Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Book that got me Hooked

June, 1991   Grandma Bell died the week of my wedding.

As Forrest Gump says, "That's all I have to say about that".

My mom and her sister were in charge of cleaning out Grandma's houses - she had 2, one at the farm in southern Hamilton County, Nebraska, one in Aurora.  The house in town was the end of the line of at least 3 generations of the family.  Grandma lived there with her brother Virg McGRATH until his death (1982).  Virg never married and had lived with his parents, Art & Sadie McGRATH until their deaths.  Sadie's parents were Josiah & Sarah NEGLEY, and she had 2 unmarried brothers, William and Cal and one unmarried sister, Alice.  Whatever possessions weren't disposed of at their deaths ended up at Grandma's house.  So there was a lot of stuff in "the old trunk in the attic" (to tell the truth, it was the basement), and with some things, it wasn't clear exactly who the original owner was.

One of the things they found was a book, "The History of the Foster Family", written by D. I. FOSTER in about 1902.  This book can be found online now transcribed in its entirety.  I took the book, made a photocopy, and went through it, made a simple Word document charting out the family members, including all the information he had on each person.  This project grew to include all the descendants of Ruth FOSTER, who is my 3rd great grandma, and then my entire family tree.  Ruth FOSTER married John NEGLEY, their son Josiah Foster NEGLEY and Sarah LEE are the parents of Sadie (NEGLEY) McGRATH.  This document was replaced by family tree software before long.

The book names Arthur FOSTER as father of Basil, but through other researchers, I learned it was Thomas FOSTER and Sarah CROSS who were Basil's parents.  I have him listed as "Arthur or Thomas" in my software, and it is that way in my Rootsweb World Connect Tree.  I see several trees with "Arthur Thomas" and I wonder where they got that.

Arthur or Thomas Foster & family moved from Myrickville, Massachusetts to Prince George's County, Maryland  about 1760.  In the spring of 1778, his son Basil FOSTER was among a group of settlers who moved north to the Woodcock Valley near where Saxton, Pennsylvania is now.  Indian raids sent some of the group back to Maryland for about 7 years, then in 1787, they returned to their fort at the mouth of Shoup's Run.

Basil FOSTER's son Richard Lewis FOSTER married Charity JOHNSTONE in 1793.  This book details the families of their 10 children:  Wealthy, Sarah, Ephriam, Eli, Richard, Lewis, Thomas, Ruth, Josiah and Septimus.

So I think I felt like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life!".  I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to build my family tree.  I wanted to travel to the places my family came from.  I wanted to learn about their experiences.  I wish my daughter and nieces & nephew could have known my Grandparents.  I think maybe my Grandparents felt the same way about me and their Grandparents.

Tell me about the book you found in the old trunk in the attic that got you hooked.

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