HECKMAN-L ArchivesArchiver > HECKMAN > 2008-01 > 1201245894
From: "ma" <>
Subject: Re: [HECKMAN] Legend Of The HECKMAN Brothers ? TOPIC 0: Prologue
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 02:24:54 -0500
I started doing family history after my mother died at 87, and I found some
things in her papers that I did not know or things that I had wrong. I
thought "I should write down what I know I know about my family so that if
my kids are ever curious there will be some record. " "Know that I know" is
a real stopper. You start to say something and then ask yourself, "Where did
I get that ?" or "why do I think that?", and the chase is on.
So I started on my mother's maiden name of Kingery. She had provided me
with a few facts, where her father was born, and the date; where her mother
was born and the name of her grandfather Leander Snyder's wife, Sophronia
Anthony. Three of the four turned out to be wrong. Close, but wrong, such as
Leander Snyders wife was Eliza Anthony, but she had a sister named
I also believed, correctly, that I would find the Kingerys around College
Corner, IN and in Carroll Co, IN.
This was all in 1982. Now I am 84, and have learned a great deal about our
country, its people, and its history from the 1600's on. I have found in my
own direct lineage, Dunkers, and other Anabaptists, Quakers, Lutherans,
German Reform, Scots, Scots Irish, Campbellites, Welsh and English.
I have had to study the Reformation and the Counter Reformation; something
about the wars in Europe and much of our history here, as well as firm up
quite a lot of geography. I have found saints and sinners; ancestors I think
I would have disliked, as they reveal themselves to me in their wills; and
those I identify with, such as Sarah "Sally" Witter Kingery and Virginia
"Jenny" McGlasson, two of my great grandmothers.
Details matter. If you don't know Polly used to be one of the nicknames for
Mary, you may think you have found two women when it is really one. If you
don't know that Jr. often just meant younger and not the son of, you will
make mistakes that lead you astray. Ditto, if you don't know that son-in-law
could mean the son of the widow I married and adopted. Or that the age at
which one was required to tithe in VA varied, and some were excused. Or that
in VA, the eldest son might not be named in a will at all, because he would
get the whole estate unless his father specified bequests to his brothers.
Or that in German records sometimes the women's names were given the
feminine suffix in, so no, her last name is not Wagnerin, but Wagner.
And if you don't do your own 'leg work", you will miss most of the fun: The
thrill of unearthing a document in a little courthouse, or meeting suddenly
a cousin, or a bunch of them if someone arranges a reunion.
Of standing beside the grave of an ancestor in a little graveyard on a farm
in Union County, Indiana, a man who lived to be 90; one that enables you to
say, as I can, "I know a man who knew a man who was alive during the
American Revolution. My grandfather born in 1950, was 15 years old when
Martin Kingery, his great grandfather died. Which shows both how old I am,
and how young our country is.
And so have fun chasing your ancestors, try to learn why they moved where
they did and why they left there if they did, and what kind of people they
were. And you men, remember that your mother is your ancestor too and gave
you 50% of your "youness", and don't just get stuck on your last name.
And so to bed!
Mary Alice Shulman
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 12:12 AM
Subject: [HECKMAN] Legend Of The HECKMAN Brothers ? TOPIC 0: Prologue
> Hi All,
> I was born in PA, but move to NJ as a toddler and grew up there. My
> HECKMAN grandparents had died before I was born, my father?s only
> sister passed away while I was still a teenager, and I really had no
> exposure to any other HECKMAN family members. Actually, I never met
> another HECKMAN for the first 20 years of my life. I had an interest
> in learning more about my HECKMAN heritage, and figured I?d have time
> to do the research much later in life, when I would be retired. Since
> my father spoke a few German words* when I was young, I assumed that
> we came to America in the late 1800s, as so many immigrants did. [* I
> learned very little German from my father (probably because my mother
> is Irish-American, and I didn?t grow up in ?PA Dutch? country). One
> phrase that I remember well: ?Verstehst Du?? (Do you understand?).
> Unfortunately, I would have to answer at this time: ?Nein!?]
> When my father had some heart trouble and a quadruple bypass about six
> years ago, I realized that I hadn?t thoroughly interviewed the only
> link to my HECKMAN past. My Dad was born in Berks County, PA, and
> moved to Northampton County as a child. His father died suddenly as a
> young man, and my father had not given much thought to his HECKMAN
> heritage before then (or since, for that matter). All he had to offer
> me was the date of his father?s death, and the names of a few aunts
> and uncles.
> Using the free resources at www.familysearch.org , I deduced who my
> grandfather was in the U.S. Social Security Death Index. I acquired a
> copy of his Social Security application, which listed his parents and
> other information of interest. With a one- or two-week free trial
> subscription at www.ancestry.com , I was able to peel back another
> couple of generations. By then, I was hooked. In time, I found that
> my HECKMAN family has been here longer than the USA has been a
> country, and that our German heritage is still impacting in our family
> ? even after hundreds of years here.
> More importantly, I?ve found that the journey of trying to solve the
> puzzles of my ancestors? lives is at least as interesting as knowing
> the end result. Over the past six years, I?ve found ancestors that no
> one has documented and compelling stories that are as interesting as
> any. I will share these stories - and the stories of how some
> mysteries were solved - as I share my theories of ?the legend of the
> HECKMAN brothers??.
> Your comments are more than welcome. Already we are seeing many new
> contributions to the list, and many from some of the best
> HECKMAN(N)/HICKMAN family researchers in the world! I look forward to
> our voyage of discovery together.
> Best wishes,
> Jeff Heckman
> Penfield, NY
> NEXT TIME: Legend Of The HECKMAN Brothers ? TOPIC 1: Where Do
> HECKMANs Come From?
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