Friday, April 29, 2016

Holbrook line: John Dixon, Immigrant

John Dixon is one of our Maryland ancestors.  His name needs to be mentioned and known in our family tree, even though I haven't found a lot of information about him yet. I've found two plausible sets of parents for him in England but am currently unable to prove or disprove either, so at this point his family is unknown. 

He arrived in Virginia in 1664 (or possibly earlier) with his wife Jane (possibly Jane Carey)  and 10 other persons, and received 600 acres of land as headright (meaning he paid for the transportation of each person and received 50 acres of land in return.) He quickly acquired other lands also, purchasing 420 acres in August of 1664.  He sold 300 acres of land in 1668/69 and still had 870 acres of land to dispose of in his will, so there must be other acquisitions that we don't know of.

We know that he was a justice of the Baltimore County Court in 1665, which leads one to the idea that he was probably educated and was respected in his community. The fact that he was able to pay for the passage of 12 people from England indicates that he also had some financial means.  With these clues, why hasn't someone been able to pin down his ancestry?  Surely there is a Dixon family in England who is missing one of their family members! 

Most sources say that he died in 1667 but Robert Barnes, in his Baltimore County Families 1659-1769, says that he disposed of land in March of 1668/69 and wrote his will October 12, 1669.   Administrative bond was posted March 28, 1670 so it seems likely that his death occurred sometime in early 1670.  Jane, who had been married before she married John, went on to marry Thomas Long and to have at least three children with him. 

There are so many questions about John.  Why did he come to American, and where did the money come from to make the trip?  What was his religion?  Did he own slaves to help cultivate his land?   As a respected citizen and a justice, did he ever make a trip back to England?  And finally, he was only about 45 years old when he died.  What was his cause of death?

If someone has answers or more information, I'd love to hear from you!

The line of descent is:

John Dixon-Jane possibly Carey
Abigail Dixon-John Hayes
Jane Dixon Hayes-Thomas Stansbury
Thomas Stansbury-Hannah Gorsuch
Rachel Stansberry-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis E Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Allen line: Samuel Chester, Immigrant died about 1710

Researching Samuel Chester would be fascinating, if it weren't so frustrating!  He led a very intriguing life, on sea and on land, but we don't know his origins.

He came from somewhere in England, and was born about 1625.  His wife is believed to be Mary Condy.  I found one tree which gives her parents as Thomas Condy and Ann Rogers, and states that Mary was born in 1628 in South Collingham, Nottinghamshire, England.  If this is accurate, and this is our Mary Condy, then Collingham and surrounding areas would be a good place to look for the Chester family, but not necessarily the only place. Many people would like to be able to place Samuel with his family across the Atlantic!

Samuel wasn't the typical (for our family) New England farmer or Puritan pastor.  He is described as being a mariner and a merchant, engaged in the West Indies trade.  Sadly, this may mean that his ships carried slaves, or at least carried cargoes that were produced by slaves.  Apparently the "West Indies trade" involved taking fish and other New England products to islands like Barbados and St Kitt, and returning with West Indies crops, particularly sugar, which was, of course, grown and harvested by slave labor.

Regardless of our opinions now of this way of making a living, at the time Samuel was a respected townsman in New London, Connecticut.  He was there by at least 1664, when he was a partner with his nephew, (or possibly a brother in law) with a warehouse in New London.  He lived on the west side of the Thames River, and owned other lands in the town as well as a large tract of land in the "North parish", purchased from Owaneco and Josiah, who were Mohegan sachems.

We know that Samuel had at least two wives, and there may have been a third because his son, Abraham, is mentioned in the will and Abraham is not attributed to either of his wives.  His first wife was Mary Condy, and with her he had John, Susannah, Samuel and Mercy. If Mary Condy is correctly identified above, then she would have been in her middle thirties by the time she started having children, which indicates Samuel may have had a previous marriage or relationship.  Mary died sometime before 1690, and Samuel then married Hannah, who was the mother of Hannah and Jonathan.

Samuel is described as a merchant and a practical seaman, meaning he sailed his ship, at least on occasion.  He also was known for his property surveying abilities, and was a frequent surveyor of land at New London in the 1690's.

Samuel commanded the ship "Endeavor" for several trips to the West Indies, had an interest in the "New London Tryall," which was the first New London ship to attempt a trade in the West Indies, and was the master of the brigantine "Adventure."  It was apparently this ship he was commanding, when he was en route to London in 1704 and was captured by the French.

I've not been able to learn what happened to him after that, as far as where and how long he was held, and why or when he was released.  Probably money changed hands, as that would be the reason for a capture rather than just killing the seamen.  At any rate, he was released and died a few years later.  I've seen his date as 1710 in New London and 1711 in New Groton, and I don't yet know which is correct.  Also there are references to the will, but I've not found it yet, either.  You can bet I'll keep looking for the will, and also for more information regarding Samuel.

One of the things I wonder about him is whether he was a Puritan, a freeman, a member of the church.  I've not found a reference to that aspect of his life, except that his children were baptized.  Was that his influence, or was it his wife's decision to have that done?  And what does it say about his or their religious life?

There is much to be learned about Samuel but I'll bet he was an interesting man with stories that thrilled his children and grandchildren.  Wouldn't you like to hear some of them, too?

The line of descent is:

Samuel Chester-Mary Condy
Samuel Chester-Hannah
John Chester-Mary Starr
Thomas Chester-Sarah Eldridge
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
Elizabeth "Betsy" Havens-John Starr
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Updates:  Beore publishing this, I found another source, from Volume 10 of the "Americana, American History Magazine," published in 1915.  From this, we learn that Samuel came to Boston as master of his own brigantine, so he was a mariner in England also.  He was made a freeman in New London in 1663.

He had expected to sail in 1714 with the "Virginia convoy" but was late in taking on cargo and so missed his connection with the fleet.   There is a statement that he was educated as a civil engineer and navigator, but there is no indication of where this occurred, or whether it was on the job training.  He was a member of the General Assembly from New London at Hartford in 1669, and was appointed a "commissioner" to settle disputes over the boundary line of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and later of the towns of Stonington and Preston in Connecicut. 

He owned the land that later become Fort Griswold, where at least four of his descendants died on September 6,1781. 

This article states that Abraham was the son of Mary, also.  So this may be a clue as to the name of Samuel's father or grandfather. 

Again, what an interesting man!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Harshbarger line: Regarding Grover Harshbarger and the draft

This article is from the Fort Wayne Sentinel of Monday, February 25, 1918, as found on

"Enter Signal Corps

(Special to the News.)

Columbia City, Ind. Feb. 25-

Shelley Stemen and Alex Cordill of this city, and Harmon Walker and Grover C. Harshbarger of near here, who are draft registrants but whose numbers would throw them in the second or third quota, left Monday for Fort Leavenworth, Ks., where they will enter the land service signal corps.  They desired to enlist before being drafted and accepted the chance to enlist voluntarily through the local draft board.  They will be credited to Whitley County on the second quota.  The Whitley county draft board received notice Saturday from the war department that any draft eligible no matter whether he belong to the current quota, or to a future quote, may enlist and be sent at once to whatever camp he desired, he having, in other words, the right to choose from the lines of military work yet open."

I was unable to find any information clarifying the "second or third quota" phrase, but apparently these men had missed the earliest draft but were classified as the equivalent of 1A and knew their numbers were coming up soon.

I'm not sure what the men expected or hoped to be doing by going into the land service signal corps.  The corps was devoted to communications, whether by radio, radar, telegraph, or even aviation for the early part of the war.  So they could have been radio or telegraph operators, or they could have been stringing wires for telephones, or any number of other ssignments.

Grover, however, didn't get to complete his training.  He was one of the many who were infected with "Spanish influenza" in the time before antibiotics, and was so ill that he was discharged from Camp Lejeune later in 1918.

The line of descent is

Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Beeks line: Jacob Wallinges Van Winkle Immigrant 1599-1657

One of the things I like best about the Beeks family line is the great mingling of countries and cultures.  There are the New England ancestors, and the possible Virginia ancestors, and then there are those from the middle colonies.  The New England ancestors and the Virginia ancestors mostly trace back to England, but some of the middle colonies trace back to Holland and to France. 

Every former schoolchild of a certain age remembers the story of the Dutch "tricking" the native Americans (then called Indians) into selling the island of Manhattan for $24 and some beads, which didn't leave a good taste in our mouths for what the Dutch did.  We remember Peter Stuyvesant, who in the one sided way we were taught history was either a good man or a bad man.  The problem is that most lives are neither black nor white, and then of course further issues arise as we study family history and learn that "we are them", and we may have been pointing fingers at our ancestors.

It's exciting when family history and history come together, no matter which side, or how many sides, our ancestors were on.  Jacob Wallinges Van Winkle is the earliest ancestor I've yet found, who came from Holland and settled on Manhattan Island perhaps as early as 1624, which would make him one of the very first Dutch settlers on the island.  He was born in about 1599 to Jacob Walichs and Tryntje Willems, from the village of Winkel, in northern Holland.  He was also referred to as "Jacob Walichsen Van Hoorn", because the village was near the port city of Hoorn. 

He may have first come to New Netherlands as a deckhand about 1618, but was definitely here by 1630, when he was one of the very first farmers to settle permanently" here.  He and partner Claes Cornelissen Swits farmed bouwerie number 5 until 1636, when their lease expired.  A bouwerie was a large, self sufficient farm and at an inventory taken May 1,1630 the bouwerie had 6 saddle horses, 2 stallions, 6 cows, and 22 sheep.  There were probably pigs and chickens, too, and indicates a well developed farming operation. 

He was a tenant farmer, but returned to Holland to get more stock for the Dutch West India Company, which owned the entire operation, and while there, he was a member of the Dutch church.  He returned to the New World in 1635 and apparently settled along the Hudson river, as part of Rensselaerwyck, opposite Albany.  There are records found for him in 1641 on a council of twelve men to advise governor Kieft of Manhattan about relationships with the Native Americans, and he seems to have made at least one more trip back to Holland before 1650.

It's not clear just when or where, but at some point he married Tryntje Jacobse.  The marriage may have occurred during his second trip to the Netherlands, but records have not yet been found.  He returned to Rensselaerwyck, where he stayed until 1650.  Although we was a successful tenant farmer, he was still a tenant and perhaps he had decided it was time to find land of his own to settle on.  In 1650, his son Jacob Jacobsen was baptized at the New Amsterdam "fort church" on October 10, 1650 and the parents joined the New Amsterdam Dutch Reformed church there. 

Diector General Peter Stuyvesant issued a patent for 25 "morgens" of land to Jacob on October 23,1654.  This land was at Pavonia, near what is now Jersey city, New Jersey, which was attacked by Indians in 1655.  The family, which now included 6 children, returned to New Amsterdam until it was thought safe to return to their land.  They returned in 1657 and Jacob is believed to have died there later in the year. 

Jacob's widow, Trintje, married three more times, each time to a widower.  She died after 1677.

This is a condensed version of information found from various websites, which appear to come primarily from the book "A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, 1630-1993" written by James C. Van Winkle.  It would be fascinating to find this book and learn more about this family that lived in such interesting places and times!

The line of descent is:

Jacob Van Winkle-Trintje Jacobse
Marritje Jacobse Van Winkle-Pieter Jansen Slot
Jacobus Slot-Maria Demarest
Benjamin Slot-Sarah Demaree
William Lock-Elizabeth Teague
Sally Lock-Jeremiah Folsom
Leah Folsom-Darlington Aldridge
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, April 15, 2016

Holbrook line: John Merryman 1614-1674, Immigrant

Usually when I write about the Holbrook line, it's about ancestors in New England.  I've also written posts about our few German ancestors,  We also had a small representation of ancestors who settled in Virginia or Maryland, and John Merryman is one of our immigrant ancestors who settled in Virginia.  This automatically means we have to shift our thinking from Puritan, early Baptist, Quaker and Lutheran religions to the Church of England, for early Virginians were required to .support the state religion.  But I get ahead of myself...

John Merryman was born in Herefordshire, England (some sources say Monkton Hall).  Dates vary.  I believe the correct date would be before 1617, as we know he was in Virginia and patented land in 1638, so I'm using the 1614 date most sites are showing, although it is without documentation and we don't know his parents.. He patented 150 acres of land in Charles County, Virginia on May 10, 1638.  He was entitled to 50 acres simply for going to Virginia.  We don't know whether he purchased the other 100 acres or whether he may have paid for two people to come to Virginia and therefore got the other 100 acres by headright.  At any rate,by the time he arrived Jamestown had been in existence for 31 years, but the area would still have been frontier, never settled by white men.

He apparently returned to England to marry his wife, Audrey Heynes, and then sponsored her arrival in Virginia in 1649.  One wonders if they had been sweethearts for 11 or more years, or whether this was a more or less arranged marriage. Some women in England were so eager to leave their homes that they willingly went to Virginia with a new spouse or even without a spouse, hoping that life in Virginia would be an improvement on the life they left behind them.

On November 14, 1649, John patented 500 acres in Lancaster County, which was then Northumberland County, on the north side of the Rappahannock River on Island Neck Creek.  Again, this would have been an unsettled area, probably requiring clearing of land in order to plant crops.

John was was an attorney as well as a planter.  He and Audrey patented an additional 100 acres in Lancaster County, near the mouth of the Corotoman River, which was apparently near the first Lancaster County Court House.  Perhaps this served as his office when court was in session, to cut down on the commute time.

 He or probably a son John, acquired additional land in 1656 in James City County, Virginia and in what soon became Henrico County.A John Merryman was noted as being a merchant who went to Rotterdam to collect accounts or/and to acquire merchandise, but I don't know if this is our John or not. 

He was a church warden of St.Mary's Parish, appointed by the court from at least 1650-to 1664, and was a constable in 1664 and one of the justices of Lancaster County. So we was apparently a man of some means, owned considerable land, and served the community in church and court.  

His will was written December 3, 1673 and probated on January 13, 1674.  There were at least five children born to John and Audrey.  William, Elizabeth, Richard, and John all remained in Virginia but son Charles moved to Baltimore County, Maryland.  Audrey married again in 1680, to Captain Edward Carter.

Among other things about John Merryman that I'd like to know, is how did he dress?  Was a justice at that time expected to wear the robes and white powdered wigs?  How did a Virginia planter normally dress?  And the question I don't really want answered, is did he have slaves, or indentured servants, to work his land? Finally, I'd like to pinpoint his birthplace and find his parents!

The line of descent is:

John Merryman-Audrey Heynes
Charles Merryman-Mary Haile
John Merryman-Martha Bowen
Martha Merryman-Alexis Lemmon
Alexis Lemmon-Rachel Stansbury
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Allen line: Daniel Scofield's ancestry, revisited

In September of 2014, I wrote a post about Daniel Scofield that was mostly wrong.  When I write my blog posts, for the most part I am depending on what other people have "learned" about an ancestor, and I try to filter out the most obviously incorrect information as I write.  On this ancestor, I have to admit I had very little to back me up.

Sometime between the time I wrote the original post and now, further research showed me that Daniel's wife was probably not Sarah Youngs, or at least not the Sarah Youngs I thought she was.  So I have removed her purported ancestors from my tree (which, as I recall, when all the way back to the Plantagenets) and am still searching for documentation as to who she was.

I also had correspondence from Louis Ogden, who is a very wise and generous person, telling me that my parentage for Daniel was incorrect, and giving not only logical reasons but some additional information that should have pointed me in the right direction. That meant I had to delete that scalawag Cuthbert Scofield from the tree, and a few other folks.  I should have taken Mr. Ogden's clues and run with them, but I didn't.  My first goal is to get my immigrants back across the ocean, to whatever country they came from.  If I live long enough to complete my research here, then I'd love to do actual research in England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France, the Low Countries, Germany, etc., but I have my hands full on this side of the Atlantic.

Except...Mr. Odgen was kind enough to contact me again, with additional information showing that Daniel Scofield's parents were Richard Scofield and Effame Northend.  He gave me additional generations back on Effame's line but since he is the one who has done the research on this I think he should be the one to choose whether or not to provide that information.  More than names, he also provided location, (Hipperholme, Yorkshire for Richard) and that is where I've had some fun.

Simply by googling some of the names and locations he provided, I was able to pull up some of the names, including a potential father for Richard Scofield, in volume 15 of the Thoresby Society's Publications.  This one is titled as a "Miscellanea" and it is truly a treasure.  Yesterday I actually put my hands on a copy of this, in the Allen County Public Library, and was able to sit there and try to make sense of a list of Lay Subsidies from the Waptentake of Agbrigg and Morley, in Yorkshire, for the year 1588.  There is an explanation in Latin (I think) which I couldn't make much of, except that this is a list of taxes levied on certain people (property owners of some kind, I think) to support Queen Elizabeth I.  Of course the significance of the year 1588 is that these taxes were to raise defenses for the expected invasion from Spain or, as it happened, to prevent the invasion from occurring. 1588 was the year of the battle with the Spanish Armada. I was absolutely fascinated.

There is much I don't know about the "lay subsidy" in general and this list in particular.  There are two columns after each name.  I'm guessing one is the value that the land or personal property was assessed at, and one is the amount of taxes that were due, but I don't know how to interpret either list.

I found some of the names Mr. Ogden had provided me, and also found the man I think may be Richard's father, and I was hooked.  I looked through some of the other volumes of the Thoresby Society and they are the coolest thing ever, if you have ancestors in Yorkshire, especially in or near Leeds.  I will be spending many more happy hours with these books, because I found Longbottoms there, and my last Longbottom ancestor with a location was in Yorkshire.  Also I found Crowders there, and I have had no clue at all as to where to look for them.  (My first known Crowdas is in Virginia in about 1675, but I've had no clue as to where to look for them. Yorkshire seems to be a potential location.)  There are even Lockwoods, and I have a possible Lockwood in my tree, also!  So many names, so little time!

 Many of the Thoresby Society publications m are available on line, as this one is, but there is something about having the actual book at hand when it is possible to do so, that appeals to me.  I was holding a book that was published over 100 years ago, and was still in excellent condition.  A further fun day will be spent looking at volume 11, which has the same kinds of lists, only from the year 1545, when King Henry VIII apparently needed money.

So, thanks to Mr. Louis Ogden for providing the information to give Daniel his rightful parents.  I'd love now to hear from someone who has some knowledge about these records and what they mean or say.  And I certainly plan to spend at least some time researching "back across the pond" since it seems to be so much fun!

The corrected line of descent would be

Richard Scofield-Effame Northend
Daniel Scofield-Sarah possibly Youngs
Daniel Scofield-Abigail Merwin
Daniel Scofield-Hannah Hoyt
Hannah Scofield-Nathaniel Finch
Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas J Knott
John W Knott- Harriet C Starr
Edith C Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, April 8, 2016

Harshbarger line: Henry Matthias Braun died 1814

Usually I have enough information about an ancestor to write at least a few paragraphs.  I'm not sure I have enough for a few sentences about this gentleman, so this is mainly a plea for help.

Henry Matthias Braun is believed to have been born before 1750 in either Sachsen, Germany or in Bedford County, Pa.  His parents are stated to be Heinrich and Anna Maria Catherine Rau Braun.  In searching my usual sources, I can't verify either the date or the names of his parents.  If these are his parents, then Heinrich would actually be the immigrant.  So far, I'm lacking documentation to go back further.

Matthias married Maria Salome Hoerner in 1769 in Frederick County, Maryland.  Children were apparently born in Maryland, in Bedford County, Pa and possibly in Lancaster County, Pa. David Braun or Brown is believed to be one of their children, but I would certainly like to find documentation for that.  If he was born in Lancaster County, then I would have to question whether Matthias and Maria Salome are actually his parents, or I'd like to find out what his parents were doing there. 

Matthias and Maria Salome had eight children together, and died in Woodbury Township, Bedford County, Pa, he in 1814 and she in 1810.

That, so far, is what I "know" about this ancestor, which isn't much.  His age is such that he may have served in the Revolutionary War, but I'm not locating a card in the Pennsylvania Archives that I can say is surely his, although there is a Henirch Braun in the 4th US Artillery, among other possibilities.
I would love to know how he made his living, what church he attended, and where his property, if any, was.  I'd also love to find a will or probate papers. 

If someone out there knows more about this gentleman, I would love to hear from you!  My email is happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom.

The line of descent is:

Henry Matthias Braun-Maria Salome Hoerner
David Brown-Barbara Brothers
Elizabeth Brown-William Cook
Barbara Cook-William A Withers
Wiliam H Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants