. Abel was of English extraction, while Tryntye’s family was Dutch.
I do not know much about Annetje’s lineage; her paternal grandfather was named John Smith, and that doesn’t give me much to work with. Her maternal lineage is Dutch, and the New Yorkers of this lineage invented surnames for their families after 1660, when the English took over the colony of New Amsterdam and insisted that the Dutch settlers follow the English surname system instead of the Dutch patronymic system. It’s very hard to follow.
Annetje married Abraham Workman (1709-1749) in Raritan, Somerset County, New Jersey, in 1723. They had nine children in New Jersey and Maryland, where they moved sometime in the 1730s. Their last child was my 5th great-grandfather Jacob Workman (1740-1821).
Abraham died in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1749, at the age of 40. Annetje was left to raise their children, who ranged in age from 9-22 years at the time of his death. None of them had married at the time of Abraham’s death.
Annetje died in 1782, probably also in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I don’t know where she is buried.
I connect to Annetje through my Workman family line.
Today is the anniversary of the birth of my 8th great-grandfather John Marchant IV (1625-1692). He was the third of seven children born to John and Sarah Curtis Marchant on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, after their arrival in the colony sometime before 1624.
There is not much verifiable information about John’s life. Because of the – creative – spelling that was characteristic of the 17th century, the occupation “merchant” was often misspelled “marchant.” Therefor the records of the time are replete with references to “John Marchant” when they may really just refer to someone named John who was a “merchant” in his community. It’s hard to tease out reliable information.
Nonetheless, I can reliably say that John married Sarah Price in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, in 1646. They lived there the rest of their lives, so far as I can tell.
John and Sarah had eight children, including their third child, my 7th great-grandfather Abishai Marchant, and their sixth child, my 8th great-grandmother Sarah Marchant. How can this be, you ask? Well, the generation don’t always “move” at the same rate. Without going into detail, the people who came between Abishai and me had children at an average older age than the people who came between Sarah and me. Probably. Ancestry.com doesn’t deal with this well.
John died in Barnstable in 1692. He is buried in Tower Hill Cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard.