As a genealogist, I’m not alone in facing situations where key questions are unlikely to ever be answered. If only we could go back in history and ask the individuals themselves, hoping they might know. (Dealing with more recent situations, I’ve found three different people often have quite different recollections. Take that as a caveat.) And that’s presuming we could even understand each other, considering the differences in dialect and customs.
So, back to the ancestors. They had to be dead before I was born, right?
- George Hodgson, 1700/01-1774. I want details on the ill-fated ocean crossing, including the names of his parents and siblings, who perished on the trip.
- His wife, Mary Thatcher, 1712-1764. There are enough hints to make me suspect she was far more independent, even rebellious in the face of her tyrant father, than we might expect of a Quaker maiden. In addition, I imagine she would have much to add about their relocation to the Pennsylvania frontier, in what’s today’s Adams County, and then on down to North Carolina’s Piedmont region as one of its first English-speaking settlers.
- Someone on his mother’s side. For now, their neighbor Moses Harlan, 1683-1749, seems a prime candidate.
- George’s father himself. So far, this is the weakest link in taking the family back to Cumbria, England. I want confirmation for my circumstantial argument, or at least correction.
- Peter Ehrstine, . Who were your parents?
- Elizabeth Ehrstine, if she is indeed his mother.
- Pleasant Hodson, 1827-1908. I would especially like to his account of “bushwhacking” in the wild rather than serving in the Confederate Army.
- Pleasant’s mother, Delilah Britton, 1794-1883. She was born to an unmarried mother and apparently orphaned between 1800 and 1804, when she was recorded as 10-year-old and assigned to the Eleazor Hunt household. While her surname was often reported as Hunt or Rayle, I am left wondering about a child born before her marriage to George Hodson. Her father, meanwhile, was Matthew Rayle. She lived through a lot, including the Civil War.
- John Hodgson, buried 1675, Pardshaw Meeting, Cumbria, husband of Eliner. Apparently the first of my Quaker Hodsons, he could clear up much of the early line in England. Was he, in fact, the same John Hodgson was wrote, as a former Parliamentarian army officer, a Quaker tract addressed to other soldiers or the John Hodgson imprisoned for his faith in 1660 or 1664.
- My grandfather, Cecil Munroe, 1903-1945. From everything I’ve seen since turning my attention to him about 30 years ago, he was the affectionate, even artistic, male figure who was missing in my childhood. I suspect my life would have been much different had he survived beyond his early forties.
How about you and your roots?