These connections keep adding up

Sometimes the best part of a blog is found in the comments posted by its readers, an exchange that has a special twist in a genealogy venture like this one. The twist is in the joy of meeting “new” kin, some closer on the chart to me than others, but always a delight. Better yet is when they, too, add to the content, as Michael Hodgson did most recently with the stories leading us across the frontier to the Pacific Northwest.

More recently, it’s led to delightful conversation with Vivian Meek Bibler, a second cousin from the “Indiana side” of my Hodson line. If we had ever met, it would have been a few times, at most, as children.

My own project has, in effect, had two centers of focus. The first, the starting point, was Joshua Francis Hodson, who moved to Indiana and Ohio from North Carolina after the Civil War. The second was George Hodgson, the boy who arrived in America as an orphan and eventually moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina before the Revolutionary War. Connecting them was an exciting breakthrough.

Vivian and I both descend from Joshua and his second wife, Alice McSherry, and we both have memories of family reunions that included descendants from his first wife, Josephine Jones, who died of complications after the birth of their second child, who died shortly after.

Vivian’s grandmother – and my great-aunt – was Ruby Althea Meek.

In revisiting my materials, I was startled by her middle name. It’s one I thought I was encountering for the first time only in the past decade, where it’s the first name of some delightful Greek Orthodox women in New Hampshire.

But to back up, as I now see, looking at the charts, I’d dutifully typed it long ago, where Alice apparently drew the name from her sister-in-law, Althea Bayler McSherry. Naming patterns, as I’ve remarked in previous posts, can be very helpful in doing genealogy, especially when traditional patterns are maintained. In this case, I’m supposing Alice had a special fondness for her sister-in-law.

The charts for Alice’s generation also remind me of a number of holes and even hint at a few scandals. I’ll leave those for others to pursue and report on.

Vivian has graciously sent along materials I hadn’t seen but that we’ll be sharing here in the coming months.

She also has me vaguely recalling family reunions at the farm in Indiana, even a feeling of the flowered wallpaper in the farmhouse and an introduction to some of the animals beside the barn – just don’t ask me if they were cows, sheep, or horses, my only surviving impression is that they were big. Also, I was scarred of a man who must have been gentle great-uncle Samuel, with his Amish-like beard and clothing.

That said, I still hope to hear from Hodgson kin who settled around Wilmington, Ohio, or in Indiana before Joshua joined in their migration. There’s much more of the Orphan George story to uncover. My, when I started this, I didn’t even know they existed.

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