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
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.
ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED FROM ALL OF THIS -
YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY
CIRCUMSTANCE OPEN AN UMBRELLA ON A SUNNY
DAY WHILE DRIVING A SPRING WAGON WITH OLD
REINS ON A ROCKY ROAD.