Finding Your Canadian Roots

For many U.S. genealogy wayfarers, their journey usually includes a stop in Canada. Surprisingly, this is true for persons with and without French-Canadian roots. Not surprisingly, living along the 3,000-mile border that separates the U.S. from its northern neighbor are innumerable families who share common ancestries as a result of their desire for greater economic, religious, or political freedom–in one country or the other.

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400th Anniversary of the Landing at Jamestown 1607-2007

The year 2007 marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America. From its tentative start as a small fort on an island in the James River, with barely more than 150 inhabitants, Jamestown became a model for the colonization of the New World. Its founders – planters and indentured servants alike – established a formula for immigration and settlement, and laid the foundation for the leap-frog expansion into the hinterland. Because of its unchallenged position in American history, the 400th anniversary of Jamestown was marked as a milestone in 2007.

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John Winthrop, Massachusetts, Charles Banks

Genealogist, Charles Banks

Master Works of Charles Edward Banks: A Great Great Man and a Gifted Genealogist

Students of New England genealogy recognize Charles E. Banks (1854-1931) as one of the patriarchs of genealogical scholarship. During his lifetime, he was widely acknowledged to be one of the leading authorities on northern New England families. His two-volume History of York, Maine (a third volume was in preparation at the time of his death) is still the starting point on its subject. Though removed from his primary geographical area of expertise, Dr. Banks’ three-volume history of Martha’s Vineyard is also a model local history.

Notwithstanding his fame as a genealogist, Banks’ first calling was as a physician and surgeon. A graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, Charles Banks enjoyed a distinguished 40-year career in the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Banks was involved in many activities, including early efforts to thwart polio and to enforce sanitary laws. He achieved the position of assistant surgeon-general of the USPHS, retiring with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Besides his interests in genealogy and history, Banks was a skillful artist. His drawings adorn several of his publications. He is also reckoned to have been gracious, kindly, and un-self-serving. He was never reluctant to share the fruits of his research with friends and colleagues. Continue reading…

Royal ancestors

Do you have Royal Ancestors?

If you are just getting started in your search on royal lineage, please check out our post How to Trace Royal Lineage – Basics for Your Research. However, if you are in hot pursuit of your royal ancestry, or are looking for additional resources that detail royal ancestors in America, the following post contains detailed information that may help you.

If you have discovered you have royal ancestors, have you wondered how they came to America?

The system of primogeniture, the medieval practice of passing down a title and its holdings to one’s eldest son or daughter, accounts for the fact that many Americans have royal or noble ancestors. For example, the millions of descendants of the 650 immigrant ancestors discussed in the 2006 edition of Gary Boyd Roberts’ book, Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants (“RD 600”), share royal ancestry because of a pattern of social leveling common to most Western European nations. Second and subsequent sons or daughters of kings became or married nobles. Younger sons or daughters of the nobility became or married “gentry:” knights, manorial lords, gentlemen with coats-of-arms, baronets, lairds, and seigneurs. The younger children of the gentry became or married merchants, clergymen, Puritan or Huguenot leaders, university fellows, bureaucrats or professional soldiers. Left with few alternatives on the social ladder, members of these last groups, or their younger sons and daughters, immigrated to the American colonies and later to the U.S. Continue reading…