Preserve the Pensions! 52 Ancestors: #13 Rodolphus Stanhope

My 2nd great-grandfather James Lucey had a wife and child before he married my 2nd great-grandmother. She died in childbirth along with their son James in 1868. Her name was Mary Jane Crotty and according to the 1865 Massachusetts census, was literally the girl next door. There was no civil record of the marriage or of the birth, just her death record which listed her maiden name. So how do I know about it?

His Civil War pension application.

Having that information put me in contact with Flavia Adams, a descendant of the Crotty’s,  fellow genealogist and a wonderful woman. It also helped to explain the strong connection between the families. If it weren’t for the pension records, that connection might have been lost to history.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives, Ancestry.com and Fold3, launched a fund raising campaign to digitize 7.2 million War of 1812 pension documents held in the Archives. Once digitized the files are available for free via Fold3. There are thousands of stories in those very fragile documents, they need to be protected and made available. Please join me in supporting this extremely important effort by donating at Preserve the Pensions.

One War of 1812 Pension records that I’m particularly interested in is that of my 4th great grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope. He was born around 1796 in Massachusetts, possibly in the Sudbury area where his family lived before moving to Plantation 4 [which became Robbinston in 1811] in present day Maine. He was a young man of 15 or 16 when he volunteered for Captain Thomas Vose’s company in July of 1812, just weeks after Congress authorized the war.

RodolphusStanhope1812Service

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in the War of 1812, pg. 159 Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Rodolphus married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children over the next 30 years. They lived in Robbinston, Perry and finally Whiting, Maine. Rodolphus died 17 August 1870 and a short time later Susannah applied for his War of 1812 pension. I can’t wait to see what stories might be in his pension records. Help make sure that none of the records are lost, make a tax-deductible donation at Preserve the Pensions.

Pension Application

Ancestry.com. War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

This post is 13th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Mystery Monday – Native American Day

Today is Native American Day, in South Dakota at least, which reminded me of an old family rumor that my grandmother was part Native American.

Doris Mae Bowen

My Grandmother Doris Mae Bowen 1913-2004

She didn’t think she was, but  didn’t know.

Bessie Stanhope Tree

Her mother, Bessie Stanhope, was the great-granddaughter of James Carter and Deborah Newell.  James was born in 1765 in England and by 1788 had settled in Moose Island, Maine, which is part of Eastport and right in the heart of Passamaquoddy Tribe territory. According to many online family history pages and forum messages (example), his wife Deborah was from the Passamaquoddy Tribe. I haven’t found any evidence of this specifically, but I certainly haven’t exhausted all sources yet. The websites I’ve seen haven’t pointed to any actual source documentation either.

I have taken DNA tests with 23andMe, Ancestry DNA and Family Tree DNA and none have shown any Native American ancestry, however Deborah would be my 5th great-grandmother, so it’s possible that none made its way to me in an identifiable segment.

While it won’t prove that Deborah was Native American, I’d love to hear from any other descendants of James Carter and Deborah Newell that have taken DNA tests.

Tech Tuesday – DNA Test Results, Update 2

Back in April 2012 I received my AncestryDNA results and wrote about my surprise at seeing Scandinavian and Persian/Turkish/Caucasus in my Genetic Ethnicity results. I’ve had some recent results that possibly shed some light on both question marks in my, and hopefully others, genetic ethnicity as AncestryDNA sees it.

My Ethnicity Summary

My Ethnicity Summary

Scandinavian

At the time of my DNA test, the most popular theory was that the Vikings were lovers as well as fighters and that most of my Irish/English heritage is shown as Scandinavian. Back in August I connected with a cousin from my Stanhope line (Hi Susan!) and she pointed me to the website of Michael Stanhope, which seems to support that theory.

Michael, with the disclaimer that the information is“…what might have been rather than what definitely was”, documents the Stanhope line back to “…Halfdan Olafsson, Jarl of Vestfold, Ringerike, Hadeland, and the Opplands.” around the year 700 in Norway. The line supposedly goes from Norway to Normandy to England to America. That could certainly account for some of my Scandinavian ethnicity but it’s all but unprovable from a genealogical perspective. I was hopeful for something more concrete.

My Irish/English and Stanhope ancestry is on my paternal side, so every time I saw someone with Scandinavian listed as our “Shared Ethnicity” on Ancestry DNA, I automatically looked for surnames and locations from that side of my tree. Turns out I was being shortsighted.

My maternal grandfather’s parents are German and Lithuanian and although my grandfather is no longer here, his wonderful sister Jane is. My great-aunt Jane took the DNA test in December and yet another surprise when her results came in: 64% Eastern European, 36% Scandinavian.

Jane's Ethnicity Summary

Jane’s Ethnicity Summary

When I look at the matches we have in common, it turns out that on many of them the Shared Ethnicity is Scandinavian and the Shared Birth Location is Germany.SharedBirthLocations

Most of the matches have no obvious Scandinavian heritage (surnames or birth locations). Some matches have Central European ethnicity as well, which is where you’d expect German heritage to show.

So, it seems that some German ancestry shows as Scandinavian in the Ancestry DNA system. Perhaps these people originally were from Scandinavia and the test is picking up that deep ancestry or perhaps it’s just an error in the way the system works.  Any readers with Scandinavian in your DNA results where you expected German?

Persian/Turkish/Caucasus

My maternal grandmothers parents are both from Quindici, Avellino, Italy, which is a small town near Naples. You’d expect them to show as Southern European in my ethnicity, but I don’t have any.  I recently found a DNA match where the persons grandmother was a Manzi and our only shared ethnicity is Persian/Turkish/Caucasus.

Legend has it that my Fusco’s from Malden, Massachusetts are cousins of the Manzi’s from Lawrence, Massachusetts but I have not been able to find documentation of the connection yet. I’ve sent a message to the match to see if we can find a connection, I’m hopeful we will.

Are you seeing a similar or contrary pattern in your AncestryDNA results? I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment.

Military Monday – War of 1812

In the Boston area, going to visit the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown is a right of passage for every kid. Two hundred years ago today, America declared war on Britain and the Constitution would earn its nickname “Old Ironsides” in the ensuing naval battles. The War of 1812 is sometimes called the “forgotten war”, overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War. But, it was an important step for America, to prove to Britain and the world that it could stand up on its own.

Image Source: Library of Congress website http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005691642/

My 4th Great-grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope enlisted at Robbinstown, Maine as a Private in Capt. Thomas Vose Jr.’s Militia, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Shead’s Regiment.1 He was 15 years old at the time. I can’t find any record of engagements for this unit, so I don’t believe he saw any fighting. He does show up in the War of 1812 Pension Application Index on Ancestry.com. The actual Pension files are being digitized (you can support the cause here) and will be available on Fold3 as they are completed. I will probably order the records from the National Archives this summer.

Rodolphus (1796-1870) was the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Parmenter) Stanhope. He married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children including my 3rd great-grandfather, Rodolphus in 1817.

1. Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.