Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Very First Research Trip !!! whoo hoo

In the "tiny room" at the FHC

                       Hello to you fine people.

In the "tiny room" at the FHC
It has been quite some time since last I've posted.  The next person we should meet is Jonathan Lewis, son of Samuel Lewis.  However, this post has to wait a little bit longer.

My classes have been going well.  I have sooooo many papers to write for all of my classes, it's crazy. But it only enhances my writing skills, yes?  My most favorite class, of course, is U.S. History.  This history class is shedding quite the light on the history of Lewis' (my Lewis)  family as we are, naturally, talking about the settling of the North American Colonies.  In my personal interest, we have been talking about New England (1600 - 1700) and how it all came about (Currently reading Alan Taylor's American Colonies: The Settling of North America [I actually enjoy this book; at times it is a long and drawn out read, but still, to me, well worth the read]).  It is rather fascinating, as you learn what kind of people came first where and why and what they were most likely doing thereafter.  So, I have to wonder if John Lewis (the father of Samuel and who was believed to have come from England) was a Puritan.  As the story goes, told by Sallie Lewis, he came from England to Plymouth.  But then went to Newport and ended up in Westerly, where it is said he was one of the first settlers.  So, by ending up in Rhode Island, could we assume that he perhaps was a Quaker? Or a Baptist?  Or belonging to any other religious denomination that didn't sit well with the Puritans?  Did he, perhaps come here as an indentured servant or did he pay his own way across the Atlantic, like most of the Puritans did?  Knowing his religious background would give us some sense to the person/personality he must have been and give us an idea of who and what his children were.  We would get a bit of a picture of how they would have grown up.  And thanks to Professor Tadros,, my History Professor, those are the questions I am now after. 

one of my walls in my office... only a small part of what there is to know about the Lewis Family
This March, my mother-in-law and I are packing up to go to Rhode Island to find the answers to the above mentioned questions as well as answers to all other questions I have.  It's my Spring-Break, so I only have one week.  Lewis'  mom is the closest I have to the Lewis' Lineage and she is also the one who can acquire all kinds of documents.  Professor Tadros made quite clear to me that there is no better feeling than to have an original document in one's hands.  And thus, the originals I want to find ;-).  It is his fault that I am now taking on a very different approach to my research, and I am a bit disappointed that I didn't think of those "new directions" on my own.   In my research, I am a lot further ahead than seen on my blog here and even on I don't use Ancestry at all for any research anymore, only as a place to temporarily store information.   Most of my office walls, as you can see, are covered with my research findings, as well as several folders (order is the key in research, I've discovered).  I will pack all of this up and re-tape it to the walls in our hotel room in Westerly, Rhode Island.  However, before I do anything else, I must connect one dot, which I was unable to do thus far.

Bear with me as I have to jump ahead a bit.  I have to connect Caleb Lewis, who would be Lewis's  great-great-great-grandfather, born in Coventry, Rhode Island in 1809 to his father, who was John Lewis, born in Exeter in 1780 but died in Coventry in 1816.  I have been pulling out my hair over this.  All I have are the Lewis Letters that confirm that this John Lewis, born 1780, was the son of John Lewis, born 1747 in Richmond, Rhode Island, died in 1833 in Coventry, Rhode Island.  I called the Daughter's of the Revolution (to which story I will come later) and spoke to a very lovely lady.  She confirmed that she has the same information on file, but could not confirm where the information came from.  So I called the Rhode Island Historical Society and he confirmed the existence of John Lewis, born 1747 in Rhode Island having been in Mr. Wilcox's company as a soldier(again, more to this later).

Where does this all leave me?  Well, that I have the lineage completed from Caleb Lewis to my Lewis and I have the lineage established to the best of my current knowledge from John Lewis born in 1780 all the way to John Lewis, our settler of Westerly, R.I.   I need to connect Caleb with his father. So hopefully, I will be able to do so quite quickly while in Westerly and then start from the beginning... where it all started.  I am excited because this is not about Lewis'  family anymore, it is not about knowing who was a family member.  It has become so much more. It has become all about American History ; and finding out all there is to find out about the Lewis'  family is just a bonus !!!

I will use this blog as a diary during my stay in Westerly, (because you asked ;-) ).  I will share all that I can share here with you in the form of either:

  •  just me writing about it
  •  me writing about it and including pictures (which i will take plenty of, I'm sure ;-) )
  •  me writing about it, including pictures and including video(yeah, you bet I will have this all on video, ha!)

You tell me...  what would you like me to do?  How shall I share my trip with you fine people?  (copies of documents etc, will not be placed on this site !!)

I have to say, I am amazed how many people visit my blog.  Most will not openly join nor comment publicly, but rather stick to private conversation...Which is fine with me.   As always, I appreciate your suggestions and advice.   Perhaps you know of somewhere I should go while in Westerly, Rhode Island.  (of course, in regards to my research ;-) ) And perhaps you can tell me what the weather is like in Mid-March up there ;-)  Hopefully, we won't have to deal with snow !!!

Thank you all for being with me on this journey to the past.  And thank you all for your constant feedback, whether it is here, via e-mail or on my facebook.    Tons of hugs and kisses, as always...