History Buffs and Family Stories

Yesterday afternoon, my best friend from college met Sebastian and I at the DAR library since she knows she’s DAR-eligible, but doesn’t really know much about that family history. It was handy that she brought in the insignia from various family members so I could easily look up their numbers, and it was amazing to see the men who she can call 6th great grandfathers. Two of them were part of the Lexington Alarm.

Yup, my best friend from college actually descends from two different men who were part of those shots heard round the world. As Sebastian put it, she can actually say she’s from a family that used firearms to defend their guns and ammunition from being seized by the government. It’s really quite amazing the risks they were taking at the time.

In her family, the son of one man married the daughter of the other, and I don’t find that surprising at all. One of the first tips I see in researching Revolutionary War patriots is to look for more of them in the in-laws. In my research, it’s very common to find that families actually engaged in supporting the cause tended to see their kids marry. I guess when you take such a radical position on something, your family tends to find other families who are just as passionate.

Yesterday, I found notes on a distant cousin’s application that showed one of my ancestors served under his future father-in-law. I’m not sure if the marriage was before or after the shared military service yet. I also found through these notes that a woman I believe to be my 5th great grandmother is considered a patriot in her own service because she defended her house during a British attack over their attempts to get the ammunition that was being stored there.

I know that genealogy of someone else’s family isn’t high on the reading list, but it really does remind me of something Sebastian said a while ago. At some point, a personal family history is your country’s history.

6 thoughts on “History Buffs and Family Stories”

  1. I’m descended from a minuteman. I’ll have to dig that up. I’m also descended from a Mayflower passenger. Edward Doty is my 9th Great Grandfather. He has the distinction of being involved in the first duel (sword and dagger) and was also in court a few times for various misdeeds.

    1. I do love our ancestors who engage in the drama. Court records can be amazing for genealogy. When siblings dispute a will or other issues go to court, they have to lay out all of their relationships and details for the case.

      That’s cool that you’re Mayflower. I’m fairly convinced that my grandmother has to come from Jamestowne since we get back to right around that time period in Virginia. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the actual connections yet.

      I think what I love about this research is finding out how alike or how opposite I am from ancestors. The fact that one of my newspaper searches showed that one guy was a political activist for his favored candidate of the time made me smile – regardless of my feelings on the actual candidate. I wonder how much of that spirit to rebel is passed down either through nurture, or maybe even with a bit of nature in genetics.

      UPDATE: Okay, I just read more of that wiki page, and this is cool: “On the August 1643 Able to Bear Arms (ATBA) List ‘Males that are able to bear Armes’, his name appears as ‘Edward Dotey’ on the record of Plymouth men bearing arms.”

  2. I found that we have a male ancestor who came over on the ship after the Mayflower, but I was one week late getting the news to my uncle, who was a champion procrastinator. I thought it only fitting that my own procrastination in finding out meant I was late in telling him. I think he would have enjoyed that.

    The late ancestor married a woman who did come over on the Mayflower, and I thought that was pretty neat, until I read in wikipedia that it happened so long ago (400 years) that something like 10% of Americans can make the same claim.

    1. But no where near 10% of Americans know that fact. :) One of the ancestors of the friend I mentioned came over on one of the boats right after the Mayflower, too. But the Lexington Alarm guys were one of the coolest finds since this is the woman who introduced me to guns.

      I have absolutely no northern ancestors except one guy supposedly born in New Haven. However, even with all of the supposedly great New England records, no evidence of his parents has been found. That would be my only possible link. All of my other lines arrived and stayed in the South. Even my Philadelphia arrivals moved south immediately.

      1. From the other side is an amusing (in hindsight) story of how a southern branch turned into northerners. They lived in Virginia, sold all their land and bought a raft to go out the Ohio river to Missouri. They tied up on the shore every night, and one night in Indiana, the husband died. So the wife and kids settled there.

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