March 28, 2015

Patriots of New Hampshire

My book finally arrived today. I ordered it on March 6, and although the seller shipped it the next day, UPS decided, for reasons unknown, to keep it in New Jersey for almost three weeks.

This book is Inhabitants of New Hampshire 1776 by Emily S. Wilson. This is a neat volume because it serves as a census substitute for the state of New Hampshire in 1776.

It also tells us whether or not these listed subjects of the crown supported the cause of independence or not.

In March of 1776, the Continental Congress decided that all males aged 21 and over should sign the Association Test (which meant agreeing to oppose the British). Those who refused would be immediately disarmed.



Those who refused to sign were also documented in this volume as well.

This was, frankly, asking a great deal, considering that the British would consider the signers to be traitors. For this reason those listed with an "n" after their names in this volume-- signifying those who would not sign-- may not have necessarily been on the side of the crown. Many may have simply felt that they couldn't afford to stick their necks out.

It's surprising just how many men signed, and how few refused.

I was gratified to see that all of my known ancestors who were listed in this book agreed "to the utmost of our Power, at the Risque of our lives and Fortunes, with ARMS, oppose the Hostile Proceedings of the British Fleets, and Armies, against the United American COLONIES":

Benjamin French, East Kingston, 6th great-grandfather

Samuel Palmer, East Kingston, 5th great-grandfather

Winthrop Sargent, Chester, 6th great-grandfather

Samuel Severance, Kingston, 5th great-grandfather

Caleb Towle, Hawke, 6th great-grandfather

Jeremy Towle, Hawke, 5th great-grandfather

Benjamin Webster, Kingston, 6th great-grandfather

Jacob Webster, Kingston, 5th great-grandfather

Samuel Winslow, Kingston, 6th great-grandfather

John Winslow, Kingston, 5th great-grandfather

Two of the ancestors listed above did more than sign their names; Samuel Severance served during the summer of 1775, and was in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was discharged after three months due to "camp sickness" (dysentery) and sent home. Jacob Webster was a lieutenant and then a captain who was at Ticonderoga.

This makes me so proud of my ancestors, and I'm in awe of their courage. It makes me question whether many of us latte-swilling moderns, with our addiction to electronics and comfort, have the intestinal fortitude to defend freedom-- or indeed the interest in doing so.

March 12, 2015

Baptism record for 2x great-grandfather Thomas Ryan

Last week, Findmypast had free access to their Irish records databases (this weekend, Ancestry.com does also). There I managed to find the baptism record for my great-great grandfather Thomas Ryan!

At first, I only knew that he was from Ireland (looking for a Thomas Ryan in Ireland.... yeah, good luck with that). But awhile back, I had stumbled upon an obituary that mentioned that he was from County Cork. So now at least I could narrow him down to a county. I also had a birthdate (from his death record) and his parents' names, from his marriage record.

So when I searched birth and baptism records for Ireland on Findmypast, I hit a record for a Thomas Ryan who was born on 25 July 1831 to David Ryan and Johanna Lynch, which matched the information I had.

The record states that he was baptized in Fermoy, so now I know the specific township he was from.

Thomas Ryan's baptism record from Fermoy, Cork, Ireland

Talk about the luck of the Irish!

I found a death index for a David Ryan who died in 1874 at the age of 70 in Fermoy. Although this was likely to be Thomas's father, I can't be certain without more details.

Thomas immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Boston, where he married my great-great grandmother Johanna Fitzgerald in 1860. I can't be sure when exactly he immigrated, or whether his parents or other family came with him or not.