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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stepping off into the past -- The Springthorpes


When you start out doing genealogical research, you hardly know your ancestors. Slowly, each generation starts to come alive. Some start with their own parents, but most of us spend some time getting to know our grandparents and great-grandparents. In my case, I have an overwhelming wealth of information about nearly all my great-grandparents. One exception is my Great-grandmother, Frances Ann Thomas (b. 1864, d. 1950), who married Marinus Christensen (b. 1863, d. 1927), a Danish immigrant.

One of the reasons for our lack of connections to our ancestors is their unavailability. On my maternal side of the family, all four of my Great-grandparents died either before I was born or when I was still a small child. In my case, all but one of my great-grandparents lived in the same small town at one time or another. So this photograph of Frances Ann Thomas Christensen was taken by another of my Great-grandmothers, Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson. They were "cousins" through marriage.

Where the real challenge begins in genealogical research, is moving back with each succeeding generation. Memories of the older folks grow much dimmer and contemporary documents become harder to find. In this case, Frances Ann Thomas Christensen's parents almost reach the limit of my research on one of my family lines. Her parents were David Thomas (b. 1820, d. 1888) and Adeline Springthorpe (b. 1826, d. 1891). In my lines, my great-great-grandparents are those individuals who begin to be immigrants to America. In my case, the countries are rather limited, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Denmark.

Both the Thomas line and the Springthorpe line end in the next generation. In the case of the Springthorpes, this is where the research get interesting. Adeline Springthorpe's parents are the question, presently without and answer. Here are the details as they show in my records at the present time:

Adeline Springthorpe's (b. 1826, d. 1891) parents are:
James Springthorpe (b. 1785, d. 1851) and Frances Springthorpe (b. 1797, d. 1862)

Yes, they have the same name. Here's how each of their parents are listed:

James Springthorpe (b. 1785, d. 1851) son of John Springthorpe (b. abt. 1764) and Mary Bailey (b. abt. 1766)

Frances Springthorpe (b. 1797, d. 1862) daughter of John Springthorpe (b. abt. 1764) and Elizabeth Sprigs (b. abt. 1775).

Yes, they do appear to have the same father. Well, here's where I figured it was time to get into the family line and resolve this conflict. I find my file with the usual situation of not one shred of documentary evidence to support any of the lines. I will be working on this line over the next few weeks to demonstrate how I go about finding the documentation and finally either reaching a conclusion or admitting that I can't find any more information to clear up the issue. If there are any Springthorpes out there who have already done this work, I would appreciate some help, but if not, this will be an interesting "reality" research project where I don't know the conclusion from the onset.

1 comment:

  1. That's a nice picture of Grandma Christensen.

    I've never found any suggestion anywhere that anyone has done any substantial amount of work on the Springthorpes. One reason is that there were a lot of them, the records aren't very good, some of the records are contradictory, and it is confusing to separate out all of the John Springthorpes and the Frances Springthorpes. It's not a job for the faint of heart.

    Good luck! I'll see if I have anything in the Thomas/Springthorpe history from Helen that I should send you.

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