Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Woman in the Photograph

The woman in the photograph on the Betty's Genealogy Blog webpage clearly is not me, Betty, (unless I am some kind of time traveler--which I guess I am only in an academic sense!)  

This is a photograph circa 1860s-1870s of my great great grandmother CORDELIA RICKARD. 

It took me a number of years unravel the mystery of this woman in the photograph.  The photo, which is in a small antique frame, was handed to me in a large packet of family photos as my mother prepared to downsize into a smaller apartment.  My mother did not know the identity of the woman in the photograph, which appeared to be a paper copy of a tintype or daguerrotype.  The only clue she could provide was that the photograph was found amongst the few things that my great grandfather,  FRANK RICARD BROWN,  owned at the time of his death in the 1930s. 

There was no writing on the back, or any clue that would help identify it. 

Eventually I did begin to recognize a distinct facial resemblance to my grandmother's sister, GLADYS BROWN DRYDEN, and when I actually compared the two photos side by side, I was amazed to realize that this must indeed be a photo of my great great grandmother.

CORDELIA RICKARD's story is an immigrant's story, and a very interesting one at that.  She managed to cover a great deal of ground in her very short life.  

CORDELIA was born in about 1830 in or near Redruth, Kenwyn Parish, Cornwall, England, her parents being RICHARD RICKARD born about 1792-1795 , a victualer &  innkeeper by trade, and CORDELIA HICKS b 1792-1795, daughter of MARK HICKS & MARY GILL.  All are traceable in Kenwyn Parish birth, death & marriage records, and in English census records.  There were several other children in the family, their names being Emma, Richard Jr, Henry, Mark, Mary & Joseph. 

In about 1835, RICHARD RICKARD died, leaving his wife CORDELIA a single woman with seven  children, as is shown in the 1841 English census records. In July of 1845, CORDELIA HICKS RICKARD b 1792-1795 emigrated to the United States with her three youngest children, Henry, Joseph & CORDELIA b 1830. They booked passage on the ship "Henry Clay" which departed Liverpool, bound for New York (I think?). I have not yet been able to find much on this family after it arrived in the United States. CORDELIA HICKS RICKARD b 1792-1795 may have remarried or died before 1850. From a later obituary, I suspect she might have settled in Boston, MA.   Another son, Richard Rickard Jr, who was a miner by trade, would come a year or two later.

Five years later, in 1850,  my great great grandmother CORDELIA RICKARD b 1830 was living in Plattesville, Grant Co, Wisconsin.  She had just married WILLIAM HENRY F. MYERS, a German merchant, in January of 1850, and before the end of the year, she bore her first child, a lovely daughter EMMA MYERS. Cordelia's brother RICHARD RICKARD Jr, was also living in Platteville, Grant Co Wisconsin, and both can be found in the 1850 census records there. How or why they came to Plattesville from the east coast is a mystery to me.

Very shortly afterward, in perhaps spring of 1851, CORDELIA  and first husband MYERS followed the gold seeking hordes to California. They almost certainly came overland by wagon train. CORDELIA would have had a babe in arms, and one can only imagine the hardship of this journey.  

It is likely that her brother RICHARD RICKARD Jr also made the journey west at the same time, for he shows up in census records in California after 1850.

CORDELIA's first husband, WILLIAM HENRY F. MYERS, either died on the trail, or divorced or abandoned Cordelia after reaching Sacramento.  At any rate, Cordelia was a single woman"Mrs Cordelia Myers"  with a young daughter Emma when she met my great great grandfather, HENRY  "NEW HAMPSHIRE"  BROWN, who had come out to California from New Hampshire by ship during the 1849 Gold Rush with his brother STEPHEN GALE BROWN, who died shortly after arriving in CA.  Not having much luck as a miner,  HENRY (H N H) BROWN eventually became a clerk in one of D.C. Stanford's stores, then an independent merchant "Brown & Peck",  and then a Wells Fargo Agent. 

HENRY & CORDELIA  were married June 1, 1857 in Sacramento California.  They lived for a time at Salmon Falls, then in the town of Folsom, and then in  Sacramento. HENRY adopted EMMA MYERS, and the couple had another two children FRANK RICARD BROWN b Feb 5, 1858 Sacramento, CA,  and PHOEBE CORDELIA BROWN b April 12, 1868 Folsom, CA. 

CORDELIA RICKARD (MYERS) BROWN died January 1875 at age 45, most likely of tuberculosis. Her obituary in the Sacramento papers only states "Wisconsin & Boston papers please copy". She traveled from Cornwall, England across the ocean to the east coast of the United States,  then across the continent to California--a very long way, indeed for a woman of that time period.

I am very pleased to have finally found out the identity of the woman in the photograph, my great great grandmother, and to know her story. 


Friday, August 29, 2008

Little Miracles: The Kennedy & Rines family of Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia Canada

Ever since I started researching my family history about eight years ago, I had been frustrated with the complete lack of information on my great great grandfather THOMAS KENNEDY who was born about 1830 in Nova Scotia Canada,  according to US census records; who lived in Portland Maine from 1850 to 1870; and who moved his family to the mining town of Bodie, Mono County California by 1874 and died there sometime after 1880. 

Not one of my relatives could provide any clues or information. 

THOMAS KENNEDY, I found out through my own research, lived in Portland, Cumberland County Maine from the 1850 census until the 1870 census.  His mother, ELIZABETH C KENNEDY, also born Nova Scotia, lived with him during that time, as did a younger brother DAVID KENNEDY, and a nephew JOTHAM J KENNEDY, who, I found out,  was the son of DANIEL & ROSALINDA (RIPLEY )KENNEDY

So. I had successfully found THOMAS, his mother and two of his brothers, all born Nova Scotia, all living in Maine. But I had no possible clue as to how to connect them with any other Kennedy family in the rather large province of Nova Scotia. And how many Kennedy families were there in Nova Scotia?? A LOT. The first Canadian census was taken in 1851, after my family had already moved to Portland ME. How ever could I possibly ever find my Canadian ancestors?

I dithered & poked about for eight years, trying to find resources, clues, anything-- until finally I called it a day and posted everything I'd found online, thinking it just one more mystery that I would never be able to solve.

Earlier this year ( Feb 2008), I was contacted by two Canadian researchers who had seen my Kennedy family  information online.  They had in their possession a letter written in 1887 by HENRY J RINES, who was born 1826  in Maitland, Hants County,  Nova Scotia, and who had also moved to Portland Cumberland County ME.  

In this letter HENRY J RINES wrote everything he knew  of the RINES family history for the edification of his son.  In the letter, Henry  mentioned my gg grandfather  THOMAS KENNEDY by name, his 2 wives, his daughters including my great grandmother , all of Thomas' brothers and sisters, and Thomas' mother ELIZABETH RINES b abt 1800 who had married JOHN KENNEDY, had lived in Maitland & Windsor, Hants County Nova Scotia, then moved to Lubec, Washington County, Maine (where JOHN KENNEDY died), then settled as a widow with her sons & daughters in Portland, Maine.

ELIZABETH RINES KENNEDY, my ggg grandmother, was the sister of HENRY J RINES.

The letter mentioned not only the Kennedys who migrated to Maine, but also several previous generations in Nova Scotia, including the immigrant ancestor of the RINES (RAINES) family, JOHN RINES, a soldier from Massachusetts, who was pressed into service with the British army which expelled the Acadians from Nova Scotia. Instead of returning to Massachusetts, JOHN RINES decided to stay, married ELIZABETH TOAL, and settled in Maitland, Hants County Nova Scotia. 

It's hard to express the immense gratitude I feel towards the two Canadian researchers who took the time to share the letter with me.  Those few paragraphs  have given me a whole new chapter in my family's story.  It has connected my ancestors with a history that no one in my family was ever aware of, in any way. 

So if there is to be a moral to this little story, I guess it would be this:  Share what you find with others. Give freely of your time & knowledge.  If someone asks your help, do your best to oblige them. 

One small piece of what you know may be, to someone else, a little miracle.


(For more information on the Kennedy & Rines family of Hants County, Nova Scotia, see my website Betty's Boneyard, or my Rootsweb Worldconnect Online family tree RubyBoltonBrown  "The New England Ancestors of Ruby Bolton Brown")

Friday, August 22, 2008

Welsh Quaker HUGH HARRY's Royal Roots (well...maybe not)

I have to admit I was a little excited to find out that one of my immigrant ancestors HUGH HARRY (b abt 1660 Montgomeryshire, Wales; married Elizabeth Brinton; died 1708 Chester Co PA) was descended from England's King Edward I, and the Plantagenet line. 

I first found this information in a book entitled, "The Royal Descent of 500 Immigrants" by Gary Boyd Roberts, a distinguished genealogist from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I also fond several other references to HUGH HARRY as a Royal descendant in such books as "Welsh Founders of Pennsylvania" & "Merion in the Welsh Tract" by Thomas Allen Glenn, and "The Lloyd Manuscripts" by Howard Williams Lloyd.

HUGH HARRY's lineage was researched mainly because he was an ancestor of US President Richard M. Nixon.  Apparently several past US presidents have English royal roots in their family trees.  And researching US presidential family trees seems to be a very popular pass time among genealogists.  I believe both Barrack  Obama's and John McCain's family trees are already posted online!

Anyway, I felt pretty confident that,  with Gary Boyd Roberts as a source,  this information was likely true, so I added the lengthly & complicated Welsh/English lineage to my Rootsweb online family tree huberfrazier2, and updated my "Famous Folks" page on my "Betty's Boneyard" webpage, see here

Shortly afterward, I found a reference to the 2006 updated edition of "Royal Descent of 600 Immigrants" in which Gary Boyd Roberts states that he has dropped HUGH HARRY and his brother DANIEL HARRY from his list of immigrants with royal blood because there is not enough evidence to prove the connection.

This issue is HUGH & DANIEL's father, HARRY ap THOMAS OWEN b 1630s, who was also a Quaker, lived in Montgomeryshire Wales, but did not emigrate to America.  HARRY's father had previously been lsited by Gary Boyd Roberts and others as THOMAS ap OWEN b 1598, wh was possibly sheriff of Montgomeryshire, and a very prominent man. But apparently there has never been any proof found that would establish the relationship, except for Welsh patronymics, which would indicate that HARRY's father was "THOMAS OWEN".

Several researchers still have not ruled out the possibility that THOMAS ap OWEN b 1598 was indeed the father of HARRY ap THOMAS OWEN. I'm sure some people are still working on this, although I have to admit personally that even spending a couple of hours with Welsh genealogy and it's complicated system of patromynics is a total head-splitter.

So--for the time being-- I am going to leave the entire HUGH HARRY royal lineage on my Rootsweb Worldconnect Online family tree called huberfrazier2.  It would be a huge task to remove it.

I guess I will just have to be satisfied with being the descendant of a Welsh King: RHIRID FLADD, 'The Wolf', Lord of Penlynn, born about 1150, who is an ancestor of KATHERINE WILLIAMS b abt 1678, Quaker immigrant to Chester Co PA who married WILLIAM BROWN. Their daughter MARY BROWN married WILLIAM REYNOLDS Sr in Chester Co PA. 


Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Post: The Myth of "George Thomas" Frazier b 1725 Inverness Scotland

Greetings!  This is the very first post on Betty's Genealogy Blog. My name is Betty, and I love to do research.  This blog will be a place where I share new discoveries, little miracles, and "brick walls", as well as general discussions on history and genealogy, as I continue to search out all the branches of  my family tree in the United States and beyond.

To begin: an email recently sent out to family, fellow researchers and cousins, concerning an immigrant ancestor, "George Thomas" Frazier:   has led to an upsurge in interest in our immigrant ancestor, "George Thomas" Frazier b abt 1725, supposedly Inverness, Scotland, supposedly married to Mary Pugh, supposedly a Quaker.  The legend was that George and Mary came to Pennsylvania in the 1740s, married, then migrated to Guilford NC with the rest of the Quakers from Chester Co PA.

The truth is, not one of us has ever been able to find any records of any kind for any "George Thomas" Frazier (or any variant spelling of the surname) in any PA or NC records.

The first name "George" for this immigrant ancestor was originally obtained from a 1904 letter by Ann M. Frazier Way.  However, she admits in the letter that she was not certain about some of the first names.

Other descendants had previously shown the father of ISAAC FRAZIER (who was Ann M. Frazier Way's grandfather) as "Thomas Frazier".

Thus we ended up with "George Thomas" Frazier--and no records.

Now, I am not one to knock the reliability of the writings of Ann M. Frazier Way.  She was lucid right up into her 90's, and nearly everything she has written about our Frazier family I have been able to verify in records. However, I do believe she may have been incorrect in this instance. 

One of the Frazier Yahoo Group members, Jeff Frazier, recently posted a page from the 1838 Westfield Monthly Meeting in Hamilton IN, which clearly states that ISAAC FRAZIER born Jan 19, 1763 NC, who married REBECCA SAFERIGHT, was the son of THOMAS & MARY FRAZIER. A few years later, ISAAC FRAZIER and his son HENRY FRAZER/FRAZIER, who married MARY POLLY OTWELL, obtained a certificate to move to the Sugar Plains Monthly Meeting in Boone Co, IN.

I find that Quaker Monthly Meeting records are usually quite accurate.

If  THOMAS FRAZIER  was indeed a Scottish Quaker, then it is unlikely that he came from Scotland to America in the 1740s.  The Quakers in Scotland were a very small minority, and were uniformly & deeply despised by the Episcopalians and Presbyterians; they were long gone from Scotland by 1740.  

In Scotland, Quakers only held meetings in the towns of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Kinmuck, Ury, Kelso and Hamilton.  There apparently were no Quakers living in Inverness, according to Robert Stewart, a researcher in Scotland who is attempting to help the Frazier Yahoo Group from that side of the water.

The Scots Quakers were pretty much completely ousted from Scotland in the late 1600s to early 1700s, according to the book, "Scottish Quakers and Early America 1650-1700" by David Dobson. Most of the Scottish Quakers settled in Perth Amboy, NJ.  I have checked records in that location, but no Quaker THOMAS FRAZIER shows up in records that I have found so far.

The only Scottish Quaker family with the Frazier surname that I have found so far in Chester Co PA was that of ALEXANDER FRAZIER b abt 1690s Scotland who married SARAH COPPOCK, but he did not have a son name Thomas, according to his will. Several of his descendants did move to Guilford, NC at the same time as some of the other Quaker families in our family tree.

At any rate I have changed our immigrant ancestor's name in all files to THOMAS FRAZIER.  Now that all of the Frazier Yahoo Group is working together and sharing records, I suspect that we may finally track down and find this family in early records and answer some long-standing questions. Stay tuned."