Thomas Sanford, Revolutionary War Patriot

I have found another Revolutionary War ancestor to prove for NSDAR.  Thomas Sanford fought in the war and I am a direct descendant through the Morse and Beardsley families.  I’m always on the look out for another ancestor.  This one I initially located on my trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society “Coming Home to New England” program last August.

If you ever would like a wonderful experience, attending the “Coming Home” program in Boston can’t be beat.  Gary Roberts, the NEHGS treasure, astounded me by taking my pedigree charts and advancing me numerous generations on many lines.  I spent the remainder of the week proving many of the lines through records and histories held by the Society.  Gary was spot on for so many families.  Thank you, Gary for all of the assistance.

My grandfather, John SANFORD Brown was named for this family.  I was always puzzled by the middle name, but now know this famous name.

Thomas Sanford b. 3 Mar 1732 in Newtown, Fairfield Co., CT married to Lydia Clark in 1755.  They had daughter, Polly Ann Sanford who married William Beardsley.  Their daughter, Ruth Beardsley, b. 16 Feb 1806 in Redding, CT married Ziba Morse.  Ruth died, according to some records, in a fire.

I will be submitting this application soon, so keep your fingers crossed that I have the proper documentation to connect my family lines.

James Doty Book At the Printers

I didn’t make the Christmas deadline I had set for myself, but did make it to the printers December 28th. The book will be available through my website in the new year. With the index of more than 3000 names, the book will be at least 120 pages, in hardback, with a few pictures. I’m so excited that it is finally done, but I know there was so much more to add. I think I’ll continue to collect obituaries, death certificates, grave photos, and family histories to add to a supplement of this book. So if you have any Shoemaker, Packard, Duart, Brown, More, Morse, etc., information please consider sharing that with me.

The Harrisburg Chapter, NSDAR book “Revolutionary War Patriots’ Historic Houses of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania” has been a hit. I continue to collect patriot homes throughout Pennsylvania for a possible follow-up book. The Historic Preservation Committee of Harrisburg has at least 60-80 more homes that could make up a second book. The research that is necessary for such a book will slow down our next publication date, but standby for more.

I have been invited to a number of local NSDAR chapters and historical societies to talk about the Revolutionary War homes in PA and always get a lead on yet another home. It amazes me that so many of these homes remain and occupied. By bringing these homes to public attention, it is our intent to keep them for many generations to come, to enjoy.

Another Ancestor in the Revolutionary War

I have finally proven my ancestor, Susannah Shafer Shoemaker Ayres, to be the daughter of Adam Shafer and Elizabeth Swartout/Swartwood of Luzerne County, PA. This was a hard one. I first found her listed on an application for NSDAR, as one of the children of Adam and Elizabeth. I could prove all the other children, but could never find a record to connect my Susannah to any parents. I began to think maybe I was trying to prove a negative – these weren’t really her parents. I checked for records in many of the counties of Pennsylvania, between New Jersey, where Adam was born to Franklin County where he was living at one point.

“Never give up” is now my motto. I had sent an email many years ago to a person on the internet, inquiring if she had any information about my ancestor. Just about when my 2 years was running out on the DAR application, this wonderful person wrote back that she had transcribed some letters that might be helpful. The letters were written by Adam Shafer’s grandson and included connecting information about “Aunt Susannah”, he had attended the Shoemaker reunions, he knew his grandfather, viola, connection.

Folks, this is what it is all about. Share those family stories, letters, bible inscriptions. Put it out there so we can get connected. I now have another line of my family documented for the ages. We need to make these connections so our children and their children will know from where they are descended.

Genealogy Consultant Course at NSDAR

I took the Genealogy Consultant course at NSDAR last week.  What a way to get rejuvenated in genealogy.  Much of it was aimed at completing NSDAR applications, but everyone learned a thing or two about doing research and where to look.  There are so many sites available for free that contain valuable information about our ancestors.

When working on a Revolutionary War ancestor for DAR, service and location is key.  If they were in the militia in Cumberland County, but they lived in Chester County, you probably have the wrong soldier.  Militia groups were formed locally.  It is not unheard of that they may have joined somewhere else, but doubtful.

NSDAR has put the Genealogy Research System (GRS) on the public site at www.dar.org.  If you think you know of an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War or provided civil or patriotic service you may be eligible to join this lineage society.

Beardsley/Beardslee Family Reunions

This week I’m working on my Beardsley family and found a distant cousin.  Kevin helped me to connect my family to my elementary school best friend, Diane.  I’m beginning to think I’m related to all of my school buddies from Bradford County, PA.

I’m looking for a Beardsley who may have fought in the Revolutionary War (on our side) to get another supplemental in the DAR.  The Beardsleys I’m looking at are the family of my gr., gr., gr., gr. grandmother Ruth Beardsley who married Ziba Morse.  Her father was William, who was born in the middle of the Revolutionary War (1777) so couldn’t have joined the fray.  His father, Jesse, was born 1737, so could have been in the war.  This will take a bit more research to connect the whole way back to William Beardsley who immigrated here in 1625. Until then, I’ll just keep collecting cousins and hope to find more Beardsley/Beardslee’s to share research.  If you have information to share, please reply to my blog.

Revolutionary War Patriot Homes

Our local DAR Chapter has been working on documenting Revolutionary War Patriot Homes that are still in existence in Dauphin Co., PA.  We have made a good start, but have opened up to the remainder of the State of Pennsylvania to add additional homes that have been found.  I have received a few names and am now putting together a talk on some of these homes.  The purpose is to keep them preserved for future generations.

If you go on line at HABS or the National Registry of Historic Places you will find information about some of these homes.  With that and copies of the deeds, you can put together quite an interesting story.  You can also find some disturbing news, such as the very old, Mendenhall Inn was demolished in 2002 and replaced with a new building.  This is the kind of thing we want to keep from happening to these historic old homes.  By making people aware of the age and history of these homes, we hope to help preserve them.

If you know of any old homes that were occupied in the 1700 or early 1800s by a Revolutionary War veteran, let me know.  We would love to document and preserve their history.

Historic Preservation is everyone’s job

I began my preservation career as the first Chairman in the State of Pennsylvania for the historic preservation committee in NSDAR and in the first year we had the first ever Historic Preservation Project Contest National, Regional and State winner.

Our local DAR chapter began our own project of documenting homes that were originally occupied by a Revolutionary War patriot, that are still in existence.  We were documenting ownership, photographing the property and making a list of these homes.  We hope the entire State will join our efforts and send information on their local patriot homes.

We have not had any additions to our local list, but as I travel around the State, ladies are occasionally giving me leads of homes to be recorded.  We are making these records so that these homes are not destroyed by people who are not aware of the history behind the home.  We hope that making more people aware of the existence of these homes will also give the present owners a sense of responsibility to maintain these historic buildings.

Do you know the history of your home?  Do you know how to go about finding out the history.  I can help you research your home, just contact me for a quote.