Monday, August 17, 2015

Part 2: What I Do is genealogy; finding Adam Price

    I wanted to find out where my Ancestor, Adam Price, and his brother, Jacob, lived before they settled in Utica, Michigan, so I did the usual basic land search and probate search.
    The land search was confusing at first because I did not know about government land records yet. Eventually I discovered that Adam got his land through a government grant and sent away for the complete file which really did not give me any new information.
    The probate search was immediately successful at the Michigan Archives in Lansing. I gleaned a lot of names (spouse and children) from the probate record, but nothing about where Adam came from. This is where frustration set in, so I went back to reading more about genealogical research and read about searching lateral ancestors for related information. It seems so obvious when you think about it, but I had not thought of it!
    By this time I knew some names of children and I had his brother’s name, so I went back to that old local history and hit the jackpot.
    Adam’s daughter, Sarah, married David Connor, and there was a biography for David Connor in  the book. In it the writer told about Sarah’s father coming to Michigan by steamboat and Ox cart and staying with his brother, Jacob, until his own house was built. It did not name where he came from, but gave me some clues since he came up the Detroit River. I was getting close…
Next I looked at a biography in the book that I had overlooked before, because I did not recognize a descendant of Jacob. This is where the information I was looking for was found. It told how Jacob had been born in Frederick, Maryland and the family had moved to Rush, New York and finally a few of the brothers had moved to Michigan after the Erie Canal was finished in the 1820s. Wow! There it was!
    Right away I called my Aunt who lives in New York and asked her if she knew where Rush was. Her answer was, “Yes, it is just down the road from where I live”. When I told her about what I had discovered she got excited, so my Aunt and her daughter (my first cousin) went looking. They found land records and they found a history written for a family reunion in the early 1900s.
    When I read this family history, I remembered a couple stories Dad told me. Sometimes family tradition gives a funny twist to what is really the truth. I got a good example of that from Dad’s story:
    Dad told me that one of his ancestors had owned some swamp land at the time of a war (he didn’t know which one). Because of the war, this ancestor wanted a horse so he could go and join the fight. He believed that if he owned a horse, he would automatically become an officer. So he traded the land for a horse and went off to fight. Later the land became very valuable because a major city now stand there.
    The story in the family history said that our ancestor owned horses and a man wanted to trade a piece of land for one of his horse, so he could join the war effort. My ancestor refused, because the land was swamp, but the land later became the site where Rochester, NY stands.
    Two different stories that sound so similar, but are either of them true?
    One thing Dad was right about, was the name of Adam and Jacob’s father. Dad guessed that his name was Philip, because he had a memory of his Great Grandfather being called Philip II. Since his father was Adam, he figured there must be another Philip back before Adam and he was right.
    Speaking of family tradition I came to realize that the family history written for a reunion in the early 1900s was not documented. It was tradition too, so my next goal was to prove or disprove what I found in it.
    Before I go there I have another story about family tradition in my next blog:

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