Friday, September 15, 2017

What Crumbs of Information did our Ancestors Drop? #genealogy #northcarolinapioneers

Hansel and Gretel Left Crumbs. What Crumbs Did our Ancestors Drop?"

Hansel and GretelAt the beginning of the colonizing of American, European immigrants commenced taking the high risk of travel upon the high seas. The journey lasted from two to three months, with passengers sleeping on slabs in the belly of a brigate or similar vessel. The risk of losing one's life in a ship wreck during a storm or hurricane was always high, and not only that, merchant ships delivering supplies also suffered setbacks. Although contracts were issued (found in some county deed records) between merchants and ship's captains to satisfy any losses, perishable goods did not always survive the sail. And, more importantly, a ship's manifest containing the names, ages, port of origin and destination was kept aboard every vessel. If you are searching for such a manifest at the Federal Archives, do not expect to discover it by the date of arrival. Sometimes captains did not delivered the manifest to docking authorities until several months later. However, the manifest is a valuable genealogical tool because it provides the port of origin. Thus, a study of the port of origin is indicated and important because it has its own history. For instance, dutch ports during the early of the 18th century suggest protestant migrations. French ports suggests Hugenots, and English ports suggest protestants, particularly Scotch-Irish presbyterians. In 1731, the Catholic Cardinal Leopold Anthony ordered all protestants in Austria to recant their religion, else get out. He gave them two weeks! Over 20,000 protestants maneuvered their way around Europe, searching for a place to settle. Many of the Austrians accepted an offer of land by King Frederick William I or Prussia. However, by 1733, there were several hundred people still searching. General James Oglethorpe (founder of Georgia) heard about them and invited that congregation to come to Georgia. They arrived with their minister and founded Ebenezer. These people were hard-working and industrious and not troublesome like some of the malcontents from England residing in Savannah. There are virtually hundreds of stories similar to this one. It behooves us to study some European history to learn the motivation behind immigration. The same applies to American history. As the emigrants arrived, they followed certain trails, leaving crumbs along the way. For the most part, the Scotch-Irish embarked from Antrim, Ireland and landed in Pennsylvania. The trail for these people was a hurried settlement in Berks and Bucks Counties; then, a movement through Philadelphia and down into the Alleghany Mountains. Other routes included joining other Scots in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. We learn much of this information by tracing the crumbs, i.e., county deeds, wills, estates, marriages, etc. Remember, almost 200 years passed before the First Census of 1790. The records to look for are graves, bibles, military pensions, and importantly, county records because that is the where they set down roots. 

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