Yesterday, Cousin Ann and I had a wonderful talk about our mutual family tree.  We’ve set the date to visit the National Gallery together when she is in town next week.  David sighed in relief because I am not dragging him out.  He likes it when I go out, which is seldom (I’d rather be reading in my easy chair).  When I’m out, he can listen to classical music with the sound turned up, or watch tennis on TV, or whatever takes his fancy, usually a nap while watching the weather reports.

This morning, I’ve been working on the the branch of the family tree Anne and I share through my Dad and Anne’s mom Rosie.  Anne began working on this limb when she was a teenager and had access to two of grandmother’s sisters, Ruby and Sister Lois. Great Aunt Ruby had tracked part of the family back to the third generation which migrated to Wisconsin in the early 1800s.

Sister Lois told me in a letter that her dad’s family was English descent and from New Hampshire. Check.

Anne asked me if Ellen Adley, our second great-grandmother was French Canadian. (Ellen was Aunt Rosie and Dad’s great-grandmother.)

It seems she was Canadian, but more likely descended from the English or Scots who settled in East Canada.

Genealogy charts are not one-dimensional.  To understand a family and uncover the context and lives of individuals, you must move around the tree, looking at the family links from the perspective of each individual. It takes an enormous amount of time to do this.

For purposes of understanding what I write below, imagine Ellen as Ego in a ethnography or genealogy chart. Below her in the family tree are children grandchildren, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews….hundreds of them, including Anne and me, her great-great grandchildren.  Above her are Ellen’s ancestors, parents and grandparents, thousands of them. Next to her are brothers and sisters, husbands and wives.

                                                                 A Story

About 1840, Warren Adley from Maine, and Hannah Smith from Canada married in Quebec City.  Warren and Hannah moved to Coos County, New Hampshire in the United States and had three children, Lorenzo, Ellen, and Hezediah.  Sadly, Hannah died about 1851 when the youngest child Hezediah was 3 years old.

Warren remarried perhaps with the idea of having a wife to take care of the three children. In the mid-1850s, when he was about 14, Lorenzo left home to work on a relative’s farm in Massachusetts as a laborer. Ellen married Jonas Nichols when she turned 16 about 1859.  Around the same time, Hezeidiah Adley went to live with Warren’s mother’s brother Charles.  Warren’s mother was from the Bisbee clan (maiden name).  Eventually, Hezediah married a first cousin, Albert Bisbee, son of Warren’s mother’s brother Moses. (Thus Albert is my second great grand aunt’s husband and a first cousin five time removed through Warren.)

The nation was on the verge of Civil War in 1861, and when the War came, Warren joined the Maine Militia’s Mounted Horse soldiers and rode to battle with his state troopers. Albert Bisbee and Lorenzo Adley also joined the Maine Mounted Horse Soldiers, later the U.S. Calvary.

Jonas Nichols and all five of his brothers joined the service in 1863, a couple in the U.S. Infantry, one in the U.S. Army Artillery (big guns). Some of the brothers worked with the railroads hauling men and equipment.

After the Civil War, Warren decided to settle where he had served last ( in Minnesota), and he opened a hotel and railroad eating house.  Warren’s second wife Rosalba migrated west and joined him.  They had three children in Minnesota where Warren and Rosalba are buried.

Simultaneously, Hezediah migrated West and joined Albert who had decided to make the U.S. Calvary a career as a horse soldier (he was a saddler and horse wrangler.  Hezediah was thus a military wife in the wild west until Albert was injured and retired on a disability pension and opened a blacksmith shop.  Hezediah and Albert have many descendants. She died about 1921.

Lorenzo Adley returned to his birthplace in New Hampshire, a hero, married, and became involved in local politics.

Ellen and Jonas migrated west to Janesville Wisconsin where he worked for the railroad until he died about 10 years after the Civil War.  Ellen lived until about WWII. My father knew her as great-grandma Ellen. One of my cousins is named for her.


There’s much more detail, but I’ve not included it here.  Instead I pulled up a couple of links that I found inspirational. Enjoy.

7 thoughts on “Medly

  1. Unfortunately not many of my cousins think the same way as I do which has meant relying on online sites for distant past information. You have been lucky with your contacts – there seems to be new details every week. Hope it continues for you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most of what I know about my family comes from my own research. For example, I have poured through military records, city directories, vital statistics records, census records, immigration records and other primary sources, and also put two and two together from time to time. For example, recognizing that my second great-grand mother’s sister married someone with the same last name as one of her ancestors and following up on this lead.

      I had a good start because I had older relatives on both sides of the family who had begun the investigation, but their work only takes me so far. Plus, I need to verify what they found. Fortunately, I have cousins on both sides who share an interest in this work. Mostly they are content to enjoy what I discover, however.

      The most important thing I did was talk to my elders before they died. I encourage everyone to do the same.


  2. How lovely to have a cousin who is as interested in genaeology as you are. Gregg has connected with many of his cousins as he has put his family information on Facebook. It’s become a wonderful hobby for him as he enjoys keeping in touch with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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