Friday, June 30, 2017

Harshbarger line: Wendell Essig: How did I miss him?

Actually, I don't think I missed him.  In my more rational moments, I wonder if I should write about Wendell at all, because most of what we "know" about him doesn't seem to be proven.  Some of it is in outright dispute.  But these stories are so good I am going to write about them anyway, hoping that someone, someday, will be able to prove or disprove these family stories.  If they are true, then this ancestor is worthy of honor and respect, and we need to at least pass the stories along.  If they aren't true, let's determine that, too!

So...Wendell Essig was born in Bern Canton, Switzerland, the son of Wendell and Juliana Margaretha Trachsell or Troxell.  At an early age he spent time in mining in "Rhine Phals".  The story doesn't indicate whether he did this voluntarily or whether he was forced into it.  Either scenario is possible, as he may have been trying to help support his family.  The position seemed to work in his favor, because he later served 7 years in the Prussian army.  Again, I don't know if this was voluntary or whether he has drafted. During at least part of that time, he was one of the imperial body guards, and was present at the coronation of Frederick the Great in 1740.  (There should be records of his service, shouldn't there?  As of now, I don't know how to research to find them.)

Here is where the stories diverge.  The story, apparently from son Simon, is that his father arrived in Baltimore in 1750, and shortly thereafter married Anna Marie Matte.  Not too long after that, they settled in the general area of Hagerstown, Maryland.  I'll get to the rest of the story later.

The second version is that Wendell arrived in 1749 in Philadelphia and went to Northampton County, where he is on tax records in 1772 and church records (Dryland Union Church, Nazareth twp, Northampton County) through Easter of 1782.  Jacob Essig and George Essig are also in the church records there, although there is nothing to prove relationships.  So that is one story.

The "rest of the first story" is that Wendell and his family were massacred by native Americans in or before 1772, and Simon was the sole survivor.  He would have been no more than 18 at the time. Simon survived because he was away from home at the time.  Some family historians discount this tale because they haven't found evidence of native American massacres near Hagerstown  I've read enough history to know that families in the Cumberland Valley were driven back many many miles before they found a safe haven like Hagerstown, so I tend to think the attack very well could have happened, even without any specific report mentioning the Essig name.  Germans clearly were in the area, and the native Americans were active in trying to push the settlers back, during this time period.  Still, some sort of proof would be nice to have. 

If the story isn't true, why would someone make it up?  Was it possibly a misunderstanding many years later of the experience of the family of Simon's wife's family?  Her mother's first husband had been killed by the Indians, in Northampton County, Pennsylvania and if one of Simon's children was reporting this story, perhaps he or she had heard it as a young child and forgotten the details as the story was told.  I'm not sure we will ever know.

Wendell and Eva Maria are said to have had four children, Simon, Adam, Jacob and George, not necessarily in that order.  The 1772 or earlier death doesn't allow for a 1782 church record in Pennsylvania.  Either there were two families with similar names and naming patterns, or one of these tales is incorrect.  I don't believe anyone has located wills or estate papers in either location, so I will let you be the judge-two men, or one? 

The line of descent is:

Wendell Essig-Anna Maria Matte
Simon Essig-Juliana Schnerr
George Essig-Catherine Shollenberger
Susannah Essig-Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery-Nancy Fannie Buchtel
Della Kemery-William Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beeks line: Gilles de Mandeville 1626-1701 Immigrant

You may not be able to guess from the name that this is another ancestor from what is now The  Netherlands.  That's because it seems that there is no one "correct" way to write his name.  Some list him as Aegidius, some as Giles Jensen, some as Yellis, and I'm not sure that the Mandeville surname really "sticks", although he has parents and grandparents all the way back to 1525 who also have been given that surname. I'm going to call him Gilles because that's easier for me, but yet reminds me this is not an Englishman.

Gilles was born in 166 in Veluwe, Gelderland, the Netherlands in 1626, the son of Rev.Jan Michealse and Trintgen Wilma Van Harderwijk Mandeville.  Oh, he may have been born in France and baptized in Doesburk, Geldeland, the Netherlands.  I think he was likely born in the Netherlands, unless the information about his parent's birthplace is incorrect.  The first think we really know about Gilles is that he, his wife Elsje Pieterse Hendricks, and four children sailed on the "de Trouw", to New Amsterdam, supposedly traveling with Peter Stuyvesant. That makes a nice story, the Stuyvesant connection, but I'm not sure that Stuyvesant had gone anywhere so that he would have been returning in 1659.  (I could be wrong about that, of course, and it is likely that the families knew each other.  I just don't find anything that says Stuyvesant had gone to the Netherlands in 1658-59.  He seems to have been in New Amsterdam the whole time.)

He paid the way of himself and his family so he was not a poor man.  He is associated with several pieces of land at Long Island, atNew Amersfoort and New Amsterdam, and when the English took over the Dutch colony, he was on a tax list for New York in 1676.He also had a farm at Flatbush and 30 acres at Greenwich.  The main estate, the farm o Manhattan Island, was in what is now Greenwich Village.  Gilles and Elsje were members of the Dutch Reformed Church in New York.

In his will, written in September of 1696 and proven May 22, 1701, he left all of his estate during Elsje's widowhood.  His farm in Queens county, near Hempstead, with houses, barns,etc he left to his oldest son Hendrick,.  The farm at Greenwich was to be sold to the highest bidder and the proceeds divided among his six adult children.  The final execution probably didn't take long, as Elsje herself made her will the same date that Gilles' will was proven. 

Gilles appears to have been a hard-working man with a good business sense, and enough money to get started in his new life in the New Netherlands.  If he actually lived in all the places that he had land, he could almost be considered a real estate developer.  I wonder what he would think of his most lasting "development", Greenwich Village, and its property values now! 

The line of descent is:

Gilles de Mandeville-Elsje Hendricks
Gerritje Mandeville-Jan Pieterse Meet
Maretje Meete-Peter Demarest
Lea Demarest-Samuel David Demarest
Sarah Demarest-Benjamin Slot
William (Slot) 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, June 23, 2017

Holbrook line: John Merrick or Mirick, Immigrant 1614-1679

When I write a blog post, I try to do a little bit of research on my own so I feel sure in my own mind that the summaries I've found on line are correct.  So far, I have to say that I've not been successful in that search.  So this will be pretty much a rehash to a couple of internet sites, Geni and a family site of vibber. com. 

John Merrick or Mirick was born in St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales/England in 1614, the son of John Meyrick and Dorothy Bishop.  He came to America in 1636, settled in Charlestown, and apparently did not leave that town.  He was a cooper and a block-maker, and his place of business was near the river (this may or may not have been his dwelling).   Depending on the website, he is credited with up to three wives but most of the sites agree that the children were from his marriage with Hopestill, last name unknown, which took place in Charlestown in 164l (one source says they arrived together, but this may have been a first wife). He was admitted as a freeman in Charlestown in 1641, and then appears to have stayed out of trouble and out of the public eye.  At least, records aren't readily available that mention him.  More research might yield more information. 

There is one mention in the "History of Charlestown, Massachusetts" involving a drawing by lot for additional land.  John Mirich in this lottery (more or less) for land "on the Mystick side" was awarded 17 acres of woods and three acres of commons.  We know that John was in Charlestown during this time period and his son John wasn't born until 1655 so it seems reasonable to assume this was land that our John was given.  He would have been eligible for any earlier divisions, too, since he had been in Charlestown since at least 1641 and probably 1635. 

John's children were Hopestill, Benjamin, Hannah, James, John, Sarah, Mercy, Abigail, Joseph, Amathia, and Mary.  His wife, Hopestill, was alive in 1669 but we don't know how much longer she lived.  Unfortunately, the will has been lost, and that would have answered several questions, perhaps.  His brother James was the executor, so apparently there was some property to dispose of, anyway.  Some of the children would have been considered "infants" at the time of John's death, so guardians may have been appointed.  It might be worthwhile to look for those records. 

This is what I know of John Merrick or Mirick (or other spellings).  I would love to talk to him to learn why he came to America (my guess is economic reasons, but I'd love to know from his own words) and how he adjusted to life in his new home, in a Puritan town.  I'd like to thank him for the hard work he did to help build America, and I'd like to thank him, on this Father's Day, for being one of so very many who raised good families while building a life here.

The line of descent is:

John Merrick-Hopestill
Hopestill Merrick-Richard Rosemorgie
Abigail Morgan-John Eames
John Eames-Rachel Comstock
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Stebbins about 1619-1683, Immigrant

I've written earlier about Rowland Stebbins, father of Thomas, but Thomas was an immigrant, too, and his story should be told.  He is actually an Allen ancestor twice, which makes him doubly important. 

Thomas was born about 1619 or 1620, presumably in Bocking, Essex, England, which is the town of record of his parents.  He came to New England in 1634 with his parents, Rowland and Sarah Whiting Stebbins, and three siblings, on the ship Francis.  Thomas was listed as 14 at the time. The family possibly stayed in Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony for a short time, with Rowland's younger brother Martin.

The Stebbins family soon moved on to Springfield, however, and that is where Thomas married Hannah Wright, daughter of Deacon Samuel and Margaret Stratton Wright, in November of 1645.  My notes say their first son, Samuel, was born in September of 1646 and then Thomas, two Josephs (one died at about 18 months of age), Sarah, Edward, Benjamin and finally twins Hannah and Rowland, born October 1 and 2nd 1660. Hannah, the mother, died, probably from childbirth complications, two weeks later.  9 children in 15 years, plus the privations of frontier life, was just too much for Hannah to overcome.  Surprisingly, it seems that Thomas stayed single until 1676, when he married Abigail Burt Ball Munn.  Thomas died September 28, 1683 and Abigail lived until 1707. 

We know a few other facts about Thomas.  He was a tailor by trade, and of course had small tracts of farm land.  When his father died, his brother John was given much more of the estate than Thomas was given, for whatever reason.  Thomas was older than John and perhaps John had greater need, or maybe John had done more to care for his father in his father's old age.  He was apparently a man of some standing in the town, as he was a selectman several time.  He was referred to as "sergeant" in 1656 and an overseer of highways in 1667.

 He would have been 56 years old at the time of King Philip's War, but was referred to as a lieutenant then, and was listed in Capt William Turner's company in the Turner Falls massacre.  We don't know for sure that he was on that mission but it seems possible.  (His sons Thomas and Samuel were there, so there is some confusion about whether Thomas Senior was there also).  If he wasn't in the fight, then he was at home or nearby, pulling guard duty and defending his and other families  The massacre or battle, whatever you want to call it, was a two parter.  The colonists massacred natives as they were sleeping, including women and children, and other natives then came to harass and kill the colonists as they made their way back home.  (We have many ancestors, and their siblings) on the lists of the men who were there).

There is apparently a will but I have not yet located it.  It is said to mention his daughters and his widow only.  I would like to find the will and would particularly like to find the inventory.  That would tell us more about the life of Lieutenant Thomas Stebbins. 

One line of descent is:

Thomas Stebbins-Hannah Wright
Edward Stebbins-Sarah Graves
Sarah Stebbins-John Root
Sarah Root-Thomas Noble
Stephen Noble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Claraissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

The second line is

Thomas Stebbins-Hannah Wright
Joseph Stebbins-Sarah Dorchester
Martha Stebbins-Samuel Lamb
Eunice Lamb-Martin Root
Martin Root-Ruth Noble

This is just one way we are our own cousins!  

Friday, June 16, 2017

Harshbarger line: One more ancestor, Joseph Seiler 1687-1739/40

Joseph Seiler was not an immigrant and I really don't have enough information about him to write a post.  But I've found some hints and they tie in with what I've learned while researching other Harshbarger line families, so I'm willing to put these ideas (not my own) out as a hypothesis. 

Joseph Jacob (or possibly Jacob Joseph) Seiler was born in 1687 in Wilstein, Germany, a small town
 that currently does not seem to be on a map.  His father's name was Joseph, and it's unsure which name our subject used.  Typically, if his name was Joseph Jacob he would have gone by the name of Jacob and documentation seems to support this, but many online sites call him Joseph.

The interesting thing to me is that this was a Mennonite family, but we don't know how long the family had been followers of Menno Simons.  For one thing, Joseph Jacob had at least six children, born in four different cities.  This would not be typical of a German line, but indicates that he owned no land and that he either may have been ejected from each village, or forced to leave for economic reasons.  Either scenario is typical of the Mennonites of the time, who were heavily fined and harassed by local authorities, due to pressure from above.

The other item that points to a Mennonite belief system is that Joseph had a book printed in 1571, written by Menno Simons, and Joseph had hand-written in it the names of his 7 children, where they were born, (Wilstig, Sembauch, Obermelingen, Ischbach), their birth date, and the astrological sign they were born under.  Apparently at least at this time the astrological sign was an important factor in the Mennonite life.

I've seen speculation that this family may trace back to Emmental, Switzerland but no real evidence this is the case.  If true, again it would tie in with what we've learned of the Swiss Mennonites who were forced out of Switzerland and into a life of poverty in Germany.  It makes sense.

The only other thing I can tell you about Joseph Jacob is that he died January 19,1739/40 in Milsbach, Germany.  It is uncertain whether more will ever to found about this family, because the Mennonites lived mostly "under the radar", except for the tax collector.  But perhaps with persistence, and cash, more could be learned and we would know whether this family also traces back to Switzerland. We do know two of his sons came to America, and that is what matters most in our family history!

The line of descent is:

Joseph Jacob Seiler-Anna
Daniel Seiler-Hanna Gerber
Catherine Sayler-Johannes Buchtel
Solomon Buchtel-Maria Margaretha Reber
Benjamin Buchtel-Barbara Burkholder
Nancy Fannie Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William H. Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Beeks line: A cousin discovered and mourned

Well, maybe he's not discovered, because I sure hope someone still remembers him, but this story was new to me and I found it only accidentally, while reading local newspapers for my "next book" project.  But Donald C Murdock deserves to be remembered and honored, not just by the few who may still remember him, but by all his extended family.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country and his family.

Donald Murdock was born June 5, 1918, the son of William and Hazel Aldridge Murdock.  (It's possible that Hazel had an earlier marriage, but I'm unable to verify that now)  Donald was the only child of this couple.  They lived in Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana from the early years of the marriage, because Donald was listed with his parents there in the 1920 U.S. census.  William is listed as 44 years old, so it's possible that he had been married before also, and Hazel was 26.  Donald's paternal grandparents, the Murdocks, were born in Ireland.  His maternal grandfather, Jeremiah Aldridge, was born in Tipton County, Indiana.  (Jeremiah had three wives and I've not yet found Hazel's birth record, so I'm not sure who her mother was).

As far as we know, life was going OK for Donald in 1930. He spent summers in Huntington County, living on a farm, probably with family members. His father was now a landscaper for an electric light plant, and owned his own home.  Sometime between 1930 and 1940 William died, and Hazel remarried to Chelsea (?) Holtz.  In 1940, Chelsea was a fireman's helper at the electric plant, Hazel was a seamstress, and Donald was a truck driver.  They were living in a rented home, so it appears that perhaps the stress of the Depression and of William's death had reached this home.

The only story I know about Donald during his teenage years is one worthy of a hero.  While staying with his uncle, W.A. Bickel for the summer, Donald went to Silver Lake for an outing.  While there, he saved the life of  a young girl who had swum too far out and was exhausted.  (This was a big enough deal that it reached the Huntington Herald Press, even though it didn't occur in Huntington County).  Donald graduated from high school, probably in 1936, and was inducted into the U.S. Army on November 22, 1941, just about two weeks before Pearl Harbor.  His last job before joining the Army was as a guard at the Kingsbury ordnance plant.

I don't know anything about Donald's training or what his job in the Army was.  Sometime, after he was deemed trained, he was shipped to the South Pacific theater.  I don't know if he was in New Guinea the whole time, or if he had arrived there from another location (he very well could have been in Australia for additional training, as many soldiers in that campaign were stationed and trained there for a time.)  We know that he sent a Christmas greeting to his cousin, Allen Bickel, on December 26, 1942 and said that all was well.  However, in what was probably the battle to retake Buna from the Japanese, on the island of New Guinea, Donald was killed in action on December 29, 1942.  Word didn't read Huntington county until January 21, 1943 of this death in the family.

I have thought about what the Aldridge and Beeks families must have felt when they heard the news.  Donald was a second cousin to the Beeks "children", who were younger than Donald.  Cleo Aldridge Beeks and Hazel Aldridge Murdock Holtz were first cousins and likely grew up spending time together.  It would have been a sad day for the family, and for the other Aldridge family members.  For Hazel, it must have been devastating. 

At some point, Donald's body was returned to the States and he was buried at the IOOF cemetery in Frankfort.  There is a military marker on his headstone indicating that he was a private.  Perhaps his mother received a letter from his commander, giving more details of the death, but this is as much as I know now.  If anyone reading this has any more knowledge about Donald Murdock, I'd love it if you'd share that with me.  We should know the story of family heroes!

Donald's line of descent would be:                                To show the connection:

Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom                               Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Jeremiah Aldridge-                                                       Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Hazel Aldridge-William Murdock                               Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Donald Murdock                                                          Mary Margaret Beeks and siblings

Friday, June 9, 2017

Holbrook line: William Stone, 1603-1660, Immigrant

First, a disclaimer:  I am not 100% confident with this ancestor because our connecting link is not listed as his son in some of the trees I've looked at.  Also, there are few cources to refer to, which makes sense if you consider the turbulent times of frontier Maryland.  But wouldn't someone know for sure who the goernor's children were?  Yes, this man was the third governor of Maryland, and his life is intriguing.  Most of our Maryland ancestors were not men of "consequence", except to their descendants, so it's fun to find this one. 

Well, perhaps "find" is a bit too strong beabeth cause there doesn't seem to be a consensus, or documentation, for exactly when he was born, or for the identification of his parents.  He is likely to have been born in or around the London, England area, however, based on the odds.  Many of the early settlers of Virginia and Maryland were from the London area.  The most common christening date I've seen is October 7,1603 at Twiston, Clitheroe, Lancashire, England.  Doubtless a William Stone was baptized there on that day.  But was it this William Stone?  I need more than this to be reasonably sure of his early years. 

I'm also not sure on whether he had one wife, or two.  A William Stone married Elizabeth Sprigg, probably in England and probably about the year 1625.  The William Stone we are discussing had a wife, Verlinda Cotton, but the approximate wedding date for this couple is 1628-1630.  It's believed our ancestor, Thomas, was born about 1628 so I tend to think, at the moment, that he would be the child of William and Elizabeth.  I honestly don't think anyone knows for sure, at this moment in time.

What we do know is that he was a man of some substance, or consequence.  A daughter married William Calvert, son of Leonard Calvert, first proprietary governor of Maryland, and he would not have married just anyone.  The Stone family were "people of quality". 

William Stone was in Virginia by 1628, and latter went to Maryland.  He had two residences by 1648, one in Charles County and one in St Mary's County.  He served Accomack County, Virginia as justice of the piece for several years, was a vestryman, a shefiff, a burgess, and then governor of Maryland. He was later on the governor's Council, a Provincial court justice, and was also a military captain.  At his death, he owned 3000 acres of land, indicating that he most likely raised tobacco.  Perhaps the thing I like best about him is that he is described as an advocate for religious freedom. 

He probably had 6 children and perhaps more.  He wrote his will on December 3,1659.  It was proved on January 15, 1660, and probated December 21,1660.  His will is said to have mentioned his eldest son, Thomas, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and other children.  I have not yet seen a copy of the will myself, and I would love to find a copy on line. 

So this is our ancestor-mysterious, important, protector of religious freedom, and governor of  Maryland.  I need to learn more about him! 

The line of descent is:

William Stone-Elizabeth Sprigg (possibly)
Thomas Stone-Christiana Parrish
Barbara Stone-Dennis Garrett
Johanna Garrett-John Cole
Sarah Cole-Charles Gorsuch
Hannah Gorsuch-Thomas Stansbury
Rachel Stansbury-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Allen line: Richard Tydings, Immigrant abt 1630-1687

I wish I could find more information about Richard Tydings.  I'd love to tell you who his parents were and where he was born, whom he married and when he arrived in the New World.  However, there is conflicting information about each of these "facts", and obviously not all of them can be correct.  There are no alternate facts in genealogy, but alternate theories abound .

As of now, possible parents for Richard,are John and Ann Willson Tydings, married September 20,1630 at St Saviour church, Southwark, Surrey, (across the Thames River from London).  John "Tithings" had a son RIchard baptied March, 1633/4, so this is in the correct time frame to be our Richard.  Also Richard named a son John, but both first names are very common so this is not proof, just a suggestion.

We do know that he was in Maryland by 1659, when he demanded 50 acres as a headright.  Whether this was for himself or for a family member is not clear. He lived at a "plantation" or farm called Haslenut Ridge", which was on the Rhode River in what is now Anne Arundel County, around Annapolis.

He most likely married in Maryland, and his wife is often claimed to be Charity Sparrow, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Marsh Sparrow.  There is some dispute about this in genealogy circles but I think it is likely correct, though I'm sure willing to listen to opposing beliefs, especially if documents are found to prove or disprove this theory

Based on his will, we know that he owned not only Haslenut Ridge, by now 166 acres, but also a tract called Nanjomie in Baltimore County, which was 375 acres, and another tract called "New Year's Purchase" which was on Gunpowder River in Baltimore County and contained 500 acres.  Because he owned at least three separate pieces of land at the time of his death in 1687, he was likely raising tobacco, which depleted the land quickly.   This could mean he had indentured servants or possibly slaves, although there was no mention of slaves in this will.  (This isn't necessarily conclusive, because slaves at the time were considered personal property and it wasn't necessary to list or bequeath them separately).

Other than this, we know only the names of some of his children: John, Charity, Pretitia, Elizabeth, and Mary.  There are lists that include other children and it's possible, but these five seem to be the ones everyone agrees on.  Richard is indeed a mystery.  Why did he come to Maryland, and what ship did he come on when he came to America.  Did he disembark at Baltimore, or Virginia?  Where is the proof of his wife's name?

The Maryland ancestors we have are fascinating, maybe because they seem mysterious to me.  I want to learn more about them both individually, and as a group of people.

The line of descent is:

Richard Tydings-Charity Sparrow
Pretitia or Pretosia Tydings-Dutton Lane
Samuel Lane-Mary Jane Corbin
Lambert Lane-Nancy Ann Anderson
Nancy Ann Lane-James McCoy
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George R. Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, June 2, 2017

Thoughts on reaching 400 blog posts

"Margaret Catherine Dunham Aldridge', my last blog post, was post number 400.  That was kind of a big deal for me, because when I started I had no idea how many posts I'd be able to write.  I still have no idea.  For one thing, God could call a halt to them at any moment.  For another, I've already run out of people I can write about in the Harshbarger line.  The Beeks line is getting pretty thin, too, as far as new ancestors.  I still have quite a few Allen ancestors and a lot of Holbrook ancestors to write about, at least in theory.

I like to say that I'm writing these posts so family members will know their history and of course that is one reason.  But let's face it.  The truth is that I'm writing these posts because I enjoy it and because it is something I feel compelled to do.  I love learning who my ancestors are, and figuring out their stories.  I love the thrill of the hunt and the excitement when I uncover something, or someone, new to me and perhaps new to the world.  I love reading books, both non-fiction and fiction, that help me understand the world of my ancestors and how that world would have affected them.  I love that my family never stayed in one place more than one or two generations (OK, three generations in a couple of cases). 

Some of these things are the same things I don't care for, about family history.  I don't care for having to research in 34 states and two provinces and I don't know how many counties, just to track these people down.  I know the best thing to do is to go to county courthouses, but time and budget just won't allow me very many trips, so I have to choose carefully.  I don't like knowing that the ancestors I still need to find are the ones who seem to have been dropped by alien spaceships, because I can't find them prior to their marriage or even their death,   I don't like budget restraints.  I don't like it when experienced genealogists tell me there will always be people I can't find.  I also don't like it when I post about someone and then learn that was not the correct ancestor.  I have at least three blog posts about "former" ancestors that I've chosen to leave up (they are identified by "Updates" at the bottom of the page but I wish I had been accurate in the first place. 

Writing 400 blog posts has been an unexpected pleasure and I hope to continue as long as the Lord allows and I have people to write about.  I have loved "meeting" cousins via this blog post and I always encourage, in fact, I beg readers to share with me when they know things I haven't learned yet.  It's fun to work together on some of the "unfound" and I hope these collaborations continue. If you've been reading my blog from the beginning almost four years ago, I thank you and if you've just found it, I welcome you.  Let's see what we find out together as we head toward (maybe) blog post 500!