"through me many long dumb voices..."

Stephen and I have many things in common, but genealogy is not one of them. As I have become more and more immersed in my family history, he has developed a variety of tactics to appear interested, to varying degrees of success.... Trying to engage him, I have tried to link what I've learned to history, movies, and other general topics. To varying degrees of success, as he would no doubt tell you.

One thing we do have in common is music, and in particular, musical theater. One relevant passage recently crossed my mind from Dear World, score by Jerry Herman, book by Lawrence & Lee, based on Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot.

     Constance: Suppose I were to say your pearls were false...
     Countess: They were, they were.
     Constance: I'm not asking what they were. I'm asking what they are.
     Countess: Surely you must know, when you wear pearls, that little by little the pearls become real.    

La Lansbury, avec les perles.

In genealogy, too often one finds people "researching" with their hearts and not their minds,  perhaps hoping--contrary to evidence--that little by little the ancestors will become real. I recently discovered this anew....

I have some Mayflower progenitors (about whom I have posted previously) and have been planning a road trip that would visit the New England haunts of some of my Yankee ancestors, including those Plymouth folks. Stephen has made noncommittal noises at appropriate intervals whenever I've talked about it. I thought that digging a little deeper into his family's past might yield some New Englanders as well (and buy-in for the trip), so I began.

I followed his mother's paternal line, as that seemed most likely, and it quickly became promising. Then I came to his fifth great grandparents: Levi West (27 Apr 1760 - 23 Dec 1808) and Bathsheba Rider (1760- 20 Apr 1805) --I wish I could say I was making up these names--and there it was: Levi was the son of Amasa West (27 Mar 1704 - 17 Jul 1776) and Amy Hatch (10 Oct 1713 - 9 Aug 1756). Amy Hatch! The daughter of a Delano, the great-great granddaughter of Richard Warren, of the Mayflower! And what's more, Richard Warren (1580 - 20 Oct 1673) is one of my Mayflower ancestors too!


As Cole Porter put it in another musical, "'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock would land on them...."

Not the Mayflower.
Sutton Foster and pals selling "Anything Goes,"  from the show of the same name.
 Photo by Joan Marcus

A cursory glance at dates reveals that the former Miss Hatch died four years before Grandpa Levi was born. So why do so many people (on Ancestry.com and elsewhere) believe it? Because they get to be Mayflower descendants if it is true. (Although I am beginning to think that even that is no big deal; there are estimated to be over four million legitimate--by which I mean genuine--living descendants of Mayflower passengers.) But how did Miss Hatch get connected to Amasa West, who is, in fact, Stephen's forbear? Well, she was his first wife. But a year after her death he married again (documented), this time to Bathshua Gibbs (2 Dec 1713 - ?), making her the mother of Levi West (also documented).

And a little more digging showed that my Richard Warren connection was even more dubious.

So that was a bust. But it turns out that Stephen and I are related, albeit distantly; apparently the term is "affinal" versus "consanguineal," meaning by marriage rather than blood. Anyway....

John James Rutledge (Sep 1739 - 2 Aug 1823) is a second great grandfather of the husband of one of my paternal second great grand aunts. Huh? Let me try again. One of John's great-great grandkids, Robert Rutledge (1870 - aft 1940) married my great-great grandfather's sister, Clara M Eaton (23 May 1874 - 2 Feb 1961). So now that that's clear, how does this relate to Stephen? John James Rutledge was the brother of George Rutledge (1723? - 18 Dec 1801), who is one of Stephen's maternal sixth great grandfathers.

Like the song says: "Small world, isn't it?"

Wondering about family relationships?
Ethel Merman in Gypsy.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting...I love your blog.