I've just today joined "Genealogy Wise" and I'm really excited about this new opportunity to connect with others who are also interested in their family histories and dedicated to the 'thrill of the hunt' that we've all undertaken, to identify our long lost ancestors. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell a little bit about where I'm currently at, in my own searching.
To be honest, I have soooo many brickwalls in my genealogy that I've begun to think of them, collectively, as a full-fledged 'castle'! One of those massive, medieval fortresses that are so heavily fortified and well defended against all invaders, that no one stands a chance of getting into it! Let me tell you the story of "Castle Pamela".............. Well, to begin with, my Cargo greatx5 granparents, Hugh and Eliza, came to America from Crawfordsburn, Co. Down, in 1824. I have loads of info on them, after they arrived in America, as well as on other folks of the same name, who live in the same place Hugh and Eliza came from, who I believe to be the family they left behind. But I can't find any means to connect them all. Then, there's my great-grandfather, Nathan Bragg, was born in Texas, in 1874. His father's name was George. Nathan and George appear to be REALLY popular names amongst the various Bragg families of that time era, as there were several of each, so I'm still trying to sift through all of those to identify which ones I belong to! And, with the Sheltons, I am stuck in 1777, with Stephen, whose father 'possibly' came from England, and was 'probabably' named Robert, who 'likely' settled in Virginia. Dontcha just love the 'certainty' of the vernacular of genealogy?
Next, we have my Richardson kin, who are all descended from a patriarch named Josephus, who sired Seth Richardson, born 1779, in Vermont. Seth, himself, sired ten children! Now, wouldn't you think that, with a family so obviously virile and prolific, somebody, somewhere woulda done a little bragging about it? And maybe left behind a few proud and tuggin at the old suspenders kind of boasts about their exploits and accomplishments? Nope, these Richardsons were pretty tight-lipped folks!
On the other hand, the Pickett's got themselves connected to a family by the name of Barnum, and these Barnums, well they weren't above giving their own whistle a good, loud toot now and then. It seems that one of the Picket boys, back in about 1681, married the daughter of a fellow by the name of Thomas Barnum. Now this Thomas fellow, he claimed to be the son of a distinguished gentleman by the name of Sir Francis Barnham, of England, who was married to a lady named Elizabeth Leonard. And this Miz Elizabeth? Well, she was related, in one way or another, to just about every Lord and Lady, Duke, Prince, King, Queen, and Emperor, in just about any European country you can think of, going all the way back to Adam and Eve, and even Thor and Odin!!! WooHoo! What a pedigree to connect to, I thought! Trouble is, while it's 'accepted' that Thomas was "likely" the son of Sir Francis and Elizabeth Barnum, no one's 100% sure of it. It could just be that we've all been duped by a little colonial, genealogical chicanery, possibly devised to bolster good ol' Thomas' social standing in our fledgling nation which, at that time as we know, was still under the rule of a King, and where connections of the 'right and royal' kind could pretty much insure one's position in the community! Drat! I was sort of liking the idea of being a great x ??? grandaughter of Thor and Odin!
But now, those Pickett folk, well, they still aren't done adding their stones to my castle walls! There was this fellow named John Pickett, who was my 11th great grandfather. He was a Puritan and came to America in about 1648. Spent a little time in Salem, then moved to Conneticutt, where he got pretty involved in local Colonial government. Made quite a name for himself and gets mentioned in quite a few historical records of that time. But I think he must've either had a falling out with, or maybe was a little ashamed of his father, 'cause he apparently never mentions the old man. The only things I know about Pa Pickett is that he was born and died in Kent, England and that his name..... hold on to your hats, this is a doozie......... was Zerubabbel! You'd think anybody with a name like that would stick out like a sore thumb in anybody's genealogy records. But, nope. Can't find out anything else about him. Oh, except that his wife's name was "Mrs". Now who the heck would name their daughter, "Mrs"? Go figure!
OK, now we're on to the Hansen's. My paternal great-great grandparents were Olaf Hansen and Johanna Marie Knutsdatr (and if the names aren't a dead giveaway, they came from Norway). I understand that in Norway, they used to include the name of the farm you lived on as part of your address, so when you're trying to locate someone, you've pretty much got to know the name of the farm they came from, 'cause with all of the names ending in 'sen' , meaning "son of", or 'datr', meaning "daughter of", it's about the only way to sort everyone out. And this identification system might actually work pretty well if you were looking for someone with a more unique first name..., something like Rufus....., or maybe even Zerubabbel! But since there about a gazillion fellows named Hans in Norway, it does tend to complicate things a bit more. Boy howdy, does it complicate things!
And now lastly, we have Harris, my husband's family name. I read somewhere were Harris is about the 23rd or 24th most popular surname in the US, which I sorta think makes it only just slightly below Smith or Jones. The particular Harris fellow I'm stuck on is my hubby's great grandfather, Zachariah. So far, I've found several of them. In one family, I seem to recall there were about 4 or 5 of them by that same name, descending down through the generations. But not a one of them is the one I'm looking for. The one I'm looking for had, I think, 5 sisters and was the only son. I keep wondering if maybe Zachariah's father was a bit chauvenistic and was so disappointed (or maybe ashamed?) that he'd fathered such a brood of daughters that he just slunk away into oblivion, never to be heard from again! Poor fella!
Well, there you have the story of the building of my "castle" walls! It's become a pretty sturdy structure, to say the least, but I keep hoping that one of these days, I'm going to find a way to break in and get to know all my ancestral folk who are hiding from me, there inside. Who knows, maybe some of the other citizens of this genealogy "Kingdom" can help me find some of the keys to unlock the Castle gate? (hint, hint, hint) In the meantime, I'll just keep up the seige, and continue looking for a way around, over, under, or through these brick walls. I've already been at it now, for ten or more years, so what's another decade or so, right? Guess you could say I've sworn a solemn oath to see it all through to victory......... because I refuse to accept that I'm related to a WHOLE LOT of people with the same last name................. "UNKNOWN"!
No doubt, I'll be joining (or maybe even starting) various groups in the future, and I'm really looking forward to meeting and getting to know a lot of other folks here at "Genealogy Wise". This just seems like such a great site, such a great idea, to get all sorts of genealogists together in one place! WOW! I'm also looking forward, as time goes by, to being able to share with others, some of the information I have about my ancestors. And there are quite a few that I actually DO know about! Gotta get some really good genealogy "Karma" goin' on, here!