The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Over 70 years ago, my father wrote information about his family in my baby book.  My Mom did the same.  Her sentence was quite simple…”All four of Dianne’s great grandparents on her mom’s side immigrated from the Netherlands.”

Dad laid out a tree of his side of the family with an arrow from his grandfather Herbert Nichols to ‘great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Nicholas Nichols, from Maine, who fought in the American Revolution.”  Its taken me a few years, but yesterday, I think I found Nicholas Nichols in the records from the National Archives.

I feel such a sense of accomplishment.  I have worked my way through so many dead ends, so many misleading clues, and the wishful wanderings of so many confused relatives trying to reconstruct the past. There are many descendants, and many have the same idea.

You would expect nothing but confusion with generation after generation of males with multiple wives and children…all with the same last name.  Once upon a time, they all knew each other.  The Nichols boys migrated from Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, however, most of their wives are descended from grandparents who left England during the Great Puritan Migration that took place during the seventeenth century. Many of my ancestors were part of the Plymouth Colony.

Wiki says:

The Puritan migration to New England was marked in its effects in the two decades from 1620 to 1640. The term Great Migration usually refers to the [sic] period of English settlers, primarily Puritans to Massachusetts and the warm islands of the West Indies, especially Barbados. They came in family groups, rather than as isolated individuals, and were motivated chiefly by a quest for freedom to practice their Puritan (Calvinist) religion.

Next my ancestors turn up is as jurors on witch trials or accused of witchcraft themselves.

[sic]  The Puritans created a deeply religious, socially tight-knit, and politically innovative culture that is still present within the modern United States (think Tea Party and Christian Evangelists).

They hoped this new land would serve as a “redeemer nation.” They fled England, and in America attempted to create a “nation of saints”: an intensely religious, thoroughly righteous, community designed to be an example for all of Europe.

After this period, my ancestors are found in documents pertaining to the American War of Independence, one of them dying at Lexington in 1775.

They were settlers and farmers, “Indian fighters”, builders of rail and road, and later Abolitionists and Union soldiers.  Goodness, and I thought Dad was exaggerating when he told us about his family history.


While I work on the family tree, I take breaks and step outside to admire the gardens around my house. They aren’t huge, and over the years, I have come to know every square inch of dirt.  I am pleased most plants survived the winter.  Even some of the plants in pots (herbs) made it through the cold spells. I spotted Virginia Bluebell buds yesterday.  When they bloom, I will take a photo. I also spotted a mosquito.  Apparently, they weathered the storms too.  Gardeners, like builders of nations learn they must expect the good with the bad.

14 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. I once heard an acquaintance say that delving into one’s family tree was something akin to being a detective. Great post Dianne, interesting to learn of your family.


  2. wrong-way Braddock. Love it – which way did he fire? The wrong way!
    Like GM I’ve also been contacted by a distant rellie after he read something I’d posted on my blog. After a few intial soundings out on both our parts there he wad tucked into a distant corner of a tree I was given many years ago.
    Maybe sometime we’ll have the time to go and visit him in Ireland

    Thanks for your vote of confidence BTW (on the blog look) – we knew the new detective’s face and could visualise the old series from when he was a ‘child actor’ but couldn’t think of the series name. And of course Phrynne with the fabulous wardrobe of clothes is a favourite of us all – filmed here in Melbourne as well. Vera hasn’t been on our screens for a while – not sure if a new series will be made or not.


    • I wish I had been able to get to NZ and Australia when I lived in the Pacific years ago. Love Phrynne and her detective too. As the author is writing a different detective series set way off the coast of Scotland, I doubt we will see more of Vera. Yes, the Paradise actor played Nick on ‘My Family’.


  3. Researching a family tree is an adventure full of surprises. I wrote a piece about the marriage of my paternal grandparents, back at the end of January. I was contacted by a lady who found my blog post while looking for information on someone I mentioned in the post. She gave me sufficient information for me to realise it was a genuine enquiry. I emailed with a titbit to whet her appetite and she wrote back immediately with more information confirming we were both on the same hymn sheet, and with further information that I did nor already have. I in turn have some information that she wants. The onion of my life history peels back another layer!


    • Oh No! Was his name wrong-way Braddock? Braddock Road here in NOVA is the route he took. He was supposed to go North, but took his men West by mistake. The scary thing is GW was with him, and working as a surveyor.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s