“Doing genealogical research is like putting together a colorful giant jigsaw puzzle. At first there is a confusing array of individual pieces, but when they can be joined together properly they make a complete picture. In the beginning, though, it is a puzzle, as one writer says, “whose borders are missing and whose images are unclear. Often a single source…must be parsed and stretched to fill in gaps in what happened, or what may have happened, in the past.” 
And there is usually no straightforward way to go about it; one fits in a piece here, another piece there, and only some time later is there the means to understand how it comes together. Modern “search engines” online are an enormous help in locating those missing pieces, and it is the detective work that makes it fun.
Anyone who launches into learning more about family genealogy usually soon finds himself or herself deep into history, social and cultural mores, the economy at any given time, and even the vagaries of weather, as for example, when a supply ship on the way to the tiny Virginia colony at Jamestown carrying the new governor is blown off course by a hurricane and shipwrecks instead on the uninhabited island that would later be called Bermuda–delaying for a year the arrival in Virginia of all onboard, and also providing the backstory for Shakespeare’s The Tempest!
Thiswebsite will contain a portion of what I know about my ancestry, starting arbitrarily from the time of the earliest European settlement of North America.
I do, in fact, have information from much earlier times in our lineage, but it is not yet ready for easy reading. Perhaps it will come together on another day, so that one can see, for example, how we have deep roots in France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, and Germany. All of that is a fascinating story, but it must wait.
I am choosing in this telling to begin at a time that enables my children and their descendants to trace their roots back in this particular land in which they live. So, for now, we begin with the “backstory” that led eventually to the European settlement of America by our ancestors and others.
Our oral history is strong that we also descend from Native Americas living here before any Europeans came. Some names are there, but I have not been able to document them precisely, despite the strongest assertions by numerous sources. I will include all the information I have on this, along with many other uncertainties and assumptions and hopeful hints.
What we do know for sure is that our family history is connected with the history of America from the very earliest time that Englishmen arrived on the continent. We don’t know the names of all of these early ancestors, but we do know an amazing amount about many of them.
I am including in this account a great deal of historical information, the context into which we must place our ancestors and their journeys if we are to know them at all. Perhaps, as you read, you may think that “this is more history than I need,” but I include details as I find them because they may later prove to be important verification because of dates, locations of property, neighbors, witnesses, etc.
I have used the dates of the reigns of the English monarchs as the chapter divisions during the colonial period, because life changed dramatically for people, even in America, as there were changes from one ruler to the next in England.
The surnames I can prove so far in my list of ancestors are numerous indeed. We are related to presidents and pirates, to patriots and deserters, to people from many nationalities. The list of all the various descendants of all the branches of the family tree fills and overflows my computer memory. Indeed, like anyone who studies genealogy, I have come to have the distinct feeling that if one goes back far enough in human history, we are all related!
However, gratifying as that sense of being part of the universal human family may be, there is something special about knowing one’s own family roots within a particular culture; there is something important about knowing the distinct ancestral elements that have shaped one’s personal lineage and character. Without this awareness, we have no means to understand many factors that unconsciously contribute to and in some ways determine our behavior.
The study of one’s genealogy becomes, for those who practice it, an an extension farther and farther back into the mists of time. One reads about one’s great-great-great grandfather or mother, some single item, such as a tax payment on land and cotton, and one wonders, “What was it like then? How did they live? What did they think, do, feel? What historical events swept into their lives, causing them to move thousands of miles to a wilderness, to another territory or state? Why did they join the revolution? Why did they sell all their slaves? How did they learn their trade or their healing skills?” These and many other questions lead us on into deeper and deeper study of history and our people, and as it does, we learn more and more about ourselves.
But, however much we research, there is much we do not learn about our ancestors, much we will never learn. There are always gaps in the records, maddening blind spots we can’t see clearly, clues that are so close, seemingly certain, but undocumented. There is much conjecture in genealogy. One gets hunches, goes on assumptions. One gets information from others who swear it to be fact, only to discover contradictory “facts” somewhere else. There are the courthouses that burned to the ground during the Revolution or the Civil War, so that the very records we need to make connections no longer exist. There are people who seem to simply disappear for no good reason! But, happily, we continue our quest.
I want to thank all the researchers before me who have recorded the history that I have been able to draw from. Some genealogists are more exact in their documentation than others, and thus more reliable as sources. Some genealogists are such “purists” that they are discouraging and, I think, pompous in their dismissal of anything they themselves haven’t proven. The genealogical record is such a patchwork of information, scattered here and there in county courthouses, family bibles, oral histories, cemetery headstones, and even, now, in old out of date books and records scanned and available online, that new connections are uncovered day by day, and it behoves us all, I think, to keep open minds to consider all sources.
What is given here is, I know, still full of heresay evidence—old Bible records written by someone I never met, oral family history passed on one to another, census records written down by someone who could care less about spelling or the certainty of one’s grandfather’s birthplace. (Indeed, I should advise the reader not to worry about spelling variations; early genealogical records are rife with varied spellings, even on the same document that is obviously about the same person.)
So these present accounts are only my best current guess, the best I can offer at this time. I hope some one of my descendants will have the time or interest to pursue it further and enjoy the pursuit as much as I do. For the rest of you, I give these tracings to you in love, our heritage. We have much to be proud of, much to be amused by, much to live up to.
Mostly what I see in our history are brave and hardy people, loving the land, loving liberty enough to fight for it, and loving each other, passing their heritage of freedom and responsibility down to us. May we take it respectfully, proudly, and gratefully, and may we continue loving the land in our turn, loving liberty in our turn, loving our family in our turn. That is my hope for all of my descendants.
It only remains to observe the mysterious windings and weavings of the patterns of our history. Here are recorded a few of these. Read, enjoy, and take up the search. You will find it richly rewarding.