Finding my Revolutionary War Ancestors in the DAR

I happened to read the Eastman Online Genealogy newletter yesterday morning (on the Fourth of July, in the U.S.) as I was drinking my first cup of coffee and one of the articles was about finding your Revolutionary War patriots and reminded me of the DAR online site.  So, since Judy and I are talking about a trip to Wachington DC this fall, I thought I would start a list.

I spent all of the morning and much of the afternoon down this rabbit hole, but it occurred to me that it was at least an appropriate activity for the Fourth of July.  And I did work on getting the laundry done around my searching.  Since both got done by the end of the afternoon, I feel like it was a productive day!

I already have (somewhere) the DAR application from my collateral ancestor, Alberta Minor Flint.  In addition, I have known for quite a long time that my ancestor Oliver Snow, was a Patriot, although I don’t think I have any DAR papers from his line.  These two possibilities are on my mother’s side of the family.  I also thought there were Revolutionary War soldiers on my father’s side of the family tree, so it made sense to get organized and look at every possible man (by date of birth) in my direct ancestor line.  I started looking at every man born 1760 or earlier, in the colonies or having migrated in before the end of the War.

I created a note in a new Evernote notebook for the trip to Washington, and using the checkboxes created a list of names and DAR Ancestor numbers.  I have one more part of the tree on my mother’s side to explore and all of my father’s (I think) is done.

Next I will post about who is on my Patriots list and research what the information will allow me to discover onsite at the DAR Library this Fall.  Since requesting the file online costs between $20-30, I’m excited about possibly being able to look at and copy these files for myself!

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July Genealogy To-Do

July promises to be a busy month on several fronts.  We are doing a family reunion for one brach of my husband’s family in a couple of weeks, which means seeing some cousins not seen in awhile and meeting others for the first time – for both of us.  The family was united at my father-in-law’s generation by mostly living in the Syracuse, NY.  Since then there has been a lot of movement and now (like many families) they live all over the country.  Looking forward to it!

The most important project I have to focus on for July is really and truly finishing the new family tree for the wedding in the fall.  I pick it up and put it down repeatedly but haven’t really focused on it to make it a priority.  That’s what I need to do in July.  If I can figure out what is left for me to find out, and what pictures I need to find from other people, I shuld be able to do that.  Then all I have to do is decide how I want a printed wall chart to look and then to make that happen.  Easy, right?!

Organizing computer files will be my fallback, spare 25 minutes, task.  If I can make progress on that – and really have the new tree ready to print by the end of the month I will feel like I made progress.

Happy Summer!!

Posted in Bits and Pieces

Calling All Coffins, or, How My Coffin Lines Are Related

I recently connected with a possible relative through DNA testing.  Our mitochondrial DNA looks vaguely like there is a connection, so we have been emailing about possible shared ancestors.  While exchanging surnames, the Coffin line looked promising (although not my maternal line, so not the mitochondrial connection) and we went on to exchange spreadsheets of our Coffin lineages.  I have to admit here that I copied her spreadsheet as a template (thank you, cousin Diana!).

I have always known (well, for a long time) that I had ancestors who had married, each of whom came from a line of Coffins.  I also have ancestors who came from the same line in the Justice family, and they married into the Coffin family, just to make it more complicated.  I had never taken the time or effort to try to chart these complex relationships in any way.  When I thought about writing a post about this, I thought I could just show the spreadsheet I filled in and that would be it.  However, since I can’t include/insert the whole spreadsheet which is more than one page wide, I was stuck trying to think of another way to illustrate the relationships succinctly.  Then it occurred to me (this is a “Duh!” moment) that I can capture a screenshot of each set and include them sequentially.  So here they are.

Note: there are dates here that I haven’t fully verified myself.  Most of them come from a compiled genealogy on the Coffin family by Louis Coffin1 Some individuals don’t have dates or full ones, anyway, although I have guessed broadly (e.g., 17xx or 18xx) in some cases.  On the first set I have noted relationships between spouses, and then on the second any additional ones.  I tend to think of my Coffin line as running back to James, since that is the line that carried the Coffin surname the closest to me, however these are presented by age of the child of Tristram and Dionis, oldest to youngest.  Also: the relationship between my great-grandmother Katie Coffin and her husband John Clifford Salt is the result of their sharing a Justice great grandfather, Jesse Justice Sr., not a Coffin ancestor.
Coffin, Peter - line of descent

  Coffin, James - line of descent
Coffin, Mary and Stephen - lines of descent

  1.  Coffin, Louis (Ed.).  The Coffin Family.  Nantucket, MA: Nantucket Historical Association, 1962.
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June Genealogy To-Do

May was a fairly productive month, but much of what I accomplished was organizational so doesn’t show much.  I need to better divide my time into organizational and research time.

I did finish the draft of the William Boorman will, which is pretty exciting because it names children including my ancestor Ann Boorman who married William Denman.  I’ve sent the original and the transcript off to my cousin Claudia to have a fresh pair of eyes read the original and make sure I’ve been accurate in my transcription.

I also have two new Denman relatives in the DNA pipeline and am impatiently awaiting results (even though one was only mailed from England last Friday).  I hope both of these will produce interesting results and I will be writing more about them.

For this coming month, I will continue to work on the upcoming wedding family tree.  I have the groom’s in pretty good shape and need to make sure the bride’s is in matching good shape.  I will still need to pester their parents for family pictures.  Then I need to make decisions about a visual presentation for the new couple.

I also will try to spend some time on my husband’s lines this month.  We have a family reunion coming up for his side in early July, and I want to know what my questions are as well as to refresh my memory about the people and connections.

These two projects along with some further work on my organization will keep me as occupied as I have the time for this busy month.

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Susan Wilcox Justice (1797-1881)

Susan Wilcox Justice

Susan Wilcox Justice

Susan Wilcox was the last of my direct female ancestors to have migrated from Nantucket to Cincinnati in the early 1800s.  She was about 14 years old when her mother (Phebe Foye), step-father (Thomas Myrick), and 3 half-siblings moved off the island she was born on and moved West.  Her father had died young, perhaps at sea which wasn’t uncommon for Nantucketers, but there is no record showing this.  She was the only child of Reuben Wilcox and Phebe Foye.

It is likely that the young Myrick family first settled in Clermont county, Ohio for at least a few years.  They may have then moved into Cincinnati, or maybe Susan moved in to live with a relative to be in a more settled area.  Whatever the reason, Susan was said in an obituary to have lived in Cincinnati from 1811 (when the family migrated West) to 1845 before moving across the Ohio River to Newport, Kentucky where she lived out her life.

We don’t know how Susan met Jesse Justice, Jr., possibly in Cincinnati through one or another social interaction.  Jesse was the son of a Methodist circuit rider and preacher, and they were married on 3 June 1819 in Clermont county, Ohio by Andrew Pinkham, J.P.  Andrew Pinkham would have been a Nantucket friend of Susan and her family (see the post on Sea Letters).  At that time Jesse lived on a farm in Clermont county and the young couple probably first settled on his farm.  Jesse later moved into Cincinnati and had a grocery business.  The move was presumably before September 1830 when he wrote to his mother who was still in Clermont county that he had sold his farm and needed her to sign a quit-claim deed.

Susan and Jesse had 7 children in all, but only 3 lived into adulthood.  The other children died in infancy or as a young child; three of the 4 died between 1833-1834.  Susan was in her mid-30s when these deaths occurred, all in Cincinnati.  Her last child, a son, was born in April 1840 in Cincinnati.  The family likely moved to Newport, Kentucky across the Ohio River from Cincinnati soon after that.

Her husbandJustice, Susan - 1881 - obituary Jesse only lived to age 55, dying in July 1850.  She lived on in Newport, consistently next door to her only daughter’s family.  Her youngest son was only a few months older than her daughter’s first child and these cousins grew up together.  Susan became the matriarch of the two families and was particularly important for the younger of her granddaughters.  Susan’s daughter, Catherine Justice Coffin, died of tuberculosis at a young age, having been sick for some time and her younger daughter (my great grandmother Katie) was not yet 14 when she died.

Susan lived to age 84, dying in July 1881 at her home in Newport.  There were a number of newspaper notices and obituaries reporting on her life and her death.  This is one that provided some information about her life.

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