Monday, August 30, 2010

The Blooming Tree

When we start out doing genealogy, most of us concentrate on just our direct line of ancestors. We get ourselves and our children listed, then our grandparents and their parents. Hopefully as you go along, you are also including all the children born of each of those generations as they are important to be added to your tree. The tree grows, with the parents and the children of that union and you continue your quest until you just can't find any more information.

Many people stop at this point which I truly find amazing! I personally want to find out as much as I can about each and every member of the family as I possibly can. So as I go through each generation, I expand my searching. With each of the siblings of my direct line ancestor, I attempt to find out who their brothers and sisters married and then develop that line just as if it were a direct line ancestor. Often I have found that brothers will marry sisters in another family and vise verse. What is really fun is to find that a set of twins marries another set of twins! Don't forget to develop the spouse's side of the family as well. You learn lots of interesting things and often find that families crisscrossed back and forth, marrying into each others family at different generations.

By also developing the lines of siblings, you can often break through a brick wall. There is often different information listed on vital records, such as birth, marriage and death records, as will as death notices or obituaries. Be sure to also check out the census records for each of the siblings as they go off and get married. Different years when census reports were taken, requested different information to be recorded. You may stumble across something that will help you with your research.

Something else that I learned the hard way, was to be sure to also check cemeteries closely. Run all surnames that are linked together by marriage in any given cemetery listing. Many cemeteries are now listed on state and/or county genealogy websites as well as being listed at find a grave, which I also like. There are a few differences in the way that these entries are made though which you need to be made aware of. At find a grave graves will be listed alphabetically. Most of the time, although not always, when you find them on a state or county genealogy website, they will be listed according to their actual location by rows in the cemetery. This can be very helpful to you when you are looking for possible connections to another family, since they often bought plots next to each other in the cemetery. At find a grave, whoever posted the grave site, will often indicate on each one, spouses and children who are also buried there in that cemetery. You can also go back and click on the cemetery name and just type in the last name and it will bring up everyone in that cemetery with that surname.

By developing these other lines, you might find out that you are related to some very famous people. I know that to be true in my own lineage. Who knew I was related to Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks through a marriage of one of my ancestors to a Hanks woman!

I love having "shirt-tail relatives"!  I've found that I am related to several Presidents and Vice Presidents, famous writers like Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Congressmen and Senators, actors and actresses. Of course you may come across some "black sheep" in the family as well!

I think one of the thrills of doing genealogy is finding answers to oddities that you find. Like, you find a statement such as they changed their surname to...... or a child all of a sudden appears with a strange first name that just doesn't fit into the naming patterns from previous generations or didn't show up on previous census reports like they should have. Where did that child come from?  Is it actually a relatives child? What happened to their parents?  I know in several instances in my own genealogy, there were children who's parents died either by Indian attacks on their villages, the mother died in child birth and the father had the children go live with relatives because he couldn't care for them, there were children who were adopted from other families who weren't relatives when their parents died. If I didn't have those notations already in the work that had been done on our family history, I would never have known and had to spend hours searching records to put the pieces together.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Deacon Samuel Chapin and Cicley Penny Family Genealogy

  A Founding Father of Springfield, Massachusetts

This is one of the most distinguished family lines in America history.  Samuel Chapin was one of the three founding fathers of Springfield, Massachusetts.  There is a statue representing Deacon Samuel Chapin that is located in Merrick Park.  It is called “The Puritan” designed in 1881, by the artist, Augustus St Gaudens; he made the figure as a representation of the Puritan dogma rather than as an individual replica of the man himself.  The statue is an imposing figure of a man with his eyes focused downward, striding with his knotty walking stick across the pine-strewn New England wilderness and a Bible tucked under his arm.

The history of the Chapin family as known began in Devon England. Samuel is the Son of John Chapin and Phillipe Easton. He was baptized in St John the Baptist Church in Peignton England on October 8, 1598.

Cicely Penny was the daughter of Henry and Jane (Dabinott) Penny of Paignton, England. We know that she also was baptized on February 21, 1601 in Paignton England.

They were married on February 9, 1623 at the Church of St John the Baptist in Paignton, England

We know that he was a member of Rev. John Eliot's First Church of Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA, later removed to Springfield, where he was admitted freeman on Jun. 2, 1641 and was a Deacon, constable, selectman, and commissioner.

They had a total of 10 children, three of which died at a very young age or in infancy. All but the last two, were born in England, Japhet was baptized in Roxbury, Suffolk Co, Ma. and Hannah who was born on Dec 2, 1644, in Springfield, Hampden Co. Ma.

There are some very famous and notable cousins that come from this family line.
Richard Bedford BENNETT, was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 1930-1935
John BROWN, abolitionist who was convicted and hung for treason. He also was called Captain and led the raid of Harper’s Ferry.
Stephen Grover CLEVELAND, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. He was also Governor of New York
Charles CURTIS, was the 31st Vice President of the United States from 1929-1933. He was also the Senator from Kansas and held the position as US Representative from Kansas
Dorothy GISH, Lillian GISH, both actresses and motion picture pioneers
Dr. Brewster HIGLEY, (1823-1911) was the author of “Home on the Range”
John Pierpont MORGAN, financier and banker. Founder of JP Morgan Company in 1895 and the US Steel Corporation 1901
 Harriet Elizabeth BEECHER STOWE, abolitionist and author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1851
 William Howard TAFT, 27th President of the United States.

Other names that are associated with this family are Allen, Bliss, Colton, Day (Dey), Foote, Hitchcock, Taft and Warren.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Expand Your Knowledge

This past year, I finally decided it was time to join some groups where I could learn more about this wonderful adventure of hunting up dead relatives.  So I looked at both the groups at Google and at Yahoo.  evaluating the number of people participating on their forums and the types of questions being asked and the answers received before I made up my mind about the groups I wanted to join. There is a wide varitey to choose from and I would suggest that you consider some of the following things when choosing your groups.

1.    Look for groups that specialize in the areas where your ancestors lived, by city, state or region.  
2.    Go with groups that have the same nationalities as your ancestors
3.    Check out the groups that are of specific religious background as your ancestors. For example,   Huguenots, Quakers, Dunkards, Anabaptist and many others.     
4.    Since your ancestors came from foreign countries, look for groups that are for English, German, Swedish, and African nations.
5.    Groups that specialize in specific groups like Native American Indian or African American heritage.
6.    Brick walls, help with locating people, documentation, grave sites, etc of ancestors that you are having the most trouble trying to get any information on.  

I found that the Yahoo groups were very active and had a much wider variety of forums to choose from. I ended up joining the following groups and have found each one to offer a variety of topics to be discussed, excellent help with any questions and problems that you might have and extremely courteous people. I am going to list these in alphabetical order so they are easier for you to find in case you might like to join also:

Brick wall....
this group goes out of their way to help members tear those stumbling blocks down brick by brick!
Cherokee Genealogy Community ...
        Specializing in Native American genealogy, with an emphasis on the Cherokee Tribe, but helpful with other tribes as well.
Genealogy _Descendant-Charts...
        This group works with descendant charts of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee but they also tell you to feel free to add others.
Genealogy Research Club.....
        This is an all around nice site.
        Listing of surnames that our members are researching in the database and you can add yours also.
        A listing of popular websites and our own personal websites and you can add on more if desired.  
        They are there to help you whether you are a beginner or an old pro at researching.     
Olive Tree Genealogy...

        I joined this group because I love their website olive tree
        This forum is basically a newsletter, keeping you updated on things that are happening on their website as well as on other sites as well.
        Be sure to bookmark their website you will find you will be using it often as one of  your first "go to" sites for new searches that you are starting on your ancestors or when helping others.
Prussian genealogy......
        This group is for those of you with German and Prussian ancestors. Some entries will actually be in German because they have members in Germany.  So if you don't speak the language grab you a translator off of Google or go to and use theirs for any languages.
        This group is for you who have Scottish ancestors. Lots of interesting information on here.
Surname Search Daily....
        Surname Search Daily: Subscribe for free and get a list of  FREE online surname databases in your mail box every day. Keep up to date with NEW online research  tools as they become available

You will notice that some of my groups are very specific and that is because I am doing research in those particular areas.

One group I haven't added yet and I need to see if I can find, is a group dealing with the Dutch heritage. I had always thought that one of the lines I was researching was of German descent and low and behold it turns out to be Dutch!

Also be sure to take advantage of your library card access to Heritage Quest, which you can access from home using your library card. I have found all types of interesting information on that website from a very thorough Census Reports to information about the colonies and the people who were in them!

I recently learned about all the great books available at Google books. Just by plugging in the surnames of some of my ancestors I have come up with a wealth of information that I never knew was available before.

Is it any wonder I end up staying up till the sun comes up?  I get so wrapped up in all the wonderful things I find on the Internet that have to do with genealogy that I forget about time and the necessity of sleep.