No words can explain the experience of reading the family genealogy books back at home. I always discover a new twist, no matter how many times I’ve looked. I am requested to do this duty. I am a good detective they say.
My dad’s origins are safely planted in two places on the Mayflower and so I always look to my Mom’s side for the hidden spice.
My mom’s dad originates from Cornelius Melyn, the feisty patroon from Staten Island who fought the despotic Peter Stuyvesant, then governor of New Amsterdam, (Peter Minuit was the guy who bought Manhattan for 60 Dutch Guilders ($24) from the Carnarsee Indians). Stuyvesant sent Melyn back to Holland in chains and Melyn came back with an arrest for Stuyvesant. There was a massacre by the Indians over a Peach in Staten Island and that’s where my ancestry begins. [“Cornelius Melyn Trades With the Indians,” is a mural at Staten Island Borough Hall]
Cornelius’ daughter, Mariken, lost her husband in that slaughter. A lad by the name of Matthias Hetfield b. 25 Aug 1604 Danzig, Prussia, d. 13 Dec 1687 Elizabethtown, Essex, NJ, came over with Cornelius from Holland to Staten Island. He married Mariken in New Haven, CT. Isaac Hatfield was born 1667 New Haven, CT, d. 25 Oct 1709 Elizabethtown, Essex, NJ.
Our first proven ancestor (records) is Isaac B. Hatfield. He connects to Isaac of New Haven in that all family member first names are carried down and dates match. When his mom died in Virginia, his dad remarried and his uncle adopted him. His dad went on to remarry and have another son that he would also name Isaac B. Hatfield. So the first son renamed himself Smith B. Hatfield. From there on the story is about duels and Smith B.’s continual reenlistments in the Civil War and duties of personal guard to President Davis.
Where did I learn all of this? My grandfather’s brother’s wife was very diligent and researched throughout Europe and the United States. She wrote several lively volumes on the Hatfields and the Roaches. I was searching for her writings on the internet. I found her son had a pecan oil product on the southern and west coast markets. If our next mayor should be named Cat or Markowitz. See “Gristedes Guy” and “Cutting the Brooklyn Fat from the Brooklyn Hype” maybe we’ll see some Pecan Oil on New York City grocery shelves from a descendant of the Patroon of Staten Island.
and here is the twist,
My Dad’s mom originates from the Royal House of Hesse-Darmstadt, Ludwig Vondersmith, gun makers who supplied the War of 1812 and defense arms for Revolutionary patriots. They settled in Strasbourg and Lancaster, PA.
The brothers, Eli W. Vondersmith and Samuel P. Vondersmith set up their doctor’s office in New York City. Eli W. had a thriving pharmacy and was also surgeon for the New York City police. Both brothers were surgeons in the Civil War, New York infantry and “Samuel P. Vondersmith was one of those who captured Wilkes-Booth who assassinated President Lincoln.” Later on another brother Michael, a coal trader, and sister, Mary K, would have houses in Manhattan on the Hudson River. The New York Times carries a story about the Vondersmiths’ estate. See New Lunar Estates.
Through this blog one cousin has found me. She is a couple of great grandaughters of Eli W. I am a couple of great granddaughters of Sarah Ann Vondersmith, a younger sister, who stayed in Lancaster, PA and married a pharmacist and doctor, Daniel Ehler.
So back to the twist,
My parents’ ancestors fought fiercely on opposite sides of each other in the Civil War, in influential places. I told my mom about some of our famous Dutch ancestors. She was silent, then she said she had always liked Edith Roosevelt. I mentioned how her father had not spoken favorably about the Bushes on this ‘famous dutch ancestors’ list. She did not know that. She too has suffered from unfavorable views of the Bushes in most recent years. I wonder if my grandfather knew about his DNA lines connection.