Thursday, March 2, 2017

In Search of David Hollister

One of the joys of family research is discovering lines of ancestors that you had never heard of. In my search there have been a few of these, mostly from my paternal grandmother’s family. I did not have much information on her and so there was a lot waiting to be found. One of these families, the Hollisters, started out in colonial Connecticut and ended up, via New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in far western Iowa.

The Town of Dansville, Stuben County, New York;
where David Hollister spent his youth?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Windsor, Connecticut

Located north of Hartford on the Connecticut River, Windsor was the first permanent settlement in the, soon to be, Connecticut Colony and the home of Thomas Holcombe. In 1633 a group from Plymouth established a trading post at the meeting of the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers. A year later, the first group from Dorchester, Massachusetts established themselves just north of the trading post. Others from Dorchester would follow and a foothold in Connecticut was established.

North-central Connecticut prior to 1625 showing tribal settlements
along the Connecticut River in the area of future Windsor.

The Towns of My Ancestors

The primary focus of Genealogy is often concentrated on individual ancestors and there connection to others in the family. It is concerned about birth, parents, marriage, children, work, service, accomplishments and eventually death. These are the markers of a life and form a thread that connects each generation to the next. The place where they lived is another point of data but not always the focus of a Genealogy. Place was certainly an important part of each individual's life and yet, one constant seems to be that these folks were always on the move. It took a lot of work to put down roots and build a life but often, just as they had make a place for themselves, they would pack up and head out, usually toward the horizon of the setting sun. Still, those places . . . their home . . . was everything to the colonists and pioneers of America. Being able to settle in a place of one's own was the very definition of the freedom these people were looking for.

Town of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. A survey from about 1833 shows the military
 road (on the ridge at the top of the map) and one settler (upper left corner). Like
the calm before the storm, over the next 30 years the town will fill up; first with
 Yankees from the east, then a mix of Germans, Norwegians, Swiss and others.