Genealogy and the Internet

My father's aunt Theresa Quartermain Jackson first got me and my family interested in genealogy about four years ago.

She lives in South Lake Tahoe, making small paintings of English cottages, thereby calling herself "The Cottage Lady".

Terry always sends us hilarious letters. She writes in a rambling stream of consciousness fashion. Here is an exerpt from one of her letters to me.

"Yes, Sharon told me about the "npo ?? """"""''' darn how to make the Spanish ? I can ask Sharon she won a 10 day trip to Mexico so missed gen. day. I too prefer the Spanish idea of ? first. Eric barely speaks at all, we had some good laughs about Keesje, but Eric did not add anything to what we already had, he is going to send me add. of the sons maybe I can appeal to them as the wife does not care to answer my letters. It seems rather difficult to read the green screen is*nt it? star wrong I have a lovely view of the meadow where Indians used to camp and beyond that green mountains, do you ever suffer depression, do hope we hear from David Q. he seems interested. Al said I was singing W.W. 2 songs in my sleep, I do tend to sing in my sleep, also scream! and have been known to fall out of bed during nightmare from watching nasty movies before sleep. We have not had a vacation in 20 years. It snows."

Terry never used a computer or the internet. With our use of the internet, we have learned more about our family tree in the last year than Terry has in the last 30 years.

My mother's great uncle Charles Kennedy (1878 - 1962) had done a large amount of genealogy research.

His genealogy research had mentioned the name Joseph Hawley but the name wasn't connected to anyone else mentioned in his genealogy papers. Joseph Hawley was born in Parwich, Derby, England in 1603, and died in Stratford, Connecticut in 1690. My father added a post on the bulletin board at GenForum asking if anyone had heard of him. We received a response from a woman named Sarah O'Sullivan who said that her grandmother had done genealogy research, and it included Joseph Hawley.

We added the information in our computer, and thought it was probably accurate. We assumed that Patience Hawley (1718 - 1742) was Joseph Hawley's granddaughter. However my father wanted to be absolutely certain, so on the spur of the moment, he decided to double check it. He did a search for the name "Patience Hawley" at the site To his astonishment, he stumbled upon a genealogy of Patience Hawley that went all the way back to William the Conqueror!

Before that, the earliest person in our genealogy was Simon Baker who was born in 1500. Initially, we were delighted, assuming it was true. Then my mother noticed that the wife of Samuel Hawley was not Mary Thompson, the one listed in the genealogy that Sarah O'Sullivan had given us. We were disappointed, thinking that we were not descended from William after all.

Later, my father posted another post on GenForum, and asked about Patience Hawley's grandmother Patience Nichols. We then forgot all about it. Much later, we received e-mail out of the blue from Mary Nichols Trumbell who had devoted 15 years to studying the Nichols family. She said that Patience Nichols was the second wife of Samuel Hawley. Mary Thompson was the first wife. Therefore, it turned out that we were descended from William the Conqueror after all! After that, I researched the genealogy of William the Conqueror and other people listed in the genealogy that my father had found at I went to Royal and Noble Genealogical Database which is devoted to medieval royal genealogy. In the course of this research, I traced my ancestry back 1300 years to the 7th Century! I determined that I am the direct descendant of William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Hugh Capet, who was a famous king of France, Malcolm III, who was a character in Shakespeare's "Macbeth", and King Robert Bruce, who was a character in "Braveheart". We would not have discovered this if my father hadn't spontaneously decided to confirm that Patience Hawley was Joseph Hawley's granddaughter, or if Sarah O'Sullivan and Mary Nichols Trumbell hadn't answered our posts. I am the (great)30 grandson of William the Conqueror (1028 - 1087). In 1066, he defeated King Harold in the Battle of Hastings, thus becoming the last person to successfully invade England.

Here is the Bayeaux Tapestry which portrays the Battle of Hastings.

Alfred the Great (849 - 899) is often described as the first king of England. He reigned from 871 - 899. He prevented the Danish conquest of England, defeating them in Edington in 878 after a campaign of guerrilla warfare.

I sent Terry a copy of my genealogy going back to the medieval kings. I waited and waited for a response from Terry but never got one. Finally, we received a letter from her but it made no mention of the information I sent her. I thought she had never received it so I was going to send it again. However, then my mother called Terry, and it turned out that she had received it. This is what she wrote in her next letter to me.

"Another Sister who works in gen. lib. was there Tuesday and I showed her the wonderful things Jeffery sent, and I asked her if they happened to have William The C. and she punched a key or two and there he was complete with wife and 10 kids. The church lib. has all the royals has had them for many years, as so many people trace into them. Sharon also."

Terry, a holdover from the pre-internet genealogy days, was absolutely tickled at the new information.