I have to say, this has been an intense week. So much so that I didn’t have time to write an entry for last week.
On Saturday the 2nd, I wrote part 1 of an entry about two minor figures in my mom’s life growing up who would become major figures in American history, in their respective mediums: childhood pals Sonny Vaccaro (the basketball/athletic shoe guru) and Pat DiCesare (the concert promoter). Part 1 focused on their beginnings, pre-fame. This past week I have been working on Part 2, which details their later lives and accomplishments.
On Monday I got word from a very good (and very pregnant) friend that she was being induced that day…a month and almost two weeks early! On Tuesday, we began a four day conference at my work- a large event that we had been planning for for months, which was busy and exciting in itself. At one point, coming back from one of the meetings, I checked my phone and voila! Un bebe! My friend gave birth to her first baby, a healthy, almost 5 ib baby girl named Teagan on Tuesday, February 5. One more perfect little branch to her family tree.
The next afternoon I started feeling ill and went home early. My husband was already home, also ill, on the couch. We spent the next several days battling a stomach bug while my mom mercifully watched the kids. All I can say is thank goodness it didn’t hit us a day earlier.
Also, at some point in the middle of all of this, I happened to listen to this week’s podcast episode (#269) of Extreme Genes and heard the lovely shoutout from David Allen Lambert. Coming from one of my favorites in the genealogical world, that really made my day. It also gave my husband and I something to shriek happily about while lying on our respective “sick couches.”
In between babies, conferences, and stomach flu, I somehow found time to do some genealogical research. On Sunday, I re-borrowed a few volumes of the The American descendants of Henry Luce of Martha’s Vineyard from archive.org and went back to work entering information into my Ancestry.com tree (I have done this several times, but have to keep taking breaks because of burnout…there are 4 volumes and thousands upon thousands of Luce descendants).
Also on archive.org, I found a copy of the Litchfield genealogy book, Litchfield family in America. The wife of Henry Martin Luce (of the above 4 volume genealogy book that I mentioned) was named Remember Litchfield, daughter of immigrant ancestor Lawrence Litchfield who came to America from probably Kent, England somewhere in the 1630s (the book estimated 1634, but couldn’t pinpoint it with any clear evidence). He was a young, single man, born around 1616, his temperament described as gentle and quiet. He didn’t get involved in any trouble and set to work building a life and family in Barnstable, Massachusetts, where he would also join the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Barnstable. He married Judith Dennis around 1640 and they had 4 children: Experience, Remember, Dependance, and Josiah. Of these 4 it is assumed that only 2 of them (my 9th great grandma Remember and her younger brother Josiah) had children of their own. Somewhere around 1645 the family relocated to Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts and Lawrence died around 1649 or 1650. His widow Judith remarried a man named William Peakes and had 4 more children. Peakes was not like Judith’s first husband in terms of temperament. In 1673 he was found guilty of beating and abusing his stepson Josiah’s wife (who was probably in her early twenties at the time), a misdemeanor for which he had to pay a fine. It is assumed that both Litchfield, Peakes and their families were well read, religious, and of means. The Litchfield genealogy book makes note that “the first settlers [of Scituate] were generally men of property. Many of them were scholars and accomplished gentlemen.” The 6 Bibles mentioned in the inventory of items that Peakes left upon his death also indicate a well-read and religious family bent. The book also mentioned that a love of horses was inherent in the Litchfield dna (son Josiah and his children owned many).
I have been watching the television show Victoria (about Queen Victoria) on PBS. I keep having to pause it to look up some of the key figures online or in my family tree (Victoria herself, I found, is my 16th cousin 6x removed). This research led me off on several tangents that, in turn, led to hours researching the War of the Roses (I hope to write more about this and the involvement of my ancestors later) and re-reading about one of my first loves of royal history, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia Nikolaevna (aka: the Romanovs…and my 19th cousins 3x removed, I found out recently). They were probably my gateway into a nearly lifelong passion for royal history, after I learned about their tragic murders in 1918 and subsequent Anastasia reappearance theories (which I never found plausible, even as a child) in 7th grade history class. I found that I was more interested in who they were, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, than their deaths. All 4 were so full of life and their murders so relatively recent! It was horrifying and intriguing all at once.
Hopefully next week will include a little less sick time on the couch and a little more research. Until then, may your DNA matches be many and your hunting be happy!
McCourt, Martha F. The American Descendants of Henry Luce of Martha’s Vineyard. vol. 1- 4, Boston, MA : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1994.
The Litchfield Family in America. Pt.1 No.1, Southbridge, Mass. : W.J. Litchfield, 1901.