We’ve been having to deal with a lot of things over the past few weeks, and so have been trying to find ways to blow off steam and keep ourselves occupied. The Hublet decided to relaunch his investigations into his family line, a search that he attempted in his teens but which hit a bit of a dead end (no pun intended) and spluttered out.
He’s had the dining table covered in documents and papers, photos and newspaper clippings and even a huge old bible that came from his Grandmother and contains a small, 3-generation-old family tree penned inside. We started our search with the belief that his family name originated from a county close to London UK, and wanted to trace back from The Hublet to the family member that initially made the long, dangerous voyage to America to see if they did indeed begin life in the UK or arrived from elsewhere, and what additional information we could gather about them in order to learn more as to their reasons for leaving home and family to begin a new life.
We decided to initially focus our search on the males of his family, in order to more easily trace the family name we both now hold, and decided that after we found the roots of his Dad’s side of the family we would then begin the slightly more complicated search to follow back his Mum’s side of the family.
The big advantage his search now has, over his previous attempt about a decade ago, is The Internet (it deserves capital letters in this instance). People like to record things and like to store their data as securely as possible, and what could be more secure and a better alternative to flammable paper records than potentially eternal electronic ones. The Internet (again those respectful capitals) allows people to cross-reference other peoples work and incorporate it into their own research. Whether you access data added by someone with a personal interest, or download a document that was uploaded by a professional as part of their job, the internet (enough with the caps) widens the field and hugely increases the amount of information you are able to access.
I became caught up in The Hublet’s enthusiasm and brought my desktop research skills into play, and we found that there were a huge number of families out there, unrelated in name to us, who had incorporated a member of our family line into their family tree whenever marriage had bridged a link between our two families. There were over half a dozen websites, carefully researched and compiled by people eager for answers, that I was able to cross-reference against and gain a little more insight into who from our family line married someone from theirs, and whether or not the union had resulted in any children.
It was fascinating to turn back the clock and come across photos of his family from 100-200 years ago; carefully posed portraits that they didn’t realise would be viewed over 6 generations later, scrutinising their faces to try and find common features between them and either The Hublet or his father. The one thing I will say about the women in The Hublet’s family, much like the photos on display at any Cracker Barrel restaurant, women from a certain era were built to last: solid, sturdy and looking as if they could defend their land claim with a shotgun whilst simultaneously getting dinner ready and giving birth to the next healthy member of the family line.
After a few days of not being able to find any new information, we decided to man up and pay for a trial membership to an Ancestry site (there are so many out there that I would advise that do your homework and go for the one with the best reviews) where we almost immediately had a breakthrough and found the information we had been looking for: we discovered that a male member of The Hublet’s ancestry was listed as arriving in a City (back then a more modestly sized Puritan town) north of New York, and using that information we dug around the internet and found a listing with the name of the ship that he arrived on, a passenger list telling us when he arrived and which members of his family accompanied him, and we also found the ships original point of origin. With that information we were able to search a little further and found more information about The Hublet’s family who, it turns out, did indeed originate in the UK and were located in a county close to London.
It was amazing to travel back almost 600-years and find out where the family name that I married into originated from, to be able to give The Hublet a definite sense of attachment to the UK and allow him to feel his roots in history. We still have so much more to discover now that we have turned our attention to his English ancestors, and are excited with the prospect of a future trip to the UK to actually visit some of the graveyards and historical buildings that The Hublet’s ancestors are linked to.
My big concern though is discovering at some point along the road, after a few years of happy marriage, that we share common blood as, let’s face it, in Ye Olde England people didn’t stray too far from their family village, so the gene pools were always going to get a little muddy and messy at some point during the cold and lonely English winters.