Are You a Historian or Genealogist, or Both?

Lately it seems we are having to explain that in order to do genealogy with out some of the major hiccups that do happen, one needs to learn some history of the region of which you are researching.

As a avid historian, I was amazed to learn but should not have been that Connecticut and it’s neighbors fought over their boundaries. For all the research and reading I have done and a cousin that lived in Connecticut that shared lots with me I never really gave Connecticut borders a thought, for boundary changes. DUH ME. Right.

It seems every major border probably had some disagreements. After all Iowa and Missouri did, why not every state or even counties.

Struggled for years over the location of some of the JONES family in New England.  It seems New York, Massachussetts and Vermont had some very major disputes.  A cousin related to me that the border moved east then west, then north then back again more than once in one region.

My Great Grandfather’s home was on the Iowa -Missouri border. He died in Missouri and was taken out the door to Iowa for burial in Iowa. The door on other side of house was in Missouri.

After all, Virginia claimed a share of the lower part of Pennsylvania, as did Maryland and promised the new land owners that they were buying Virginia land.  Why? because the rules by British Crown were different for Virginians than Pennsylvanians. Virginia was more settled and laws were (what I think were more fair). Mr. Penn’s agreement was not as gracious as what Lord Fairfax and his other compatriots had gotten some years earlier.

Maryland on the eastern side of PA claimed up several miles into PA for land. PA did the same down into Maryland. So watch the dates for when and where records may be.

This caused a major exodus of Southwest Pennsylvanians to go to Monroe, Belmont and Guernsey Co. etc, area of Ohio.  But not limited to that area. When Pennsylvania claimed this land after the borders were re recorded Mason – Dixon Line.

My ancestor Henry Huffman/Hoffman went with carrying chains as a young man on the early mapping of the border, prior to the final one done.

It seems my family of ancestors seemed to like to live in areas of dispute often. When Dad bought his land, he had option to purchase some that was on other side of creek. Option came about because home and building were in Sonoma County and the creek was boundary to Marin County.  Ultimately he only rented that land from the family and did not purchase it. The taxes were prohibitive on the Marin side and it was barren land with tulle plants covering a good share of it. We used it for summer pasture.

So take the time to read a bit about the region you are going to dig into to better understand the lay of the land and the politics of the region at that time.







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