Connections - A Genealogical Exercise

The work of a curious fellow

Horns of a Trilema Fancy Scoop

This is the story of the four families whose descendants became my four grandparents.

Let me make it clear from the start that this work is fiction. Embedded in the story is everything I know about my family tree... and a great deal that I do not know. My mother's people were Smalls and Dustins and my fatherís were Waggs and Joneses. I thought it would be nice to have all my grandparents traced back to a common event in colonial times. Since the Smalls and Dustins were on the Maine coast in 1640, I chose that place and year as the starting point. In order to bring all the families to a meeting there and then, I had to get creative with the historical record.

For instance I had to invent an excursion of some 20 years duration into western Missouri for Samuel and Deborah Jones of Connecticut, beyond their documented move to Wayne, Ohio. Only in this way could I connect them to my great, or more likely double great, grandfather Nathan John Jones born in 1823 in Clay County Missouri, who seems to have fallen there from the sky as far as the record is concerned. In so doing, I adopted as ancestors the entire Jones tribe who settled originally in Gloucester, Massachusetts in the 1600s.

With regard to the Wagg family, we lose the back trail about 1728 when James Hallowell was born in England. He arrived at Cape Elizabeth, Maine in time to marry Mary Crockett of Falmouth, Maine in 1749 after changing his last name to Wagg, which was his mother's maiden name. I hunted around in England for a female Wagg of the appropriate vintage without a marriage on record. Then I located a Hugh Hallowell who arrived at St. Kitts in 1635 and could have been in Maine in 1640 and might have returned to England to sire a branch of the Hallowell family into which Ann Wagg might marry. Among the English Hallowells between 1640 and about 1700, there were none found that did not have too much or too little history, so I made up three generations of Hugh Hallowell's descendents to fill the gap.

Of course the detailed stories of all the people spanning the three hundred years from 1640 to the year of my birth, 1940, are mostly made up. I have tried to make the stories consistent with the facts of history, geography, birth, marriage and death where they are known. I have also incorporated the family legends I have heard over the years and any historical tidbits that apply. I tried to imagine the stories I would hear if I had a chance to chat with each of my ancestors in their old age about the adventures they remembered most. I tried to cover each generation in about 1500 words.

My aim in this story is to dress up our genealogy with enough possible or plausible adventure that my grandchildren will find it fun to read. To help them sort fact from fiction I include an appendix with each family line laid out clearly indicating the source of the information, including speculation as a possible source.

James D. Jones
East Stroudsburg

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