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!