Saturday, December 03, 2011

Lost Treasure

Maybe it is that I am no longer young and numb, having worn out the young leaving just the numb. Maybe it is because I find myself less connected to the Present world as it spins by me.  Or maybe it is because two people, one on the west coast and one on the east coast independently contacted me within two weeks of each other.  Both were inquiring about my family's past.  Regardless, I find myself becoming fascinated by the chain of events and people who participated in them creating the flow of history that has me playing a bit part here in Maine some 350 years later.

First it was my cousin on my mom's side.  I opened my email one morning and there was "" notifying me that I had been added to a family tree - the Faulkners of San Francisco.  I located my cousin whom I had not seen for over 25 years and set him straight on a couple of family miscues on the tree.  He had my grandfather right on my father's side but not my grandmother.  He also had questions regarding what I might know about the Faulkners as passed down from my mom.  Unfortunately, I had precious little as it turned out.

Then yesterday, a journalism student from Pennsylvania contacted me through the Acton Library.  She was researching my grandfather, Dr. Robert Shuter Macrum of Sewickley, PA who had died in 1913 at the age of 45.  A professor had taken her class to a cemetery in Germantown, PA and told them to pick a headstone and do a biography.  She picked my grandfather's.  Again I was not of much help other than supplying her with some images and a few kernels of history I had managed to collect by just being around family gatherings at the right time.  I actually learned more from her than she did from me.

It appears that one branch of my family has been here since the mid 1600s and were original lessees of land from William Penn.  It also appears I have noble Brit blood flowing in my veins and she found a history dating back to the 1000's.  That's 1000 years ago.  My mind is blown now.

I found out  two of my ancestors died in the Neshaminy Flood of 1683 that swept through Bucks County, PA.  Their two sons, having been orphaned, were sent back to Barbados to live with relatives until they came of age.  One at least returned to try and reclaim his family's land.  He had two sons and died in 1705 in or around Philadelphia.  He bequeathed his two sons the princely sum of 20 pounds apiece once they reached the age of 21.  They had a long wait.  They were about ages 4 and 6 when he died.  Apparently he was a merchant of some kind as the rest of his will was about dispensing with a barrel of rum, some bolts of cloth, beads and other valuable commodities of that era.

I am now bitten with a new quest.  We'll see if I have it in me to chase down more of the history of my family.  I supposedly have connections to the very area I live in now through my mom's family.  It will be interesting to look into.



Tom Harper said...

Interesting family tree. Sewickley, PA -- small world. That's where my sister and her husband live. His family (last name Walker) goes back several generations in Sewickley.

yellowdoggranny said...

my entire family is pissed at me..we've always assumed we were Irish..proud of the red hair and 'the Irish' name..then I started doing the family tree..we were not Irish..we were vikings who took up with some people in England from there on we were thrown out of every country we lived in..couple of them got run out of Alabama for stealing horses..I like being a viking better than Irish.

Commander Zaius said...

It also appears I have noble Brit blood flowing in my veins...

Never really learned the details but my dad's side of the family swears they had an English title at one point.

Don't really believe that, you'd have to know my dad's side to appreciate my skepticism.

MRMacrum said...

Tom Harper - Our family's connection to Sewickley ended with my grandfather's death. My grandmother moved the family to the Philly area to live with her relatives.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY - It's so yesterday and common to be Irish. We let too many of them in. Now being of Viking blood, that is so very cool.

My people are Scotch, Irish, Welsh and English. Bunch of boring white folk who apparently had interesting things happen to them.

I remember as a kid wishing I was an Indian. Not an Indian Indian, but Injun Indian.

Beach Bum - I figure unless I have a castle I can claim, having noble blood is useless.

susan said...

I heard a couple of my cousins in England were spending time working on family trees. Personally, I've always preferred to imagine my ancestors painting themselves blue and dancing naked around Stonehenge. I think some of them may still be doing that.

Surly said...

This is very interesting!

Mr. Charleston said...

The same kind of thing happened to me at a family reunion where one our my distant cousins had traced the family tree back to ancient England. Like yours, my family too came to the colonies in the mid 1600's. But I find that I'm simply not interested enough to study the subject.

MRMacrum said...

susan - I heard that "Thou Shalt not Dance Naked" was the 11th Commandment. But due to the size constrictions of the stone stone they were etching them in, they could only fit 10. But believe it when I tell you God does not want anyone dancing naked.

Carla Ganiel - Well hay stranger. Glad you stopped by.

Mr Charleston - My Aunt was the family historian. I wish I had paid more attention to her when I was a small fry. Now that I realize I have never been concerned with where I came from or where I was headed, at least now I have a chance to understand one of them.

Randal Graves said...

So this is a case of, if a certain 37 people meet the reaper, you become king of England?

Ol'Buzzard said...

Tracing ancestors is a form of expotential counting - it doubles each generation: After 10 generations you have a direct line of 1,024 ancestors and after 20 generations you are evenly and directly kin to 1,480,576 people - and then the numbers get really big. Picking out one line to follow is like choosing one favorite star in the universe.

I admit I have gone back four generations on my mothers side - My father - who the hell knows? But,it is a good bet that if we go back far enough you and I will find a common ancestor.
the Ol'Buzzard