Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Supplement (Astrology-free)


Tracing one's family history can become addictive, though at times frustrating.

While organising a narrative and plan, tidy enough to send to a cousin in England yesterday, I noticed a possible error in my work. On checking further I discovered that I had indeed mixed up a couple of people who bore the same name, and who were married to wives also of the same first names, all born around the same dates, in roughly the same area of Yorkshire. Two Jonathans married to two Margarets. Matching exact places of birth and of residence was the only sure way to keep myself moving along the correct line.

Having made the necessary amendments I felt rather disappointed. The incorrect line had led back to a family (with 6 sons, 4 daughters) who emigrated to the USA in 1821, and had letters on the topic, available for interested parties to read at One letter detailed the cost of setting up a farm in Pennsylvania at that time.

25 acres.... of first-rate land at 24 dollars an acre....... We have built a house on it, and live in it. We sowed 8 acres of buckwheat; it looks well. We have two orchards of apple trees. It grows 300 bushels a year, the best I ever ate. It is a pleasant place, there were 12 acres of rye which fell to me. I bought 2 cows, two oxen, 2 heiffers and a lot of swine. I have bought 160 acres , 8 miles from us, 10 acres cleared, the rest is wood. It is light clearing, a man may chop an acre in 3 days. It is level land and good. We are going to sow 5 acres of wheat, the rest with rye. It is 4 dollars an acre. We intend building next spring there. I intend this for two farms ..... etc.
However, as it turned out, they were not my ancestors. Setting out on the correct track, and with the help of much work done in past years by other researchers, I discovered something else, equally fascinating.

The maiden name of the wife of my correct ancestor (the pair would be my great great great-grandparents) was Vasey, born 1784, and she came from a village called Allerston in Yorkshire. Her great great grandfather was a Matthew Vasey, born around 1600. His life-span included the time of the English Civil Wars, and The Restoration of the Monarchy. After a bit of Googling, not really expecting to find much, I found this: an extract from a book published in 1892, written by John Leyland The Yorkshire Coast and the Cleveland Hills and Dales (page 241):

Hmmmm. Well, the Restoration of the Monarchy, after Oliver Cromwell's time in power, occured in 1660. Prince Charles (King Charles the Second)whose father had been beheaded, had supposedly been in exile until 1660 - but who knows what went on undercover? I guess he could have slipped in from Europe to a quiet port on the Yorkshire coast, for there were many, and made his way inland across the area near Allerston.

So, if that snippet is anything to go by, it would appear that a distant ancestor of mine was a Loyalist. As it happens, King Charles the Second was always my favourite king when studying history at school. On mature reflection though, he was not a Good King - but then, Royals are not my favourite people, none of 'em was a lot of good! I'd doubtless have been supporting t'other side.


Wisewebwoman said...

Interesting you have reached back to 1600. it brings the daily life very much to the forefront when King Charles himself could have met your ancestor!
BtW, I 've always found King Charles resemblance to the his eponymous spaniel startling.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I only managed to reach so far back due to the work of other individuals from related families who have gone into their history deeply, searching parish registers, and other historical records, in situ in Yorkshire, they have made it available at That gave me a head start on a couple of my lines, while two others others produced more or less dead ends.

And oddly, the further back one goes, the easier it is to be sure it's the right line, because there were fewer people around, and fewer with the same names. Once into the 1800s it becomes very tricky, with big families using the same names over and over again.

Yes, it's good how much Old Charles and his spaniels looked so alike. ;-)

R J Adams said...

"I'd doubtless have been supporting t'other side."

Aye, an' doubtless 'ad yer 'ead cut off!

Twilight said...

RJ ~~~ LOL! Aye! Or mebbe hung drawn an' quartered!

Anonymous said...

Hi Very Interesting about the Matthew Vasey I myself came across the same article myself when googling this did make me laugh. I have not connected my tree as far back to him though.
My connection is to a Hannah Vassey born C1795 daughter of Mathhew and Ann she waschristened 29 NOV 1795 Allerston that information was obtained from IGI and confirmed by viewing relevant film at LDS. I am still somewhat a beginner and Hannah was rather elusive as much of the time I was unabel to find her but persistence paid off. A google today happened to bring me upon your blog. Perhaps we can share info.
Regards Rob

Twilight said...

Anonymous (Rob)

Hello! What a coincidence! Thanks for getting in touch via commenting.

I too am fairly new to genealogy, and wouldn't have got far beyond my grandparents without - my husband has a subscription there, so invited me to join a few months ago.

If you drop me an e-mail to

I'll reply from my regular e-mail address and we can exchange information.

My link to Vasey is via Margaret, daughter of William V. (1758) and Mary Brown.