Thursday, May 27, 2010

Temporarily distracted...

I’ve recently become temporarily distracted from my needlework as I’m trying to piece together my family history. Off and on over the past few years, I’ve worked a little bit on it, but my interest increased recently when my son, Stephen, asked if we had a list of family names on the Chester side. (I think that he and his wife want to look over the list for ideas of baby names.)

Tom’s father, the youngest of 10 children, was orphaned when he was only 2 years old. We only knew about the family names going back a few generations, but thanks to the internet I’ve been able to trace back a few more generations.

When we named Stephen we thought that we were just “pulling the name out of a hat”. We didn’t know of any other Stephens on either side of our family. Can you imagine my shock to discover another Stephen Chester (born in 1809 in England) in Tom’s family? The “other” Stephen Chester is our son’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather. I think that is SO cool!!

I decided to join ancestry.com so I could get access to census, birth, marriage, death, etc. records. Next I entered the information I had for my mother’s family. I already had lots of information on them. It probably helps that her family has been in Virginia for nearly 400 years. (You may remember the story of Mrs. Waddleow.) It was particularly neat to see my grandfather’s draft registration card from WWI. (I never knew he had blue eyes.) The census records are also very interesting--it is fun to see where people were living and also a list of all family members who were there with them.

On my father’s side, a cousin and I are trying to piece together the Quigley background, but it is going slow because we don’t know much. It doesn’t help that there seem to have been a zillion Quigleys in Virginia, all with similar first names (John, James, William, Mary, etc.). I certainly wish that I could find a family Bible, or even better a sampler, showing somethign about the family history.

Until yesterday, I really hadn’t done anything with my father’s mother’s side of the family. My grandmother had been a member of the DAR, so she had done lots of research. I decided to start entering her information on a family tree. Chills ran down my spine when I ran across a photo on the internet of her father, his parents, and his siblings taken in about 1867—you see, I have the very same photo hanging on my wall. My grandmother was always very good about identifying people in photos; in fact, she had typed not only everyone’s names, but also their birth, marriage, and death dates. I have no idea who the person was who posted the photo, but am hoping that he will respond in my inquiry so that we can piece together more parts of the puzzle.

I think you can now see why I’ve been so distracted this week. Hopefully next week I’ll get back to work on some new designs and also stitching on the Deborah Walker sampler. Deborah was so good about recording her family history on her sampler. Her sampler is part of the Chester County, Pennsylvania Historical Society's collection.

10 comments:

Wrought By LaDonna said...

I have been doing the same thing on ancestry.com and it is so addictive. I have been able to trace one side of my family back 26 generations. Enjoy the adventure!

Margaret said...

That is just so cool! To know so much about your ancestry -- wow! I need to join Ancestry.com too.

Jules said...

Ancestry.com is a great site! I actually find it more "truthful" (for lack of a better term) than the Mormon's site. While genealogy is important in the Mormon faith, they have too many flaws in my family tree to find it useful. For instance, they list one of my great-grandma's as "Lisa Ann" or "Elizabeth Ann" when in reality (and in all of the censuses) she is "Leicy Ann". Have fun in your quest and if you need any assistance, feel free to contact me. I have been doing mine since the 1980s.

Laurie in Iowa said...

You've been putting your time to good use Ellen. How fascinating to discover so much about your families. I hope you hear from the person who posted the photo. What fun!

natalie said...

I am an indexer for FamilySearch.org. It is an entirely free service, and it would be a great companion to Ancestry.com. My father-in-law has several family lines traced all the way back to Adam! Genealogy is so fun. :)

Stephen said...

Hope no one gets too mad at me for providing my mother with a new distraction! It started off as a fairly simple question and had ballooned into a full-on project.

marylin & poussy said...

This former(ancient) photo is simply magnificent!
Best regards

woolwoman said...

Love the photo Ellen - I'm posting from my laptop - I have often wondered if that ancestry.com was worth it - I should get a membership to that as well. Enjoy your holiday weekend - Mel

Anonymous said...

Hi Ellen - I too have been tracing my family since I retired and have found it fascinating. I have found so much about my family that I had not known. I have been wondering about joining Ancestry but now I think I will. Wonderful photo. I have one also of my great grandfather and his siblings. About 10 or so of his siblings. WOW - they use to have big families.

Brenda

Stephanie's Designs said...

it's always interesting to do your family tree research.. my family is Scottish/Welsh/English and Irish (a grandparent from each side) so it's rather a muddle most of the time! haha.