This week’s Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge features the letter V. The following are a few noteworthy V’s I have run across while researching my ancestry.
V is for Voter Registrations:
Voter Registration records are an often overlooked source of information relevant to genealogical research. These sources can provide, depending on the location, not only name and date of registration, but also age or birth year, occupation, time frame of naturalization status, marital status, and place of residence. This information may fill in gaps in your research on a particular ancestor. While researching my Stearns branch, for example, I discovered that my 4th great grandfather, Lyman Stearns (1803-1879), was living in Sonoma Co., California between the 1860 and 1870 U.S. Federal censuses.
V is for Vermont:
V is also for Vermont. The State of Vermont was the 14th state to join the Union in 1791. It was first inhabited by Europeans in 1535. In researching my ancestry, I have discovered at least one connection to “The Green Mountain State.”
My Dunton branch traces back to Vermont to about 1800 when my 4th great grandfather, James Cyrus Dunton (ca. 1800-1845), the father of Harriet Rose Dunton (1836-1927) who married Owen Francis Kiernan (1836-1901), was born. James’s parents, David Dunton (ca. 1758-1829) and Polly Stoddard (ca. 1762-1845), were originally from Massachusetts, but moved to Vermont on their way to Steuben Co., New York, where they both died.
V is for Virginia:
V is also for Virginia. The State of Virginia was the 10th state to join the Union in 1788. The first permanent European settlements began in 1607 with Jamestown. In researching my ancestry, I have discovered a few connections to the “Old Dominion” State, one of which, my Agee branch, I will focus on here.
My Agee branch traces back to Mathieu Isaac Agè (ca. 1670-1735), who was born in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France. As a Huguenot (French Protestant), life in France became very difficult for Mathieu and his family by the reign of Louis XIV, who revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had ensured Protestants the right to worship, in 1685. Undoubtedly motivated by religious persecution, Mathieu left France for the Netherlands. It was there that he was, like many other young French Protestant immigrants, conscripted into the invasion force of William of Orange (1650-1702), King later King William III, for invasion of England during the Glorious Revolution. For their service, many French Protestants took advantage of 10,000 acres land grant in the Virginia Colony. Mathieu was among those, arriving in 1690. Mathieu settled in Manakintowne, Goochland, Virginia, where he was a prosperous land owner. It was also in Manakintowne that he married Cecelia Ann Gandovin (1691-1761) in 1714. For three generations in my line, the Agee family remained in Virginia before moving to Tennessee, then Missouri, and finally Oregon.
Mathieu Isaac Agè (ca. 1670-1735) was a direct ancestor of Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), who married Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), and was the mother of my great grandmother, Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), who married Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955).
V is for Van Nieukirk:
V is also for Van Nieukirk (or Van Nieuwkirk, among other spellings), a surname that is claimed to be the ancestral family name of my 7th great grandmother, Hannah Cornelison (1757-1844). My Cornelison branch, and the Van Nieukirk family, trace back to New Netherlands prior to British rule. Hannah’s grandparents, Garrett Cornelison (ca. 1700-1779) and Marietje Lammerse (ca. 1704-1785) were married in New Harlem. It is claimed that the surname was changed to Cornelison after the British gained control of the area. Many Van Nieukirk changed their name to Cornelison (because it was a common first and middle name in the family) or some variation of Nieukirk. However, I have not yet been able to find what branch Garrett belongs to.
The Van Nieukirk surname is a habitation name, deriving from Nijkerk, a municipality and city in the Gelderland province of the Netherlands, which is where the Van Nieukirk family is from. The word Nijkerk is a variant of Nieuwekerk, which means “new church.”
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