Genealogy

Family History...So much more than Genealogy




Eleven years old, and I had just watched all of the Roots miniseries on TV. That is when I was bitten by the genealogy bug. My grandfather had judged passed away, but I was lucky to still have a great-grandmother who had just turned 97 that year.

At that time, I thought it was all about attaching names to photographs, and filling in the pedigree charts. I made a point of filling the family sheets also, because I knew it was important to everyone's information.

And that was all you needed, right?

I was so very wrong!

In starting this journey, I have discovered so much more than the names of my ancestors.

I discovered their stories. That is the essence of family history.

I grew up knowing most of the people in this photograph. But I now know so much more about them.

  • I know three of the men are WW II veterans. And that one was injured as a paratrooper in the Philippines, and one was missing for a short time in France.
  • My great-grandmother was a widow for several years before the war, and had to watch alone as four sons went off to war.
  • My grandfather was born a year before his future wife's cousin was sworn in as the governor of Indiana.
  • I know that one of these gentlemen came from Italy as a young boy.

This is Family History! When a picture is so much more than names and faces. 

It is their stories.

It is in how they lived, endured, celebrated.

It is much, much more than a name on a chart!







I think I found my way back to the old country...it's that way!!!

  

History...Up in Smoke





     "The executors of the Moore estate sold the furnishings and other contents of the old house to an antique dealer.  What he left was swept out into the yard and burned--a tragic loss."



     The above words are taken out of a book about Moores Hill College in Moores Hill, Indiana.  John C. Moore, the founder of the college, was a brother to my ancestor, Levin S. Moore.  Which means that they shared the same mother and father.
      Reading this sentence on the page above made me just about cry.  The parents that they shared, Adam and Judith Moore, travelled from Maryland to Indiana in 1818 and settled the town that bares their name.  I have read in other books that Adam was a well-read man and had a large library of books he would share with his friends and neighbors.
     This tells me that John, I am sure, probably had a large collection of his father's books.  He might have even had a journal or personal writings of his father.  To read that much of it was "swept out into the yard and burned"- just makes me burn!!!
     I would love to go back in time and prevent that craziness!  The sad thing is that this was probably fairly common and I am sure that many of you have probably faced something like this also. 
     Do any of you have stories like this that just make you wanna cry?  Tell them to the rest of us...maybe we can have one gigantic cryfest and get it out of our system.  Seriously, I would love to hear if you have stories like this also.




Are We There Yet?

 
Old Canal Boat in Metamora, Indiana



     We are absolutely spoiled!!  In this day and age, we can be across the country in just a few hours (~ if you don't count sitting in airports on layovers!  LOL) and across the pond to London in 1/2 a day.

     When most of us start looking up the old family tree, we usually just want to start getting names and dates on paper.  But after a while, you really start getting interested in their stories. What made them leave the old country?  How did they get to America? What would make you leave your home in Maryland, and start over in a brand new state named Indiana?  How did you get here?

     This last question has crossed my mind lately as I research several of my lines.  I have traced them back to Maryland, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and other points along the Atlantic Coast.  My husband is lucky enough to have a journal in his possession that his ancestor wrote from his life in Denmark all the way through his trek across the country to Utah in the 1830's.  So, he has written proof in the trials and tribulations of cross-country travel in pioneer times.
 
     I have found no such diary or accounts of how many of my ancestors settled in the Midwest.  So, the next best thing that I could do is just plain research on how most of these areas were settled. For example, I discovered that the National Road was completed from Maryland to Wheeling, West Virginia in the year 1818.  This is the exact year that my ancestor, Adam Moore, left Maryland and arrived in Indiana.  Wheeling is set along the Ohio River, which then runs all the way to the Mississippi River.  Adam could easily have taken the National Road to Wheeling, where he then traveled on the Ohio River with his family to Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  Just a few more miles down the road and he was able to settle the town that still bears his name, Moores Hill.

     So, I ask you...how did your family get settled where they did?  Conestoga wagon, canal boat, railroad, river travel...or a combination of all of these?  We all have stories...what is yours?  I would love to hear your family's story!!!

    

10 comments:

  1. This reminds me I need to write my own migration story, from New York to Florida before air conditioning and interstate highways in 1959. And then from Florida to Arizona with both those comforts in 1984.

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    1. Mary,
      I would be very interested in reading your story. Even those two things sound like luxuries compared to what the pioneers endured, they still have made a huge difference in our own travels. Let me know when you write your story, I would like to be one of the first ones to read it!

      Diane

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  2. My family migration story...not much of one. They all arrived on the east coast and didn't go far. Though there is a family story of one man leaving Maryland to go 'west' in the late 1790's. He ended up staying in South Carolina instead of getting more 'west' which I guess would have been Georgia. Except for him, my people weren't adventurous.

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  3. In 1790, just travelling one state away to South Carolina was not very easy. So, that is a migration story! My ancestors were notsure as adventurous as others.No Oregon Trail, or anything. They got as far as Indiana or Illinois, and put down roots.

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  4. I agree. I always try to figure out how they got from point a to point b. I have some that must have traveled the Erie canal and through the Great Lakes by steamboat from New York to Wisconsin. I figured that was the way because after children died, the family was on a steamboat traveling back to NY and the mother jumped from the steamboat on purpose and drowned in Lake Michigan. It is documented in the paper in 1848. The father ended up on a wagon train to CA and the oldest son and daughter somehow ended up in Texas for a while. Did they go down the Mississippi? Seems like the fastest route. Then how did they get to CA from Texas in 1855? Still trying to figure that out.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about how the part that Lake Michigan played in your family's history. But I do believe you're right. The waterways played a very important part. One of my ancestors brought his family from the Syracuse, NY area to the Chicago area in the late 1830's. The Erie Canal had just been finished recently. Any guesses on how they got most of the way to Illinois?!

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    2. My Dad traveled from Boston to Montana in 1906, but I have no idea as to the route? Any ideas? Thanks, Norm

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    3. Norm,I am not as familiar with the routes that one might have taken for that trip. My ancestors lived elsewhere. But, give me a few days, and I will see what I might be able to find for you.

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    4. Norm, I just got thinking that since it was at a later time (1906) than when you normally think of for pioneer settlers, have you thought about the possibility of train travel, also?

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    5. Norm,
      I have been doing some research for you, and might have founds some leads. It appears that some railroads companies also bought up Great Lakes steamship lines. According to FamilySearch.org Wiki (https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Minnesota_Emigration_and_Immigration), "Settlers generally followed the Great Lakes and the railroads to Illinois and Wisconsin, or they traveled up the Mississippi River. Steamboats and vessels traveling the lakes and rivers were not required to keep passenger lists."
      It sounds like this combination of trains and Great Lake travel is how many from the East coast came to settle the Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
      I hoped that I helped just a little bit!
      Diane

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