Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting the Poynt

Landmarks are important aspects in examining the history of an area. Especially if you are trying to establish the location of ancestors. Getting around certain brick walls may depend upon identifying and placing certain landmarks in the correct location recorded in deeds and surveys.

History often gives the stories behind these landmarks. Sting Ray point (poynt) is such a case. John Smith in his own writings give the following account:

"...vpon the riuer of Rapahanock, by many called Tappahanock, but our bote by reafon of the ebbe, chanfing to grownd vpon a many fhoules lying in the entrances, we ipyed many fifhes lurking in the reedes;..." [spelling as written 18 June 1608, f = s]. Thus, on low tide, the boat was grounded near the shore.

"...our Captaine fporting himself by nayling them to the ground with his sword..." [Interesting way to fish!]

"But it chanfed our Captaine taking a fifh from his sword (not knowing her condition) being much of the fafhion of a Thornback, but a long tayle like a ryding rodde, whereon the middft is a moft poysoned fting, of tow or three inches long, bearded like a faw on each side, which the ftrucke into the wreft of his arme neere an inch and halfe:..." [Take that Captain John Smith for sticking your sword into me...!]

"no bloud nor wound was feens, but a little blew fpot, but the torment was inftantly fo extreame..."

The tracing above is the mouth of Rappahannock River. The south landmark is Sting Ray point. The north landmark is Musketo Point. It was from these landmarks that the survey crews would begin their survey. The drawing shows 1 mile makers as they would be counted from these landmarks. Thus, "eight miles up" would be from these geographic points.

Certainly, Captain John Smith got the point!

Taken from: The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and Summer Ifles: with the names of the Adventuresr, Planter, and Governours from their firft beginning. An: 1584 to this present 1624. London, Printed by I.D. and I.H. for Michael Sparkes, 1624. p.58-59.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Wishes

Wishing upon a star reflects the mental power of the human brain. The Latin language [those Romans] uses the word velle meaning to wish. By the time the Anglo-Saxons arrived[Old English], they used the word wille. This has come down to us in the English as the word will. Interesting that in a genealogical sense, this means a legal declaration of a person's mind as to the manner in which property or estate is dealt with after the death of that person. Litterally, it is like reading a person's mind.

Being of a very personal nature, the will offers a chance for the genealogist to open the window of the mind of an ancestor. In addition, the will offers tremendous information regarding the family. It usually list the name(s) of the deseased's heir(s), often including married names of the surviving females. [Family branches!] A listing of what the deceased possessed in property, real and personal is frequently helpful to establish a life-style. Approximate date of death from the date of the will's probate by the court can help establish or clarify chronology. Signatures which indicate close friends, relatives, or repected members of the deceased's community can be used to break down a few brick walls.

Making wishes, a window to the mind of our sure and open some windows to your own family tree.