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Up late the other night just playing around online doing some ancestry research. I found a cool family factoid.  This is very awesome …

My 9th great grand uncle, Elihu Embree, published the first abolitionist newspaper and reportedly ran a station of the Underground Railroad, helping escaped slaves on their journey to Canada.  Elihu’s father, Thomas, was my 10th great grandfather.

I found an article online that stated Thomas Embree built a large stone house with a plaque that read, “Upon this Rock I will build my house, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” He used that house for the Underground Railroad.  That’s the house Elihu was raised in.  I think Uncle Elihu learned a thing or two from his father, Great Grandfather Thomas.  ♥

Here is a link to the historical marker in Jonesborough TN about his newspaper:

http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=a9645c69-4921-474e-a0be-11b1b3fb7cd0&gid=3

He even has a Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elihu_Embree

And here’s an online article about Great Grand Uncle Elihu Embree:

http://web.knoxnews.com/web/blackhistory/stories/0208elihu.shtml

This is a very thorough article about Uncle Elihu:

http://www.uriel.com/knowledge/articles-presentations/Nash%20articles/Beacon111296–Elihu%20Embree,%20a%20Forerunner.pdf

Don’t ya just love that name, Elihu? How on earth do you even say it?  :-)

I’m hoping to start updating this blog more frequently.  No huge posts, but as I find new information I’m going to post it here instead of waiting to write it out coherently.  This blog will probably become more of a place to store my ancestry research and bookmarks.

For example, I did a bunch of research about Augustine Hermann (he was my 15th grandfather on my father’s paternal side).  Fascinating man.  I’ll include more information about him soon, but for now, I’m just going to post a few links that I’ve been looking over this week.

Bohemia Manor Estate for sale

Augustine Herman Map

One interesting thing about the ancestry research I’ve done this year is how I’ve discovered that many of our family “myths” just aren’t true. I guess I’m now our family’s resident Myth Buster. ;-)

MYTH: The Lee side of the family is related to Robert E. Lee. Nope, not true.

TRUTH: The Lee side of our family were evidently a family of circus performers from England who came out from Chicago to perform for the miners in San Fransisco and throughout California and the Sierras during the California Gold Rush!

The following is from a website that sells an historical novel, The Gold Chain, that features one of our relatives, Henry Charles Lee:

… an Englishman, a circus man who came to California during the height of the gold rush. At top speed, standing on his horse, Henry Charles Lee galloped around the ring. Gold nuggets were thrown at his feet. Lee picked them up and put them away for safe keeping. He later had them melted down and crafted into a beautiful gold chain.

Along with his circus troupe, including the best talent money could buy, he performed in Stockton, San Francisco, Sacramento as well as the gold mining camps of the Sierra.

My oldest daughter’s middle name is Lee (after this branch of the family). She was THRILLED to find out she was named after a family of circus performers! LOL!

It appears from further research that they may have been of Romani descent (ie: Gypsies from England). The Romani people were being persecuted and kicked out of England at the time and sent to either Norway (no idea why they were sent to Norway specifically) or to America where many of them joined up with circus troupes who were also living a vagabond lifestyle.  Essentially, many of the Romani became sideshow people (fortune tellers, sword swallowers, etc.) and animal trainers.

Our family’s relatives were the animal trainer variety … equestrian acrobats, and they also trained dogs and ponies for shows. Fascinating stuff.  :-)

Judith Varlet (Varleth) was accused and evidently convicted of witchcraft in Hartford CT about 30 years before the beginning of the Salem Witch Trials.  From things I could gather online, Judith escaped to New York and married a relative of the Governor (his son?) who took on her case and was able to have her pardoned after being convicted at trial.
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Judith was the sister of my ancestor, Jannetje Varleth, and was named for their mother, Judith (Tentenier) Varleth.
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~Debi
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  1. Myself Feb 12 1960 – b. Seattle / still living – My Husband 10/20/1960 –  b. Pekin IL / still living
  2. My Dad July 7 1935 – b. Seattle WA / still living – My Mom - 12/14/1933 – b. Issaquah WA / d. Lacey WA
  3. Richard Allen Taylor Dec 29 1910 – b. Anacortes WA / d. Lacey WA – My Grandma 1911/  b. Seattle WA / still living
  4. John Allen Taylor 1887-1979 – ? – Elizabeth Nicklous 1890/1975 (both of her parents were directly from Austria and I couldn’t trace them)
  5. James Edward Taylor 1869-1954 b/d Monroe OR – Katherine Flam 1887-1931 b. Pilgersdorf, Hungary / d. Oregon
  6. Martha Jane Cox 1843-1923 b. Johnson MO / d. Bandon OR – William A Taylor 1825-1901 b. Grant Co KY / d. Bandon OR
  7. Solomon Thomas Cox 1823-1878 b. Lafayette, Missouri, United States / d. Junction City, Lane, Oregon, United States  – Diana Coffee Cox 1821-1894 b. Indiana / d. Junction City OR
  8. Solomon Thomas Cox 1793-1889  b. Knoxville, TN / d. Long Tom, Lane, OR – Mary Norris 1794-1845 b. South Carolina / d. Johnson, MO
  9. Jesse Cox 1770-1822 b. Cane Creek, NC / d. Dover, Lafayette, MO – Margery Cox 1769-1846 b. Cane Creek, NC / d. Johnson, Missouri
  10. Solomon Cox 1730-1812 b. New Castle, DE / d. Ross, OH – Ruth Cox 1732-1805 b. York, PA / d. Ross, OH
  11. Catherine Kinkey 1696-1744 b. New Castle, DE / d. Hockessin, DE – William Cox 1692-1767 b. New Castle, DE / d. Cane Creek, NC
  12. Marjorie Herman 1674-1720 b. New Castle, DE / d. Cecil, MD – Augustine Herman Kinkey 1677-1732 b/d Cecil, MD
  13. Ephraim Augustine Herman 1683-1735 b. St Augustine Manor, DE / d. Cecil, MD – Isabella Trent 1695-1735 b, Philadelphia, PA / d. St Stephens, Cecil, MD
  14. Casperus Herman 1656-1697 b. Amsterdam, Montgomery, NY / d . Bohemia Manor, Cecil, MD – Susannah Huyberts 1660-1687 Maryland
  15. Jannetje Varleth 1605-1674 b. Utrecht, Netherlands / d. Bohemia Manor, Cecil, MDAugustine Herman 1621-1686 b. Prague, Central Bohemia, Czech Republic / d. Bohemia Manor, Cecil, MD
  16. Judith (Tentenier) Varleth (Varlet) 1591-1662 b. Cologne, Netherlands / d. Hartford, CTCasper Varleth 1590-1662 b. Cologne, Netherlands / d. Hartford, CT
  17. Abraham Tentenier 1550-1618 b. Cologne, Netherlands / d. Ultrecht, Netherlands – ? Unknown Spouse

King Malcolm and Saint Margaret

While I was out of school for a few weeks between the Summer and Fall quarters at college, I decided to try out a two week free membership to Ancestry.com just for the fun of it.  Much to my surprise, I discovered that their TV ads are true:

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“You don’t have to know what you’re looking for, you just need to start looking.”
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I’ve been watching that new TV show this summer (forgot the name of it offhand) that follows the ancestry searches of various celebrities and then takes them to the places their ancestors lived.  Super interesting.  For example, Sarah Jessica Parker had an ancestor accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials and Brooke Shields found out she was related to French royalty.
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I figured that following my own family tree would probably result in just a bunch of regular folk doing regular things in regular places.  But I was wrong.  Wow … it’s been sooooooooo interesting!
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Several branches have ended up in places and with people I never would’ve expected.  For example, I had no idea we had Norwegian and Swedish ancestors … and ROYALTY to boot!  Who forgot to mention that we were related to kings and queens of both those countries?  LOL!
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I also found out that we’re related to someone who was accused in the Salem and Hartford witchcraft trials.  One of our ancestor’s sisters (Judith Varlet) was accused, convicted, and evidently escaped to New York to avoid being put to death.  Then she was eventually pardoned by the governor.  Wow.  I never knew my family had any connection to all that witchcraft stuff back then.
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I also thought it was interesting that nearly every branch of the family that I could follow for any length of time traces back to important Colonial Quakers in Pennsylvania and Virginia.  And also more than a few “bad” Quakers who made the local newspapers for being disowned by the church … for things like “owning and running a fast horse” and “fighting with Indians.”  No gambling (horse racing) or fighting (they’re pacifists) allowed with the Quakers.
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We have ancestors from Iceland(!) and even Viking kings.  We’re related to Lady MacBeth (yes, THE Lady MacBeth!) — MacBeth, himself, was the step-father of one of our ancestors.  We’re related to royalty from Scotland, from Ireland, and from Denmark.  We have connections to nobility and royalty in England and France.
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Probably the single most interesting thing I discovered right off the bat was that one of our ancestors (Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland who was married to Saint Margaret of Scotland) killed one of our other ancestors from another branch of the family (Lulach, step-son of MacBeth).  Isn’t that wild?!  We’re direct descendants of both men … and one killed the other.  Fortunately, Lulach had already fathered our ancestor before he died!  LOL!
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I also was able to trace back ancestors from my side of the family and ancestors from my husband’s side of the family … and branches from both trace back to having lived in Nottingham at the same time (they probably knew each other because it wasn’t a very populous area at the time!) … and they were all in Nottingham at about the same time as the myths about Robin Hood supposedly took place.
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So, I wonder if our ancestors were the rich who were robbed from or the poor who were given to?  Maybe both?

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