Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kris "Kringle" Comes Early

Remember a while back when I didn't find a surname board on RootsWeb Mailing lists and message boards? No? What say, you have a life??

OK, so the surname I didn't find was Newans and that's one of my Revolutionary War ancestors that I've been digging around for. So I volunteered to be the administrator for the Newan/s board. And whatta ya know, a researcher named Kris popped up and contacted me!

Now Kris is no run-of-the-mill amateur genealogist (like myself:) She's a real researcher working on her graduate thesis and is presently focusing on foodways in western New York state. She noticed the RootsWeb post to the Newan/s board and the connection to Ontario County and in particular, Canandaigua, NY.

So she and I have been back and forth and the really interesting thing is that she's opened my eyes to the importance of agriculture in the very early 1800s. She even reminded me that in the 1820 census two individuals living with Nehemiah Newans were agricultural workers. Must say that I'd been thinking of him as a stone mason, which he was. But Kris pointed out that almost everyone in the area at that time was involved in ag. There were even ag fairs!

Even more flesh is being put on his bones: he had a thriving business as a stone mason with apprentices, and Kris thinks they might have been Italian as many were at that time. He had a wife and son living with him. He owned property, which included at least four good sized lots in the center of Canandaigua. And he was also engaged in agriculture and the household had two individuals just for that purpose.

Amazing what we find out if we just go look! Thanks Kris for your gift of a deeper understanding of my ancestor!

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