It has been another gloomy afternoon so instead of struggling to stuff a dolls arms I went back a bit on Ancestry to Massachusetts in 1676...and the sad story of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah was twenty-four and newly married to his cousin Ann, ten years older than he. They came from a large and well-respected family who had begun to emigrate to America in the late 1500's...though Hezekiah's Father owned slaves, but perhaps he knew no better for the times he was living in...
King Phillips War was raging at the time...and I know nothing about it other than it involved all manner of ruffians and dubious Indians...some of the Indians attacked and killed Hezekiah and cut off his head which they carried away with them...
Another small group of Indians found his head and were so overcome with grief at the loss of a young man they'd respected and liked that they combed his hair and threaded beads through it...
Then there was Andrew Willet or Wyliat...he came from Ely in Cambridgeshire and was born in 1562 and died in 1621. He was one of Hezekiah's relatives as it happens...
He has his own page on Wikipedia because he was a well-known man of the time...writing learned books stating the case against Roman Catholics...his views finally had him thrown in gaol but he was released after a month. He was a preacher, had graduated from Cambridge at a very young age and fathered eighteen children...
He fell from his horse and broke his leg which was badly set...he was taken to a nearby Inn to recover, but a couple of weeks later died after gangrene set in...
They are much more interesting than the second and third cousins who were really quite dull, though of course they couldn't help being dull and slightly boring and I doubt they saw themselves that way...
The further back you can manage to go the more records there are available...and that doesn't make much sense really but I have found it to be so. Once people began to emigrate to the Americas, meticulous records were kept of everything...and they are all available on-line.
But there are brick walls...Jenny's family came mostly from Wales and unfortunately had common surnames...so it's one step forward and a huge Hooray...then three steps back to where you began. Add the difficulty of Welsh place names, where just one misplaced letter can mean somewhere entirely different...
My Irish side is pretty hopeless...we've reached 1848 and that is probably as far as we'll ever manage to get...and everybody is dead so there's no one to ask...and my Grandfather changed his name on a whim and announced he was a Doctor on one form he filled in which was a blatant lie...
I'd been hoping I could have avoided being related to anyone who kept slaves...but there you are, can't always have the ancestors we would have liked.