Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Journey to an Ancestor

Category: "Write, Write, Write"
Event D: write biographical ancestor sketch (Part 1)

To begin telling the story of one of my ancestors in a biographical sketch, I must tell you how I found out about this ancestor and the steps it took to learn about him.

Family history told me about this lady, my 2nd great- grand aunt, my great grandfather Charlie's sister. Her name was Frances Denison Stewart before she married. Her mother was a Denison and her father was a Stewart.

They called her Fannie and as you can see by her gravestone (1866-1963) she was still living in my lifetime. Many women in my family live a very long time.

I do have a vague memory of visiting her because she never allowed women to be in her house wearing slacks. My mother put a dress on me and we went to see her. I remember the huge horse chestnut tree outside her house and my father and I gathered up the horse chestnuts while my grandmother and mother spent more time with her. That was fun.

She was VERY proud of being a DAR member. She lived in Groton, CT and was the wife of George Owen Miner. I have no photos of her but I did contact her DAR Chapter and they told me all about her even to the part where no woman could wear slacks in her presence. They were kind enough to direct me to her grave in the Starr Burying Ground. My grandmother and my mother were not interested in the DAR but I have found other family members from CT who have belonged to that chapter and must have known her.

I looked up her lineage to prove her DAR membership exisited and found out the Revolutionary War ancestor was named Col. Benadam Gallup. While my papers were being processed in Washington, I set out to find her grave and to find the graves of the people in the Gallup line.

I am thrilled to tell you that I have taken ALL of the gravestones from the immigrant ancestor John Gallup down to my mother. Every single one! (husbands and wives) I wish I could do this for all my lines.

To join the DAR you must first send for birth, marriage and death certificates back for three generations. In the line of my records, then my parents, then my grandparents, it only took about 3 weeks to send for (by mail) and receive back (by mail). The longest time taken and most expensive was the death record of my grandfather from Boston ($28).

Using the magic of the Web, I found that Col. Benadam Gallup was buried (when he died) in Groton. That location is now Ledyard. It took me a while to get the right location by figuring out Town incorporation dates.

It took some more time to get directions to find the graveyard. Many people helped. No one told me it was gated and locked or I might not have gone. Climbing over stone walls is not in my plan. (But, I have had to do that since that day to go back there with a town historian!)

Because it was the weekend before Memorial Day, the men mowing the grass were in the graveyard. The gates were wide open and they took a break so I could find his grave. Isn't that amazing? I think it was meant to be. I'd found him!

Now, that you know about my journey, I can write my ancestor sketch.

2008 Genea-Bloggers Games

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