INTRODUCTION TO THE RESEARCH
It has been an adventure to piece together the bits of information about the family
lines collected in this database. The beginning point for this effort is a cardboard box
that came into my possession after the death of my grandmother, Bea Wilkinson, in
1990. I had been aware of the box and its contents for many years and had an
agreement with my Grandmother that the contents would pass to me after her death.
She was happy to have someone in the immediate family who was interested in her
research who could continue it further. Bea had been a devoted genealogy
researcher for many years and had gathered an impressive collection of notes and
references, old photos and various documents. She was an avid newspaper clipper.
The box contained a set of well worn paper folders, each devoted to a different
family line. Over a span of fifty years she carefully deposited into those folders birth
and marriage notices, obituaries, news articles that touched on the family and a wide
variety of other information. Although the contents were roughly organized by family
branch there was no summarizing document.
For my Grandmother the primary goal of this research was to establish descent
from an ancestor who had served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary
War. New Castle, Indiana in the mid 20th century was a small mid-western city
where, I gather, one path to respectability and status was membership in the local
chapter of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). At the core of Bea's
collection of documents was her application to the National Chapter of the DAR
tracing her ancestors back to Hugh Healey (1754 – 1825). Hugh Healey had a
number of official records showing that he served on board the Hornet, an early ship
of the American navy and later on land at various venues. Without her work I would
have been lost.
I picked up where my Grandmother had left off in the Summer of 2006. This turned
out to be a good year to pick up the trail of research again. The internet has radically
changed the way family histories can be researched. It is now possible to join in
discussion with people from all over the world who are doing similar research on the
same ancestors. A great deal of information has been digitized and is now on the
internet. I have taken the information contained in Bea Wilkinson's folders and
created a master computer file using 'Legacy' software. This software allows me to
create a GEDCOM file which can be shared with websites and other researchers.
Once I had Bea's information digitized and in a GEDCOM file I was able to connect
with online databases where there was an amazing and at times bewildering amount
of information related to some of our family ancestors. This database is a collection
of the information I have inherited from Bea Wilkinson's research and new information
which I have tracked down more recently using her information as a beginning point.
The information contained in each of the family chapters is a mix of stories that are
familiar to the family and information which may not be so familiar which pushes
back the history of our various family lines far into the past. I have been able to
establish reliable information about many lines back to the early 1500's and trace
regions in Europe from which various lines come and the routes of movement of
these families as they came to the new world and established new lives. Two lines,
those from John Luce and Sarah Schenk, lead to extensive lineage stories that
include European royalty from many countries. John Luce's line extends back into
the late Roman empire and creates links to the Merovingian royal line, Charlemagne,
William the Conqueror and a host of ancetors with royal lineage. Another line passes
through earliest New Amsterdam back to a Pirate King. Some of the stories I have
found are fun.
I sat down one day and opened a reference book that Bea Wilkinson had purchased
from the DAR called 'The Patriot Index'. Within an hour I had located a total of eight
ancestors who served in the Continental Army:
Christopher Bundy (1759 – 1824) Private from North Carolina.
John Gerard (1720 – 1787) Private from Virginia.
Hugh Healey (1754 – 1824) Private from New Jersey.
Samuel Hubbard (1742 – 1835) Lieutenant from New York.
Isaac I. Julian (1716 – 1778) Soldier from North Carolina.
Isaac Julian (1751 – 1831) Private from North Carolina.
Benjamin Luce (1730 – 1814) Private from New Jersey.
Ichabod Wilkinson (1753 – 1825) Private from Connecticut.
Cool. Bea Wilkinson would be surprised.
I am putting this collection of data online now for two reasons. Firstly, I am finding
large gaps in the more recent information. I want to track down photographs and
documentation which I suspect is tucked away in boxes and drawers. I am hoping
that others in the family will be motivated to check and see what they may have and
share that information with me. In todays world it is possible to make digital scans of
both photographs and written documents that are of much better quality than the old
photocopies that were passed around in the past. I don't want to retain any actual
documents, just obtain a good quality scan which I can then add to the growing
computer file I am developing. Secondly, I want to share the information I am
finding. I am surprised at the stories there are to tell. Some of them are good, some
bad, some hard to believe. I find it fascinating and hope you will too. We have a
heritage which we can be quite proud of.
Each family line has a chapter of its own. I begin each chapter with a summary page
which will describe the information that has been collected in a narrative form.
Following this will be one or more lineage charts for that family line. After the Charts
there will be a selection of photographs with commentary and finally a section
containing supporting documents arranged in a linear time line.
Above is a graphic I made referencing the story of the accident that took Welborn
Healey's life in 1874. This story is presented in the Miller section of this website . . .