I have split my limited free time between fine tuning my synopsis and query letters for my mystery novel (Boys Will Be Boys) and doing genealogy research. So last night about 11:30 p.m. I found several links to the Sons of the American Revolution on my father’s (Murphy) side. Low and behold I may actually be a descendant of soldiers who fought for our independence in Maryland! So far I’ve found Ninian Beall and Jonathan Beall who each fought in Maryland – Ninian was my great great great great grandfather. Still trying to find Jonathan but he was a member in the SAR and related to Ninian. They (and by “they” I mean their wives!) were quite prolific and had lots of kids back then so the exact relationships are a little muddy. My great grandmother was a Beall who married a Murphy so I think it’s the right clan because they all stayed in the same area in Maryland. I grew up in Fairfax, Virginia just a few miles from where they fought and never knew it. Kind of a shame I wasn’t able to dig up this info until now, but still intriguing.
There was also a Colonel Ninian Beall from Scotland who was captured and sold into slavery in the late 1600s, shipped to Barbados, then trasnferred to Maryland. I think he may be the first Beall who came over but can’t find him on ancestry.com although with that name they must be related. Another family rumor was that my Murphy ancestors came over from Ireland as indentured servants very early in our country’s history (late 1600s or early 1700s). So if that’s all true, these poor Irish and Scottish folk started as servants and slaves, made a new life in our country and eventually fought for its independence. Pretty neat, especially learning this right before Veterans Day!
Don’t know much about the Daughters of the American Revolution but will definitely check it out now. The big bonus is I have a whole new area to research for my next novel! Just hope I can eventually track down the ship that my mother’s relatives traveled on when they left Ireland during the potato famine. They came through New York and made their way to Illinois where they’ve stayed for 150 years. I borrowed some names for characters in my novel from my mother’s side – Flanagan, which is the last name of several key characters, and Hannah.
Not sure what I have in common with some of these ancestors, and I can’t even imagine how life as a woman would have gone in those days. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find a crazy old aunt or cousin who rescued animals back in the pioneer days! Or was this passion for animals developed post-depression when families had enough food to eat and were able to take care of a pet? Probably the latter. Just thankful I live in modern times where women are able to be educated, and of course, have access to birth control 🙂