Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarah Cummings the Genealogist

We now move into the '80s - 1880s that is.

Sarah now begins her research in earnest. I am not quite sure what transpired between her last letter and the one sent to Josiah in January 1880, but her letters from this point on must have been filled with questions regarding the family history. If you have started researching your family tree late in life, my guess is you probably wish you had asked older relatives all those questions that can no longer be asked. Well, Sarah asked those questions.

The letter Uncle Josiah sends to Sarah is dated 29 February 1880. He starts his tale by letting Sarah know the "genealogy of the family for the first 100 years on the period before the time you speak of is not so well kept as it has been since."

He then goes on to relate the story Richard and Justinian Holden and their arrival in Ipswich in April 1634, aged 25 and 23 years old. The first page of Josiah's letter is shown on the right.

The story that he tells of Richard and Justinian Holden seems to have been a common telling of their escape from England because of Puritanism. Evidently, this story is based on a family history published in 1800. I've been looking for a copy of this, but it seems to have disappeared. I wonder if Josiah had a copy of that history?

The rest of this letter has a jumble of names and dates, and even after spending the better part of a week with it, I still can't figure it out! I get the feeling that Sarah couldn't either, as she must have asked him to clarify the family history.

On to the Black Hawk War...


  1. I am becoming mesmerized by this tale....

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I'm having a lot of fun researching this stuff!

  3. Thank you for five interesting days on my blog this week!

    Keep these ancestor stories coming!

    Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"