Thursday, July 19, 2012

North Carolina & Virginia Ancestors

As one works their way up my family tree, they will mostly find New England ancestors.  I grew up on the south shore of Massachusetts in Plymouth County, and so did the majority of my ancestors.  Though some of them were scattered throughout Massachusetts, naturally all lines converged in Plymouth County, where all 8 of my great-grandparents lived out their lives.

Many also found their way to and from Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  There were a few in New Hampshire. Some inevitably worked their way down from Nova Scotia into Maine and Massachusetts.  Even my very recent Irish and Italian immigrant ancestors chose Plymouth County, Massachusetts for their home.

So you can imagine me as a 12-year-old first piecing together the family tree, under the assumption that everyone in my family had always resided in New England (or Italy, Ireland or Nova Scotia), then having those assumptions blown away when I discovered one line had not.

In my 20's, I was intrigued by my great-great grandmother, Georgianna Winsor.  She was born 6 February 1851 in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, daughter of William W. Winsor, who was one of the founders of Port Angeles, Washington. I explored my 3rd-great grandfather's life in depth in December of 2009 and again in March of 2010.

While what I dug up about him was fascinating, it still did not astound me as much as great-great grandma Georgianna's ancestry through William's mother, Martha Howett.

I never located a death certificate for William and have not found anything on him beyond 1866.  Therefore, I had no idea his mother was not from Massachusetts.  His birth record in Duxbury certainly did not indicate as much.

It was about 10 years ago when a generous Winsor cousin sent me a photocopy of pages 340 to 345 out of the History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, and a death certificate for Martha (Howett) Winsor that I realized my ancestry had an unexpected deviation from the mostly-New England history I knew so well.

After that contact, some online digging told me what I needed to know:

Martha Howett, along with her sisters Charlotte, Elizabeth, and Lydia each married a Winsor from Duxbury, and came to live in Massachusetts.  The girls' parents were Richard Howett and Lydia Sanderson of Tyrrell County, North Carolina.

Working my way back along the Howett and Sanderson families also brought me into Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, and Perquimans County, North Carolina - all very unexpected ancestral homes!

Often we think of New Englanders migrating out from the area, into New York state, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and beyond.  We often see patterns of westward expansion from New England.  We don't usually think about folks coming up to the area from the south!

There are still many questions about these particular ancestors, and this is my focus today: revisiting my North Carolina and Virginia ancestors.


Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

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