Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finding the Family Story Generation by Generation: Not Always Easy

I'll get back to the Twiss, Very, Nurse and MacCallum families after I get the "new" material organized. For now,  a look at trying to compile family stories over several generations.

In putting together several generations of a family, often times one or two generations provide little or no clues to the life of the individual. A case in point: The Rhodes Family.....

Beginning with the immigrant, Zachariah Rhodes, there is a fair bit of information on him and his wife, Joanna Arnold. Zachariah's probable birth place and estimated birthdate in England, his arrival in Plymouth Colony, and details as a freeman of that colony are documented. Also told is the story of his flight to the new Providence Plantation of Roger Williams due to his belief in the Baptist faith. Zachariah's activities in the new colony are well documented as well. His 1662 will is recorded. Mention of his death in a drowning accident is recorded, as is his burial place.

The life of John, son of Zachariah and Joanna, is fairly well documented, at least until the end of John's life. Questions exist as to the exact date of his wife's [Waite Waterman] death and the date of his 2nd marriage and 2nd wife's maiden name are missing.

Details are more sparse on 3rd generation Major John Rhodes and Catherine Holden. Dates are available for his becoming a freeman and his political or service activities. Birth, marriage and death dates are also available.

Then comes the 4th generation. Holden Rhodes and Mary Remington. The only documented date is Holden's birth. Estimates for Holden's marriage and death exist, but no concrete dates have been found. Details, other than the birth of  Holden and Mary's only known son, Holden, are lacking.

Holden, the 5th generation, is much better documented. His career as a mariner during and after the Revolutionary War is told through various accounts and records. A Seaman's Protection Certificate [issued with the intent to protect American sailors from impressment by the British Navy] gives Holden's physical description at age 46. Vital statistics are available as well. Holden married Susanna Wall.

The 6th generation story, that of Captain Zachariah Rhodes was initially told in a narrative provided by descendant Isaac Prall in the early 1900s. The story, however, lacked dates and documentation. By studying Baltimore city directories and finally discovering Zachariah's story in the "Holden Family in America," the details were fleshed out. Zachariah died at sea in August, 1815. His wife's death is not recorded, but Harriet Cunningham Rhodes, died a short time after her husband - no later than 1818.

Finally, Ann Bethia Rhodes, generation #7. Ann's story unfolded through the probate files of relatives and that of her aunt Pathia/Bathia Cunningham Porter. Only estimates exist for her birth [1812] and death [1865].

There you have it. Seven generations with varying degrees of documentation on their stories.

There you have it

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