Showing posts with label Mayflower. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mayflower. Show all posts

Sunday, October 7, 2018

10 Generations Back: Last Wood Generation Born in England

This week's #52Ancestors challenge is 10 and there is no way I can go back that
far in my mother's or father's family trees.

However, my husband is a Mayflower descendant four times over and we can go back beyond 10 generations on his father's side. The Wood family intermarried with the Cushman family (Cushman of the Fortune married Mary Allerton and that's the basic Mayflower connection). Thank you to cousin Larry for uncovering new details as he traces the Wood tree year after year after year...

The tenth generation back is John Wood Jr. (1620-1704). This was the last Wood generation of my husband's family to be born in England. John Jr. was christened in St. George the Martyr Church, Surrey, England, on March 10, 1621, as shown at top. I was amazed to discover that this church was built in the 12th century.

John Jr.'s exact birth date is a mystery. His cemetery stone, not legible, only indicates 1620 as the birth year. We do know he married (for the third time) to Mary Peabody (1639-41?-1719) around 1656 in what is now Newport county, Rhode Island. John Jr. died in the same part of Rhode Island, as did his wife. Both are buried in the John Wood cemetery plot.

On my husband's mother's side, we can go back 9 generations to James Andrew McClure (1660?-?). In checking for anything new on this ancestor, I came across a fairly new (June, 2018) memorial on Find-a-Grave, saying that James died "at sea, on trip to America" in 1732, age 71-2.

Of course I wrote the originator of this memorial to ask about the source and any details. We already knew the McClure family left Donegal and sailed together to Philadelphia, Halbert with his wife Agnes and numerous children. I didn't realize Halbert's father James was with them. Maybe this will open up more research possibilities.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Family History: Mayflower Sails from Plymouth

Because hubby has four Mayflower ancestors, world history is closely intertwined with family history in his family tree.

On this day, 398 years ago, the Mayflower sailed away from Plymouth, England.

Among the passengers were my husband's ancestors . . .

  • Degory Priest
  • Isaac Allerton
  • Mary Norris Allerton
  • Mary Allerton
Mary Allerton would grow up and marry Thomas Cushman (who arrived on the Fortune). Generations later, their descendant Lydia Cushman became my hubby's 3d great-grandmom by marrying Elihu Wood, Sr., on March 2, 1784 in Dartmouth, MA (snippet of record shown above).

Lydia and Elihu's son Isaac Wood, Sr., married Harriet Taber on May 18, 1806. They were my husband's 2d great-grandparents.

One of Harriet and Isaac's sons was Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890), who married Mary Amanda Demarest (1831-1897) on May 14, 1845 in Lafayette, Louisiana. These were my husband's great-grandparents. 

Telling these stories over and over reminds descendants how events that occur in the wider world can profoundly influence the course of many individual families' histories--including our own. Looking ahead to Mayflower 2020, which is only two years away!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Oldest Ancestors with Names and Dates

My husband's family has several good candidates for the "oldest" ancestor with names and dates, because of his four Mayflower ancestors.

The family trees of passengers Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton, Mary Allerton, and Degory Priest are fairly well documented, and I've added their  parents' names/dates to hubby's family tree. Above, the entry for Isaac Allerton's father Edward and his descendants, dates and all, in a timeline chart created using RootsMagic 7 genealogy software.

Next, I scrolled down the timeline looking for Mayflower ancestors and their parents to see who's earliest. Even though Edward Allerton was born in 1555, he's not the oldest ancestor in hubby's Mayflower branch. Edward Allerton's granddaughter, Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton, later married Thomas Cushman of the Fortune. So the earliest ancestor from that line is actually Thomas Couchman, b. 1538.

Now to my family tree. The oldest ancestor I can name and date on my mother's side is my great-great-great grandfather, Yosef Moshe Kunstler, who died in NagyBereg, Hungary (now known as Berehi, Ukraine) on June 13, 1854. My wonderful cousin B visited the cemetery and photographed the headstone 20 years ago. According to the headstone, Yosef's father's name was Hillel. That's where the trail ends.

On my father's side, the oldest ancestor I can name and date is my great-great grandma Rachel Shuham Jacobs, born about 1845 in Plunge, Lithuania. She married young, was widowed, and came to New York City with her grown daughter and son in the late 1880s. Rachel died in New York City on December 8, 1915. Her death cert shows her parents as Moses Shuham and Sarah Levin, but unfortunately, I have no other info on them.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt, which is "Oldest."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review of "The Mayflower" by Rebecca Fraser

Browsing the new book section in my local library, I found The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America by Rebecca Fraser. My husband has four Mayflower ancestors,* so I eagerly dove into this 2017 book.

The book begins with two excellent maps, one of 17th century North America and one of Southern New England circa 1675, before the major war with Native American tribes broke out. These maps remind the reader of when the major settlements were established and which countries were backing those settlements. (I admit, I didn't realize there was a "New Sweden" in 1638 in Delaware.)

One of the strengths of the book is its British perspective on the "Puritan experiment." By beginning with the Winslow family's background in 1590s Droitwich, England and following that family and its relatives/in-laws through to 1704 in England and the colonies, the author shows what the Puritans were leaving, and why--and what they sought to accomplish, and why. This is as much a personal story as a historical account, intensifying the human drama of flight from religious persecution and life-and-death wilderness survival.

Although most U.S. readers already know that the Puritans had commercial backers with financial requirements for the colonies ("plantations"), I was surprised to find out how long the payback was expected to continue. I was also unaware that Plymouth had no royal charter and was therefore often threatened by shifting political winds in the mother country.

My only basic grasp of English political twists and turns meant I didn't immediately understand the author's discussions of governmental turmoil and the effect of the "Civil War" on the colonies. Once I adjusted my thinking to not default to the "War Between the States," I was better able to follow events and implications as they played out on both sides of the Atlantic.

Another strength of the book is how many strong female characters play active roles. From Anne Hutchinson's story of religious belief (and excommunication and exile) to Susanna Winslow's life of balancing between new and old worlds, the book shows how several generations of Puritans fared in a constantly-changing colonial situation.

Finally, I enjoyed the author's insightful narratives of Native American tribes' interactions with the Puritans and other colonists during the decades following the Mayflower's arrival. In particular, I was interested in the "Praying Town" movement, part of the Puritans's efforts to convert Native Americans to Christianity, and in the fact that during the mid-1600s, wampum was demonitised (that's a quote).

You don't need Mayflower ancestors to enjoy Rebecca Fraser's unique take on the founding, growth, and evolution of Plymouth and the personalities who were part of this era.

* Mayflower ancestors are: Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton, Mary Allerton, and Degory Priest.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

So Many Ancestors, So Many Languages

For #52Ancestors #20, I'm trying to identify the different languages spoken by key ancestors in my family tree and my husband's tree.

My paternal grandparents (above) probably spoke three languages apiece. Grandma Henrietta Mahler Burk (1881-1954) was born in Latvia, and surely spoke Latvian as well as English and, I'm guessing, Yiddish. Possibly she spoke Russian too, although I don't know for sure.

Her husband, Isaac Burk (1882-1943) was born in Lithuania, and spoke that language plus Russian and maybe even Yiddish in addition. Isaac certainly picked up some English when he stopped in Manchester, England, to stay with family in 1901, en route from Lithuania to North America.
My maternal grandparents also spoke multiple languages. Grandpa Theodore Schwartz (1887-1965), shown above escorting my mother down the aisle at her wedding, had a way with languages. His native Hungarian tripped off his tongue, but he could also speak several other languages, including English--which is why the steamship lines employed him in NYC as a runner around Ellis Island in the 1910s.

His wife, Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964), was fluent in Hungarian, having been born there, and learned Yiddish in the Lower East Side of NYC as an immigrant. Also she learned English in NYC night school.

In my husband's Wood family tree, there are three adult Mayflower ancestors (Degory Priest, Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton). Therefore, in addition to English, they may have learned some Dutch when the Pilgrims fled to the Netherlands prior to sailing to the New World. Once in Plymouth, perhaps they learned a few words to talk with Native American tribes? Photo above shows my late father-in-law (Edgar James Wood, 1903-1986) at left with two of his Wood brothers.

Also in my husband's McClure line, his ancestor Halbert McClure (1684-1754) was born in County Donegal, and sailed to Philadelphia with his family in the 1740s. Because the McClures were originally from Isle of Skye, hubby's ancestor may have spoken Scottish Gaelic or Gaelic (or both). On arrival in the American colonies, however, the McClures would most likely have learned English, because they walked from Philadelphia to Virginia. They would probably need to speak English to buy provisions along the way. Once in Virginia, they bought land--again, a transaction that probably required English.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Saluting Pilgrim Ancestors

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to salute my husband's four Pilgrim ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower: Isaac Allerton, his wife Mary Norris Allerton, their daughter Mary Allerton, and Degory Priest.

Sadly, neither Degory Priest nor Mary Norris Allerton survived the first year at Plymouth.

There's a new Mayflower Heritage page on AmericanAncestors.org with lots of great details about the Pilgrims, including a page where descendants can be listed. I'm going to check that out!

Reading the Mayflower Society's listing of notable descendants, I see that hubby's connection to Isaac Allerton means he's distantly related to: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Joanne Woodward, Franklin D. Roosevelt (also descended from Degory Priest), and Zachary Taylor. Thanks to the Degory Priest connection, hubby is also distantly related to Richard Gere.

In just a few years, we'll be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival.

Feeling thankful this Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Surname Saturday: The Mayflower Connection for Thomas Haskell Wood

'Tis the season for Mayflower connections. Hubby has four Mayflower ancestors.
  • (1) Degory Priest (he married Sarah Allerton, and their daughter Sarah Priest married John Coombs; their son married Elizabeth Royal; Sarah/John Coombs' daughter Elizabeth Royal Coombs married Eleazer Cushman. The son of that marriage was James Cushman who married Sarah Hatch; their granddaughter Lydia was the mother of Harriet Taber, who married Isaiah Wood Sr. in Massachusetts in 1806. Harriet and Isaiah were hubby's 2d-great-grandparents).
  • (2) Isaac Allerton, (3) Mary Norris, and (4) Mary Allerton (Mary Allerton married Thomas Cushman of the Fortune; their son Eleazer Cushman married Elizabeth Royal Coombs, g-grandaughter of Degory Priest. Isaac & Mary Allerton were hubby's 8th great-grandparents).
Reading other GeneaBloggers' posts about Mayflower ancestors, I noticed that Bill West mentioned his Allerton ancestry--and included, among the Allerton descendants in his line, an in-law with the surname of Haskell.

Death notice for Thomas Haskell Wood, Toledo, OH
Haskell rings an important bell. Hubby's great-granddaddy was Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890). For years, I've puzzled over the Haskell name. Thomas Haskell Wood did bestow the Haskell name on one of his sons: Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood* (1848-1861). That's the last time I've seen Haskell in 19th or 20th century Wood descendants, and why it appeared or disappeared, I couldn't figure out.

I can't say exactly how Haskell is related to my husband's Wood line because I still haven't finished adding all the Mayflower descendants from the Allertons and Cushmans. But I now believe Thomas Haskell Wood's middle name is a tribute to the Haskell who married into the family's Mayflower line many generations back. Thankful for these Mayflower ancestors as Thanksgiving approaches.


* Why Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood? His parents (Thomas H. Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest) were married in Louisiana in 1845--territory secured by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, which became a state in 1812. And of course President Jefferson died in 1826, which may have been another reason for honoring this famous man through the name. The "Isaiah" middle name comes from this Thomas J. I. H. Wood's grandfather.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ancestor Appreciation Day: Seeing Possible Futures in the Family's Past



On Ancestor Appreciation Day, I'm struck by the insights of Alison Light, in Common People--In Pursuit of My Ancestors. She writes:
"As I have written this book, many questions have weighed on my mind but one more than any other: why do we need these stories of people we can never know? What is it we are after and why do we so regret not talking (or not listening) to our elders when they were alive?"
Her answer is that we want "to apologize to them for not realizing that they too had lives like ourselves--fallible, well intentioned, incomplete--and to understand how mistakes were made that resulted in our lives; how much was accident, how much choice." She adds that we might seek to see our parents as young again, "full of possible futures."

An eloquent and poignant passage that resonates with me on this day, in particular. I appreciate that my ancestors may not have always acted out of choice but out of necessity or desperation or simply severely limited options. Each ancestor had any number of possible futures but one that actually became his or her path and ultimately my past.

If these ancestors had gone down a different path my husband and I would not be here today. Not infrequently, their paths were arduous (braving dangers to come to America, never again returning to their country of birth, making sacrifices to survive). Not infrequently, their personal dreams had to be put aside for the sake of their siblings or parents or children. In another age, who knows what possible futures they would have chosen for themselves?

With possible futures in mind, I want to recap what I know about the earliest ancestors identified in my husband's tree.
  • Mayflower ancestors. The Wood family has four Mayflower ancestors (Degory Priest, Mary Norris Allerton, Isaac Allerton, and Mary Allerton) and a Fortune ancestor (Thomas Cushman, who married Mary Allerton). Talk about limited options and possible futures not foreseen! Two of the four Mayflower ancestors didn't survive the first year...but the others did, and the rest truly is history.
  • Wood ancestors. Thanks to wonderful genealogist-cousin Larry, we know my husband descends from the Wood family of Little Compton, RI, whose ancestor was John Wood Sr. "The Mariner" (b. about 1590 in England, d. 1655 in Portsmouth, RI). John "The Mariner" was married to Margaret Carter on Wednesday, January 28, 1610 (see marriage record above). Given the Wood surname, it's not surprising these ancestors were shipbuilders and captains, carpenters and homebuilders, and others who worked in wood--the name was the family's destiny until well into the 20th century. In fact, even today, some Wood relatives have chosen the path of becoming carpenters and builders.
  • McClure ancestors. James Andrew McClure is the earliest McClure ancestor we can identify, married in Raphoe Parish, county Donegal, and father of the McClure journey-taker (Halbert McClure) who brought the family to America in the early 1700s. The McClure family realized its dream of owning land in America and giving members a stake in this new world.
  • Larimer ancestors. The family legend is that the journey-taker, Robert Larimer, was sent to sea by his father, with a trunk of fine Irish linen, to seek his fortune in America. Alas, a shipwreck ruined that possible future and caused Larimer years of servitude before he could choose his own path and acquire his own land. If Robert's ship hadn't wrecked, what would he have chosen to do when he arrived in America? Who would he have met and married? What possible future would he have forged if the accident had not changed his life forever?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving 1909, 5 Slatter Siblings, and 24 First Cousins

Hubby's Wood family had four Mayflower ancestors. I'm in awe of the courage of these Pilgrims in undertaking the dangerous and demanding voyage from Plymouth, England to the New World in 1620.

Sadly, only two of these Wood ancestors (Isaac Allerton and his daughter, Mary Allerton) survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Happily, more recent ancestors from the Wood line left some trace of their Thanksgiving celebrations in colorful postcard greetings.

This is the front and back of a 1909 holiday greeting sent from Dorothy Louise Baker (1897-1981), a daughter of Adelaide (Ada) Mary Ann Slatter and James Sills Baker, to her 1st cousin, Wallis Walter Wood (1905-1957). Wallis was a son of Ada's sister, Mary Slatter and James Edgar Wood.
 


Dorothy and Wallis were among the 24 first cousins who were related through the 5 Slatter siblings: Ada, Mary, Albert, John Daniel, and Henry Arthur.

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Two of Hubby's Four Mayflower Ancestors Celebrated the First Thanksgiving

Hubby is descended from four Mayflower ancestors: Degory Priest, Mary Norris (wife of Isaac Allerton), Isaac Allerton, and Mary Allerton (daughter of Isaac and Mary).

Sadly, Degory Priest and Mary Norris didn't survive to the first Thanksgiving. Happily, Isaac Allerton and his daughter Mary (plus two other children) celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

Mary Allerton Cushman was hubby's 7th great-grandmother and the longest-lived of the Mayflower immigrants. She died on November 28, 1699--315 years ago this week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Thanks to our ancestors who made Thanksgiving 2013 possible

On Thanksgiving, I'm giving thanks to the courageous journey-takers who came to America and made it possible for me and my family to be here today.

My side:
  • Farkas ancestors: Above, a Thanksgiving dinner with the Farkas Family Tree, descendants of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler, who arrived in New York City in 1899 and 1900, respectively, bringing their children from Hungary just a little later. I'm one of the "hula girls" near the back at far left.
  • Schwartz ancestors: Tivadar (Teddy) Schwartz left Ungvar, Hungary (now Uzhorod, Ukraine) in 1902. He encouraged two siblings to join him in New York City, Sam (who arrived in 1904) and Mary (who arrived in 1906). Teddy married Hermina Farkas (daughter of Moritz and Lena) and settled in the Bronx.
  • Burk and Mahler ancestors: Isaac Burk, a skilled cabinet maker, arrived in New York City from Lithuania in 1904. His bride-to-be, Henrietta Mahler, was a small child when she came to New York City from Latvia in 1885 or 1886, with her parents Meyer Mahler and Tillie Rose Jacobs
Hubby's side:
  • Mayflower ancestors: My hubby has four Mayflower ancestors, but only two survived to give thanks on the first Thanksgiving in 1621: Isaac Allerton and his young daughter, Mary Allerton. The Allerton line connected with the Cushman line and eventually married into the Wood family.
  • Wood ancestors: John "The Mariner" Wood, Sr., was the journey-taker in the Wood family. Born in England about 1590, he died in Portsmouth, RI in 1655, leaving a tradition of carpentry and sea-faring occupations throughout the Wood family for many generations. 
  • McClure ancestors: Halbert McClure and his family journeyed from Raphoe Parish, County Donegal, to Philadelphia and then walked to Virginia to settle down. I'll be researching these ancestors more thoroughly at next year's NGS Conference, which takes place in Richmond on May 7-10.
  • Larimer ancestors: Robert Larimer took the perilous voyage from the North of Ireland to Philadelphia--but was shipwrecked along the way. I've told his story before.
  • Slatter ancestors: John Slatter Sr. was probably the first journey-taker in this English family, arriving in Ohio around 1889. I haven't yet located the ship records for his daughter Mary Slatter, who married James Edgar Wood in 1898.
  • Steiner and Rinehart ancestors: Still on my to-do list is the task of identifying the first ancestors of Jacob S. Steiner to arrive in America. Jake himself was born in Pennsylvania about 1802. Joseph W. Rinehart wasn't the first journey-taker, either. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1806, but I can't find much on his parents (yet).
Thank you, journey-takers. Happy Thanksgiving to all!