Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ancestors Did Not Live In Bubbles

Ancestors, despite what we may think or suspect, did not live in a bubble. They did not live alone all their lives, they did not appear magically out of the air, were not hermits living at the tops of far-off mountain ranges, and only a few of them were actually dropped to the earth by aliens. They lived in families, near friends, and in communities. Those relationships are often the key to finding our elusive kin. The trouble comes when we still have a hard time pinning down even the relationships Granny X enjoyed.
So, I have a case for you. See if you can add to the solution (or the confusion) of who married whom. For every answer, there must first be a question, so we pose a project goal: Who are the sisters, one who married a Whitman and one who married a McAlpine and then a Dorris, both before 1794 in New York?

Family Legend: The mother of my ancestor, James Wescott Whitman (abt.1794 - 1878)is said to have had a sister who married 1)Mr. McAlpine, and 2)Mr. Dorris (or Dorus). We'll call the sisters Sister W (Whitman) and Sister MD (McAlpine-Dorris). Sister MD had three children, John McAlpine (1794 - ?, born NY), Samuel McAlpine (dates unknown, and Mary McAlpine (dates unknown). She was left a widow and then married Mr. Dorris. The oldest child of this marriage was Samuel Dorris (1802 - 1886, born Canada?) plus several other children. Sister MD was then left a widow. In the next generation, one of John McAlpine's (1794 - ?, born NY) children married a daughter of James Wescott Whitman and a child of Samuel Dorris(1802 - 1886, born Canada?) married a daughter of James Wescott Whitman. What we see here is the possibility of a close-knit family for multiple generations.

One of the first things I have to force myself to do is create a time-and-place-proof-line. This is different from a standard timeline of when events happened. I want to know who they happened to, where and when they happened, and how I know I can trust this information (ie: who says it's true and how do they know?)

Do you have DORRIS, MCALPINE, or WHITMAN families skipping merrily through your family tree? Let me know. For now, we will create a time-and-place-proof-line for the next installment.