Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

When Jasia first announced the topic for this edition’s Carnival of Genealogy, I thought, “that will be easy.” The more I thought about the topic (inviting 4 ancestors for dinner), the more challenging it was to decide which four to invite. As I’ve read all the responses from other bloggers, I’ve realized that a lot of their thoughts are along the same lines as mine . . . “which 4 will be able to get me past that brick wall?” However, I also have some very interesting and colorful characters that I’d just like to ask a few questions.

I think that I’m going to choose Abraham Lantz, my great-great grandfather, as the first ancestor, and we’ll dine at his house because I’ve heard he always insisted on seven courses at each meal. I suspect his wife Laura was an excellent cook, having grown up on a farm in Illinois. I’d like to know what it was like for him when he, being an Amish man, chose to marry Laura, a Methodist woman. I’d like to hear him tell stories of moving around in his childhood, his days as postmaster, his store in Carlock, Illinois, and about his move to Monroe County, Mississippi. I’ve always been intrigued that he moved down with some of his Amish friends when they established the failed settlement at Gibson even though he was no longer one of them. While I realize that his Amish group was one of the more progressive ones of that faith, it just goes against everything you hear about shunning.

Next, I’d like to invite Rev. Stephen Bachiler (or Batchelder). If you don’t know about this colorful character, read a few of these articles at Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, New Hampshire. You will immediately know that our conversation will not be lacking that evening. I want to know all about his struggles with the church, about his time in Holland, about his trip to America, about his troubles in Lynn (and elsewhere) and his establishing the church in Hampton, about his return to England, and, for lack of a better way to state this, about his women, especially his third wife who appears to have been the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter. I’d also like to know whether or not he married the woman in England that Mary (wife #3) claimed he had.

As much as I’d like to invite a few of my other colonial New England ancestors who all have such fascinating stories, I think I’ll head south and pick up a few “loose ends” for the rest of my dinner party. My next dining companion will be Gabriel Fowlkes, the immigrant. He is supposed to have been born in Wales about 1696. However, no one can find a record over there, so I want to know if he was born in Wales or not, and where it was. I’d also like to hear why he chose to migrate to Virginia. I’d like to know about his life in the British Isles and then about his trip to America. I’d like for him to tell me what he knows about his family history.

My final invitation is issued to Richard Thornton. I know that will make my cousin Terry very happy! I want to know the exact date (instead of my present range of 1790-1795) for when he was born and exactly where he was born, who his parents were, what he knows about his family’s history, his moves, and why his family liked to hide from record takers or burn courthouses so much! I want him to tell me all about his wife Agnes and her family. There seems to be a gap between the date for their marriage and the first known child so I’d like to know if I’m missing some of his kids and who they are. I’d like to have him talk about all his children and what they were like growing up, especially his sons who died in the Civil War. I’d like to ask him if he’s related to the David Thornton in Fayette County, Alabama and if so, how.

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