We asked our audience who their notable relatives were. From actors, to inventors, authors and religious leaders, listen in as our guests share their most notable relatives.
Brian Harris, from Bucks County, PA is related to James Harvey Garrison (1804-1876). Garrison achieved many things during his lifetime, including writing many books that are still in print today.
Derek Doran Woods of Massachusetts, is descended from the Pilgrims and is related to Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), who is credited with writing “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” also known as “‘T’was the Night Before Christmas.”
Melissa Frank of North Dakota is related to the artist Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and Joseph Smith (1805-1844) the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saints Movement.
Linda Slate of Oregon is related to Nathaniel Porter Slate (1853-1946), who invented the farm combine that was later purchased and mass produced by Hugh Victor McKay. Also Nathaniel’s son, Thomas Benton Slate (1880-1980) who developed mass produced dry-ice, and also an airship called a dirigible, similar to a blimp.
Ed Preston, of Bucks County, PA is related to the actor, Walter Wright Williams (1908-1988). Williams was an actor and producer, and worked on the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ with Clint Eastwood.
We will be speaking with our guests today about lineage societies, and how they have helped with their genealogical research.
About Lineage Societies
A lineage society is an organization that recognizes the descent from a single ancestor or couple. There are hundreds of these societies in the United States, each representing a different group of historical individuals. The most well-known of all lineage societies is the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DAR offers accurate, well-documented lineage documents to applicant and can be an invaluable source for a genealogist. Lineage societies are not limited to the United States. The largest European organization is the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne. There are also nationality or ethnic societies, such as the Polish Genealogical Society of America.
Nearly every lineage society will ask you to prove the birth, death and marriage dates of every generation, starting with you and going back to the qualifying ancestor. Once you have traced back far enough to join a lineage society, you will likely meet someone who is a distant relation to you.
Some benefits of joining a lineage society are:
Member only resources, such as free access to paid websites, libraries, and records.
Networking with others who can improve your research project.
Direct contact with others who share your interests.
Many publish journals and publications to aid in your research.
Many work on civic projects dealing with historic preservation, or assisting veterans.
Many offer scholarships.
Our guests today are:
Josh Sands, who joined the Welcome Society
Tom Kaechelin, who attempted to join the Sons of the American Revolution
Amanda Zambrano, who joined the Daughters of the American Revolution
And me, Barbara Jean May, who joined the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Josh Sands, of Harleysville, PA, joined The Welcome Society through his qualifying ancestor, Steven Sands, who was born 1658 in Lancashire, England. Steven arrived in the U.S. on “The Lamb” in 1682. Steven was a member of the Middletown Meeting in Bucks County, PA.
The Welcome Society of PA was originally limited to the descendants of those who were passengers on the Welcome. Today, membership includes descendants of those who travelled with other Quakers to America during 1682. For more information on The Welcome Society, please visit www.welcomesociety.org.
Tom Kaechelin, of Levittown, PA, tried to join National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) through his ancestor, John Closson. John was born in 1737 and died in 1815 in Pennsylvania. Tom had issues proving his descent from John Closson, due to a missing marriage certificate. Let’s listen to his application experience.
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is the largest male genealogical society in the United States. Any male 18 years or older who can prove lineage from a Patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership. The SAR is dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving American history. For more information about The Sons of the American Revolution, please visit www.sar.org.
We have several events coming up that we want to share with you!
On January 12 – A Virtual Tour of the Hidden Archives at Bolger Heritage Center at the Ridgewood Public Library is taking place from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM. This event is free, but registration is required. In this rare opportunity, you will get a glimpse of what the Bolger Heritage Center has to offer. Learn how to research your home, find information on your ancestors, and gain insight into the history of Ridgewood, NJ. In addition, you’ll get a chance to view their newly restored Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps! For additional information, please visit the events page of the Genealogical Society of Bergen County at www.njgsbc.org.
On January 15 – Laurel Hill Cemetery is hosting the Hot Spots and Storied Plots General History Tour from 1:00 – 2:30 PM. Tickets are $12. In life and in death, we all have stories to tell, and what better place to hear tales of wonder than Philadelphia’s most famous home of the dead? This talk provides an informative overview of Laurel Hill’s long and colorful history, which includes many of the marble masterpieces, stunning views, and legendary stories that afford the cemetery its WOW factor. Hot Spots and Storied Plots is the perfect introduction for anyone who enjoys beautiful art, scenic nature, and fascinating history. Laurel Hill’s experienced cemetery guides offer visitors their own unique perspective. This tour departs from Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. For additional information, please visit www.thelaurelhillcemetery.org.
On January 19 – The Genealogical Society of New Jersey presents “From Deeds to Dirt: Case Studies in Analyzing Research with Maps” by Cari Taplin. Our ancestors existed in a time and a place. Maps are one way to give the names and dates in our genealogical research more life, context, and excitement. Where did they live? What would they have seen? How did they get around? Cari Taplin will examine various ways researchers can use maps to trace their ancestors and their research. Some of the topics she will cover are:
A look at different types of maps
Tech tricks for using maps such as Google Maps’ “My Places”
Using maps to determine possible migration routes
Using collected research to recreate neighborhoods
Using maps as an alternative (or additional) research log
Online map collections
Mini-case studies to illustrate using maps for analysis
For additional information and registration, please visit www.gsnj.org.
Amanda Zambrano, of New York State, joined the Daughters of the American Revolution through her ancestor, Jacob Snyder. Jacob lived from ca. 1727-1794.
Like the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution is dedicated to promoting patriotism and preserving American history. Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. For more information about the Daughters of the American Revolution, please visit www.dar.org
The Society of the Cincinnati
The oldest lineage society in the United States is the Society of the Cincinnati, which was founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army who served in the American Revolution. The Society promotes public interest in the American Revolution through its library and museum collections, publications and other activities. It is a Patriotic Hereditary Society who’s present day members must be descended from an original member, an officer who died in the service, or an officer who qualified for membership but never joined. Original members include: George Washington, King Louis 16 of France, the Comte de Rochambau, Commodore John Barry, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, Taddeus Koscuzko, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Baron von Steuben, to name a few. The only U.S. President to be a hereditary member was Franklin D. Pierce. For additional information, please visit https://www.societyofthecincinnati.org.
I was eligible to join the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War through my ancestor, George Rentschler. George was born in 1838 in Legelshurst, Germany, and died in 1885 in Philadelphia, PA. George joined the 17th Regiment of the Missouri Volunteers, Company B, on September 12, 1861, known as the “Western Turner Rifles.” George was part of the Philadelphia Turners, a German athletic group. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, the club formed a battalion from its shooting section to fight in the Union Army. In total over 120 members served in the army during the war. When Missouri petitioned for volunteers, the Philadelphia Turners stepped up and sent men from their group.
In April of 1862, George suffered what the Army called a “nervous fever” and subsequently developed dropsy. He suffered from severe abdominal pains in an Army Hospital near Helena, Arkansas for two months before he was honorably discharged on July 29, 1862.
I had thought my application may not be accepted, because among the papers in George’s service file was a notice that they believed he had deserted. In reality, he had been left behind in Helena, Arkansas, when his Regiment moved on. Only when his wife, Catherine, had applied for his pension after his death was this corrected in Washington, D.C.
The DUVCW was formed to unite all female descendants of Union Veterans to “to perpetuate the memories of our ancestral fathers who served in the Civil War; to honor their loyalty and their unselfish sacrifices to preserve the Union; and to keep alive the history of those who participated in that heroic struggle for the maintenance of our free government.”
Thank you for joining us today for another episode of Heritage Hunters. If you would like to be on the show, please visit www.heritage-hunters.com, or email us at email@example.com. Please be sure to subscribe to our Podcast so that you never miss an episode. Please also leave us a review. By leaving a review, you help us create the best show possible, providing content that you will enjoy.
This has been a C&C Production, recorded and mixed by me, Barbara Jean May. Please join us next month on Heritage Hunters.
Family heirlooms are a great gift to receive, and they can shape a story about your ancestors. Heirlooms allow family historians to add dimension to our ancestors and bring them to life, instead of just names, dates and places. A family heirloom is something of special value that is handed down from one family generation to the next family generation. A family heirloom holds either sentimental, monetary, antique, or cultural value.
On today’s show, we will be learning what family heirlooms others have received, and how these items have enhanced their knowledge of their family history. Our guest today is:
Paul Chiddicks – Paul has been researching his family history for 20+ years. He is a regular host of “Ancestry Hour” on Twitter, and the face behind Family Tree Magazine’s “Dear Paul” column. Paul also has a blog, “The Chiddicks Family Tree,” where he wrote two posts regarding family heirlooms in August 2021.
We will also hear from: • Tom Kaechelin, about a military sword he inherited; • Janet Few, about an heirloom patchwork quilt; • Karen Wyatt, about a Hungarian Family Prayer Book; • Hope Callan-Beck, about a crystal Loving Cup that her ancestor received at a family reunion
My heirloom is a character reference given to my Victorian working-class grandfather, Walter Parker, (1885-1975) just before he emigrated to Canada in 1907 aged 21 years old. It appears to be a simple document, but behind these formal words was a story of courage in the face of authority.
It was signed by Arthur Forest, agent to Hastings William Sackville Russell, His Grace the 12th Duke of Bedford.
The reference is dated 5 March 1907.
The reference was given despite young Walter’s refusal to take off his cap in respect to one of the most important man in the Duke of Bedford’s village of Thorney, Cambridgeshire, England.
The language used in the reference gives us a peek into the formality of the period in a ‘model’ agricultural village of England. The reference made it possible for Walter a shy 21-year-old man to leave behind his disgrace, protect his father’s position and the family home, and begin an adventure on the Canadian Prairies which would last twenty-five years.
The reference shed light on how Walter was able to move out of the closed agricultural village. It also confirmed Walter’s father was the Estate Foreman, the highest status a working-class man could achieve in Thorney. The role was described in detail by the duke’s in his book, A Great Agricultural Estate, Being the Story of the Origin and Administration of Woburn and Thorney, published in 1897.
Walter fascinated me as a child. I wanted him to share his life with me, to illuminate a time of profound social and political change, when a working-class Englishman could become a landowner in Canada. But in the face of my naïve compulsion to connect with him, Walter remained mostly inaccessible.
As an 11-year-old, I was delighted when he came to live with my family in 1974. At last, I would hear the longed-for stories of his Victorian childhood and his adventures as a bachelor homesteader on the Canadian Prairies. Yet no matter how hard I searched for a key to unlock his silence, the door to his past remained firmly shut. I desperately wanted to attach, to feel close to him, but his emotional distance defeated me.
My Victorian grandfather Walter Parker was born in Upwell, Norfolk, England, but the family left in 1892 for Thorney an estate owned by the 12th Duke of Bedford. The purpose of the Thorney estate was to provide food for the staff and family at the larger estate of Woburn.
In the summer of 2013, I unexpectedly found myself near Thorney. Imagine my delight to find that the house in the Tank Yard where Walter had grown up was now the Thorney Museum. Incredibly, the volunteer steward, Jeremy Culpin, overheard my interest in the Parker family. He asked if I wanted an introduction to my mother’s first cousin. Walter’s niece Mary was born in 1918, had grown up in the village and lived nearby. At our first meeting, I discovered the cap incident was significant enough to be passed
down our two estranged branches of the family. Mary added a new and dark twist to the family tale by telling me that Walter had not doffed his cap because of the man’s ‘evil ways with young girls’. According to Mary, although this was apparently well known in the village, it was not openly acknowledged.
During my family research, a transgenerational legacy of loss, trauma, anxiety, and depression unravelled. It revealed repeated patterns of behaviour that I too had unwittingly passed on. This discovery helped me understand my work’s focus. As a geneatherapist my mission is to share historical and current theories around mental health, psychology, and neuroscience to help family historians answer their question, ‘Who Do I Think You Were?’
In granddad’s refusal to take off his cap, I like to think Walter acted truthfully, in a way the adults felt unable to do. Whatever happened, it feels as if Walter’s principled stance created an ethical inheritance whereby people were encouraged ‘to do the right thing’ whatever the cost.
To read an extract from the book ‘Who Do I Think You Were?®‘ A Victorian’s Inheritance? please see below:
Why did Walter Parker refuse to doff his cap to the Duke of Bedford’s estate manager? This was uncharacteristic behaviour for the quiet and shy lad, given that the man was one of the most powerful men in Thorney. Walter’s disrespect put at risk his future, his pa’s job, and the house in which they lived.
I was a child when my mother first told me the story of my grandfather’s refusal to doff his cap. I imagined the manager in his carriage on his way to church. I visualised Walter and the other villagers waiting outside the entrance to the Abbey for their ‘better’ to enter and assume his seat. In my mind’s eye, women and girls bobbed as the men and boys took off their hats and caps. All except Walter, who stood resolute with his hands buried in his pockets. According to the story my mother told me it was a lack of respect for the duke’s man that had stayed Walter’s hand over a century ago. As a result, he had to leave the village to safeguard his family’s future. My mum explained Granddad was a Victorian fossil, and that his decades on an isolated homestead had interrupted his growth.
However, I set out to discover what had most shaped my Victorian grandfather, Victorian values, life in a village owned by the Duke of Bedford, or his mother’s alcoholism and the psychological inheritance passed down to Walter.
Understanding our psychological inheritance can illuminate our ancestors, but it can also give us the language to consider our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviour. It can add to the narrative we construct to make sense of ourselves and our family. The good news for my grandfather Walter and his siblings is good news for all of us: our psychological inheritance need not define how we lead our lives. We can become more aware, live positively in our communities, thrive, and pass on a different legacy. Family historians cannot know their ancestors’ psychological inheritance. But using historical and current theories, we can examine the records and speculate in an informed way.
You can also visit https://www.helenparkerdrabble.com/. If visitors scroll to the bottom of the page they can get the first two chapters, the contents, index, and references for free. Just click on the button ‘Your two FREE chapters are waiting.’
Connect with Helen on social media:
LinkedIn: Helen Parker-Drabble
To learn more about preserving your family heirlooms, please visit the National Archives website. Use acid-free and lignin-free paper, UV-resistant glass for framed pictures or documents, acid free boxes, tissue, and/or polyester sleeves as well as archival spray.
Join us on Saturday, December 11 at 1 pm for a virtual telethon fundraiser to support the educational programming of the Old Barracks Museum, including the new Connecting to the Revolution virtual field trips! It’s free to tune in, and donations will be accepted from now through the end of the event!
The telethon will be streamed via Facebook Live and Zoom on December 11 at 1 PM.
The content will range from historical to hysterical, and be performed by staff, volunteers, and friends of the Old Barracks. Throughout the telethon, donations will be solicited and collected via Facebook donations and PayPal to help support the educational programming of the Old Barracks Museum.
Connecting to the Revolution is a live virtual program for schools with 7 program options. Classes will be able to take this field trip from school, home, or a hybrid of the two. The program is a mix of live and pre-recorded video, and students will be able to ask questions and interact with Historical Interpreters.
In today’s episode, we will be exploring Military Records, and how to research them.
Our guests today are:
Bob Scherer, Retired US Army Col., Historian/Council Member 12th Armored Division “The Hellcats” Association and board member of the 12 Armored Division Memorial Museum in Abilene, TX; and Ed Preston, Chairman of the PA Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and President of the Penndel-Hulmeville Memorial Day Parade Committee.
The websites referenced in our Episode 1 Podcast are as follows: