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1
1-1. The Curious Case of Della & Reuben
1-1. The Curious Case of Della & Reuben
25 April 1921 - Portland, Oregon:

Milford M. Brower, a Special Examiner for the Bureau of Pensions, looked at the petite, frail, old lady seated across from him. She was less than 5 feet tall and, he estimated, weighed considerably less than 100 pounds. With her hair pulled back in a severe bun she looked even older than her 79 years. He mentally reviewed the highlights of her case.

Her husband had died shortly after Christmas, 1919 … the 29th of December, 1919 to be exact. She had applied for a widow’s pension on 18 February, 1920 (her husband had been receiving $46 a month disability pension from wounds received during the Civil War).

As the case is investigated, details of the 50 year plus relationship unfold, as well as Reuben's experiences in the Civil War. 
 
2
1-2. The Drock Story
1-2. The Drock Story
~1730 - Norwich, Connecticut:

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Guy Drock, was probably born sometime between 1726 and 1742, most likely around 1730, give or take a few years. He may have been born in Norwich, or born elsewhere and brought to Norwich as a child. Guy officially became a Christian on 31 July, 1742, when he was baptized in the First Congregational Church in Norwich, New London County, in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. Nothing is said about his age in the baptismal Record, other than that he was a boy, so we don’t know if his was an infant baptism or a voluntary baptism sometime in his later childhood.

As a boy, and young man, Guy worked for Captain Benajah Bushnell, who was a wealthy, influential land speculator, and one of the original settlers of what became Norwich in New London County in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. He got the title “Captain”, not from any association with seafaring, but because of his involvement with the local militia which conducted drills at least once a year, whether they needed it or not. Sometime around 1755, Sarah Powers, a young woman from Newport, on the Colony of Rhode Island, also started working for Benajah Bushnell. We do not know whether Sarah Powers was a voluntary employee of Bushnell or an indentured servant legally obligated to work for him for a specified period of time. In fact, we know very little about Sarah …. we do not even know for sure that she was born in Rhode Island, only that she had lived there prior to appearing in Norwich.

While working for Bushnell, Sarah apparently fell in love with Guy, and probably married him sometime around 1757 or before. It is likely that she also had a child by Guy between 1757 and 1759, perhaps Simon. In June, 1759, Guy and Sarah probably stopped working for Benajah Bushnell, and set about trying to make a new life for themselves. The so called French and Indian War was raging at the time. Guy opened a small blacksmith shop in downtown Norwich. He may have learned his blacksmith’s skills while working for Bushnell, or perhaps he became self taught after he left Bushnell’s service. During the war, inflation ran rampant. After the war, of course, came an economic depression. Guy and Sarah must have been hard pressed indeed to keep body and soul together. Then, to make matters worse, the British parliament started passing the series of acts that eventually led to the Revolutionary War. 
 
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1-3. Drock Descendants
1-3. Drock Descendants
~1780 - Norwich, Connecticut:

Simon Drock, my great-great-great-great grandfather, was a blacksmith like his father. He apparently inherited his father’s blacksmith shop and a small parcel of land on Back Street in Norwich, Connecticut, across the street from the family house when his mother died. He may also have inherited a small portion of the main house and property.  
 
4
1-4. The Franklin's
1-4. The Franklin's
~1800 - near Roxbury, Connecticut:

My great-great grandfather, Charles Franklin, was born in Roxbury, in the western part of Connecticut, probably around 1805 plus or minus ten years. In the mid or late 1830’s Charles met and married a widow, Susan Drock~Churchill [or Chirkin]. They probably met near Walton, Delaware County, New York. Their first child, Henry Franklin, was probably born in or near Walton. They later moved to Allegany County, New York. The family may have lived in Caneadea for a while, but finally settled near South Bolivar, Bolivar Township, Allegany County, New York. They probably lived on the Pennsylvania side of the state line while in South Bolivar.

Charles Franklin seems to have died late in 1849 or during the first half of 1850, within five or six years after the birth of their youngest son in 1844. Charles and Susan had four children, all sons: Henry, Charles, Reuben Benjamin, and Jeremiah Buel. 
 
5
1-5. The Roche's, Burns & Myatt's
1-5. The Roche's, Burns & Myatt's
~1800 - Somewhere in Ireland:

My great-great-great grandfather, Mathew Roche [aka Roach], was born somewhere in Ireland around 1805. He may have immigrated to America before 1830. At the time of the 1830 Census a Mathew Roach of approximately the right age was living [and working] at the US Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. Mathew married an Irish immigrant named Catherine around 1835 and settled, for a while at least, in New York, probably in West Chester Township, Westchester County, just across the Hudson River from northern New Jersey. He may have immigrated with a brother or cousin and shared living quarters for several years after their arrival in this country. In the 1840 census there was a Mathew Roach of the right age with a wife of the correct age sharing a home with another couple in the same age group in West Chester.

In April, 1836, Mathew and Catharine’s daughter, Maria [Marie?] Roche, was born in New York. They also had at least one other child, Catharine Roche, who was born in New York about 1842. They may also have had several children who died.

Sometime between 1842 and 1850 the Roche’s moved across the Hudson River and settled in the town of Harrison in Hudson County, New Jersey, just a short distance north of Newark. Mathew worked as a gardener in Harrison.

It is possible that Mathew Roche and his family joined the increasing number of hardy souls heading west for cheap land and an, eventually, better life style, but it seems more likely that they remained in the Newark area for the rest of their lives. I have not been able to locate them in any census after 1850, so Mathew, at least, may have died young. It is possible that his wife, Catherine, survived him but remarried before 1860. 
 
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1-6. The Roddy's
1-6. The Roddy's
~ Spring 1878 - Somewhere in the greater Chicago-Milwaukee Area:

My great grandfather, Charles Francis Roddy, has been one of the mysteries in my genealogical research. The only reference I have found to him by name was in my grandfather, Harry Roddy’s, personnel record when he worked for a shipyard during World War II. According to that record Charles was born “near London, England”.

My search of the British Birth, Marriage & Death Index discovered only one person named Charles Roddy who was born during the probable time range of my great grandfather’s birth. He was born to Thomas Roddy and Elizabeth Ellen, at Pontefract, County of York, England, on 1 April, 1849. The 1851 British Census shows Thomas and Ellen Roddy still living in Pontefract with four children ranging in age from two to nine. The two year old was born in Pontefract ca 1849, but his name is listed as Thomas Roddy! There is no record of a Thomas Roddy born to the couple, and there is no record of the death of their son, Charles. It may be that the family called Charles “Little Tommy” after his father. The Thomas Roddy family remained in England and can be identified in the British Censuses through 1881 and Charles~Thomas Roddy was married and living in Leeds, Yorkshire that year.

Charles Francis Roddy may or may not have married my great grandmother, Catherine Mary Burns, early in 1878 or before. Catherine and Charles had only one child, my grandfather, who was born in December, 1878, in Chicago, Illinois, according to his personnel file.

Another part of the mystery is whatever became of Charles Roddy. There are at least three different versions of that, all of them unsubstantiated. One story has it that Charles abandoned Catherine before Harry was even born. Another has him dieing before Harry was born, and a note by an unidentified writer states that he was killed in a train accident when Harry was two years old, around 1880 or ‘81.

Information on the 1880 Census suggests that Charles Roddy may never have married Kate Burns at all and that Harry Roddy may have been born “out of wedlock”. There is even the possibility that “Charles Roddy” was a purely fictional name made up by Kate Burns to hide the true identity of Harry’s father.

[Editor's Note: In 2013-2015, male-line yDNA results have confirmed a close match to a number of Roddy and Ruddy men with roots in County Down, Northern Ireland. This is the first true piece of evidence that the Roddy name was not just a made up name, but is probably the actual name of Harry's father.] 
 
7
2-1. A Brief History of Hannover
2-1. A Brief History of Hannover
Both of Hugo Benjestorf’s parents were born in the Kingdom of Hannover and immigrated to the United States in their teens and early twenties. In order to better understand the history of both families it is helpful to have some familiarity with the history of Hannover itself, and the history of Western Europe in general. 
 
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2-2. Hof Gellenbeck
2-2. Hof Gellenbeck
My great-great-great-great grandfather, Johan Heinrich Gellenbeck, was born on 22 May, 1718 in the community of Ösede in the Bishopric of Osnabrück. Early in the year 1752, or before, he married my great-great-great-great grandmother, Anna [Maria] Gertrud Springweg, in the town of Ösede. She was born in Ösede on 1 September, 1726, on the Ösede Monastery property. Since Johann was about thirty-four at the time of his marriage to Gertrud, it is possible she was his second wife. It has been suggested that Heinrich may have been born Johann Heinrich Spellmeyer, and assumed the name Gellenbeck after marrying an heiress to the Gellenbeck property, or somehow buying the rights to the Gellenbeck Hof [quite a difficult thing to do at that time]. If that is the case, the family name should properly be "Spellmeyer genannt Gellenbeck." This possibility is still being looked into.

The Hofs, which were indivisible by law, could only be inherited by one person, usually the eldest son. All the other children of the farmer were left to their own devices. One or two of them might be able to remain on their brother's farm and work a small portion of it as a hired hand or sharecropper, but most of them had to find work as day workers on the landlord's land or for a wealthy farmer, or work as a farmhand or servant for which the usual pay was room and board.

Most of what I have written about the Gellenbeck's in Hannover and Germany has been taken from Ellen Hennessy’s translation of Gerhard's paper “Der Hof Gellenbeck in der Bauerschaft Mäscher des Kirchspiels Iburg” [The Hof Gellenbeck in the Mäscher Farming Community of the Iburg Parish] 
 
9
2-3. The House of Gellenbeck In the Mäscher Farming Community Of the Iburg Parish
2-3. The House of Gellenbeck In the Mäscher Farming Community Of the Iburg Parish
The name “Gellenbeck” means “Yellow brook”, for which the present-day Goldbach in the Hagen Community is named. The naming of the early Bauerschaft Gellenbeck (today Ortsteil of Hagen) is based on it. The Meierhof zu Gellenbeck was first mentioned in 1150.

Already in a document from the year 1223, in the Kloster Iburg, in which the Vogtei becomes overseer of several estates, a Vrumoldus de Gelenbeke steps forward as witness. It is not known if he lived in the region of the present-day Iburg.

Already in the year 1273 the couple Gerhard and Agnes von Gellenbeck gave to the Kloster Iburg a pension of 2 schillings from the Gellenbecker Mill. This was documented by Bishop Konrad of Osnabrück on 20 December 1273 and transfers ownership of the Mill to the Kloster Iburg.

According to my findings to date, it can be proven that the name Gellenbeck was first used in1470 in the district which is now known as the City of Bad Iburg. 
 
10
2-4. Benjestorf
2-4. Benjestorf
Johann Heinrich Pfennigstorf [or possibly Pfennigsdorf], my great-great-great-great grandfather, was a shepherd in the vicinity of Barsinghausen, in the Electorate of Hannover in the middle of the 18th century. The Pfennigstorf family did not originate in Hannover, but probably emigrated from the area east of the Elbe River which formed the eastern border of Hannover. This area was in the High German language region. Johann Heinrich Pfennigstorf married Ilse Marie Lampen, my great-great-great-great grandmother, on 10 July, 1768, in Hannover-Linden. They had at least one son, also called Johann Heinrich Pfennigstorf. 
 
11
2-5. The Wolves Had Four Legs
2-5. The Wolves Had Four Legs
An account of the experiences of Heinrich Benjestorf and his travels with his family from Perham, Minnesota, to Fenwood, Saskatchewan, by the daughter of Mina “Minnie” Benjestorf. With a post script by Violette Lustig.

"It is an honor, indeed, to write this paper about my pioneering grandparents, my mother’s father and mother. My grandfather, Henry Benjestorf, and his cousin, Chris, left their fatherland (Germany) to make a new life for themselves in St. Louis, Mo. Armed with two words of English, and a trade -- grandfather a shoemaker, and Chris a brewer. They obtained work in a short time. Two years later grandfather met and married his one and only sweetheart, Matilda. Life was not easy in those first years and smallpox took its toll from grandfather’s health." 
 
12
2-6. Benjestorf - Origin and Evolution of a Family
2-6. Benjestorf - Origin and Evolution of a Family
The name “Benjestorf” was never heard of in the old days among the families of Lower Saxony. It’s origins lie neither in the land of Hannover nor in Lower Saxony. It has existed for only some 250 years in the vicinity of Hannover, and less than 100 years [as of 1961] in Canada & North America.

In many, in fact in most cases, one can recognize from a name which part of Germany it came from, where it’s original homeland was, and especially with a name, the language & country it came from. 
 
13
3-1. The Britons
3-1. The Britons
Highlights of the History of England and its Inhabitants 
 
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3-2. The England’s Of Chideock Parish
3-2. The England’s Of Chideock Parish
6 October, 1653 - Chidiock, Dorset, England:

The two constables of Chidiock Manor stood at their accustomed places in the Chidiock Manor court which was held on a pleasant day in autumn, the sixth of October, in the year 1653. One of them, John Hodder, who had no special interest in the proceedings before the court, stifled a yawn, and his eyes glazed over as he daydreamed about more interesting places he had been or adventures he had had.

The other constable, William Alford (usually called William Alford the Elder to distinguish him from his son) was keenly interested in the proceedings because they would affect both the lives of his children and of him and his wife, Anne. His daughter, Mary, had recently married, and she and her young husband, William England, had no place of their own to live, so they were at present staying with him and Anne and their young daughter, Elizabeth, and their teenaged son, William Alford the Younger, in their small cottage. William had thought he would be able to get his daughter a small cottage formerly occupied by John Effin after Effin had died, but there was some confusion about the deal, and somehow Effin had arranged for John Keech and his sister, Dorothy, to get a lifetime lease on the house. William had petitioned the court on behalf of his daughter and her siblings for possession of the house 
 
15
3-3. The Buttle’s of Churchstanton
3-3. The Buttle’s of Churchstanton
~ 1650 - Churchstanton Parish, Devonshire, England:

Churchstanton Parish lies in a small valley in the beautiful Blackdown Hills region near the headwaters of the Otter River about twenty-two miles, as the crow flies, northwest of Chideock, Dorset. Churchingford is the largest town in Churchstanton Parish which lies along the Devonshire-Somerset border.

Around the middle of the 17th century two boys were born to a couple with the rather unusual and unmanageable surname of Buttolph at Herring. The eldest, Charles Buttolph at Herring, married a local girl, Melior or Melia Culverwell at St. Peter and Paul Church in Churchstanton on 11 February, 1677. Charles and Melia had at least six children, all of whom were baptized with the name Buttolph at Herring with some variation in spelling depending on the literacy of the person providing the information and the person who recorded it.

About the year 1700, a strange thing happened; the name Buttolph at Herring disappeared completely from the Churchstanton records. The last person to be baptized with the name was Charles and Melia’s youngest child, who was entered in the Churchstanton baptism register as Nathaniel Botolph at Herring on 5 March, 1692. Nathaniel died just over a year later on 29 April, 1693. In the Churchstanton burial record his name is shown as “Nathaniel Botolph, son of Charles”.

Prior to 1703 there is absolutely no mention of anyone with the family name “Buttle” in any of the Churchstanton Parish records. The first ever mention of a Buttle was the burial of Mary Buttle on 23 January, 1703. Mary’s age is not given in the burial record and there are no comments to help figure out who she was. On 8 January, 1705, a Judith Buttle married Phillip Manning. She was almost certainly Charles and Melia’s daughter who would have been almost twenty-four years old. On 2 December, 1705, Hannah Buttle baptized her illegitimate son, Jacob Buttle. Charles and Melia’s daughter, Hannah, would have been not quite twenty-one years old.

The pattern continues on for the generation that reached maturity around 1700. The name Buttolph at Herring never again appears in the Churchstanton Parish records (or anywhere else that I have been able to find), but the number of Buttle’s in the parish continued to multiply geometrically. 
 
16
3-4. The Hodder Family
3-4. The Hodder Family
~ 1830 - Chideock Parish, Dorsetshire, England:

My great-great-great grandfather, WILLIAM BUTTLE was born in the village of Churchingford in Churchstanton Parish, Devonshire, England. William started working as a farm laborer when he was quite young; probably around eight years old. The small amount of money he earned for a full days labor undoubtedly went directly into the family purse. As William approached adulthood he probably started traveling to nearby parishes in search of work when there was none available in Churchstanton Parish. Frequently he was unable to find work as a farm laborer so he would take any job he could get. Soon he was thinking of himself as being a general laborer rather than specializing in farm work. As time went by his job hunting took him farther and farther away from his family’s home in Churchstanton and, sometime around 1830, he found himself in the tiny village of Chideock in Dorsetshire, the county just to the east of Devonshir.

William apparently found Chideock very much to his liking because he settled there permanently and became an official resident. Not long after he settled in Chideock William met a young woman named Mary Hodder [or perhaps he met her and that was what caused him to decide to settle in Chideock]. 
 
17
3-5. The Stubbings of Cambridgeshire
3-5. The Stubbings of Cambridgeshire
~ 1840 - Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, England:

Elijah Stubbings, the fifth child of Charles and Sarah Stubbings, was born in Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, very early in 1840. Elijah seems to have been the only adventurous member of his family and sometime in his teens he left his family home in Brinkley and set out in search of his fortune. He may have initially spent some time in the London area, but by 1861, when he was twenty-one years of age, Elijah was a servant at the home of John Armstrong, a trainer [probably a horse or jockey trainer] at Epsom Down, in Epsom, Surrey. Mr. Armstrong had a large household of four family members, five apprentices, two servants and a lodger.

At the time that Elijah Stubbings was working for John Armstrong at Epsom Down, Sarah Rumsey, a thirty-one year old unwed mother, was living in the hamlet of Tadworth which is located about two and a half miles south of Epsom Downs race track. Sarah was working as a dressmaker and struggling to support her two young daughters.  
 
18
3-6. The Judson’s and The Osborn’s
3-6. The Judson’s and The Osborn’s
~1805 - Connecticut, USA:

Cornelius Judson was born in Connecticut around 1805, possibly in Fairfield County where there was a concentration of several Judson families in the early eighteen hundreds. Before he was two years old Cornelius’ parents moved to New York State, probably to Chenango County in south-eastern New York where six Judson families lived in 1820, including Phylo Judson, an uncommon name that showed up a couple of times later in Cornelius’ family.

By 1830 Cornelius had married and was living in Wysox in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, which is located about fifty miles southwest of Binghamton, New York. Cornelius became caught up in the westward expansion that spread Americans of European ancestry across the continent. 
 
19
3-7. The Arthur’s of Capel - Ancestors and Descendants of Arthur Cheeseman
3-7. The Arthur’s of Capel - Ancestors and Descendants of Arthur Cheeseman
On 30 May, 1815, John Arthur, my great-great-great-great grandfather, married Mary Worsfold in St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Capel, Surrey. John was born about 1791 somewhere in the County of Surrey, possibly in the village of Betchworth which is located five or six miles north of Capel and a mile or two east of the town of Dorking. His bride, Mary Worsfold, was probably the daughter of Thomas
Worsfold and Mary Bristow, who was baptized in Capel on 15 May, 1791. After their marriage, John and Mary Arthur lived at Broomell’s, a farm located about three quarters of a mile northeast of the Capel village center. John was no doubt employed as a farm laborer by the owner or tenant of Broomell’s Farm. On 17 September, 1815, less than
four months after their wedding ceremony, John and Mary Arthur baptized their first child, Rebecca Arthur, in Capel. John and Mary had at least three other children, all of them girls. Mary died in mid-June, 1826, and was buried at Capel on 25 June, 1826. She was only thirty-five years old. 
 
20
3-8. The Linfields
3-8. The Linfields
Joseph Linfield, my great-great-great-great grandfather, was born in the county of Sussex, England, sometime around 1778. He may have been born in Shipley Parish or possibly Billingshurst or even the village of Lindfield, from which the family name may have originated. Lindfield is located about twelve miles to the east of Shipley Village.

Like most young men in Sussex at the end of the eighteenth century, Joseph was a farm laborer. If Joseph was not born in Shipley, he eventually settled there. On 4 September, 1807, Joseph Linfield married Mary Pronger in Shipley. 
 
21
3-9. Descendants of William & Maria Harris
3-9. Descendants of William & Maria Harris
William Harris was born somewhere in England around 18091. William
probably married his wife, Maria2, around 1834, possibly in Southwark, Surrey, where they lived when their first child was born. According to different censuses Maria was born in Eton or Eaton3, Bedfordshire, around 1807. Before 1837 the family had moved a short distance to Bermondsey where the rest of their children were born. William was a potato salesman in Bermondsey at the time of the 1841 Census. William Harris died sometime between about 1845 and 1851. In addition to losing her husband, Maria may have lost her youngest daughter, Louisa, during the ten years between the two censuses. 
 
22
Blanch & Grace Franklin
Blanch & Grace Franklin
 
 
23
Blanche, Floy et. al.
Blanche, Floy et. al.
 
 
24
Builing a sod house
Builing a sod house
 
 
25
Bus Gordon & Evy (Roddy) Gordon
Bus Gordon & Evy (Roddy) Gordon
 
 
26
Buss Gordon
Buss Gordon
 
 
27
Della & Nita 'Dot' Franklin
Della & Nita "Dot" Franklin
 
 
28
Della Bowen
Della Bowen
 
 
29
Della Bowen
Della Bowen
 
 
30
Floy, Pat, Don & Bob
Floy, Pat, Don & Bob
 
 
31
Gordon's, Roddy's, & Franklin's
Gordon's, Roddy's, & Franklin's
 
 
32
Grace Francelia Franklin (23 Jan 1880 - 7 Mar 1974)
Grace Francelia Franklin (23 Jan 1880 - 7 Mar 1974)
 
 
33
Nina May Hollis [Harris] c1942
Nina May Hollis [Harris] c1942
 
 
34
Nita Elizabeth Franklin (17 Jun 1886 - 21 Jul 1985)
Nita Elizabeth Franklin (17 Jun 1886 - 21 Jul 1985)
 
 
35
Reuben Benjamin Franklin (1 Jul 1841 - 29 Dec 1919)
Reuben Benjamin Franklin (1 Jul 1841 - 29 Dec 1919)
 
 
36
Uncle Ben Franklin on Wagon
Uncle Ben Franklin on Wagon
 
 
37
Uncle Ben Franklin with Horses
Uncle Ben Franklin with Horses