I have been researching an article for a few months now that I am finally ready to write. This is about my 7th generation grandparents and their children. If we don't share their stories, they are lost.
Isobel Wilson, born around 1716 married William Moore, born around 1717. They lived in Donaghmore, Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
The winter of 1766 was horrible for crops. The crop loss was so bad that it was written about in newspapers and sanctions were put in place by the king to preserve the food supplies. Stills of certain sizes were ordered to cease production. (It has to be bad when governments are shutting down stills!) It was noted that people with less than an acre of land would have already run through their food supply at the time the letter was published.
I can only imagine the anguish that William and Isobel were going through. They were parents. No one wants to watch their family starve to death before their eyes. The mood was very dark in the Moore household. Hope was something that surely was fading day by day as they ran through whatever resources that they did have. Northern Ireland is not known for warm, balmy winters. We will leave them huddled over a small fire, worrying about what their future holds for a moment.
In another part of the world, a ship had been completed in the largest fresh water port in the world, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship was completed in 1766, the same year of the crop failures in Europe.
William Ray, of Ballyroney, Ireland was one of the three owners of the ship, named Nancy. The ship needed to start making a profit as soon as possible. The Captain, Samuel Hannah traveled with William Ray where they recruited poor Irish in northeast Ireland to take the trip. Why poor Irish? The South Carolina government was offering incentives. It was called the Bounty Act. For the passengers, passage would be free to those who signed up.
For William and Isobel, 1766 had to be a hellish nightmare. I can only imagine their joy when they either read the ad in the Belfast paper or, more likely, heard about the trip from either Hannah and Ray or neighbors sharing the news. Either way, word came of a program that would send you to the United States at no cost to you if you were poor, a Protestant and got a letter from your church basically vouching for your character and membership in a non Catholic church.
Sorry, you read that right, Catholics were not eligible.
There were amazing stories being shared. Tales of two crops being harvested off the land in one season. 100 acres of land for every man, 50 acres for all the members of his family. No taxes on the land for 10 years. After that, texas would be 3 shillings per year FOREVER. There would be ample food on the trip.
For a husband and wife with 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters, I am sure that the choice was not a hard one. Yes, it would be heartbreaking to leave everything you know and never come back, but the alternative was gruesome.
Nancy was advertised as being a 300 ton ship. In actuality, she was registered in Philadelphia as 80 tons. According to the laws and rules for human transport at that time, Nancy should only have taken on 80 adults, maximum. Instead, she left with over 300 passengers and brought appx. 291 into Charles Town, South Carolina. (Not called Charleston until later.)
The decision was made to take the trip. Belfast was nearly 50 miles away. A few days walking for a family. When William and Isobel boarded the ship with their children in Belfast, Ireland, I am certain that their hearts were soaring about their miseries being over. Robert, 18, Martha, 16, Agnes, 14, and James, 12 had to lighten their meager possessions to get on the ship. I can imagine that the thought of starvation made it easy.
Everyone made it to Charles Town in the Moore family. No one perished on the way. Sometime before the end of the year, Isobel would be dead at the age of 51. The stories from those who survived the trip on Nancy were a tale of shameful abuse. Many of those aboard her were sick and dying when they reached land. Complaints were made that Captain Hannah nipped them of provisions and heaped them upon one another.
The ship was so crowded. It would be referred to by some as a Protestant bounty ship, and by others as a coffin ship because of the amount of dead and dying aboard her. Conditions were abominable. Henry Laurens of Charles Town witnessed the ship and its' pitiful passengers. He wrote that in the 10 or 12 years of experience as a slave trader, he "never saw an instance of cruelty in that branch equal to the cruelty exercised upon those poor Irish."
Some of those who arrived were housed in what was called the Old Barracks. Church wardens would discover them and write of their findings. They write of deceased in the same room as sick and dying, and children with no clothing. I could go on, but the descriptions do not become any kinder.
The people of Charles Town were so appalled by what happened that they raised money for the victims of Nancy that had survived.
The treatment was so bad that the authorities refused to pay the bounty to the Nancy's owners, since they had so exploited those people for their own profits.
Fortunately for me, the children of Isobel would reach maturity into adulthood, or I would not be here.
For the owners of Nancy, amazingly, it would not be her last trip hauling passengers from Ireland. She would sail again from Belfast to America, but this time, she would go to Philadelphia, far from Charles Town, South Carolina. I am sure the reason is that the people who had survived the Nancy as well as those who cared for those survivors would not have welcomed them. The following year, the Bounty Act would be rescinded because of what happened aboard the Nancy.
South Carolina Gazette June 5th, 1767
General Gazette June 5th, 1767
The Journals of the Council of the Colony of South Carolina, names and land allotments under the Bounty Act of 1761 By Janie Revill, Pub 1939, Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland.
Council Journal, Page 201 July 10, 1767
South Carolina Immigrants 1760-1770
Irish in the Atlantic World by David T. Gleeson
Eighteenth Century Ireland 1703-0800 Society and History By Desmond Keenan
Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin
South Carolina Gazette July 24, 1767
Belfast Newsletter, the following issues:
30 Dec 1766 Page 3
2 Jan 1767 Page 4
6 Feb 1767 Page 3
20 Feb 1767 Page 3
3 Mar 1767 Page 3
30 Dec 1766 Page 3
In the time that I worked for a Catholic church as a personal assistant to the priest, I went to my fair share of funerals. I got to where I knew, based on the person, their age, their manner of death where he was going to head to in the bible.
I also got to categorize mourners. It was in working with the grief community that I saw that those who worked with death must sometimes have challenges with life.
One hot sunny Texas day, the heat was pouring down on us. We had left the chapel at the funeral home and headed for the cemetery. We were only waiting on 3 sons. The tent that was above the casket did little to provide comfort for any of us. Sweat dripped down into our suits. I rocked back and forth on my high heels, a pair of ballerina flats stowed in my purse for the walk back to the car.
Where were they!?! We asked one another, knowing that no one had the answer. 5 minutes turned to 10, then 20, and finally, at the 45 minute mark, they showed up. A car wreck had cut them away from the final part of the funeral. One of the sons, a paramedic stopped to render aid. The second, a firefighter there locally had stopped to call for help. The final son, a policeman stayed to direct traffic. Their final act of compassion on the way to bury their father was noted by all of us.
As we left one another's company, I did not think about the funeral director again until I saw him at another funeral. I never wondered where he laid his head at night, or if he came from a long line of funeral directors. He was just "the funeral director" to me.
Caleb Wilde's book, Confessions of a Funeral Director will give you pause. You will gain insight of what it is like to be a part of the death business here in the United States. You will learn of the spiritual journey that it has taken Caleb Wilde on. You will learn of his family, his wife, and his child. You will learn about the humanity of acknowledging the act of death and dying in a very up close and personal way.
The descriptions are heart felt. His thoughts, fears, faith and humanness are all there, raw and unpolished. Comparisons are made and lessons shared that are gleaned from many of the world's religions.
Wilde's book shares with you the process that brought him into being a funeral director. He didn't want to do it at first. His spiritual struggles are very real, you can feel the pain of his internal debates on those pages.
He shares what it is like when there are problems in death with those that are still living. When there are problems of getting the deceased out of a building, or past family that is not ready to let go yet. You will read of what it is like to attend the final acts of love for a family member by the grieving, by allowing them to be a part of it. You will also learn what it is like to have those final arrangements to make when it is your own family member, too.
I really enjoyed reading this, and I did so in one evening. I know that you will like it, too, which is why I am sharing the link.
Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think in the comments below.
I have been fascinated with genealogy. The stories that my grandmother, great aunts and great grandmother would tell me were ones that I could recite at least in part by the time that I was a young teen.
As time went by, I would get copies of documents. Carefully, I would copy them and slide them into a page protector. In a time long before the internet, each piece of paper represented someone either sending off for a form, going to the library and making a copy, or sharing a page from a document that someone in the family held.
A distant relative that I met online, Rachel, offered to send me her box of research. I was thrilled. She was advanced in years. She was afraid that the family trees that she had taken years to compile would be lost forever since no one in her immediate family was even remotely interested.
I took her up on the offer and within a few weeks, a large cardboard box came to me. It was filled with all sorts of family trees. Connections that I had never seen. It was very excited. I called Rachel on the phone and asked her where she got all of her information from. She explained that the items she had included, birth certificates and what not were from research. Then she told me the sentence that would break my heart.
"The rest I filled in or made up. I even edited some of the birth certificates and stuff with correction fluid to make them match."
I couldn't believe my ears. The box that I had now had no value to me. I put everything back in it and taped it up. I have never opened it again. She had even created false relationships to famous people because she thought that it would make the tree more interesting.
When you are doing research and adding to your family tree, always cite your source. NEVER make up information.
All eyes are on the United States with all of the weather events that we have been facing right now. Flooding, fires, hurricanes, devastating losses. It is hard to comprehend that this is all happening in the US right now at the same time. Texas coastal cities are still dealing with the devastation that has occurred with Hurricane Harvey. Now, Irma is bearing down on the Atlantic Ocean.
Before I go into saving these things, save lives first. The most important things to save are the lives of your family and animals. This should never come before saving lives. Never choose stuff over lives.
That being said, if you have prepared for evacuation with family and animals and you have time, prepare your stuff. If you have not backed up all of the data, do it now. If you don't have a backup hard drive and can get one, get one and backup your hard drive.
For books and papers, place them in a heavy duty sealed bag. *I used the zip top bags that came in one gallon and 5 gallon sizes. After they are in bags, place them in contractor's trash bags. Three bags per box. Now, place the bags in a plastic tub. Not a cardboard box. Now, a contractor's trash bag over the plastic tub. At the top where the bag closes, make a handle of duct tape and write on there what is in each tub.
There is a popular meme going around right now that is stating to place your things in a dishwasher. Dishwashers are NOT waterproof. They have a drain. What can go out can go in. I have had a dishwasher flood the entire kitchen once. Not waterproof. For a better seal if I were desperate, I would use the refrigerator as it is designed to keep a seal using gaskets. If you DO decide to use this, realize that unless you seal the papers and photos with plastic zip top bags and contractor's bags, the moisture in the refrigerator could cause a lot of problems with mold and bacteria if power is lost in the home and the food goes bad. I seriously would not be using home appliances to store things that were of great value to me.
Mail it ahead. If you are headed to a friend or family member outside of the disaster area, mail your things ahead of you if space is a premium in the transportation that you are using. I am serious. Insure it, and mail it ahead. When I went to England the last time, I mailed my luggage. It was cheaper than airline fees, and it was very freeing to not have to worry about my bags.
I would do the same right now with something as important as my genealogy research and family photos.
Please be safe.
This has been a very hard time for those in the Texas coastal area that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
For those who are safe and dry, please do what you can for those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. Although the news seems to be covering mostly Houston, Texas, Houston was not the only city hit, nor was it the worst.
Our thoughts and prayers go to our fellow Texas residents who have been affected.
Additionally, a large consumer testing agency, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is based in Houston. However, they have been assuring their customers that all DNA is safe, and that they are in an upper floor at their location. Some of their employees have lost everything and FTDNA is doing what they can for those employees. If you would like to follow FTDNA on Facebook, here is their link: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyTreeDNA/ . Thank you for reading this and being a part of the genetic genealogy community!
DNA is a really exciting groundbreaker for those of us who are searching. When you find the person that you are searching for, you want to be happy, approachable and NOT CREEPY.
I may have posted a letter in the past, but as I get good examples, I will continue to share them here for all to use.
Here is an excellent example of a letter to send to a potential parent or child.
Feel free to print this and use it for your own personal use. I have made the parts that you replace with your information XXX for easy identification.
I believe that we may have something in common. I am doing family research and my leads are all pointing to you as the person who would have the information that I am searching for.
I was born at XXX hospital in XXX, XXX. I weighed XXX pounds and XXX ounces. I was born at XXX time. My birthdate is XXX. My name at birth was XXX
My parents were very brave because they made an adoption plan for me. I was placed for adoption through XXX adoption agency.
I was adopted at the age of XXX. My parents XXX and XXX raised me from that age.
I grew up in the state of XXX. I hope that you will get in touch with me because I am certain that you will have the information I need to complete my search.
I have had DNA testing done through XXX.
I have enclosed a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope for your convenience. I can also be reached at XXX mobile phone and XXX email address if that is more convenient.
I look forward to hearing from you.
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder, you may qualify for a study through 23 and Me. (Free Kit!)
Here are the criteria that they list through this link: enroll.23andme.com/research/depression-bipolar/identity/
Please check that you meet all criteria below:
If you have prisoners in your family records, their lives may be a very rich source of genealogy for you, depending on where they lived.
The following is information that I have been able to obtain from these records, I hope that you are able to do the same.
Names and addresses of friends and family members (and possibly the relationship to the prisoner in court papers and newspapers!) On a relative that was charged with murder, I was able to confirm the names of his parents as well as a branch of the service that he was in before the incident.
Type of repeat offender. Court papers referred to this person as a repeat offender. I did not know that the crime he was incarcerated for was not a "One time thing". That information led me to follow the records and addresses of that particular branch of my family. Without the prior arrest, I merely would have had a gap in residences with no reason why.
Warrants of arrest may also point to different places that the person was living at or committed crimes in. My relative had a warrant in a larger town miles away for something that was completely unrelated. His last known address (as was listed on the warrant) was in the city I was born in. This warrant was mentioned in the court documents, and I was able to look for any activities there in the city. I also had the address to look at, which was the part of the city that my family lived in.
Money and letters. Letters from this man beseech my family to send money for his "canteen" account. He had just gotten money in one of the letters, but the prison sent the money order back to the family because it was over the maximum amount that was allowed in one transaction. In this letter, my relative offers suggestions of relatives to go to that have an understanding of how to get a money order that follows the rules set by the prison. He then admonished the sender to not send such large funds as they will draw unwanted attention to him.
In another letter, he made a list of who he wanted to send Christmas cards to. That letter was a wealth of information, because some of those people, I had never heard of before.
Mention of addresses and family affairs such as children, property, marriages and divorces. My relative was incarcerated before he was 35. He sent numerous visitor request forms, because the prison that he was in was very picky to make sure that everything was filled in correctly. During this time, he had to send a letter to this person underlining the correct family relationships. That was family tree gold to me.
Special "leaves" from jails and prisons for funerals of close family relatives. During his time in prison, his grandmother died. He was taken to the funeral, where he was heavily police escorted the whole time, driven there and back. I remember this event as being pretty sad and traumatic for me. I did not expect to see him at the funeral, let alone in leg irons.
Prisoners buried at Prison Cemeteries. For some prisoners, their families have either moved on without them in their lives or they are unable to afford the cost of transporting the family and paying for a funeral. If you are able to get a copy of their death records, they may list the next of kin and other information. My family member was not buried at the prison. Instead, he was cremated and his cremains were sent to his family. I am in the process of writing to see what records will be released to me, if any.
Online Prison Records. These sites may include inmate photos of their booking photo.
Extremely violent or shocking crimes may be printed in more than one newspaper and may not be confined to the local area.
Outcome of trials and hearings. Sometimes, the outcome of the trial can lead to further information. In the information that I had about my family member, it was mentioned who was in the courtroom when the verdict was read. This was very useful information. I learned of his sentence and where he would be incarcerated at. (Even though the events I was reading about were decades old, it was very helpful to me to be able to follow his path in case there were other places of incarceration to look into.)
Hospitalizations and illness. Medical records may have vital medical records information. My relative was in and out of the hospital all of the time for a lot of similar issues. It was helpful to me when I was writing about my medical information to be able to include the knowledge that I was able to glean from medical records.
Good Luck in your search and also know that certain sites online have a lot of good information and records of incarcerated people. I will be including those links in an article this winter.
Have a great search and let me know how you found this information to be helpful to you.
In August we will be collecting entries all month long for a book giveaway!
Like our page, share with others, sign up for the newsletter. Each one of those actions will get you an entry!
Book that will be given away is AMAZING!
Want to know an interesting piece of information?
If you are a birth mother who voluntarily placed her child for adoption, you may be ineligible for adoption.
Sound like something from times gone by? Allow me to let you know how recent this information is: today. When I was married in the past, my ex-husband and I were looking into adoption. One of the questions that was asked by each of the adoption agencies that we spoke to was if we had ever had a child that was placed for adoption. It also asked about children that were removed from custody, but that is not the focus of this article.
I honestly answered the question. "Yes" I wrote in. When the social worker looked at our form, each and every time, their face would go from relaxed and easy to tense. One woman asked "Did you mean to check off that you were looking to adopt?" I shook my head. "We are here to adopt, but I also placed a child for adoption when I was a teenager. I was very young and I knew that I could not provide a good environment for a baby while I was still a child." She started tapping her pen on the desk from tip to end. "I don't know how to say this. I really don't. You can't adopt a child if you have placed a child for adoption." We sat there, dumbfounded. She continued. "You can't decline to share it, either. It is linked to the records through your date of birth and your social security number. " She smiled a very forced smile.
"The only option for you is to go surrogate. No agency in the United States will allow you to adopt a child if you have placed a child up for adoption. Not even a state agency." She thanked us for our time, shook our hands and ushered out of the building, lest the taint of my "sin" contaminate her.
My ex and I were not deterred. We tried several more agencies, some in person and some on the telephone. We were blunt when we spoke on the phone. "Can we adopt if one of us has placed a child for adoption?" Each time, we were told "No. You cannot." Sometimes, the next sound that we heard was dial tone. It was one of the most disheartening times of my life. I had been told by the agency that I placed my child with that we would "both be starting with a clean slate." I had been told that "No one need know about this part of your life." I always responded with "I am not ashamed of my child. I did not go out to try and get pregnant. I never wanted that. I was molested."
The incident with my ex-husband is something that I have not thought about in over a decade until a friend of mine called me today to tell me that she and her husband had been declined by an adoption agency because she had placed a child for adoption while she was still in college. All of those raw emotions came forward for me. It hurt to basically be told that you are not eligible to raise a life because you placed a life up for adoption when you could not raise them.
There has to be a better way to treat birthmothers. Not to marginalize them or punish them for a decision that they were encouraged to make when their child was born. For some of these women, the choice was not even a choice. They were told that they would not be able to return home if they chose to parent their child. They were made to end the relationship with the birth father. There are as many stories as there are birthparents. The decision to place a child for adoption is not one that is made lightly.
When I was pregnant with my son, I promised all of my family members that I would place my child for adoption. I promised them that I would "do the right thing". That did not stop me from having hopes and dreams for myself and the child that I was carrying. That did not stop me later in life wanting to have a little family to raise.
I am not a secret and this needs to stop.
My name is Dixie, and this is the blog part of my page, where I write about whatever strikes my fancy. Contact me at: PirateDixie@gmail.com