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")


Unknown said...

Hi Betty,

I too am a descendant of the Rines/Kennedy families. As gg-grandaughter of Elizabeth Kennedy O'Neil, sister of your Thomas, I would be very interested in a transcription or scan of the letter you have described - if available. I contacted you a while back having seen your website. I had meant to contact you again but this letter has pushed me to action. Regards, Jan O'Neil

Unknown said...

Hi Betty,
I too have been looking for my Rines family hystory. I think there is too much out there already on the Rines family, like the background you have found, that, that is the only information I can find. My name is Eric k, Rines, my Father was Robert K, Rines, My Grandfather was Joseph Rines. That is all I know. I can't Find any info on Joseph at all. He died before I could know him. I guess if I'm a Rines I must be related to them all some how. I've given up looking.