Last year I started compiling information on my husband’s family history. I actually got quite a bit of information from the internet (thanks to the LDS website). We made visits to the National Archives office here in MA and we visited cemeteries and historical societies. I didn’t bother to get documentation because I was doing it for fun.
We’ve discovered that this project actually meant quite a bit to my father-in-law, who really knew very little about his family history. He met his semi-estranged sister in the market the other day and was very proud of the information he could share. Needless to say, everyone wants more. Publish the info or put it into some sort of written form so everyone can have it.
The family never realized that they were related to a man who is listed by “The Order of Founders and Patriots of America” as a founder of this country. The name is the same and there is a direct link to the Englishman who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635.
In order to document the ties, I will have to do a lot of leg work. Visits to the National Archives, local town halls and libraries will have to be planned. I could use documentation from some of the published books that give Massachusetts lineages, but I think as much first hand documentation as I can get will really be better.
So I’m back to searching the internet and organizing the data I have – that way I’ll know where I need to go – I hope! I’m not planning a trip to England at this point. But any of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns are fair game.
The route this family took to get to my step-son runs 12 generations in America. They started in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635. Subsequent generations spread to Chelmsford, MA; Woburn, MA; Westford, MA; Litchfield, NH; Newbury, NH; Spencer, MA. The current living generations are found in Spencer, MA; Webster, MA; Dover, DE; Milford, MI. That’s only the direct line from father to son. If you look at siblings and cousins in each generation, you get a list of places that covers this nation and that indeed leads the way to each new area settled. As I’ve teasingly said before, either this family had great pioneer spirit or they were anti-social. They would settle a new area and, as that area began to be significantly populated, they would set off for new horizons. Without any family documents, it’s difficult to know which motivation is correct.
My father-in-law is in chemotherapy after a 10 year break. Prognosis is good at this time, but I think this research excites him and gives him something to think about besides the chemo. That’s why I decided to pick it up again.
So if you don’t hear from me as frequently as I had been posting before, it will be because I’m up to my eyeballs in ancestors.
Wish me luck!