Monday, February 12, 2007

Do You Know Your Religious Family Tree?

One of my faithful readers passed a link to Amy Cunningham's blog, Chattering Mind - where a post titled "Do You Know Your Religious Family Tree?" is here.

It is an interesting post, and every genealogist should pursue the religious aspect of their ancestors, because it provides insight into the life of each ancestor. Read the post, and think about your religious family tree.

My own Religious Family Tree, as far as I know, is:

1) Me - I was baptized in the Episcopal church, but am a member of the Presbyterian Church USA. My folks sent me to Sunday School down the street and I married a Presbyterian, so here I am.

2) My Father - grew up in the Episcopal church, but intentionally converted to Catholicism to win a young lady's hand, then rejected all religion when he failed to get her father's permission.

3) My Mother - did not join advocate any denomination, but believed in a supreme being.

4) My Grandfather Seaver - his daughter says that he was a "Home Episcopalian" - he drove his wife to church, but didn't go himself.

5) My Grandmother Seaver - she was an Episcopalian her whole life, and played organ at St. Marks in Leominster MA for many years.

6) My Grandfather Carringer - his parents raised him agnostic, due to the loss of their first infant son, which turned their hearts against God. On my grandfather's death bed, he asked to and recited the Lord's Prayer with me - one of the most moving moments of my life.

7) My Grandmother Carringer - was raised as a Christian, and was the most perfect example I have known. She didn't go to church, but I know she believed in God and prayed for all of us.

Further back, I know that:

* Most of my Seaver ancestors were probably Congregationalists in New England, and early on they were Puritans.

* Most of my great-grandmother White's ancestors in CT, RI and southeastern MA were probably Baptists or other non-Congo denominations. One of these ancestors was Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872), a Baptist preacher in South Kingstown RI and Killingly CT. The early Plymouth Pilgrims were Separatists, but spread into the other denominations.

* Most of my great-grandfather Richman's ancestors in Wiltshire in England were Anglican, except for one family which was Methodist in the 1830's.

* My Carringer ancestors in Mercer County PA were probably Lutheran, although I'm not sure. I am quite sure that my Spangler ancestors in York PA were Lutheran.

* My great-grandmother Kemp's ancestors in Norfolk County Ontario may have been Methodists or Wesleyan.

* My Vaux ancestors were probably Episcopal in the USA and Anglican in Somersetshire.

* My Cutter, Fitz-Randolph and other Woodbridge NJ area ancestors were Presbyterian with a few Quakers, and early on were either Puritan or Separatist.

That's probably enough - there is something there for everybody.

How about you - what is your Religious Family Tree?


Miriam Robbins said...

Goes along well with my AnceStories2 prompt, "Your Religious Life."

I think it's important to know our religious family tree, because for many of us, it was religious freedom that brought our ancestors to this country. How our family line has retained, or moved on from, our ancestors' faith adds yet another dimension to our family tree.

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