Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Latest Distraction

In between working on my on-line class, applying for jobs, wasting too much time on Facebook, crawling slowly through the writing of my book, and writing short stories for a magazine, I have been building my family tree.

I've had a number of surprises.  I come from a very poor, and poorly educated family.  As far back as anyone can remember, our family have been poor farmers and factory workers.  I fully expected to discover we all came here as endentured servants, and to be fair, one did.  What I didn't expect to find was any kind of wealth, education or power in my family tree.

I began tracing my mother's side of the family, because I already knew my father's family came over from Sweden in 1904.  I had avoided tracing my mother's side because I knew it would be difficult.  Nobody saved anything, knew anything, or ever asked about their family history.  When I was about ten years old, I asked my great-grandmother on my mother's side about our family history.  She said she thought we were English and Pennsylvania Dutch, but other than her parents' names, she couldn't recall much about her great grandparents.  The one time I looked at my great-grandmother's tree, I discovered her maiden name, Tyrrell, was the same as an English family of some prominence and infamy, but I didn't know if there was any connection or not.  The other side of the family tree also presented me with an immediate dead end, and I didn't want to invest hundreds of dollars subscribing to or any other registry to track down information.

Well, through diligent, and sometimes stubborn pursuit, I have traced my mother's parents' ancestors back in all directions.  My mother's father was a Lurcock, and his entire family line is Dutch, upon Dutch, upon Dutch, upon Dutch.  Not Pennsylvania Dutch as I was told, because that is German, but true Netherlands' Dutch.

 I discovered one of my earliest ancestors up the Lurcock line was a Director in the Dutch East India Company and he along with other family ancestors came to the Americas very early in the 1600s and settled New Amsterdam, before losing it to the British, who changed it to New York.  A number of my Dutch ancestors were part of the Dutch Reform Church in America. In addition to settling Manhattan, they also settled parts of New Jersey.

Looking up the Tyrrell line of my family has brought me to the Tyrrells of Connecticut, who are part of the English Tyrrell family.  I'm just trying to find which son's line to follow back.  The Tyrrells from my research were Barons in England before that title was done away with, and they were Counts in northern France.  Their biggest infamy (that I've found so far) was one Walter Tirel III who was responsible for the death of King William II of England.

Continuing up the family lines I came to discover I have no fewer than 8 direct ancestors (more if you count aunts, uncles, and cousins) who came over on the Mayflower:   The Fullers - Mr. & Mrs. Edward Fuller and their son, Samuel Fuller; our endentured ancestor - John Howland; The Tilleys - John Tilley, Joan Tilley, and daughter Elizabeth Tilley (who would go on to marry John Howland); and Richard Warren.  What I've learned about these first band of rag-tag ancestors is that they were religious nutters, but some of them, survivors.  A number of my older Mayflower ancestors died during the first winter from cold, hunger and disease, but their kids survived and procreated like rabbits.  Recently PBS did a program on the pilgrims and they featured a story on my ancestor, John Howland, who apparently fell overboard, but was miraculously rescued from fairly certain death when he grabbed onto one of the lines on the ship.  So thankful that dude was determined to survive.

Another surprising find for me concerns slavery.  Since I knew my father's family came over from Sweden in 1904, I knew none of them were here for the Civil War or held slaves.  Thinking as I did about my mom's side of the family that we were poor nobodies, farmers, and lived up North, I never thought one of my ancestors would be a slave owner, however, much to my surprise, one of my ancestors was reported to have gone to fight in the Revolutionary War "with six of his sons and two of his slaves."  Oh, and I have numerous ancestors who fought in the following wars:  The First Pequot Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the U.S. Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and I think that's enough wars for any family.

I did discover numerous "cousins" in my family tree, such as the Roosevelts, the Bushs (hanging my head in shame), the Baldwin actors, George Washington, and possibly all the way back to Charlemagne.  This family search for ancestors has become my latest hobby.  When friends invite me to come play Bejeweled or Words with Friends, I tell them I can't, I'm playing, Find my Ancestors.  ;-)  I have promised M that as soon as I tie up this Tyrrell line, I will give it a rest for a while and get back to work on my book. 


CyberKitten said...

Interesting! I keep thinking about checking back on the family but, like you, are convinced that none of my ancestors ever amount to anything... [grin] Although there's a possibility that some of them might have been Irish 'terrorists' way back when.

Plus two of the 3rd class passengers on the Titanic had my somewhat unusual surname so might be relatives - except that they came from the West coast of Ireland where my father's family are from the East coast.... [muses] It'd be pretty cool if they did turn out to be relations though - even if they both died when the ship sank.

Karen Silverstrim said...
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Anonymous said...

Survivors, that might be the best description of our family as I know it.

I can not seem to log onto the bit you sent me in an E-mail, keeps telling me I either need an invitation to see your blog or I need to change my e-mail address.

so for now I'm ok.
anyway I know it's me. so when ive got time to monkey around.

Thank you for taking the time.

But now back to work on the book :)

VV said...

The most enjoyable part of all this is reading letters they wrote, seeing pictures of them, and reading stories about things they did. I definitely come from a long line of determined survivors.

VV said...

I actually worked on chapter 2 today Pat, got a little further.

Anonymous said...

Yea! Kara has my phone today, The boy had doc's appt. in Rochester, and had to take little sister also, and could not watch her. I've got doc's appt. this afternoon, and another commitment this afternoon. soooooooo. leaving this nuthouse soon. I am hoping this book righting is going well. Am really looking forward to a good read :)

شركة تنظيف بالدمام شركة تاج said...
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