Research
* Write to Christ Church to see if there are records there of Lucy and Thomas O’Shaughnessy’s marriage.
* Write to Ditchling church about possible archives and records for Denman family.

Organization
* Still trying to get that last inbox cleared – somehow there is always something more urgent (read: interesting) to do. Determined to do this over the holiday season.
* Back up the blog! Plug-ins found to automate this task don’t meet my needs.

Education
* Read book from the library about solving problems in family search.
* Watch one online video or webinar about genealogy. [I watched Marian Pierre-Louis's webinar about intermediate solutions for brick walls. Excellent and I took away several suggestions along with the book noted above. I also watched the webinar at RootsMagic about creating a source for the 1940 census. Now I just need to do it.]
* Find a new webinar site that archives and/or puts up free webinars [No luck so far, but I haven't really looked very hard.]

We have the boat out of the water, the bathtub filled with water and everything off the deck.  There’s enough peanut butter to survive on and the flashlights are ready and so we sit here in coastal Connecticut watching the winds pick up and hoping for the best.

We hope that our friends who live directly on the shoreline and who have already evacuated will return on Wednesday to find their homes intact.  I hope that this is not the storm when I lose the perennial argument with my spouse about taking down my favorite backyard tree.  He sees it as a menace to health and safety and I see it as the beautiful, iconic sheltering maple that everyone wishes they had in their backyards.

Our little town is already 25% out of power.  We are tiny and have no industry or healthcare facilities, so we are always the first to lose power and the last to be restored.  I am hoping to get this up today, if not you will see it next week.

Of course, all this makes me think of the weather events our ancestors survived without benefit of three days of constant updates from the weather channel.

In Sprague, Washington the Costellos and their kin survived the flood of 1909.

Our Martin relatives first survived the storm that sank their Great lakes schooner, the Jessie Martin, and then the 1894 flooding of the Willamette River in their new home of Portland, OR.

This from  the Oregan History Project,    “In late May and early June of 1894, the Willamette River rose well above 30 feet, flooding the central business district of Portland.  The water remained for days, inspiring some Portlanders to accept the situation with the humor as displayed in this shot of “hunters” taking aim at decoys floating down the street. ”

My Silver relatives got through the blizzard of 1914 in Philadelphia , not to mention the more recent “snowmageddon”.

We do our best to create a safe environment.  Architecture, communication, and law have greatly reduced the loss of life from weather events, but mother nature still decides to do massive damage every once in a while.  I’m sure we will get through this year’s hurricane.  I mourn the loss of lives in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, and hope everyone on the East Coast has heeded the warnings and reached a safe place.  See you after the storm.

 

As I said to my walking buddy this morning: I wish I had known about this line of nonconformists in my college days. I was a child of the 60s. I would have loved it. And yes, I do make her listen to some of my genealogical trials and tribulations even though she isn’t one of us. I do try not to bore her too much or too often.

In trying to verify the marriage date and place of my 4g-grandparents, William Denman and Ann Boorman, I have discovered (re-discovered in Ann’s case) that they came from Nonconformist, or General Baptist families. They were not Church of England. In fact, Ditchling, where William was reportedly born is said to have been an important center for Baptists in the wider area in the 18th and 19th centuries.1

I say re-discovered in Ann’s case because I had been told that by a correspondent from Staplehurst, Kent, England several years ago. This woman had told me that: “The Boorman family were nonconformist, therefore children were not generally baptised, only (sometimes) appearing in parish registers as “born”. Weddings were often by licence so that they could avoid having banns called for 3 weeks before a wedding and were often not held where you might expect to find records of them.”2

So what information about William and Ann’s marriage do we have? The most prevalent is that they were married 24 Jun 1790 in Headcorn. This appears in a family group sheet in the Family History Library and in any number of family trees online. I have a copy of that family group sheet. It records that the information on this family record was obtained from F.A. Denman of Wakeman, Ohio, great grandson of the Wm. Denman who heads this family. F.A. Denman was my great-grandfather. This information is also now available on the website familysearch.org in several places.

As I wrote a few weeks ago (this post), I had always accepted this date and place as fact until I started trying to document events for myself. While my correspondent from Staplehurst had the same information, she didn’t have a source for it. When I contacted the Headcorn parish council the information I got back gave a different date but confirmed the place and provided some additional information, including that it was by licence and the names of two witnesses as well as a number (which I assume to be a registration number of some sort).

My online research and that of one of my Boorman researcher/relatives tells me that “From 1754 up to 1837 all marriages (with the exception of Quakers and Jews) had to take place in the parish church. Marriages of nonconformists during this period will normally have no indication of their nonconformity, though a marriage by licence could be an indicator of nonconformity.”3  Further this licence, likely a general one and not a special one issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury, required an allegation4 be filed that the two desiring to marry were of age and had no known impediments to the marriage. A bond was also required that stipulated an amount of money which would be paid if it turned out that the marriage was against Canon Law.

A search on Ancestry shows two sources of extracted parish records which list William Denman of Hythe, bachelor, and Ann Boorman of Headcorn, minor, father William Boorman, 23 Jun 1790 at Headcorn. Since these are extracted records of Canterbury licences I suspect that this is the licence (meaning there should also be an allegation and a bond somewhere in the parish). Also if the licence was issued 23 Jun then the marriage could well have taken place on 24 Jun, the next day. This image of a page obtained from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City shows that marriage recorded in a copy of the Register of the parish of Headcorn from Lady Day 1790 to Lady Day 1791.
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  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditchling
  2. correspondence with Anita Thompson, 25 Sep 2009
  3. www.sog.org.uk/leaflets /nonconformists.pdf
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegation

One day when I was visiting my mother in her Philadelphia home I actually did something other than lie about and eat her excellent cooking.  I sat my Mom down and went through most of the enormous number of family photos she saved. I labeled the photos of the people my mother could identify.  Even then there were an unfortunate number that couldn’t be identified, but my mother’s memory was amazing and a story came with each photo.  I was smart enough to write them down.

One of her stories was about her cousin Nathan Stein.  I never knew my grandmother or most of the Stein family, so I filed the picture and the story and pursued other genealogical interests.

A recent response to my post, Too Many Steins, made me go back and look at some of my notes.  I found this photo of Nathan Stein and my mother’s story about him.

Mom said that Nathan was her Uncle Joseph’s son and that he played in the Marine Band in Haiti.  She also said that Nathan had a picture of my mother painted by someone in Haiti.  I didn’t place much stock in this story.  As I’ve said before, my Russian Jewish immigrant family was not enthusiastic about military service.  As always, I should have listened to my mother.

My recent contact piqued my curiosity and I started to look for Nathan’s military records.  To my absolute delight Ancestry.com had the Marine muster rolls for 1798-1958.  If you had a relative in the Marines these muster rolls are pure gold.

Nathan enlisted in the Marines on June 3, 1924. I believe he was born in 1905, so he would have been 19 years old.  The muster roll for Battalion D of the Marine Barracks Training Station at Parris Island, South Carolina tells me that Nathan joined the Marines by enlisting at Parris Island.  This 19-year-old young man took himself 800 miles from Philadelphia to South Carolina to enlist. I assume there was a long train trip involved.

By August of 1924 Nathan had finished his training, qualified as a marksman and been transferred to the United States Marine Scoring Detachment in Quantico, Virginia. He remained in Quantico with brief detachments to Camp Perry in Ohio and on board the USS Dobbin until June of 1925.

In June 1925 Nathan was still at Quantico, but listed as “under instruction post band school.”  I wonder what the training involved.  I assume he already played an instrument, so he probably was learning to play it while marching. Although he remained with the band Nathan spent a few days in September of 1925 “under instruction Rifle Range” where he qualified as a sharpshooter. Apparently Nathan was handy with both a musical instrument and a rifle.

On October 19, 1925 Nathan boarded the USS Henderson.  He arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 24.  Why Haiti?  The United States occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934.

USS Henderson 1925

If you want to know more about the U.S. involvement there you can read about in Wikipedia.

This is a photo of the marine Band in Haiti in 1915, a bit earlier than Nathan’s time.

Although the muster rolls have lots of detail, one detail that is consistently missing is any mention of what instrument Nathan played.  I assume it was a horn or a drum of some kind, but it would be nice to know.

Nathan was discharged from the Marines on March 8, 1928 in Haiti ” at OWN convenience”. His home address is listed as his parent’s home at 2560 Corlis Street in Philadelphia.  His character was recognized as excellent.  I would have thought that Nathan would have headed for home at the Marine’s expense after his discharge, but apparently he remained in Haiti for another 8 months.  He is listed as a passenger on the SS Cristobal on Nov. 2, 1927, arriving in New York on November 7.

What was Nathan doing for those 8 months in Haiti?  Perhaps he was having a picture of my mother painted.  I would love to see it.

My four greats grandmother was Ann Boorman Denman. She was born in Staplehurst, Kent, England on 9 Aug 17721. She married my 4 great grandfather, William Denman, on 24 Jun2 or 24 Dec 1790, in Headcorn, Kent, England.

The date of their marriage is one of the questions I have about this couple. The date on the previously-cited family group sheet says 24 Jun. As I started to try to find documentation for the “facts” I had collected for the Denman-Boorman family, I contacted the parish council for Headcorn. The family group sheet said that was where and when William Denman and Ann Boorman had married and I wanted verification. What I hoped for was a copy of a register page showing their marriage. This was about 3-4 years ago, and at that time I couldn’t find anything in the usual places online (like the Ancestry or familysearch sites) that showed a source. My contact with the parish netted me the following statement: “Regarding your enquiry, Brian Ledger (our Server in Headcorn Church) has given me the following information from the Marriage Register to pass onto you. No.1099 24th December 1790. Denman, William bachelor of Hythe married Boorman, Ann spinster of Headcorn Witnesses – Benjamin Martin and William Ashdown.” Just recently I asked the question of an English Boorman cousin and he looked on a Kent Family History Society CD of records3 to tell me that he “can confirm that the information you were given by Brian Ledger is all correct apart from the date which is 24 Jun 1790 as we thought. The only other item missing from Brian is that the wedding was by licence rather than banns.” That would seem to settle that.

After they were married the young Denmans lived in Hythe, where their first three (at least) children were born. Hythe is a small coastal market town, and I have no information about what William worked at there although there is a lot of farm land and he may have farmed. As the map above shows, Headcorn (where Ann was living) and Hythe (where William had lived before their marriage) and Staplehurst (where Ann was born) are not very far apart (a maximum of about 33 miles).

In 1795 William and Ann and their three children sailed for the U.S. and arrived in New York City. The family story is that William left Ann and the children in New York and continued up the Hudson River to look at the 200 acres he had bought in Neversink sight unseen. While he was away, their daughter Elizabeth died in August. Ann and the two boys went north to join William. I have written in the past about climbing Denman Mountain and seeing the remains of the homestead that William and Ann built in that wilderness. I saw with my own eyes how difficult it must have been to hack a path and haul possessions to the top (and I was walking through new growth not the Forest Primeval).

The first several years the family lived in a lean-to with a natural rock chimney, as William and Ann cleared and planted and built a cabin. In a letter from Esther Boorman (wife of John Boorman and unknown relation to Ann) to Ann Billinghurst in December 17974 there was a description of the Denman family’s conditions.

At the time this letter was written, the third child was son Edward who was born in August 1797 so only an infant.

The family did persevere and thrive over time. The land was cleared and crops planted and first a cabin and then a house built. Ann and William went on to have a total of 11 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. My g-g-g-grandfather, John Denman, was their oldest son. Ann died in January of 1842. I have no picture of her: she died before photography was commonly used for portraits. I do have this picture of the family house taken much later (although I don’t know the date it was taken).
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  1. Taken from an LDS family group sheet – the information from F.A. Denman with Arline Booth Redford being the family representative. I believe that F.A.’s source was a family bible.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Vol 6 – CD 19
  4. transcript of letter in “Township of Neversink 1798-1998″ compiled and written by Loretta Ackerley, Town Clerk, for the bicentennial celebration of Neversink.

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