By Sherry Stocking Kline
February 1, 2010
Smith, Hawley, Laird, Breneman, Stocking & Jones, too
Also McGinnis, Ames, Crabb, Corson, and other names it’s true.
What inspired these ancestors and led them to leave home
To go far from their homeland and bravely roam?
Who are these brave people who came before?
Oh, How I love it whenever I learn a bit more.
I’m curious about what they sold or they bought,
About their lives and beliefs, even what they thought.
What brought them to America? Why and when did they come?
What ship did they sail on, where exactly are they from?
All these questions I have, about each and every one,
I love finding clues, solving puzzles is such fun!
Was my Laird ancestor a highland Scots’ ‘prince’ or a pauper’s son?
It’s the hunt and the challenge that makes genealogy such fun!
Each answer brings new questions, then those answers I seek
To answer just one question, solve one clue sometimes takes weeks.
Who was this man, my Jones grandfather so elusive?
Must I dig deeper into the life of his mother and yes – get intrusive?
Was she un-married/ widowed/ divorced when she married a ‘Crabb’
What was she like, how did she dress? Fashion plate? Or drab?
For religious freedom, in the 1630’s my Stockings sailed
To America on the Griffith, ‘twas from England they hailed.
Part of the history books they became, & helped found a new town
It was Hartford, Connecticut, with Thomas Hooker’s party they founded.
An Anabaptist, our Breneman ancestor left a dungeon deep,
Walked across castle floors and out of the castle keep,
His life spared, he came to America where freedom to worship would be
And down through the centuries, many have fought to keep America free.
In the Revolutionary War, 1812, and World Wars One and Two
Korea, Vietnam, and the Civil War, too.
My ancestors were there, along with many others who served
For keeping our land free, it’s our thanks they deserve.
Great-Grandma (Corson) McGinnis lived to be a whole century old,
My brother still remembers the story she told
About singing for then campaigning Abe Lincoln as a wee child,
When he promised her statehood for Kansas, a territory wild.
My ancestors were farmers, blacksmiths, merchants and more,
Teachers who taught, and those who owned stores
As we build for the future, on their shoulders’ we stand
And our family still has teachers, and farmers who farm the land.
There are plane builders, engineers, and more than one preacher,
There are programmers, a writer, and an NASA astronaut once a teacher
So many different folks now make up our family tree,
As we live here in America, land of the brave and the free…
I tried to intersperse some of the stories and legends that come along with my family. I can’t prove that my Great-grandmother McGinnis (she would have been a Corson then) did sing for Abraham Lincoln as a child when Lincoln was campaigning, but she did live in the Springfield, Illinois area, did have a famous photograph that became part of the family story, and that is the story that she told her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, so I believe it to be true.
My Stocking ancestor, George Stocking’s name is on the founding father’s stone in Hartford, CT, and there are many documents on-line (and off) about George and the Thomas Hooker party that founded Hartford. It’s a small world when I found out years later that my Junior High Latin teacher was a descendant of the Hart family that Hartford was named for.
My cousin has been to the castle in Switzerland and even down in the dungeon where my Breneman ancestor was kept a prisoner. She said that it gave her goosebumps…