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... 


  1. Hi , Love your enthusiasm !!
    looking forward to Part I ....

  2. Your enthusiasm takes my breath are one determined and remarkable little lady, Liane. I hope you uncover all the links you seek in Lewis' family tree. Hugs and happy hunting...

  3. You do nothing half-hearted, and your passion is a lovely thing to behold. Thank you for taking us along on your journey... Road trips are so much fun, and I am sure that you will leave an indelible impression on Rhode Island, and they will all consider themselves your relatives. How very exciting, good luck, safe travel and tons of love, always

  4. I am Michael Alan Lewis, 11th generation lineal male descendant of Edmond Lewis of Lynn. I've been researching this family line for over ten years.

    You are correct that there is no evidence to support the claim that Edmond Lewis was from the Lewis family of Llys Talybont, Glamorgan Wales, nor is there any evidence to support the claim of Mary's surname as Carey. The first claim is from "The Lewis Family in Wales and America," by Edward Simmons Lewis, which has no documentation to support it. The second claim is from and undocumented entry in the LDS FamilySearch database.

    However, there is no need to search afar for Edmond's ancestors. The [Lewis, Lewes, Lewys, Lowis, Ludovic] surname is widespread throughout East Anglia in England from the 15th through the 18th Centuries. I have records of Lewis families from northeastern Essex, Suffok around Ipswich, and in Norfolk from Kings Lynn to Norwich. There were several Edmond Lewis's born from 1600 through 1602, none of whom I can connect with Edmond Lewis aboard the Elizabeth in 1634.

    I have a St. Mary le Tower Parish register, in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, of a John Lewes, born to Edmond Lewes, July 18, 1630, which could very well be the progenitor of the Lewis line you are researching. I am descended from Edmond's son Thomas, born in England in 1633, through Samuel, Thomas, Zephaniah, Joanathan, Thomas Jefferson, Branson Laughlin, Ether Branson, Lester Richard and, my father, George Orin Lewis.

    Please feel free to contact me at malewis AT calcentral DOT com

  5. Michael... thanks for leaving this comment ;-) I have commented on your comment on the John Lewis, Westerly blog post. Let me say it here again in short... I have not seen any published information (as far as I recall) where it states that Edmund Lewis of Lynn, Mass. came here not only with his wife and two children, but also a brother (or more). The only reference of "brother's" arriving the New England was with John Lewis, when arriving in Plymouth. However, nothing can be found in regards to those brothers, at least not by me, as of yet. While I am in Rhode Island (staying in Westerly), I am going to meet with a historian, a couple of librarians and a Paster who is familiar with the Lewis family (in particular Daniel Lewis, son of John Lewis). With my current knowledge, I truly have my doubts that Edmund Lewis of Lynn, Mass. is in any way connected with John Lewis of Westerly. But one will never know if one does not search for the answer. So, stay tuned, as I am after that answer ;-)

  6. As it turns out, there is no record as to the origin of John Lewis of Westerly. We don't know when or by what ship he arrived in North America, nor his place of departure. The reason I suggest that John Lewis may have a connection with Edmond Lewes of Lynn is the similarity of children's names, and the commonality of the given name John in that lineage. The "four brothers" could well be Edmond, William, John and Thomas, all descended from the Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk, England Edmond Lewes lineage, two of whom we know came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s. I now have documentation that Edmond Lewes was in Ipswich, Suffolk, England in 1630, and his son John was born in Ipswich in 1630, baptized at St. Matthew Parish. However, Edmond's son John stayed in Lynn, Massachusetts and inherited the farm on Lewis Street when his father died 1in 1650/51, while son Thomas moved to Rhode Island. I suggest the Edmond/John Lewes/Lewis connection as a possibility for research.

  7. Hello Sallie!

    I have new information relative to Edmond Lewes of Lynn and John Lewis of Westerly, RI. They were not closely related.

    Comparing my DNA profile with that of descendants of John Lewis, I find that any possible common ancestor would have been many centuries before the 1600-1700s, if at all. We seem to have originated subsequent to a very early split in our common ancestry.

    I'm curious what you have found about John Lewis in Wales. Any update?


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