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Yes, I read lots of non-fiction, not as much recently as I would like. Mostly early American History, but I have another (of many) interes...

Monday, March 12, 2018

Genealogy has a History, Race, and Gender Problem

This post will ruffle many a feathers, but it is through dialogue and questions that we learn and grow. That doesn't matter the venue or topic.  So...how does genealogy have such a big problem?  Let's do a parallel comparison of a few important features of genealogy organizations and topics in general.  I'll stick to a few and hope that this will open a dialogue that can help us all move forward as genealogist, family history seekers, AND historians.

I will say this over and over again until enough people listen:  History and genealogy study should always involve each other.  I know....but I have to focus on a specific area!  Yes you do, but it should not leave out either angle, nor be selective history.  Dates, pension files, census records, archives, etc. help us understand our subjects to a point.  Knowing historical context, and I mean digging deeply into historical events and people around our ancestors, is crucial to develop the best picture of our subjects, especially involving race and gender.  Why?

Ok...let's dig a little deeper.  I descend from many Revolutionary War soldiers, I mean many.  One, (possibly two-I'm digging into proving the other), served as an officer from Virginia under George Washington, died of his wounds from the battle of Brandywine.  I qualify for membership in the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati (a big deal). (The Cincinnati Society is only open to "men-only" who descend from an officer of Washington).   I've toiled over my reluctance to join for over 15 years.  Why my reluctance?

Another, was at every major battle ( serving in Pennsylvania (from NJ), was even on a privateer ship in Philadelphia, moved to North Carolina via his land grant, sold it and moved to Tennessee.  Nine others, that I won't go into details about, but suffice it to say I qualify many times over to be in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) in many states.  Why do I not jump for joy and join these Societies??  Because I don't feel right about it.  I don't feel like celebrating this heritage in that manor.  Why should we?  My Society of the Cincinnati Membership would be taunted with slave blood.  Yes, that is part of my genealogical heritage, so I don't feel much like excluding that part, and I don't quite feel it should be just male descendants, but that was how it was set up.

We need to stop making this such a big deal, in my opinion.  Why?  It's very white and very exclusionary, and really not that important over other ancestors and events, other than the historical significance.  I know, feathers are ruffled!!  There is great pride in that membership to many, Mayflower, Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution, Cincinnati Society, etc...  So what?  There are many, many descendants of these organizations.  It's great, but not that big a deal!  Why would I dare say that?  Because, most people I talk to who descend from people such as the Mayflower say things like, "oh...my genealogy is done.  I'm a Mayflower descendant."  Or, "I'm done.  I descend from Charlemagne!" It has an air of privilege.  I usually give them a quizzical look and say, tell me about the history around those ancestors?  All of your ancestry goes through Charlemagne or the Mayflower or the American Revolution?  How convenient.

How many members of these societies are Black?  Native American? How many conversations do you have about the history around these families?
DAR as late as 1984 barred blacks from membership. Read section "Segregation and exclusion of African-Americans"

Granted, this line of questioning alone doesn't bond me to folks, but I try to follow it up with real information, such as "you know the 5 generations of the Mayflower descendants have been complete for some time, is there any interesting ancestors on your other lines that may not be so famous?  Where did they live?  What events in history surrounded them?  Were they near towns where Lafayette had his American tour in 1825?  Were they in the North or the South during the Civil War?  Were they religious, members of the American Colonization Society or any of the numerous organizations around Colonization, Abolition, Women's Suffrage?  Have you ever thought of researching the slaves of your ancestors, if they owned them?

These important questions open up dialogue that turns into great investigations on both parties, if willing.  I love what I can learn and possibly open up for others to research.  Most of all, I love being able to change a persons view of genealogy and it's importance to historical study.  It's VERY important.  Do you know how many people think that their surname research is more important or only what they want to look into?  We have numerous surnames, and every time you add a woman to your tree you add a new family and a new history to dig into.  How awesome is that?  I know you don't have a lot of time, but this doesn't have to be done right away.  What it does is open your view to having more information jump out at you in libraries, bookstores, people you meet that have the same last name as your 5th great grandmother.  Your world explodes with possibilities for dialogue, great conversations, and friendships.

The most divisive time in our history was the Civil War.  Many, many of us were taught this history as it related to battles and precursory information about the complexities of slavery.  Most importantly we are facing a factual challenge to the believe that it was all about states rights.  The American Colonization Society was formed and organized by many who were adamant about the evils of slavery while being racist, i.e..believing that blacks were inferior to whites.  Many in this same organization believed that blacks would never be treated well in this country, so it was best to remove them, many believed removing the free blacks would keep the slaves from uprising.  This was just in one organization, and there were many, many other organizations.  Many clashed over ideology.  Was your ancestor an abolitionist that lived in the south?  It happened.  It's complicated, discouraging, fascinating, enormously relevant to what is happening in this country today!  If your interested in your genealogy how can you ignore history?

Sorry that I am coming down so hard on Genealogy.  History as we have taught it, and are still in some areas, is misguiding, downright wrong, and sometimes at best, barely touches the surface of knowledge.  Historians and historical publications, dialogues are really doing a great job today at facing these tough tasks.  I have yet to see this really done in the genealogical field.  If I am wrong, let's discuss and point me to the conventions that are tackling these topics.

I just ask, next time you think about your pride in membership in a Society, who is left out, and what are you really celebrating?  Who else in your genealogy may need just as much pride and celebration?  My discoveries surrounding these same questions have been enormous!  I only wish the same for you all!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Handel Mozart Hayden....Yes..that's somebody's name

I'm working on a very long term in-depth book project that leads me down interesting rabbit holes.  This one is fascinating!  I ran across a branch of the Hayden family of early Windsor, CT that has an interesting name in the family.  The name caught my eye, as a classical musician, so I dug deeper.

Dr. Handel Mozart Hayden (Dentist) born 4 Dec 1807 in Baltimore, MD was the son of Dr. Horace Henry Hayden, pictured above(born in Windsor, CT) who was the co-founder of the first dental school in the world (Baltimore College of Dental Surgery), and Maria Antoinette Robinson of Dover, DE.  Handel and his father Horace had a surgeon dental business, H. Hayden and Son, at SE corner of Mulberry and Charles Streets in Baltimore City (listed as such in the Baltimore city directories 1835-38).  Dr. Handel M. Hayden continues to be listed in the city directories at various addresses in Baltimore up through 1881.  Handel died 7 Mar 1891 in Baltimore.

I have visions of people in the dental office of H. Hayden and Son being distracted (I'm sure the noise of primitive dentistry was pretty ghastly)by the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Handel.  I'm sure the son heard many a joke at his own expense.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Dr. Handel Mozart Hayden was a dentist during the Civil War in Baltimore which must have been a trying experience considering the mangled bodies he must have seen.

His father, Dr. Horace Hayden, influenced to study dentistry by George Washington's dentist, John Greenwood with whom he studied with in 1795 in NYC, served as a surgeon in Baltimore in the War of 1812 and later publishing the first work on geology, Geological Essays, printed in the US.  He was an authority on geology and mineralogy.  Damn!

AND, there is another Handel Mozart Hayden of Randolph, Vermont from the same early Windsor, Hayden family.

Ok....back to work!!

Horace Henry Hayden picture

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

You just can't look away!

Ancestry.com is on a marketing binge!  Their new app "We're Related" has been out for a while now. At first I just laughed as some of the ludicrous leaps that were made to show how I was related to celebrities of all shapes and sizes.  Most, up until recently, I could discount right away as they are plugging in mother connections for several generations that just don't vibe.  I just could not find proof of any connection.  Not a good marketing tool for Ancestry credibility.  But, I tried to look through the muck and see if anything vibed.

When they started to get a bit closer in cousin connections I started to do some investigating.  Right here and now I'll say I'm not too happy😞.  Ok...I was happy with Elvis, Jimmy Carter, James Dean, Brad Pitt, and Kate Blanchett, all of whom seem to line up with my research, yet distant relations.

I grew up in the south so I prepared myself, somewhat, for what surprise "ding" I would get.  There it was.....Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter.  Crap!  That just cannot be.  Then, I reminded myself that ideology is not necessarily inherited or passed down😩.  My immediate family, for the most part, were conservative republicans, except for Pappa, my step great grandfather.  Somehow, even though I was raised by my grandparents, I ended up mostly a radical, liberal, socialist, etc... I hate labels, so if you must...pick one.  My bio mom was progressive to say the least, which gave her mother great consternation.  I'm still grappling with her extreme IQ and mental illness and just how wrong her life has been treated.  I digress....

So, Newtie isn't Newt.  Turns out he changed his name and he's possibly my 6th cousin, 2xs removed on my mother's father's German side.😮  One of my projects, that I need to jump into more now, is on a Civil War Union soldier from PA, my 2nd great grandfather, and his wife who was a nurse in the Civil War in PA.  My connection to Newt is through this nurse's mother, Sarah Follmer.  Her great grand father Hans Michael Follmer/Vollmar married Ragina Magdalena (last name unknown) my 7th great grandmother.  Magdalena was used often in German heritage.
Ragina/Regina was born 18 Jun 1730 in Tulpehocken, Berks Co., PA and died 18 Aug 1813 in Milton, Northumberland Co., PA.
Regina Magdalena Follmer

Ragina/Regina and Hans Michael Follmer had Elizabeth Follmer (Newt's supposed 4th great grandmother) and Adam Follmer (my 6th great grandfather, thus 2xs removed).  Elizabeth and Adam were brother and sister.

Now, Newt's real name is Newton5 (Newton Searles4, Clarence Newton3, James Silverwood2, William1) McPherson.  From there his connection to me is through William McPherson's maternal line.  

Ann Coulter is my direct 5th cousin.  Deep breath....runs out of room screaming😖😒😱
My maternal grandmother's, who raised me as her own child, paternal grandmother was Amanda Nance.

Ann Coulter's mother was Nell Husbands Martin.  Her mother was Nell Warner, who's mother was Nellie Nance, and our mutual Nance line begins.  

Nellie Nance was the daughter of Joseph Monroe Nance who's father was Clement Nance.  
Clement was the brother of Daniel Nance, my 3rd great grandfather.  Making Ann Coulter and I direct 5th cousins.  I need a drink....

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Cousin Elvis is NOT a Presley! Well...yes he's a Presley, but he's also a Wallace.

So, my 7th cousin, Elvis is not a Presley!  WHAT???

It turns out that Elvis may have two Native American lines in his genealogy.  One is also my Tapp/Taptico line from the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia, see my previous post on this line:  DNA detective work and Advantages of knowing your past

Here's why Elvis is not really a Presley, but a Wallace!

Elvis Aaron Presley born 8 Jan 1935 and died 16 Aug 1977 in Tupelo, Lee County, MS.
Father:  Vernon Elvis Presley born 10 Apr 1916 and died 26 Jun 1979 in Fulton, MS.
Grandfather:  Jessie D. McDowell Presley born 9 Apr 1896 and died 19 Apr 1973.

Here's where the family tree diverges **Great Grandfather:  John Henry Wallace born about Aug 1853 and died about Nov 1935 in Itawamba County, MS, had several children with Rosella Elizabeth Presley born 16 Feb 1861 and died 30 Jul 1924 in Fulton County, MS.  The details of why these children took on the name of their mother is unclear and can be left for another bit of detail work later.

John Henry Wallace's mother, Elvis' great, great grandmother was Lydia Gideon.  The marriage of Lydia Gideon and Hugh Henry Berry Wallace was 6 Oct 1852 in Itawamba, MS.

Lydia's mother was Elizabeth Tapp Gideon, Elvis' 3rd great grandmother (married John Gideon) born about 1794 and died about 1850.  *This connection will involve more research on my part to find definitive proof, but the circumstantial evidence is compelling.

Elizabeth Tapp Gideon was the daughter of Moses Tapp, Elvis' 4th great grandfather, born about 1758 in Culpepper, VA and died about 1825 in Spartanburg, SC.

Moses Tapp was the son of Vincent Tapp (part of the DNA tested direct Taptico line), Elvis' 5th great grandfather, and Mary "Molly" Jett.

Vincent Tapp, the brother of my 5th great grandfather William Tapp IV, was the son of William Tapp III, Elvis and my 6th great grandfather!

William Tapp III was the son of the last Wicocomico Tribal chief, William Taptico II, named changed to Tapp on his will (well documented and now in history books, see previous post connections above).

This line is through my father's lineage.  "Thank you!  Thank you very much!"

Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween Serendipity

It's Halloween time!  I've been seeing references to one of my all time favorite actors and human beings, Vincent Price!  I grew up, albeit, with a not so normal obsession with old horror movies and Edgar Allan Poe. Specifically anything Vincent Price did. He also had a love for Poe. So, like I always do, I decided to look up Mr. Price's family tree.

Vincent Leonard Price, Jr is the direct descendant of Rebecca Nurse of Salem, one of the women accused of witchcraft who lost her life to the hysteria of the time.  Rebecca Towne Nurse was Vincent's 7th great grandmother!  I wonder if he actually knew that!  This is through his grandfather Vincent Clarence Price, who was the inventor of Dr. Price's Baking Powder, wife's line, Harriet Elizabeth White.

Here's the line:  Vincent Leonard Price, Jr., Vincent Leonard Price, Sr., Vincent Clarence Price who married Harriet Elizabeth White
Harriet Elizabeth White, daughter of Russell Jesse White, Aaron White, Jr. who married Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow, daughter of Thomas Bigelow, Jedidiah Bigelow who married Thomasine Nurse
Thomasine Nurse, daughter of Benjamin Nurse, Jr., Benjamin Nurse, Sr. who's father Francis Nurse married Rebecca Towne (Rebecca Nurse accused Salem witch, 71 years of age, hanged on July 19, 1692).  Rebecca was a central character in Arthur Miller's Crucible.

I have to believe Vincent Price didn't know of this, but of course, I can't be sure.  Oh, how serendipitous!

"The Sheriff brought the witch up the broad aisle, her chains clanking as she stepped." illustration of Rebecca Nurse by Freeland A. Carter published in "The Witch of Salem, or Credulity Run Mad" by John R. Musick circa 1893.
“The Sheriff brought the witch up the broad aisle, her chains clanking as she stepped.” illustration of Rebecca Nurse by Freeland A. Carter published in “The Witch of Salem, or Credulity Run Mad” by John R. Musick circa 1893.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

19th Annual Conference

Very excited to be attending next weekend's annual conference by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition