Friday, April 30, 2010

When Genealogy is Mind-Blowing

What a wonderful week for genealogical research on my husband's family!

Part 1 - Civil War pension file excitement

Exciting, but not necessarily "mind-blowing", was the receipt of the full Civil War pension file of Samuel Hawksley . 

While it did not give me the information I had hoped for (the parents of John Goodwin Hawksley), it did verify the marriage date of John Goodwin Hawksley and Lucy Thomas Lilley, the birth dates of their children (in a few instances, we only had approximations), the death of Lucy T. Hawksley, and the marriage of their first daughter.

Nobody seemed to know who Isabel Hawksley, the eldest daughter and child of John and Lucy, had married.  The file told me that her husband's name was Charles Staples Boothby of Saco, Maine.  They went to Newton, Massachusetts, which was good news for me, as I found the records of births and marriage on their children, as well as Isabel (Hawksley) Boothby's death, via NEHGS.

Meanwhile, I learned much more about John Goodwin Hawksley himself. 

He is my husband's 3rd great-grandfather.  In September of 1861, a tree fell on his leg, breaking the leg below the knee and making him lame (he had to use a cane for the rest of his life), and unable to work the family lands. They were too poor to get a doctor to set the leg, so it healed, but not well.

He relied on his unmarried teenaged son, Samuel, to do the work. Then Samuel enlisted with the Army in 1864, hoping to be able to send money to his family. But he was lost (missing in action) during battle at Hatcher's Run, Virginia.

When the family had not heard from him for 12 years, they filed for the pension in 1877 as dependent parents. Lucy died in 1880, so John then requested the pension be transferred to him.

My husbands great-great grandpa, William Roger Hawksley, was "legally bound" to support his father from 1880 to March 1881, and the affidavits say that John and Lucy Hawksley survived thanks to their childrens' generosity, and Samuel's work on their home and lands, before he went to war at the age of 17.

So it was interesting stuff.  While it did not give me anything further on Hawksley ancestors, it told more of the story of John Goodwin Hawksley's and his family's lives.

Part 2 - Y-DNA Results

My husband's DNA results began rolling in this week.  This was certainly exciting, but would be far more thrilling if we had other Hawksley men with whom to compare the results.

Hopefully others will join the surname project!  But it is the first step in the process.

Part 3 - mtDNA Results = SHOCK

I thought for certain my husband's mtDNA results would place him in a European Haplogroup, probably H like me (I am H1).

The most distant matrilineal ancestor for whom we have information is his 4th great-grandmother, Marie Reine Bousquet, born about 1799.  She married Francois Boucher on 16 November 1819 at La Presentation, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.

I figured that since my husband's maternal ancestors are almost as French as they come, one of the European haplogroup was the most likely.

First, let me preface this discovery by saying that my husband is currently in Connecticut for his sister's wedding.  There is a Native American ceremony component to the wedding, because my sister-in-law's fiance is Sioux. 

My father-in-law is a fundamentalist Christian and feels that he cannot participate in that portion of the ceremony, so since my husband is married to me (a Neo-Pagan), my father-in-law asked him to participate.

My husband called me today (Friday afternoon for me, very early Friday morning for folks on the East Coast), and as we were chatting, I was checking my email.  He put my brother-in-law on the phone, and as I listened to his plans for the summer, I saw the message from Family Tree DNA regarding the mtDNA results.

I looked. 

I freaked out.

My brother-in-law asked if I was alright; I told him that I had amazing genealogy news for my husband.

He put my husband back on the telephone, so I could share this news.

So, shock of shocks, the mind-blowing genealogy news of the week - perhaps of a lifetime for my husband!!! - is that he is:

Haplogroup A

Our reaction was almost on par with our April 8, 2002 reaction to the news that I was pregnant ("Oh my gosh!  We're going to have a baby before Christmas!").

Except this time it was, "OMG!  You're Native American!!!"

Of course, we followed this up with the inevitable jokes - my husband said, "See?  I'm as American as they get" to which I responded:

"Yeah, on your mother's side, you helped create America.  On your father's side, you wanted to make America an extension of Britain, so you got kicked out of the U.S. for being Loyalists.  No wonder you hate yourself!"

"I've always been conflicted," he laughed.


We are truly shocked.

Now we just have to figure out which tribe!  In a way, this is the genealogical jackpot.  With my mtDNA, I know very well that my ancestors are European, because my great-great grandmother emigrated from Italy to the U.S. with her husband and their firstborn.  I can only extend my family tree by visiting Italy.

But with my husband, I actually would have a time frame to connect Marie Reine Bousquet to whichever grandmother was Native American.  That doesn't necessarily mean it will be easy - it just means that I'm not looking back more than about 200 years...


I did some more research and found the Native ancestor!  It is Mathilde Pidicwammiskwe, daughter of Chief Madokawando of the Abenaki tribe, which is a part of the Algonquin nation.

I'm getting an education about Native Americans this weekend, and I'm sure what I learn is just the tip of the iceberg.  :)

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Asa Witham & Rebecca Lane

I appreciate Jan's comment on a previous post in which she shared with me that Asa Witham died 3 February 1779 in Mill Prison, Plymouth, Devon, England.

His capture is verified in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, volume 32, pages 184, 306 and 307.

His death is found in Charles Hebert's book, A Relic of the Revolution, Boston, 1847 (full view available via Google Books).

But what of Asa's widow, Rebecca Lane?

Other folks had her second husband listed as John or Joshua Pilsbury of Newburyport, Massachusetts.  However this is quite impossible, since that particular Rebecca died in 1819 at the age of 77, making her 10 years older than Rebecca Lane, who was baptized in 1751.  Of course, Rebecca Lane may have been 9 or 10 years old at the time of her baptism, however Joshua and Rebecca Pilsbury had a son by 1765.  This means that Joshua could not be the second husband of Rebecca Lane, who married Asa Witham in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts on 24 December 1771.

While searching in Google Books, however, I found a Petition for June 23, 1785 in the "Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, 1784-85" aka "Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts", Boston, printed by Adams and Nourse, Chapter 49, May 1785 session, on pages 650-651. 

The petition says:

Resolve on the Petition of Thomas Ayer and Others, Guardians to Children of Asa Witham, Empowering Them to Enter an Appeal at the Supreme Court of Probate.

On the petition of Thomas Ayer, Joseph Peirce, and Jeremiah Witham, guardians of the orphan children of Asa Witham, late of New Gloucester, deceased:

Resolved, That the prayer of the petition be granted, and that Thomas Ayer, Joseph Peirce and Jeremiah Witham, guardians of the orphan children of Asa Witham, of New Gloucester aforesaid, deceased, be, and they are, hereby authorized and empowered to enter their appeal, in their said capacities, from a decree of William Gorham, Esq., Judge of Probate for the county of Cumberland, upon an account called the second account of Rebecca Bump, late Rebecca Witham, administratrix on the estate of the aforesaid Asa Witham, deceased, at the sitting of the Supreme Court of Probate, on the next Tuesday after the fourth Tuesday of June, 1786, to be holden at Falmouth, in the county of Cumberland, - and to file their reasons as the law directs; - the said guardians giving notice to the adverse party, twenty days before the sitting of the Court aforesaid, by serving her with an attested copy of this resolve; and the Supreme Court of Probate is hereby authorized and required, to receive the said appeal, and determine thereon, in the same manner as if it had been brought before them in the common course of law. June 23, 1785.

So it seems Rebecca's second husband was a Mr. Bump or Bumpus. 

Further research shows that, in all probability, it was Shubael Bumpus, born 18 August 1758 in Wareham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  He was the son of Zephaniah Bumpus and Thankful Gibbs, and therefore a descendant of Richard Warren through his daughter, Mary Warren, who married Robert Bartlett.

Shubael and Rebecca (Lane) Witham had at least 4 children:

Asa W. Bumpus in 1782
Eunice Bumpus in 1784
Benjamin Bumpus in 1791
Hannah Bumpus in 1803

By 1815 he was remarried to a woman named Sarah Cotton, so Rebecca Lane died sometime between 1803 and 1815.

I have not finished researching this second marriage yet, but will continue to do so in hopes of finding a firm date of death for Rebecca (Lane) (Witham) Bumpus.

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Samuel Hawksley Civil War Pension File - "Awaiting Shipment"

What a thrill to check with the National Archives site on the status of Samuel Hawksley's Civil War Pension file just before I went to bed last night, and find that the status had changed from "Servicing" to "Awaiting Shipment"!

Samuel was born about 1847 in Richmond, Carleton County, New Brunswick.  He died 6 February 1865 at Hatcher's Run in Virginia.

His parents, John Goodwin Hawksley and Lucy Lilley, filed for a pension for his Civil War service on 27 March 1877.

Because Samuel was unmarried and without children, any documentation in the file should center around him (perhaps I will find his date of birth) and his parents.

At least, that is what I surmise.  John and Lucy would have to submit documentation proving they were his parents.  Perhaps it will give us more clues regarding John's background.  Perhaps not. 

What I do know is that you can leave no stone unturned when dealing with a brick wall.  Because Samuel's parents would have been the ones submitting information and documentation to obtain his pension, these are firsthand documents created by or for them. 

When the file arrives, I will certainly share what I find within it. 

This is an unusual, but not rare, case.  Most of the time, the pension was obtained by the veteran or widow.  However children of the veteran or the veteran's parents could also file and obtain a pension for the veteran's service. 

The first file I ever ordered was that of William B. Haley.  He is my cousin's ancestor (I descend from his youngest brother, who was too young to serve in the Civil War).  His file cleared up family mysteries for us.  His widow's statements and depositions told us more about the family than we had ever known.

It will be interesting to see what documentation and personal statements, if any, Samuel's parents submitted in the process of obtaining a pension for his Civil War service.

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Have Brick Wall Will Travel

When Lisa mentioned creating a "Research Notebook" in her Follow Friday post, I was very curious to learn more about it.  Hopefully she will share her experiences creating and using it!

I am not sure if you would call this a "Research Notebook", but what I have done with my most challenging brick wall, Emma Anna Murphy, is create a folder dedicated to her.

It includes:

  • Notes and my family tree on CD
  • Customer copies of Family History Library microfilm order forms, so I can keep track of what I've researched
  • A chart to help me organize the inconsistent information on the place(s) of birth of Emma and her parents
  • A "Character Sketch"
  • The location of Emma and Erastus Shaw's home in Middleborough, Massachusetts
  • A family group sheet
  • A research checklist
  • Each census in which I have found Emma Anna (Annie) (Murphy) (Reagan) Shaw (1900-1930)
  • Directory entries for Shaw, E. B., Mrs., both as a resident and business proprietor:

Most of the time, I bring my laptop with me when I am working on my research, but it is nice to be able to just grab this file and go!

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How a Week-Long Layover is Good for Genealogy

My husband is flying to the states for his sister's wedding this month.  He is traveling Space A, which is quite an adventure.  Because he needs to wait for specific flights, he will be stuck in Seattle for a week.

It turns out something I want to see (or have somebody look at for me) is in Seattle. 

The Alexander Sampson papers (letters, diaries, etc.) are at the University of Washington.  You may recall that Captain Sampson is one of the Duxbury, MA men who joined Rufus Holmes and my 3rd great-grandfather, William W. Winsor, in the settling of Port Angeles, Washington.

The James G. Swan diaries (available online) mentioned William up until 1864, when he was in Victoria, British Columbia.

There is an 1867 court case in Jefferson County, Washington in which a W. W. Winsor in mentioned.  Unfortunately, every time I try to access the Washington State Archives Digital Archives, where the case is supposed to be mentioned, I get an error page.  (Perhaps because I have an international IP.)

I hope that Alexander Sampson's correspondence and diaries might say more about William, including where he went, and possibly when and where William died.

My husband says he will have nothing better to do for a week in Seattle, and he is more than willing to go to U-Dub's library for me, rather than stay in his room at McChord.

He is not "into" genealogy, but he is always willing to lend me a hand!

As my Friday gets underway, I would like to thank Betty of Betty's Boneyward Genealogy Blog, who included me when she passed on the Ancestor Approved Award.  Thank you very much.  :)

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley

Friday, April 2, 2010

Genealogy Discussion Group at Osan, 3 p.m.

The second Genealogy Discussion Group meeting is today at 3:00 p.m. (1500 hours).

While the first one was not as successful as I had hoped with regard to turn-out, the one person who attended was one of the people with the power to spread the word about the group.

For the past month, I have also watched as today's meeting has been advertised in lights on the announcement board across from the Community Center.  So I have my fingers crossed that I will meet a variety of people today.  It would be especially wonderful to meet somebody else (whether they are experienced genealogists or not) who is as passionate about genealogy as I am!

Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley