Royal ancestry, The Ark and The Dove Adventurers

The Ark and The Dove Adventurers

On November 22, 1633, the 358-ton “Ark” and the 26-ton “Dove” departed from the Isle of Wight carrying the founders of the Maryland colony. (The “Dove,” badly damaged in a storm, returned to England for repairs before rejoining the “Ark” several months later in the Antilles.) The two ships ultimately landed at St. Clement’s Island in southern Maryland on March 25, 1634.

The 125 passengers of the “Ark” and the “Dove” sailed at the behest of Cecil Calvert, the Catholic Lord Proprietor of Maryland, who stocked the vessels with enough food and supplies to last, hopefully, for an entire year in the wilderness. At the outset, Lord Baltimore, as the proprietor was also known, expected Maryland to become a Catholic refuge for his co-religionists. In the end, he was remarkably successful in attracting far more Protestant countrymen “by offering them free land and the customary political rights that landholders in England enjoyed. Calvert also promised real religious liberty for virtually all Christians.” In fact, it was Calvert’s Maryland–and not Roger Williams’ Rhode Island–where religious freedom and the separation of church and state first gained a foothold in the New World.

Given this heritage, nearly three centuries later, in 1910, a number of descendants of Maryland’s founding families formed The Society of The Ark and The Dove in order to perpetuate the memory of its pioneers and to promote fellowship among their descendants. Over the years, the Society has encouraged research in early Maryland history and supported a variety of commemorative institutions, such as the Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation.

The book, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers,” published under the auspices of The Society of The Ark and The Dove, is an important contribution to Maryland genealogy and history by the organization.

Edited by noted Maryland genealogists George Ely Russell and Donna Valley Russell, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers” furnishes “documented accounts of the first settlers of Maryland in 1634, followed by compiled genealogies of their descendants, if any, extended to the fifth generation when possible.”

The first part of the book describes the family and descendants of Sir George Calvert (Cecil’s father) the first Lord Baltimore. The remainder traces the progeny of the following passengers: James Baldridge, Major Thomas Baldridge, Anam Benum, John Briscoe, William Brown, Leonard Calvert, Thomas Cornwallis, Ann Cox, William Edwin, Cuthbert Fenwick, Captain Henry Fleete, Richard Gerard, Richard Gilbert, Thomas Greene, John Hallowes, Nicholas Harvey, Richard Lowe, John Neville, Richard Nevitt, John Price, Robert Smith, Ann Smithson, Robert Vaughan, and Robert Wiseman. “The Ark and the Dove Adventurers” concludes with a list of passengers who are known not to have had descendants and some later arrivals previously and erroneously claimed as 1634 descendants.

Complete with a name index to 6,000 individuals, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers” is the new starting point for 17th-century Maryland genealogy.

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Early settlers

Early Settlers of Pennsylvania

Because of its unique immigration policy, Pennsylvania led the way in colonial America in the ethnic diversity of its early settlers. Among early settlers of Pennsylvania, we find English, Irish, and Dutch Quakers; German and Swiss Mennonites, Anabaptists, and Pietists; and Ulster Presbyterians, the Scotch-Irish frontiersmen.

The first “ethnic migration” to be officially documented – mainly in the form of ships’ passenger lists, records of indenture, naturalization records, land records, tax lists, and sundry church records – began in southeastern Pennsylvania between the 1680s and 1720s. These early records include the earliest passenger arrivals in Philadelphia in 1683, the Swiss and Rhineland arrivals in Philadelphia and a host of other groups. Immigrants from Germany’s Rhineland area and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland arrived in southeastern Pennsylvania by the thousands.

Looking for the most authoritative works on Pennsylvania’s German and Swiss immigration? Eshleman’s “Historic Background and Annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and of their Remote Ancestors,” explores the background of the great sectarian movements in Germany, Switzerland and Holland, and focuses attention on the Mennonite families who later emigrated to Pennsylvania. As many as 300,000 German and Swiss immigrants and settlers have been identified in this work. In addition, all three volumes of “Pennsylvania German Church Records” can be found here, with volumes one, two and three also available individually. These records refer to approximately 91,000 individuals and include births, baptisms, marriages, and burials. They identify people and their relationships to one another–not only parents and children, husbands and wives, but witnesses and sponsors as well.

A more overarching resource on Pennsylvania’s immigration, the Family Archive CD provides a wealth of information on the earliest settlers of the Keystone State. This particular CD contains data on places of origin, dates of arrival, places of residence, ages, occupations, names of wives and children (with details of births, marriages, and deaths), and a host of other details derived from nine respected Pennsylvania reference works. This collection also contains a single electronic name index of 200,000 entries, which allows you to search all the volumes quickly and effortlessly.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, “Pioneer Settlers building Adventure Galley on the Youghiogheny.” This image is from the publication, “History of the Ordinance of 1787 and the Old Northwest Territory.”

federal census record photo

State Census Records

What first comes to mind when genealogists think of census records are the federal censuses that are constitutionally mandated and occur every ten years. The purpose of the federal census is to count the number of people living in the United States in order to apportion Congressional districts. For the first censuses, which began in 1790, getting a head count of people is really all it did. In the early years, from 1790-1840, only the head of household is listed and the number of household members in selected age groups. Beginning in 1850 and continuing through the 1940 census, details are provided for all individuals in each household, such as names of family members; their ages at that certain point in time; their state or country of birth; their parent’s birthplaces; year of immigration; marriage status; occupation(s); etc. Not all of this information is available for every person in every census, however. As years passed, the census became a way to gather even more data about the nation, such as health, housing, employment, growth, and other statistics.

State censuses, because they were taken randomly, remain a much under-utilized resource in American genealogy. State census records not only serve as a substitute for some of the missing 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1890 federal censuses, but they are also valuable population enumerations. State censuses are also important resources because some states asked different questions than the federal census and they were opened to the public faster; some state censuses taken as recently as 1945 are already available.

1905 kansas state census record

From the website: “The Kansas State Board of Agriculture conducted a census
of the state in 1905 (questionnaire above). The census collected the names of all members of household and their age, sex, race or color, and state or country of birth. The census also collected information about members’ state or
country of origin and military service.”


To find out what state censuses exist, what kinds of information they contain, and importantly, where they can be found, reference Ann Lainhart’s first comprehensive list of state census records ever published. State by state, year by year, country by county and district by district, this reference publication is the definitive guide to state census records, even used as source information on the government’s census website.


Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, 1920 Census Kennedy Carr;, State Censuses.


West Virginia

West Virginia – Spotlight on the Mountain State

“West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads.” John Denver’s anthem speaks to the state’s humble beginnings and the hearts of generations living there.

Following an earlier unsuccessful attempt in 1769, on June 20, 1863, West Virginia, or as the locals call it, the “Mountain State,” broke away from the eastern counties of Virginia over the issue of secession and became the 35th state to be admitted into the Union. Land of rugged mountains, West Virginia has the highest altitude east of the Mississippi River and also has the largest single natural scenic and outdoor recreational area in the eastern United States. The state’s motto, Montani Semper Liberi – Mountaineers Always Free – tells the tale of West Virginia’s first settlers.

By the time the Constitution had been ratified, Virginia’s western counties encompassed over 50,000 inhabitants, many of whom came from nearby Pennsylvania and Maryland. The majority of colonial West Virginia settlers were English, but a third of the population was reported to be German. In addition, those of Scotch-Irish decent inhabited West Virginia’s least accessible and mountainous terrain. Since the local economy was dominated by subsistence agriculture, and, in any case, would not support a plantation economy, there were scarcely any persons of African-American birth living along the Blue Ridge until after the Civil War.

The history of the state and its people, from the Upper Monongalia Valley to the Lower Shenandoah Valley can be vast, therefore, genealogical references materials can help locate and research 18th and 19th-centrury relatives. “Early West Virginia Settlers,” for example, is a CD that contains the records of 200,000 early West Virginia settlers. The CD’s contents consist of wills, land grants, marriage records, military records, family histories, and local histories. To browse a wider selection West Virginia publications available from, click on the following link here.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, the Proposed State of Kanawha

Mt. Rushmore

Who Built Mount Rushmore?

A few observations before beginning to write about the workers who built Mt. Rushmore. First, this article would probably have been more appropriate for a Labor Day post, but as a blogger with five years worth of postings (think 260 articles); I have to seize a blog topic when it pops into my mind. Second, some articles sound great when I schedule the topic, but turn out less well – or at least differently – than I expect. This article is one of those that didn’t quite realize the original goal.

The saga starts last July when I visited Mount Rushmore National Monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Much has been written about Gutzon Borglum–who was lured away from his carving at Stone Mountain (Georgia) to initiate work on the new mountain-side sculpture—and people like Doane Robinson, known as the “Father of Mount Rushmore; John Boland who helped raise funds and monitored expenses; Senator Peter Norbeck of South Dakota; Congressman William Williamson who successfully realized Congressional funding and brought President Calvin Coolidge for a visit in 1927; and, the mountain’s namesake, New York City Attorney Charles E. Rushmore, who in the late 1880s conducted title searches in the Black Hills area. Scarcely anything is known, however, of the individuals who actually did the manual labor to create the monument.

During my visit, I noticed a plaque, located quite conspicuously in the entrance arcade, listing all the names of the individuals who worked on the monument (a list is available at the National Park Service’s Mount Rushmore website). Those 400 names piqued my interest. Each name documents an enormous effort, despite extremes of weather and physical dangers, over the long span of fourteen years (1927 to 1941) which it took to complete the project. As a visitor standing in the entranceway looking up, I found it hard to imagine the every-day experiences that produced the final monument to our some of our nation’s most influential leaders.

I left the Black Hills with the idea that I would, at some point, discover a little about the workers. One of the first things that I noticed was the imaginative nicknames listed for many of them, which seemed to offer tantalizing snapshots of personalities. Were Edward Anton, nicknamed “Pee Wee,” and Frank Hudson, nicknamed, “Shortie,” really short? Why was Albert Gensler called “Babe?” Did Lloyd Virtue, live up to his nickname of “Lively,” or did Leonard “Red” Zwanziger have red hair? Was Alton Parker “Hoot” Leach, the father of Clyde Arthur “Little Hoot” Leach? (Perhaps we don’t want to wonder why H.V. Huntimer was called “Big Dick!”) Nicknames notwithstanding, I imagined that I would easily be able to identify these men – and occasional women – through the 1930 and 1940 censuses and then be able to provide brief vignettes about some of the more interesting individuals. In actuality, I discovered that the research, if it were to be done thoroughly and well, required far more time than I had available to devote to the effort.

I began by starting with the first name, searching for them in the 1930 federal census for South Dakota. This method quickly proved both time consuming and fairly fruitless; a new strategy was required. I consulted Ann S. Lainhart’s State Census Records (Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008) from which I learned that a 1935 state census existed for South Dakota. I mentally crossed my fingers and checked first Ancestry and then FamilySearch and discovered that the latter provided access to digitized images from that 1935 census. I once again began my methodical approach to researching the workers’ names.

In fact, I was able to locate some individuals in the 1935 census. I was ecstatic when I identified an entry for O. E. Anderson (Otto E. on the plaque), aged 33, born in South Dakota, living with his spouse (maiden name Hamilton) in the 2nd township in Keystone (the location of Mount Rushmore), Pennington County, South Dakota. His occupation? Stone cutter! As I began to locate other names from the plaque, I began to see a pattern: many individuals, served by the Keystone Post Office lived in Township 2, section 6E, identified as being in the northern Black Hills area. When I could make a definite match, I discovered laborers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and mechanics, all possible trades that would have been employed during construction.

With the township and section more clearly defined, I re-visited to the 1930 federal census, now focused on a search in Pennington County. Rather than search name by name (there are 400 names after all), I decided to browse the township, line by line, through at least one part of township 2, section 6. I quickly discovered that I could scan down the occupation column as workers were clearly identified when they were involved in the Mount Rushmore project. Thus I was able to confirm that Harvey Brown was a 48-year-old blacksmith, born in South Dakota and residing with his wife and one child, and employed at Mount Rushmore. J.C. Denison was a 58-year-old head of household, born in South Dakota, and working at Mount Rushmore as a laborer. Lodgers in his household included Charles Flathers, a 44-year-old laborer, born in Iowa; and Loid E. Whitney, a 40-year-old laborer, born in South Dakota, both employed at the monument project. Laborers were of all ages, including Charles O. Chaney (Charles O. Cheney on the plaque), who was a 68-year-old widower, born in Ohio. His age provides some insight into his nickname – “Pops.” Harry Burchard, aged 33 and born in Iowa of Germany parents, was a laborer, living with his wife Charlott [sic], and children Ruby, 10, born in Minnesota; Darrell, 8; Kathryn 5; Wayne, 3; and Roger 1; all born in South Dakota. The household of Raymond Groves, a 48-year-old stonemason who was born in Minnesota, suggests that individuals in that trade followed their craft from place to place, as he had a son, Walter, aged 18, born in Minnesota; a daughter Alma, aged 15, born in Montana; and a daughter Vivian, aged 5, born in South Dakota.

Some of the 400 were neither in the 1930 federal census for South Dakota nor in the 1935 South Dakota state census. In some cases I couldn’t confirm that a census-enumerated individual with the same name as a Rushmore worker were one and the same. Was Walter G. Atwell for example,  a construction engineer living in King County, Washington in 1930 and in Tulare County, California in 1940, the same Walter G. Atwell listed on the plaque? Only further research could say. Others may have worked on the project for only a few years between censuses. Still others have their stories available online, such as that of Luigi Del Bianco, the chief carver of the monument. He immigrated to Barre, Vermont, a stone cutting center, from Italy prior to WW I, returned to fight for his native country during World War I, and returned to the U.S. after the war. From Barre, he moved to Port Chester, New York, where he was enumerated in the 1930 census with his wife, Nellie, and sons Silvio and Vincent. He had worked for Borglum at Stone Mountain and other projects, and was brought into the Mount Rushmore project in 1933. In 1940, he was enumerated in Westchester, New York, employed as a stone cutter for a WPA project.

I only wish I had the time to continue delving into the lives of the 400 workers. Further information can be located through diligent searches of newspaper articles, other collections of South Dakota and Pennington County records, and with deeper searching through online resources and printed material. Little by little, this list of 400 names can give up its stories and provide insight into the everyday workings of the monument project. These individuals are indeed more than “just names on a wall” (to quote the Statler Brothers).

Photo Credit: Ryan O’Hara