Hollin[g]shead Connections and Spreading the Love

I am pleased to announce that I have linked my Daniel Hollingshead to the Hollinshead family in the New Jersey Colony!  If you’re a Genealogy At Heart follower, you’ve experienced (remotely) the twists and turns of this family saga, along with the intermarriages with the Duers, who have their own family drama.  Upfront, I want to apologize for the length of this blog, please bear with me!


I’ve written frequently about the odd happenings that occur when I research these lines that I can’t explain.  As blog follower Linda Shufflebean commented on Synchronocity and my Roots “I love Hank Jones’s Psychic Roots series – I’m even mentioned with my own weird experiences.  I think the ancestors are up there pointing the way for us at times.” I so agree, Linda!  


If you’re a new reader and have no idea what I’m talking about or you need a refresh, you can read some of the backstory here, here and here.
The ancestors may be giving us a nudge from beyond but it’s up to us to take that tidbit and go with it. It’s also about connections in the here and now.  Today, I want to give a shout out to some very special people who went above and beyond to answer my questions, give me suggestions or furnish a copy of a paper document that hasn’t been digitized.  None of them had to do this, especially not during these difficult times.  


I realize my requests were not important to anyone but me and a few descendants of the Hollingsheads.  When the world is falling apart, finding a source in a locked archive is definitely a low priority.  Regardless, the following folks stepped up and helped me and I am so very grateful for their positive character, work ethic and dedication.  What I’ve learned from them can help every genealogist be better! The list is in alpha order by first name as they all are equally important:


BARB WALKER TERRONES, Ancestry.com Tree Owner   Have you ever messaged someone about more info on Ancestry and never gotten a response?  Duh, every genealogist has!  Barb is not one of those people who never respond.  In fact, Barb, who has a private tree, not only quickly responded she volunteered to help me find the missing Hollingshead Bible that Daniel brought with him when he left England about 1704.  Barb would be my 7 times removed step cousin.  Regardless of being that distant, Barb stopped her own research to help me and shared what she found.  Barb, I thank you for your quick replies and I know we’re going to find that Bible someday.  Please continue to keep me in the loop of what you discover as I’ll do the same.


BRYAN MULCAHY, Reference Librarian Ft. Myers Regional Library   Nothing like needing to find a 300 year old will transcription that’s not online and was made out of the country.  Even in normal times it’s a feat.  The volume I needed was 140 miles from my home.  Back in the day, I would have requested it be sent to my local library or perhaps I would have even made the drive because I love Ft. Myers but now, those options weren’t possible.  I completed the form filler request Ask a Librarian and Bryan responded within two hours with a scan of what I needed.  Bryan, you are awesome!  Your information helped me trace extended family and led me to further documents that I would no way have known existed if I hadn’t uncovered the relationships that were mentioned in the will you provided.  My deepest appreciation to you!


ELIZABETH PEARSON, British Genealogist   I’ve attended lectures Liz has given locally a few times and have always been impressed with her wealth of knowledge.  The area and locations I was researching are not in my comfort zone so I contacted Liz for direction.  Liz gave me insight into British world view from the time period, reminded me of boundary changes, and provided me recommendations and direction.  Liz, I cannot thank you enough for your help.  Your insights helped me understand what I was discovering and your recommended methodology was what cracked the case!  Tracking Daniel’s relatives was definitely the direction to go.


GAYLE MARTINSON, Reference Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society   Nothing like needing to review a collection of family information (circa 1800) from South Carolina that was donated to a historical society in Wisconsin when I could not possibly travel from Florida to review the information.  Add that the organization was closed and that the automatic reply I received when I inquired about availability said it would be at least 12 weeks before I could get a response.  I told myself, what’s 3 more months as the man I’m researching has been dead for nearly 300 years so patience, Lori, patience.  I was so pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Gayle the next day asking for more information about my request.  She placed me in the queue and was responsible for someone to go into a locked archive to look for a manuscript last cited in 1853.  Unbelievable to me, not only was this accomplished, a scan of what I needed was emailed to me at 5:11 PM a few days after my request was made.  In these difficult times, I am in awe of this librarian taking my request seriously and getting me answers to my questions so expediently.  Gayle is a tremendous asset to her organization and I hope they realize how fortunate they are to have her on staff.  Thanks, Gayle!


GUY GRANNUR, Archivist with the National Archives of Great Britain   I have zero experience with the record sets in Guy’s archive.  Guy was the presenter of the online class last month called Caribbean Connections and I couldn’t have been happier with his presentation that I needed.  After his conclusion, he responded to questions via the chat box and he was most helpful.  His expertise enabled me to find a connection on another site mentioned to show that a close relative of Daniel had gone to Barbados in 1690.  Who knew?!  Well, those that did know are all dead but because of that record I had my “Caribbean Connection.”  Thanks, Guy, for your interesting and informative presentation.


HULYA TASCI-HART, Translator  What can I say about a multi lingual educator who is so dedicated that she’ll stop what she’s doing to translate from English to German for me in seconds?!  This smart workaholic took the time to clarify what I meant so that she could be as accurate as possible with the translation.  Now I know you’re wondering, why would I need a German translation when I was researching England, Barbados and New Jersey.  It appears that my Daniel served in the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704, along with his unnamed brothers.  No records exist in the British Archives so I decided to see if there were any records left near Blenheim aka Blindheim, a Bavarian village where the battle was fought.  I reached out to Hulya to translate my request and she came through as always.  I so greatly appreciate Hulya, not only as a genealogist but as an educator.  


JIM LYNCH, Caribbeanavenue.com  I always seem to find what I need in a place my ancestor never lived and it has happened again!  Jim Webster had used a resource he owns, the 1715 Barbados census, to help me pinpoint where my family was living on the island.  I have been in search of that information for YEARS!  I’ve reached out to many and no one ever told me that the information was published in a 1980 book.  I had to have a copy!  Jim Webster linked me to Jim Lynch who responded to a form filler I completed almost instantly.  It was a Saturday and Jim mailed the book early Monday morning when the post office reopened.  It’s probably stuck in customs but I’m eagerly anticipating its arrival.  If you are doing Barbados research you must have this important work.  All it takes is contacting Jim for a copy – he uses PayPal.  Jim, thanks so much for answering my questions on a weekend and being so prompt in responding to my request.  I’m impressed with your business ethics!


JIM WEBSTER of BajanThings.com   If you’re researching Barbados this is a site you need to explore.  I was confused when I found a sugar planter listed in 1680 and 1715 with a similar name to what I was researching and questioned if it had been mistranscribed.  Jim responded in minutes to a contact form I filled out on the website.  Seriously, who does that?!  I’m so glad Jim does because he shared his knowledge and pointed me to where I could find a 1615 census of the island (none online!).  Jim, because of you, I discovered that my Mary was being cared for by her aunt after her mother’s death and my Daniel was living separately with an 18 year old youth.  I’m still trying to determine who that might be.  Thank you so much for your dedication to Barbados history.


KAREN STOKES, South Carolina Historical Society   What to do when you need to check a reference and it’s no where?!  Beating your head on the desk is not the answer.  Turning to Worldcat, I located a copy of Richard Yeardon’s History of the Circular Church in South Carolina.  Why would I need that when my Daniel was never in South Carolina?  Yeardon was a source for a bio on Daniel’s grandson, William, who was a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina after the Revolution, according to a William B. Sprague (1857).  Sprague cited Yeardon so I needed to find where Yeardon got his info.  A day after my request, Karen responded that she had looked through the book and no reference was given.  In fact, there was no information about the family at all in the book. Karen, I greatly appreciate your checking the source and recommending that I look at another work by a different author, David Ramsay, who Yeardon extensively quoted.  You were unaware that I had already reached out to another archive to check Ramsay’s notes.  This speaks volumes about your knowledge of research process as you would have no way known what the other obscure sources were pointing toward.  Kudos to you!


PAUL DAVIS, Collections and Research Assistant, Historical Society of Princeton   I was looking for a reference made to confirm my Daniel was a pioneer in Princeton, New Jersey.  Everything I had found at that point was for other areas.  Although Paul couldn’t enter the locked society, he made great suggestions and provided links for me to check out.  Thanks, Paul, I appreciate the direction you provided; you were very helpful.


TOM DREYER, NEHGS genealogist   In Boston, during a pandemic, Tom found a book on a shelf in a closed archive and provided me the information I was seeking.  Seriously, I am overwhelmed by this man’s dedication to a fellow genealogist. We discovered that I’m distantly related to his wife who is from the New York Duer family while I’m from the New Jersey Duer line.  I love the reminder that we are all connected – we’re all family.  Tom, next month when I get my first paycheck, I’m making a donation to your organization of which I am a member in your name.  The document you supplied was vital as it was the missing link to connecting a newer and older source.  Thank you!


TODD THULL, Ancestry.com Tree Owner  Like Barb, Todd responded to a message I sent him about a document he had posted about his Hollinshead line.  I was trying to locate a copy that I couldn’t find online.  Todd responded quickly and lo and behold! it was online although the copy was incomplete.  As could only happen with this family, the paragraph I needed was the last paragraph showing on the scanned book.  I don’t even know how that’s possible!  Thanks, Todd, for helping me link my line to yours.  I will be sending you a copy of my paper so you can see how the Quaker Hollinsheads are related to the Church of England Hollingsheads.  I couldn’t have made the connection without your wonderfully sourced online tree.


VICKIE URBAN, Ancestry.com Tree Owner   I have consulted with Vickie over the years as we are Duer cousins and I greatly appreciate that she ALWAYS uses sources on her tree.  She shares her findings and always responds  to messages.  Thanks, Cuz, you are most appreciated!

Last but not least, my wonderful family who puts up with my obsession.  None of them have been bitten by the genealogy bug, yet they put up with me and in their own way, try to relate to my interest.  My husband, bless him, even attempted to do some online research for me and help me decipher handwriting from the 1600s as I was transcribing.  My son suggested I watch an episode of the Sarah Connor Chronicles that might help me with a research path.  My daughter who listened attentively while I drone on about my findings.  Both my kids risk their lives daily trying to put an end to this awful disease and make the world a better place.  For them to care about my finding a christening record from 1686 is touching to me.  Thanks guys, all my love!


Yep, it’s all about love and connections.  In these crazy times I think it’s more important than ever to share some love so this week, thank someone who helped you with your research.  They deserve the recognition and appreciation.  Stay safe and happy hunting!

What the World Needs Now

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Genealogy, Freedom and Acceptance – Black Lives Do Matter

It’s Independence Day here in the U.S. and this one will be like none I’ve previously spent.  Got a 3 part text from the Surgeon General of our state notifying us to “Avoid the 3 Cs Closed Spaces, Crowded Places & Close-Contact Settings.”  Kind of catchy!  Later that day, the bureaucrats came out stating the typical spin that this will poof be gone so no worries.  The disconnect would be funny if it wasn’t so sad for the millions who are suffering because of the disease or its side effects, such as unemployment, eviction, food shortage, and so on.  We plan on staying home and hubby has ventured out to the grocery store WITH HIS MASK to get our traditional picnic dinner that we usually have with family in the park right before the fireworks display.  This year, we’re eating it for lunch in our backyard on a quilt our daughter made to commemorate the times.  We’ll use the quilt every year from now on and perhaps next year will be different, perhaps not.  Like the immortal lyrics sung by Janis Joplin, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” My family and I realize how privileged we are and this temporary loss of our freedoms to go where we want with no restrictions is a small price to pay to insure our community stays safe.  Others aren’t so fortunate now or in the past.
The past week I have been heavily into researching my Daniel Hollin[g]shead to prove or disprove he was the only Daniel from Leicestershire, England that went to Barbados and became a real estate mogul in the Eastern New Jersey colonies.  I’m at the point I can say I have strong evidence but I want to make sure I haven’t made an error somewhere so I await a few more documents to examine.  Those records – the Bible he brought with him from England, a manuscript donated by family of a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina to an archive in Wisconsin, and a list of military men who died in the Battle of Blenheim in August 1704 would add further support or not.  The “or not” is key to the previous sentence and it’s what I love most about genealogy.  We think we know, we think we’ve found everything, we think we understand until a new document is discovered that throws us for a loop.  
In the past three weeks I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster ride with my findings.  I’ve had to face the facts and process that my gateway ancestor wasn’t the pious Quaker that I always thought of him.  Family legend stated that he was indentured to Barbados, possibly as a tailor, since he was the oldest son and his father, a tax collector, had died.  There was the issue that some of the money collected didn’t get turned in to the King’s treasury.  
I guess my interpretation of that information says a lot about my personality.  I was fine with the religion – I’m pretty much a nonconformist myself.  His “career” choice was okay, too. I love to sew and once had my own costume business so maybe that was how my skill came about. The missing tax money I attributed to an error or the sudden death of Daniel’s father but it all got resolved at the end so life was good.  
I never realized that I tend to make excuses for my ancestors actions and try to rationalize their behavior turning it into a positive explanation.  Until now.
In early June, I took every document I had on Daniel and his purported father, Francis and reviewed them.  I then asked a member of my local genealogy society who is a Brit and experienced with the time period I was working with to examine them for her suggestions.  She pointed out that the son of  a tax collector at the time would not have been indentured as a tailor so that story, with no documents, was probably untrue.  Britain had a rigid class system I hadn’t considered.  There was a Daniel who was a tailor in London but he was of an older generation than the Leicestershire Daniel.  There was also an indenture record for a different Hollingshead line but it was also for a much later time period than Leicestershire Daniel.  Perhaps, she suggested, that the family story got muddled over the past 300 years.  Heck, if we can’t even have our government officials in the same day have the same story, a 300 year time span certainly would have some errors. She suggested I search for more records and then reanalyze the findings.  Great advice!
Now I’ve looked for documents on this family for years and years and I can’t explain why I happened to find so much in just 3 weeks.  What I discovered is disturbing to me and altered my perspective of Daniel’s life and my own.  I still am working through it.
I discovered some conflicting evidence based on bios in old books.  One source stated he was born in Lancashire; the others all stated Leicestershire.  That was the first of my sick to my stomach feelings – I had put out the wrong info and so many other’s trees blindly accepted it as fact.  If that turned out to be correct, I didn’t even know how I could fix the problem.  I took a break, cleared my head and then began to research Hollin[g]sheads in Lancashire and found two families in two different parishes but he wasn’t there.  I examined the citations for the Lancashire book and hunted down the first source, another old book.  That book provided a different source so I searched for it and surprise, the initial source DID NOT HAVE LANCASHIRE – it didn’t name a location.  I’m still waiting to see what the second source states – that’s possibly the documents in Wisconsin.  I’m seeking a manuscript written before 1800 in Charleston, South Carolina.  Daniel never even visited South Carolina (or Wisconsin) so my theory of looking where they never lived seems to be supported again.  I also wanted to find the Bible to see what was recorded there.  Until I found the old bios from the 1800’s I didn’t know it even existed.  The last record of it was October 1882 in Chicago. I’m grateful to a genealogist from the New England Genealogical and Historical Society who provided a look up for me this week.  That immensely helped me move forward with finding the Bible.
The person who owned the Bible never married and had no children.  She predeceased her two brothers.  A sister, ironically, moved to a few miles from where I currently live with her husband and died there in 1939.  She had no children.  I suspect the Bible was given to a cousin from a different line who had received some other family memorabilia.  He was living in Manhattan at the time the Bible owner was and he had three children.  My theory is it was passed down to one of his children.  So I spent a day trying to locate the living of those lines.  I emailed 4 individuals and received a response from one.  Doesn’t say if she has it or not but that, to her knowledge, the Bible never contained genealogical information.  I laughed, that would be my family!  They never notate on photos, keep records, etc.  I’m not giving up hope that the current owner comes forward to verify that.
I also was trying to think of reasons why Daniel would leave Leicestershire.  Several old books mention he, as did several of his brothers, served in the Battle of Blenheim which was in August 1704.  My Brit friend stated that the brother who had died there as a Captain under the Duke of Marlborough (who Winston Churchill is descended from) would have been in the class of a tax collector so that further supports I have the correct Daniel.  She suggested finding proof of their military experience.  The National Archives of Great Britain doesn’t have it.  I’ve reached out to a few military societies in England hoping someone somewhere has the info.  
I then theorized Daniel went to Barbados because he was in the military and I began to read up on the history of that island.  The history is not pretty!  I knew there sugar plantations; his second wife, Thomasine Hasel’s father was an owner of one.  I knew there were slaves but I didn’t think much about them over the years.  I now know a lot and it is relatable to our current times.  
I was astounded to learn that Lord Cromwell placed many Scotts and Irish men into slavery.  How had I missed that?  I never knew how far back slavery went.  I do remember learning in school that the Romans had slaves but I thought they were prisoners of war.  I didn’t know that Africans were taken as slaves because of their religious convictions.  I never thought about the Spanish and Portuguese using and abusing African slaves before settling the “new world.”  I was astounded to read an archaeological  study that explored a former sugar plantation in Barbados and determined that economic power brokers in London had made the decision to exploit so they could become richer.  The evidence was buried in the soil, untouched for 400 years.  
I’m still coming to terms with the picture posted at the top of this blog.  Daniel died intestate in 1730 in Somerset County, New Jersey.  You can see from the inventory that he owned slaves.  I am sickened at the thought.  
My mantra has always been I identify with the underdog as I am one of them. I have been discriminated against because I was the only child in my parochial school whose parents were divorced at a time when divorce was frowned upon.  I was repeatedly called a carpetbagger because I was a northerner who had relocated to the south.  Some of my husband’s family would not accept me because my grandparents were immigrants.  They made negative comments about my religion.  I had a relationship severed by a friend because she hated my religion, too.  
Those experiences and my interpretation of my ancestry made me wrongly believe I was the great grand daughter of an indentured servant of Caribbean. I thought that made me linked in kinship and someone who understood the hardships of African Americans.  Geez, I even grew up in Gary, Indiana so I certainly understood the black experience, right?  WRONG!  
Growing up, even though I was at the lower rungs of the social economic ladder did not take away my white privilege.  I never asked for it but I inherited it.  As I reflect, I could have and should have done more. Coming out about my family’s involvement in slavery is not easy for me to accept but it is necessary. My blog today is my first step in this journey.
Who were “Tippeo, an old negro-man, Jack, Lelia, Jack, a boy, Bellinda and Dido?” What became of them?  Were they related?  I don’t know but intend to try to find out.  
This Independence Day I am reflecting on the past and trying to make plans for the future. My people had freedom and took away others’ freedom so that they could prosper.  I’m not sure how to make amends but I will work it out going forward.  I hope you will join me if you are at the same point in your life that I am.  Being embarrassed, sorry and ashamed isn’t enough.  Black Lives Matter – always have and always will.  It’s time for change and I will be a positive force in that.

The Caribbean Connection…An Update

Last week I blogged about my strange experience looking for my Hollingshead family going from England to Barbados to Pennsylvania/New Jersey.  I was desperately searching for a document to show proof that my ancestor, Daniel, was the individual in all of those locations. 
Some odd happening occurred – a dream, an undelivered email, an internet site popping up after the electricity had been turned off  – put me back on track.  Here’s what happened this week…
Although the member of my local genealogy association that I had reached out to for help in connecting with a presenter’s email was returned as undeliverable, I used the same email address and reached the person I was seeking a few minutes later.  She responded she was unavailable but when get back with me soon.
I’ve signed up for a British seminar online that I found by “looking small” as instructed in my dream. It’s scheduled for Friday and I’m eagerly awaiting it.
Being impatient, I had a hunch that the dream meant more than just the upcoming lecture.  I don’t know why I did the following, but I did and I’m glad of that.  I decided to check Ancestry.com hints for Daniel.  I don’t use the hint option very often.  I do sometimes if I’m starting a new search for a client but for my own tree, not so much.  In case you aren’t aware, your Ancestry hints never really leave you.  If you click “Ignore” that isn’t the same as delete – which isn’t an option.  When you Ignore, it simply goes to the Hint section and is placed under that heading.  The other categories are Undecided and Accepted.  Accepted hints are all those that are showing in your Facts section, Undecided are those you can’t make up your mind about after you’ve reviewed it.  
In my Undecided section, I had about 15 hints and most were completely wrong – wrong locations (like Ohio and I was searching before there was even an Ohio territory), wrong time period (like the 1900’s and I needed 1600-1700’s), or wrong names (like Hollins).  There were 2 interesting hints, however, that I clicked on and both were from a DNA relative I’ve corresponded with in the past.  I trust her work and she always uses citations!  The hints were notes she had taken from old texts she had found in her local library.  Lucky lady, she lives close to an awesome research library.. I wanted to find the original books to check her notes so I did a Google book search (on Google, click the “Other” box and then click “Books” is the easiest to find and lo and behold, this is what I discovered:

Alfred Mathews. History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia:  R. T. Peck & Co,1886, p. 1156.

Even though this is exactly what I’m looking for regarding the route of immigration, there is no proof, other than that Stroud J. Hollinshead, a likely descendant, shared the info for his personal biographical sketch.  Sigh!  He even got some of the facts wrong.  The second paragraph is a hot mess; How could Daniel, the first ancestor, be killed at the Battle of Blenheim and then hold public office in Sussex County, New Jersey?  Quite a feat, I say.  The date of birth is off by a few years.  Didn’t mention the first wife, Ann Alexander, from whom I’m descended but does mention their child, Mary, as the daughter of the second wife, Thomasin.  Mary married a Duer; according to this bio, so did Mary’s stepmom after the death of Daniel.  Hmm, but something isn’t quite correct there, either.  Thomasin was a female and the information states she married a Jane Deuer.  I suspect they meant John as this would have been the early 1700’s.  
Then I found the following interesting story:
Rev. John C. Rankin, DD.  The Presbyterian Church in Basking Ridge, NJ. Jersey City:  John H. Lyon, 1872., p.7.

I knew Daniel was flipping property but I didn’t know that he had sold to a James Alexander of New York.  That peaked my interest as his first wife was an Alexander and I’ve not been successful in locating her family.  So I read up on James Alexander and Lord Stirling.  The family liked to hide among other Alexander families in Ireland and France where they fled after picking the wrong political side in Scotland.  Scholars haven’t been able to sort through all the stories the family told in the documentation they left behind of who was related to whom as the same individual’s tales changed from time to time.  Then, there’s the whole timely topic of race relationships.  Lord Stirling made his money partially from the slave trade while father James was alive and didn’t object.  My Daniel, however, appeared to have not been in favor of slavery.  He brought a slave family with him to New Jersey but it appears there was manumision.  I told myself (no proof here!) that Daniel was empathetic as he was purportedly an indentured servant, though others felt this showed he was of the Quaker faith.  Yet, as I learned more about James Alexander, I discovered that Daniel’s second wife Thomasin left several slaves to her children when she died so the couple may not have the same shared beliefs or, I’m completely wrong about Daniel. More research definitely needed.
The Presbyterian Church reference provides another important clue.  Some believe that Daniel was Quaker but I’ve found nothing to support that.  He and his children were baptized in the Church of England in England and Barbados,  Some of the Alexander land was later donated to the Presbyterian Church.  That’s not surprising since James was a Scott and probably of that faith.  Further reading informed me there were no Quakers in the the area when Daniel relocated there.  If he had been a devout Quaker, he would have likely settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania as the Duer’s initially did.  This would explain why I’ve never found a Quaker record for Daniel.
Although all of this is interesting to my research, the last weird occurrence happened while I was reading online.  My husband and I share an office and he decided he was going to clean his workspace.  He is a piler and I’m a filer – he has piles everywhere and I have everything sorted in a variety of devices (handing file folders, in/out baskets, file cabinets, tubs in folders, etc.).  As I was deeply involved in an old text my husband said, “Is this yours?”  He was holding a CD.  I haven’t used CD’s in I don’t know how long so I shook my head no.  “Should I toss it?”  he asked.  “What’s on it?” I replied.  “The theme song of Pirates of the Caribbean.”  I thought he was kidding me.  “Yeah, right.” I said.  “Seriously,” he replied.  He thought I had recorded it to help me with my search.  (Photo above – you can see it’s scratched so it’s not new.) Nope, wasn’t I but somewhere in the great beyond there’s a tech savvy spirit with a sense of humor who is helping me along.  Keep it coming!