Tag Archives: ancestors

Lucky to be here

You know, it is actually mind boggling when one stops to consider how did I get to be here … exist, that is. I mean, when you really think about all the dots that had to connect to make it possible for each one of us to be here … and then for our descendants to be here, it is actually amazing to ponder.

We all come from ancestors, who thankfully, lived long enough to begat our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our great-great-grandparents… well, you get the picture. And in those early days, that was no small feat.

CelindahCourtBrown_Death

Burial record for 4th great-grandmother, Celindah Court Brown, 9 March 1843 at St. Thomas Cathedral, Bombay, India

I’ve been hunting for evidence of my 4th great-grandmother, Celindah Court’s parents for years. She was born about 1805 in Calcutta, Bengal, India  and although I have found her marriage record, death records and records for all of her children, I have yet to determine who her parents were or even an exact birthday for her.

I have been fortunate enough to find an 1813 baptism record for her that took place in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England which lists her parents as Malay. Her father was English, of that I am certain, otherwise she would not have been able to marry as well and own property as she did, nor would she have been taken to England to be baptized. But, a Malay mother is certainly a possibility and my DNA does seem to back that up, showing that my genetic makeup consists of two percent of Asia East.

A couple of months ago, I came across a will for an Elizabeth Court, who recognizes my 4x great-grandmother in her will as her goddaughter. Obviously, my grandmother was very much loved, as she was left money, jewels and all of Elizabeth’s property and goods that weren’t specifically given to someone else . At first I thought that perhaps Elizabeth was Celindah’s aunt, possibly a sister to her father and was quite excited that Elizabeth could be my missing link to breaking down my break wall. Turns out, I believe my hypothesis is half right… more extensive review of the will shows that Elizabeth was a widow, which means Court was her married name. I now believe Elizabeth is Celindah’s aunt but her father’s sister-in-law. The next step was to figure out who Elizabeth’s husband was and I found that out tonight. Thomas Court married Elizabeth Fisher in 1799 in Calcutta, Bengal, India. How do I know I have the right man? Thomas and Elizabeth Court had a son named Thomas Rowland Court… who happens to be mentioned in Elizabeth’s will, confirming I am on the right track.

But, that still hasn’t helped me yet identify Celindah’s father, but I feel I am getting closer and the closer I get, the more I am aware that it is by happenstance that I am here… thinking… breathing… able to write these words in the first place. Elizabeth died at 50. Her husband, Thomas died at 40. Their son died at 25 and his daughter at two and his wife at 26. My 4x great grandmother’s parents were missing from her life at her baptism and she was only about eight years old then. Celindah, in fact died at 38 after having nine children with only six of them living when she passed. Four of them died before they were 30 years of age. One daughter lived to be 73 and yet, another daughter, my 3rd great-grandmother Celindah Elizabeth Jane Brown, her first born, actually lived to be be 94 years old. How lucky is that?

BIRTH_BROWNCelindahElizabeth_1828

Birth/Baptism record of 3rd great-grandmother, Celindah Elizabeth Jane Brown, 25 April 1828 in Bombay, India

That grandmother, Celindah Elizabeth Jane, who was born in Bombay, India, married Francis Clough and had 10 children by the time she was 33, with my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Audin Clough being their firstborn. Celindah Elizabeth Jane lost three of those children by age 29 and her husband, my 3rd great-grandfather at 39.

PANCHAUD_MarieAudinCLOUGH

2nd great-grandmother, Mary Audin Clough Panchaud (1846-1909)

My great-great-grandmother, Mary Audin, had been widowed twice and buried three children by age 30 when she met and married my 2nd great-grandfather, Louis Panchaud in England. He was 23 years older than she was and also a widower. Their marriage would only last 12 months before he committed suicide. Mary had given birth six months after their marriage and was pregnant with my great-grandfather, Louis Benoni Panchaud, when he killed himself. My great-grandfather was born eight months later and it’s quite possible his father had no idea he was leaving his wife with child. After a life full of heartache and death, Mary Audin died alone at age 63 in Dimboola, Victoria, Australia. Mary’s two sons did live to reach adulthood. My Uncle Albert became a man of the cloth, thus having no children, and also died at age 63 in Cornwall, England, a beloved parish priest.

PANCHAUD_LouisB_familyyoung

Great-Grandfather, Louis Benoni Panchaud (1878-1950) and family, including grandfather, Louis William Panchaud (1922-2006) in sailor suit

My great-grandfather immigrated to Bermuda, where he met my great-grandmother and begat four children of his own, including my grandfather, Louis.

In the grand scheme of things, I consider myself quite lucky that I even exist. I mean, each one of my grandparents was a child that outlived their siblings. For all but a couple, they had to grow up without their parents. While familial lines were ceasing to exist on collateral lines, mine continued. When you think about it that way… it’s pretty amazing that I, let alone my children, are even here. But here we are and here we continue… and now my children are bringing the next generation to life.

Although, I haven’t been able to find who begat the first Celindah, I’d like to think that she is smiling down at what she started and perhaps she plays a small part in my trouble at finding her parents … maybe this is her way of ensuring that her memory continues and a reminder that without her, there would be no me.


We are all connected

Indoeuropean%20language%20family%20tree So, I was pretty excited about 3 o’clock this morning when I discovered several of my 12th great grandparents. And when I say discovered, I followed the trail back and was able to find documented proof (well, at least the index of the proof… when I get to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City tomorrow, I’ll find copies of the actual documents) of marriages and births.

14 GENERATIONS BACK.

I know… impressive, right? You’d think so… until you realized that at 14 generations you have 16,384 grandparents.

Yes, you read that right. 16,384 great grandparents… they’d be your Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmas & Grandpas. Talk about a family reunion!

I found six.

All born in England from 1550 to 1570… John Garde married Mary Suthcott, Richard Gyst married Margaret Lake, and William Tetherly married Mercy Spinney. Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.50.21 PM

I actually even found three of my 13th great grandfathers – Nycholas Suthcott, Thomas Gyst and William Lake – 15th generations back… but, by just adding another generation, a short span of 25 years, you’d have about 32,768 grandparents.

The below chart demonstrates how the grandparents double… it doesn’t take many generations to become overwhelmed with family.

2 Parents

4 Grandparents

8 Great Grandparents

16 Great Great Grandparents

32 Great Great Great Grandparents

64 Great Great Great Great Grandparents

128 Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

256 Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

512 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

1024 Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

When you do the math, by the time you get to 20 generations or 500 years, you’d have 1,048,576 grandparents. Do you think you’d remember their names?

The United States only has 3.2 million people.

The world’s population right now is about 7.2 billion people. Less than 10 billion people have ever lived on the earth but if you go back 40 generations or a thousand years… you’d have more than a trillion ancestors.

I know… mind boggling, isn’t it?

By now, you’re wondering, how in the world can I have a trillion ancestors when only 10 billion have ever lived on the earth?

deliverance-1972--00Remember Deliverance? Yep…. Inbreeding makes it possible. You don’t normally find that in the first 10 generations, but going back further the population drops and so did the choice in partners. You might have had a trillion ancestors 40 generations ago, but not a trillion different ones.

Population genetic scientists have actually done a lot of research on this subject and in an article authored by Steven Olson in the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, he describes some amazing results of their studies:

  • In all probability, you and I are descended from English royalty
  • Everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius,
  • Everyone in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne,
  • Eighty percent of Charlemagne’s contemporaries are also ancestors of us all.

So what does this all really mean?

One, that I have a ton of work to do! But, if you go back 22 generations, you’ll find our common ancestors and realize WE ARE ALL RELATED.

Now, let’s play nice together… we’re family afterall.


Support and Defend

I come from a long line of veterans, both American and British, who have fought on both sides of the pond.

My seventh great-grandfather, Jeremiah Gard and his sons, including my sixth great-grandfather, Alexander Guard and his cousins fought for a young America during the Revolutionary War. My great-great Uncle Henry George Louis Panchaud or Harry as he was called, was a well-known and decorated colonel in the Boer War in South Africa. My Great-great-great-great Uncle, William L. Guard was a Captain in the Mexican-American War.

During WWI, my great-great-uncle, Philip Archibald Tatem, was 24 years old when he left his home in Bermuda with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and joined the Lincolnshire Regiment in France. He was killed on Sept. 25, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme after heavy fighting. His body was never identified, but he is honored on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in Somme, France. His younger brother, Graham Tatem, also served in WWI but fortunately did make it back to Bermuda. My paternal great-grandfather also served during WWI as a part of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, as well as his older brother, Albert Louis Panchaud, who served as a chaplain in the British Army.

My maternal grandfather was a prisoner of war during World War II in Germany for more than a year, while my paternal grandfather guarded German prisoners of war sent to Bermuda. My uncle Larry fought in Vietnam and my brother, Brian, served in Iraq during Desert Storm and he once again finds himself in Iraq today. I served almost 23 years in the United States Navy retiring as a Chief Petty Officer and my husband was a career Marine, giving more than 21 years to the Corps, retiring as a Master Gunnery Sergeant. Today, my oldest son carries on the family tradition and currently serves as a member of the Tennessee National Guard.

Earlier last year, I received a sobering comment from my brother on Facebook. He said, “I believe hell is empty, as pure evil walks the earth here in Iraq.” But even with that knowledge, he truly believes in what he and his unit are doing to help the Iraqi people.

I am proud of my family’s contributions to our great nation and to the countries they have called home. They have all I am also proud of those whom I call friend and those I don’t know personally. Without their sacrifice, I would not be living the life I have today.

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Ten Reasons to Join a Local Genealogy Society

by Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS

 

“But my ancestors are not from this area, so why should I join the local genealogical society?” 

Are you guilty of this “why should I join” attitude? I know I was several years ago when I moved to Colorado. My ancestors were from Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Denmark, and Sweden. None of my ancestors were gold miners or pioneers who may have trekked across the Rocky Mountains. So I, too, wondered why I should join the Colorado Genealogical Society.

Eventually, someone convinced me to attend a meeting of the local society. Little did I know that my life as a genealogist would never be the same. I found a group of passionate family historians who were eager to share their experiences and knowledge. It did not matter that our ancestors were from different parts of the world. In fact, most members did not have Colorado roots.

So why, you ask, did a simple genealogical society membership impact my life as a genealogist? Here are ten reasons:

1. I was no longer alone.

Until I discovered the network of local genealogists, I was researching within a vacuum. I had no idea there were more than 300 genealogists within a few miles of my home. I could now share my passion with other like individuals. More important, I plugged into a network that alerted me to the latest products, news, and educational opportunities locally and nationwide.

2. I learned new research skills.

The guest speakers at monthly meetings and annual workshops taught me how to prepare a research plan, how to evaluate evidence, and techniques to discover new sources.

3. I learned how to evaluate genealogical software.

One of the most frustrating decisions for a genealogist is deciding upon the right software for their specific needs. Our society created a Computer Interest Group and sponsored educational seminars and hands-on learning workshops. Without their guidance and instruction, I would have floundered within the world of computer genealogy.

4. I improved my skills in reading old handwriting.

My personal research included transcribing old documents, but until I became involved in a society project, I didn’t realize that my skills were elementary.

5. I learned from other members.

Our society encouraged members to share their latest breakthrough or discovery at our local meetings. This sharing was not only fun, but gave me ideas on how to solve my own brick wall research problems.

6. I gained an appreciation of other local societies.

While abstracting or indexing Colorado records, I realized that volunteers in Ohio or Denmark might be indexing some records pertinent to my own ancestry. Genealogists helping one another in this manner is one of the most significant gifts we receive within this unique hobby.

7. I gained experience in using a new record type.

I volunteered to be the “society genealogist” which meant I answered Colorado research inquiries. Many of the questions could be answered through city directory research. Since my ancestors were mostly farmers, I did not have experience with this record type. Had I not volunteered to answer the society’s mail, I may never have learned the value of directories.

8. I developed leadership skills.

As an active and involved member, you will ultimately be given opportunities to participate in the leadership of the organization. While serving on committees and board member positions, I developed skills that would be valuable in future state and national leadership roles.

9. I did not find a cousin, but someone else did.

I’m always amazed at the odd connections that are made at meetings. For example, someone will casually mention they are researching the Watson family in Kentucky. Another member will answer that they are too. After comparing notes, they discover they are related six generations back into time. Believe me, it happens more often than you may think. Members will also find others researching the same geographical area and can help each other with resources, etc.

10. I developed lifelong friendships.

Common interests create friendships, and I have gathered many through genealogical connections. Can you imagine what it might be like if you didn’t have an understanding genealogical friend to call when you make a major discovery or solve the problem you’ve been working on for several years?

How to Find a Genealogical Society

There are hundreds of genealogical societies throughout the United States. To find one near you, visit the Society Hall developed by Ancestry.com and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. The Society Hall is an excellent place to begin your search, with contact information on over 500 societies. The Society Hall also features a Calendar of Events arranged chronologically. There may be a genealogical activity planned in your area that you can attend, or one on your vacation route.

The Historical and Genealogical Society Pages, arranged geographically, are also an excellent resource for locating a society near you.

Cyndi’s List has over 3,000 links to societies and groups. The list is indexed alphabetically by the name of the society, rather than geographically.

The fourth edition (1999) of The Genealogist’s Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley gives contact information on over 25,000 libraries and repositories, including genealogical societies.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies also has a Guide for the Organization and Management of Genealogical Societies. It has advice on how to start a society and keep it running.

Beyond the Local Society

The personal benefits of joining a local society are quite different than reasons to join out-of-state or other types of genealogical organizations. When you cannot attend local meetings, the obvious benefit is receiving the society’s publications. One of the primary goals of local societies is to index, abstract, or transcribe local records and publish the results in their journals and/or online.

If you have roots in Wood County, West Virginia, for example, you may want to join the Wood County Genealogical Society in order to receive notice of their publications and projects. And just because you do not reside in Wood County, does not necessarily mean you could not participate in extraction projects. Some non-local members participate by using microfilm or photocopies of records.

 

About the Author
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS, is a professional genealogist and private investigator who specializes in locating living persons by using the Internet, public records, and genealogical sources. She is the Executive Secretary for the Association of Professional Genealogists and lectures at state, regional, and national conferences. You can reach her at hinckleyk@mindspring.com or through her web site Family Detective.

Why search for family?

I have been researching my family for almost 20 years.  Over that time a lot of people have asked me, “Why genealogy? What do you get out of it?”  There are many reasons to search. For me, it began as curiosity… I began wondering where did I come from, how did my ancestors love, what did they do, how did they get here – to this time and place. And its a way to connect the present with the past.

For others, they may begin searching for medical reasons. What diseases or illnesses run in the family? How come I’m 6 foot tall and my dad isn’t?

Some search just for the thrill of the hunt. When it comes to puzzles, nothing can match the complexity and fun of genealogy. Just think about a jigsaw puzzle that has an almost infinite number of pieces – some of them that don’t fit and some of them missing. Nothing can match the satisfaction I get from finding one of those lost pieces of the puzzle and putting it into place. These are puzzle pieces that lead to long-lost cousins and far-off places.

Still others desire to leave a lasting legacy.  Some people approach middle age or have a traumatic event at any age that prompts them to think about their mortality. “If I never meet my grandchildren, what will they know about me? What will they know about my parents? How will we be remembered?” Those of us who are fortunate enough to have ancestors in this category are indeed lucky. If you do nothing else with your family history, you should write down or record your life experiences in your own words in any way that you see fit.

Another reason to research is the emotional satisfaction gained through your efforts. The latest discovery can be touching and immensely satisfying. This is the moment that you look at your great grandfather’s signature on your grandparent’s marriage license; put your hand on the baptismal font where your oldest known ancestor was baptized; stand on the ground where your great grandfather from the old country is buried – knowing that your grandmother stood on this spot in front of an open grave grieving her loss. These moments are thrilling, goose-bump producing moments of a life time when you can almost reach across time and touch a person who you finally understand and know. These are moments you must not miss!

Lots of people get involved when they volunteer at their local genealogical or historical society. What a wonderful place to meet nice people who are willing to help you discover your roots. These groups are responsible for saving crumbling records all over the world and for making the information available to everybody. People who work in these places are almost always unpaid and give their time and effort on behalf of people like you and me every single day – people they have never even met. This is important work and you can get the satisfaction of helping other people by volunteering yourself. It is easy. Pick up the phone and call.

Whatever your reasons, give genealogy a try. It is a stimulating hobby that will put you in touch with yourself and with a lot of nice people who are ready and willing to help.



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