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December 15, 2015

What Ancestors Do You Want at Your Christmas Table?

Today I invite all of you to join me in coming up with an ancestor guest list for your Christmas Dinner. If you don't celebrate Christmas, feel free to choose a different holiday. 

Each day between now and December 25 I am going to invite one of my ancestors to join our family to celebrate with a traditional Turkey Dinner. 

Please think about who you want to invite and tell us why you want to have them at your table. Would you have a gift for them under the tree? What would it be? 

I'm going to put my great-great grandfather Joseph McGinnis on my Guest List. I desperately want to ask him who his parents were and where he was from in Ireland. I do hope I can understand his Irish brogue. 

I'm also hoping he'll be able to tell me where he died and when. I'm not sure if my invited ancestors will have the ability to talk about their deaths but my fingers are crossed. Mind you that might not be a very appropriate conversation. It seems somehow that might be a question best left to ask his widow if I invite her! 

That's not all I want to talk about with Joe. I'd love to just hear his stories about anything he wants to chat about. Maybe he'd like to talk about what the early days in the 1840s were like for him. Perhaps he'll tell me how much he loved Ireland and how much he misses it. The sky's the limit once I ask my few questions! 

I think it would be nice if I had a small gift under the tree for each of my guests. I'm guessing a bottle of booze might be appreciated by Joe. Yes - the Irish and their whiskey comes to mind, especially given what I know of my McGinnis grandfather and great-grandfather and their inclinations. So many feuds and so many fights brought on by drinking a wee bit too much. 


falconscastle said...

I would invite my GGG Grandfather Adam Van Valkenburg and his wife Anna Diamond--can I please invite two?

I would ask them:

1 - "Where were you at census time?" They are not listed on any Ontario census!

2 - It says in your 1819 Land Grant Request, "That your Petitioner was born in the United States has lived in this Province 15 Years and has a Wife and three Children." Where in the United States? Where are you living at he time of the request?

3 - "Where did you die?" Your last known whereabouts is in Ridgetown, Ontario. You are a stonemason--there must be a gravestone someplace for you!

4 - And now the big one---"Who are your parents? I know who Anna's are--John Diamond and Katreen Gordinier. In fact, you and Anna named your first son, John Diamond Van Valkenburg. Is that a clue that he is named after a John VV and John Diamond, both of your parents? I have your marriage date from Rev. Robert McDowall--but, he chose not to name your parents in the registry!" Go figure.

5 - Oh, and a bonus question, "Why aren't you designated UE? Your service is documented in the First Regiment of Addington Militia Nominal return of the Flank Companies of the 1st Regiment of Addington Militia, in service in the year 1812."

I think that would make my Christmas, and a few more!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Faconscastle I hear your frustration! To answer your question if you can invite 2, it's one per day and they are all coming on the same day for Dinner on the 25th!

Now on to Adam Van Valkenburg - there are 2 petitions for that name, both in 1819, both done in Kingston. Are they both for your Adam? Do you have both? The envelope should give more detail.

Re why isn't he designated as UE. That service you mention (Service in 1812) does not qualify for UE status. That is War of 1812 and would qualify him for land and possibly even War of 1812 damages. But UE status can only come from the American Revolution. If he were a Son of a Loyalist in which he could apply for land under the basis of SUE.

Anonymous said...

I would invite my second great grandmother, Almira Brackett. I would love to ask her why seven of her eight children were given proper English names (Joseph, John, Samuel, Stephen, Charles, Alvina, William), while her middle son was named "Fernando".

falconscastle said...

Yes, Lisa and I have quite a bit of info. We have all the petitions and yes, Adam is listed twice and Anna(as DUE is also listed) more here on our site:

We just don't know the answers to number 3 & number 4.

You're right on about number 5. I think that Adam VV and John Diamond knew each other well. According to the Kingston Chronicle, they were both Road Wardens in ~1832 in Kingston on the Napanee Road. If they did know each other well, then maybe John Diamond knew Adam's father, too. Knowing that John Diamond was UE and Anna is also named as DUE, I'm thinking that he knew about petitioning for a Land Grant and SUE status IF his father would have been UE. But, I don't think that is the case. I think that it is a possibility that his father stayed in the US..or returned to the US after the War. Maybe.

Anyway, I was just joining in the fun of your Blog subject!!--Mark Van Valkenburg

Jackie Corrigan said...

I would love to have my great-great grandmother Margaret/Marguerite Taylor at my Christmas table. She was a Metis woman who had been the country wife of Sir George Simpson of the Hudson Bay Company. She is written about in many history books, because she is the woman Simpson abandoned (along with his 2 sons) when he decided to marry his cousin Frances Simpson. He arranged to have her married off in 1831 to Amable Hogue, one of his elite crew of voyageurs that paddled his canoe. Margaret and Amable had 9 children together.

I would love to hear her stories and learn how she dealt with the disappointments and joys of her life. I'd also like to know where Amable was buried when he died in 1858!

Rather than give her a gift, I'd wish for her to give me a picture of herself!

Roberta said...

I would invite my 2nd great gfa, William Blackstone Martin, b. 1805. In 1821 he walked from Spartanburg County,South Carolina to Indiana with his 9 siblings (ages 18 to 2 months), his parents and a hired hand. They brought 2 wagons and horses. I would ask what the six-weeks trip was like from a 16-year old's viewpoint. The family became the first settlers in Union Twp., Parke County, so he would have stories about the wilderness.

I want to know what education meant to the family. An estate property inventory suggests that they brought several books with them, including a 12-volume encyclopedia.

Then I would ask him who the parents of his father, John Martin, were.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Roberta, what a great story he could tell! Can you imagine just sitting there listening at the table - if only.....

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Jackie - fascinating ancestress! I'd love to hear her stories too as I am Metis and have my official Metis status card. You could still give her a gift and snap a quick photo of her with your cell phone! said...

What a great idea to organize your burning questions about an elusive or "favorite" ancestor. This would give me a research goal for the new year. I have a great grandfather whose parents are unknown to me. On his marriage record, he listed his parents as "Unknown". Ah, was he an orphan, adopted, etc? Don't know any of his siblings. Census documents have not been helpful.
Another ancestor at my Christmas table would be my grandmother. I knew her well, but miss her terribly. She was born in 1871 and died in 1971. To us, the 1800's are history, but she lived it. I never asked her about her early life--oh the things she could have told me.

Martha Armstrong said...

I would like to invite my GG grandparents on my dad's side and my GGG grandparents on my mother's side. Of I never got to know any of these grandparents but especially my dad's side of the family. They were from Mexico and I don't even know their names. My parental grandfather I never met because he died so young.
My maternal GGG grandparents I would like to know is because they were Native American and I would like to know how they lived their lives.
My mother never really meet or knew her father so it would have been great for her to know about him.
My husband has the same problem but in Germany. His mother was given to a family to work and she was then in care by her foster grandmother who my husband got to meet while he was stationed in Germany.