The thieving Baronet

This weekend is “free access to all UK records” on Ancestry.com. This is a nice break for me since I have hit so many dead ends on the American side of my tree. Free is always good!

I found out really early in my research that my second great grand mother, Eliza, was born in England. She’s the ancestor who would lead me to be somehow related to the Bush family. But since the records were unavailable unless you paid for an additional membership, I couldn’t fact check anything further.

British records are so much more fun that their American counterparts. On the US side, my family members are farmers. Or farm laborers. Or farm hands. There is the occasional coal miner since we are from North West Alabama, but there really isn’t much variety. We grew stuff.

My British ancestors, (or those I believe are my ancestors) were book binders, train car conductor, school masters, cigar makers (a women only profession apparently), lace makers, lace menders, dress makers, millners, tailors, teachers, model makers. I have also seen, though they were neighbors only, an office boy, lace manufacturer, shoe makers and scholars, which I think means student. It seems that the trades existed around neighborhoods, since most people on the same street had a job somehow related to one another.

And prisoners. That’s one thing we have in our blood: crime! Dear Edward was convicted of “larceny on the person” in 1856 and sentenced to prison. But I need to double and triple check this one: although I have no doubt that my great…grandfather could have been simultaneously a thief and a baronet (yes, we have our own page on Wikipedia), I want to make sure that:

  • 1- I am indeed related to them (I don’t need any more criminals than the ones I already know);
  • 2- that he is the same Edward S., in all the records, as it is a very common name.

If that is the case, here’s a picture of “our” property:

tiara-matching-castle(image found on Google)

I think it matches my tiara!

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They built this city…*

My ancestors were busy bees. They made babies and built cities.

I have had to scratch out most of the work I had done when I found out I was only copying incorrect information, hearsay, family legends and falsehoods. I have forced myself to only write down facts that can be backed up with proper documentation: census, wills, marriage and military records. That applies to vital statistics: name, spouse, parents and offsprings, or “issue” as they’re called. That has scaled back my stack of index cards from over 100 to about 25. That’s a lot of culling, and it’s depressing! I still haven’t found the missing link between my own little self and the Mayflower passengers but I haven’t given up yet.

But there are a lot of stories within the wills, and in the historical archives around the country. My lot is responsible for the creation of 4 towns: Rogersville, Morgantown, Hoschton and Double Springs.

I think.

I am still not convinced. I do enjoy the stories, the high I get when I find an interesting anecdote, but when you take into consideration how common for instance the surname “Morgan” is, it is easy to believe you’re a descendant of “James Morgan” or any other popular names. If Edward Morgan had 10 children, and James is one of the most common names of the time, you’re pretty sure one of his sons will be a James. Does it make him your thrice-removed grandfather? I don’t think so. But a lot of these tidbits of information are available on the internet.

I have always imagined my ancestors, not on the pages of history books, but as the extras in the documentaries you see on the history channel (before it became about pawn shops). My people were the people in the background, the ones no one notices. The secondary characters no one remembers from Steinbeck’s novels. The ones with unmarked graves and without wills, but with loved ones who mourned them nonetheless.

The pictures of my grandmother’s generation look like Dorothea Lange’s work, and I am proud of that.

*on rock and roooooollllll……