Good to know

by Andrea Elizabeth

Searching records through ancestry.com is like going to Antiques Roadshow. You find interesting history, the debunking of family myths, migration patterns, and a bit more understanding of past generations, to put it nicely. The myth was that we were descended from Captain Cook. Turns out on genealogy forums, many families have that story, but all of Capt. James Cook’s children are recorded to have died childless before he died. It looks like the James Cook (1740-1778) we are descended from came from Ireland. I heard on the PBS show, Finding Your Roots, that many people also have a myth that they have Indian blood, which story was passed to me too, and that DNA testing usually shows it to be untrue. I’ve seen no record of Native Americans in my family tree either, but unEnglish cultural identities can be erased too.

So far I’ve traced all 8 of my great grandfathers’ and great grandmothers’ paternal lines, to see where the names came from, and one great grandfathers’ maternal line, as the Mississippi house that I visited as a child came from her side. I’ve newly discovered that nearly every line came over from southern (one western) England in the 1600’s sometime after the pilgrims. Better fishing? Religious persecution? English Civil War? And nearly all of them landed in Virginia or Georgia and only went a little south and west from there to North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. My parents met in Louisiana and then moved to Texas before my brothers and I were born.

The first of the remaining three exceptions, the first exception being that of the Cooks from my mother’s father’s line, that I found to the ten lines researched so far, are my mother’s grandmother Bankston’s side who came from Sweden in the 1600’s to New Sweden, in the part that became Philidelphia where they changed their name from Bengtsson. They stayed in Philidelphia for about 100 years before moving to Georgia, then to Louisiana.

The second exception was my mother’s father’s ancestor, Philip B__ who came from England to Maine.

“Hog Island, Kittery, took oath of allegiance to Mass. govt. 16 Nov. 1652. Constable for Isles of Shoals except Starr Island, 1652. Signed petition for incorporation of the islands 18 (3) 1653. Was one of the commissioners for settling minor cases there.

He died, and admin. of his estate was granted April 24, 1670-1, to Nathaniel Fryer. His wife died soon and their child Philip, “five years old next Michelmas,” was apprenticed to Joseph Hall June 27, 1676.”

His son moved to Delaware, and his to Virginia, then his to South Carolina for a few generations before they went west.

The last exception is my father’s paternal grandparents who are the only recent immigrants, and who both came from Germany 21 years apart in the late 19th century.

Worst name, “Benoni (Slave Master) C__”.

Best names, “Missouri Amazon F__” and “Bathsheba Hussey”.

Other bad news, another ancestor, a Baptist Reverend, also owned slaves.

I’ve also wondered if any of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary or Civil Wars and I found one for each. For the south in the latter, of course.

And I have yet to trace the great great grandmothers’ lines.

*edited because I just found that the Tomkyns De Cantelupe connection doesn’t have supported evidence.

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