Saturday, February 14, 2009

Skeletons in My Closet

I was just reading an excerpt about my 6th great grandparents from a genealogical website:

The King of England by his representatives in Augusta County Virginia charged Repentance Townsend on two counts.

Repentance Townsend and Mary were summoned to court in May 1755 on a charge of not bringing up their children in a christian like manner.

The defendant was summoned but did not appear, therefore must pay the church five shillings and fifty pounds of tobacco and that he pay cost of court.

Wonder what those neglectful parents did that brought down the wrath of the Church and the King of England? Were their prayers not long enough? Did they whisper in church? Or worse, did they smile on Sunday? I see that by tax time in November of 1755 the family had skedaddled to the wilds of North Carolina. Yeah, I would have beat a trail out of there too.

But then in North Carolina he took an oath to the king in 1773. A Tory at the head of the family! I guess the rebellious streak of independence that runs in my family didn't come from him. I wonder what he did to earn a name like Repentance? And I thought my parents hung an antiquated handle on me!


Happy Valentine's Day

for those of you who celebrate Hallmark Holidays. Here at the Fabulous Fifties Household love is in the air every day, don'tcha know.

Back in my younger days I fell into the card and gift holiday trap. But as I've mentioned before, I don't keep cards so they are a total waste of money in my opinion, especially in this economy. Getting and giving gifts should be from the heart, not mandated by a holiday, but it does take the pressure of such a holiday to prod some hearts into action.

We quit acknowledging Hallmark Holidays when Grandparent's Day was added to the list, after all, we already bought them a card and gift on Mother's Day and Father's Day. Then there are Secretary's Day and Boss's Day which puts both members in a pickle. Now there are so many holidays it's hard to turn the calendar page without seeing one.

The schools can't decide whether to stay open or closed on Martin Luther King Day and President's Day. Remember when each president was remembered on their own day? Now they are just lumped together on the nearest Monday so the government can get a three day holiday out of it.

St. Patrick's Day started as a celebration for the patron saint of Ireland, yet it has spread across the world, or at least the partying countries of the world. For that matter, Valentine's Day was started as a celebration for St. Valentine or Valentinus, although now the Catholic Church can't remember exactly which saint that is.

Mardi Gras is a celebration with ambiguous pagan beginnings, which the Catholic Church couldn't eliminate so adapted them to Christianity. In America, we think of it as a New Orleans celebration, but other cities in the U.S. as well as around the world celebrate the coming of lent by over-indulging for a week or more. Again, these are the partying countries of the world.

Speaking of pagan beginnings, many of our Christian celebrations have evolved from them. When the Catholic Church couldn't convince the Greeks to leave their traditions behind, they simply incorporated them into a Christian holiday as a way of converting the pagans to Christianity.

I like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. I know where and why they started.

Until next time, may you have blessings and holy-days,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive

Sir Walter Scott was probably thinking about the problems this causes in our present day lives, but it is especially true when it comes to genealogy. I am trying to unravel such a tangled web now.

Story has it that my great great grandfather had children with a mistress in addition to the children he continued to have with his wife. And when his wife died, he married his mistress but changed her name to that of his late wife so that no one would know which children were legitimate and which ones weren’t. All of the children's birth records show the name of that first wife. However, the death certificates of each wife showed the correct names.

Since my great great grandfather went to such lengths to muddle the parentage of his children, it’s become fairly difficult to find out which wife gave birth to my great grandfather, especially since he is one of the middle children born in the years overlapping both women. He always said the name that was common to both wives, which was actually the name of the first wife. But he looks like his youngest brothers, which leads my mother and I to believe he was actually a child of the second wife.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clear records,