Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Surprise While Delving into My Genealogy

I haven't posted about Silsbee in quite some time. I've been busy with things around my house and have been sort of sidetracked with a minor genealogy obsession. My wife opened an Ancestry account for her self a couple years ago and though I've been collecting information about my ancestors for ages, it is only over the past few months that I have started to use Ancestry in any sort of methodical way.

In my paternal grandfather's line, I had never been able to go back further than a couple generations. Sine this is where my surname comes from, I couldn't help but be a little obsessed with researching that line. After months of dead ends, I finally connected to a woman that had a copy of a distant ancestor's bible and it had records of all of the family lines, marriages, births and deaths from Noah Strong and Lucinda Huggins' descendants. This line connects with my paternal ancestral line.
Title Page from David Strong's bible.
The bible belonged to David Strong, a descendant of Noah Strong and Lucinda Huggins. Many members of the Strong family relocated from the area around Northampton, Massachusetts to Chautauqua County, in New York State somewhere in the early 1800's. My third great grandmother, Fanny, is one of Noah and Lucinda's children.

Page noting the marriage of Fanny Strong to Oren Colean Payne in 1837. It also records some of their children.
The Strong Bible is an interesting record of history because it links my family back to Mayflower passengers John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. I found this fascinating partly because of my general interest in American history but also because I never considered the notion that I had ancestral lines that went that far back in America. While looking through these older ancestors, I found a piece that had me even more intrigued. Through Noah Strong, I was also related to Elder John Strong, an early settler of Northampton.

I know I had heard the name before but couldn't quite put my finger on where it was. After a bit of mulling over, I remembered that when I was doing ancestry research on Joseph Lyman Silsbee, I came across the Strong name. Silsbee's mother, Charlotte, was from Northampton and though she died the day after giving birth to her son, the Silsbee family moved to Northampton for a period of time while William Silsbee, Joseph Lyman Silsbee's father, oversaw a church there. There had to be a connection to my family, right?

Image of the home that William Silsbee lived in when he was in Northampton. The home is still there. 
After pulling out my old Silsbee papers, I started putting his family into the tree and was shocked to see that my hunch was correct and that Joseph Lyman Silsbee and I have common ancestors. Specifically, we are both descendants of Ebenezer Strong and Hannah Clapp. Silsbee is a descendant of their son Ebenezer and I am a descendant of their son Nathaniel.

Family tree showing the descendants of Ebenezer Strong and Hannah Clapp.
The connection is distant but fascinating enough to have pushed me to learn more about the various families in the region around Northampton and in early Massachusetts in general. I've only added in a few of Silsbee's family to my tree but I am already seeing all sorts of interesting connections to families that he was associated with in Syracuse and Chicago. It is pretty clear that the social circles that were established in early New England seemed to remain somewhat intact when those families migrated to other parts of the country.

Joseph Silsbee and some of his ancestors in my family tree.

My calculated relationship to Joseph Silsbee is that he is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed. This research has been eye-opening and led me to believe that we are all related in some way or another if we dig deep enough but it will probably take me a while to digest that I am connected in some tenuous way to this figure that I have been studying for so long.

No comments: