As I have done genealogical research over the years, I occasionally find myself returning to the same families and records, and after a while things look familiar and I realize that I am doing work that I have already done. At one point, in my attempts to organize and clean out some paperwork, I happened upon some old research correspondence of my Great Uncle Theron. He apparently had paid a professional genealogist to do some research on the family of Samuel and Rebecca Eggleston. This letter was among the files I received from his daughter Ruth years ago and I am sure that I read through it then. I received it after I had already found the deeds and most of the documents mentioned. Through my research I had added children to the family.
Genealogy the Old-Fashioned Way
I began genealogical research before digital took over, but I am impressed by the information gleaned in 1961 by this researcher who had to hunt down records in different locations. This involved more work than my scrolling through microfilm at the Family History Library, and certainly more than done by clicking around on websites. This researcher likely contacted the Onondaga County Historian and requested all the information they had available. This included deeds, which I found at the FHL by searching indexes and deed books on microfilm and then making copies to take home and study. It is interesting to me that he found the deed where Samuel Sr. sold land to Benjamin, but not the deed where Samuel sold land to Nathan for “love and affection”. This would have been very helpful to Uncle Theron. That Benjamin was Samuel’s son wasn’t specified in the deed, but on page 3 of this letter, he suggests “there may have been a son Benjamin”.
He did present the possibility of a son Nathan on page 3: “there may have been another son Nathaniel, but we are not sure about this.” He gave detail about Benjamin’s family, but for some reason Theron didn’t add Benjamin to the family records. Records of the Rose Hill Baptist Church would also have been helpful if the Onondaga County Historian had searched them.
This researcher did determine through a Pension Record, that the Samuel Eggleston buried in Shaneateles was not the same one who served in the Revolution (bottom of page 1). He also pointed out an apparent conflict with a former researcher’s conclusion that the Washington County Eggleston’s were not ours. To clarify, he employed a researcher in Washington County, New York.
Also cited and discussed was the work of an earlier researcher, Frank E. Robbins, who wrote a paper in 1941 on The Egglestons. Robbins “Eggleston in the Michigan Census” published in Nov/Dec 1944, DSGR Magazine, has been very helpful to more current researchers. This researcher, however, didn’t just take Robbins word on the family as quoted on page 2. He sought to verify that information. The enclosed copy of notes accompanying this letter, consists of a nine page Research Log of his search of Connecticut records. It includes searches of deeds, probate records, Church records (what appears to be the Pendleton Hill Baptist Church provided more information that the Congregational Church records) and the well known sources of the Barbour and Hale Collections. These were sources that I also searched.
This researcher seemed to reference Henry R. Stiles work “the author of the Eggleston family in Windsor”. He concluded, as I and most everyone has, that Joseph of R. I. and Stonington could not have been the son of Bigot born in 1651, but could be a grandson. (page 2 ) He also concluded, as most early researchers did, that with the exception of Elisha, Isaac’s family all went to Washington County, NY.
It took much more study of deeds and other information not available at that time, to confirm that Isaac’s son Joseph stayed in Connecticut and it was Joseph’s son Joseph who went to Washington County with Isaac’s sons. (See my Article published in the Connecticut Nutmegger June 2005) Now we are pursuing a theory that some of Elisha’s sons may have gone there as well.
He mentioned a couple of marriage records that remain a mystery to me: Mary Eggleston in 1740 and Isaac in 1755.
Toward the end of the letter, he brought up Anna Browning, and mentioned the Rhode Island William Browning who married Mary Wilkinson, as a clue since Anna named a son Wilkinson. There seemed to be some confusion about Anna’s supposed birth date not fitting with the family. Many have been confused about the birth dates of this family. I have changed them back many times to my estimates on FamilySearch and others have changed back to some that I know can’t be right. I do think Anna belongs to this larger R.I. Browning family, but haven’t determined exactly where.
Earlier Eggleston Research
Also in Uncle Theron’s records were some letters from the 1930’s. The first addressed to his sister Florence, which referred to “instructions of your brother, Theron”, who apparently initiated the research. The intent seems to be preparing names for Temple work on both the Eggleston and Burgess families. There is not much detail given, but apparently the researcher felt confident in proceeding with Temple Work.
In 1933, Theron wrote to a researcher in Washington D. C. who he apparently found mentioned in “The Handbook of American Genealogy” as being connected to Egglestons. The information Theron gives in this letter obviously comes from the Temple work done by his father Orson Hyde Eggleston.
Theron suggests that dates may not correct. I eventually learned that some of the other information was not correct, or at least incomplete. Most dates are obviously estimates, and places as well. Orson may not have known that the family was in Connecticut before migrating to New York, where he and his father were born. These records do give us a good idea of what Orson knew, had been told, or assumed, and also what Theron knew and assumed.
Orson’s Temple Work
Orson Hyde Eggleston gathered genealogical information and went to the Logan Temple in 1914 to do proxy Temple ordinances for a number of ancestors. My father was given these handwritten sheets by a cousin. Later when I visited cousin Ruth, Theron’s daughter, she gave me similar sheets that her parents had apparently filled out for work that they had done. I found the microfilm of the Temple work done in the Logan Temple in 1914, handwritten in the margin of the pages as film #177873. These indicate that the work was done “instance of Orson Hyde Eggleston”, though others were proxy for some of the ordinances.
The first sheet shows the Mr. Eggleston born 1700 – #27 with Orson’s relationship as 3rd great grandson. Mrs. Eggleston born born 1702 – #26, is the woman who corresponds with him. Isaac born 1723 is 2nd great grandson – #25, with Joseph next to him as 2nd great grand nephew – #26. Anna Browning corresponds as the wife of Isaac with relationship also as 2nd great grandson. She is #7 on the page, which doesn’t show in this image. It is interesting that wives are not listed in the far left column for these two as with many others. The woman who corresponds with Joseph’s relationship is #44 Karin Springer born 1727, 2nd great grand nephew-in-law. Samuel Eggleston #20, born 1748 is great grandson. There is no corresponding great grandson for a woman, except Mrs. Ambrose Hill, #31, who would be the mother of Samuel Jr.’s wife Elizabeth Hill. Rebecca Eggleston #29 born 1750 is listed as 4th Cousin.
The typed pages from the Logan Temple microfilm when placed with the men and women side by side seem to match up: Mr. and Mrs. Eggleston as 3rd great grandparents, Isaac and Anna Browning as 2nd great grandparents, Samuel and Rebecca as great grandparents/4th cousin, and Samuel Jr. and Elizabeth Hill as grandparents. In between are Joseph and Karin Springer 2nd great grand uncle and aunt.
Through my research, I concluded that there probably wasn’t an Ambrose Eggleston, son of Samuel and Rebecca #20. I found no records for such a person, but have left him on FamilySearch because I know if I delete him, someone will add him back on. Samuel Jr. and Elizabeth Hill did have a son Ambrose, likely named after her father Ambrose Hill. I think Orson was confused and put an Ambrose in both generations when there was only one.
I concluded that Samuel’s wife Rebecca was Rebecca Eggleston. Orson’s record of Temple work and the genealogical information he submitted to the Utah Genealogical Society gives her name Rebecca Eggleston. I think Orson knew that was her maiden name, but Theron assumed her maiden name was unknown (in the letter) and that Eggleston was her married name.
Orson’s did Temple work for both Samuel’s father Isaac and his brother Joseph and who appears to be Joseph’s wife Karen Springer, but no other members of their father Joseph’s family. This raises the question of why he even knew that Isaac had a brother Joseph. I determined that Joseph and his wife Caron were the parents of Rebecca. That is why their work was done and Orson knew that. Theron didn’t mention Karen in this letter, probably because she is listed on the Temple record as Orson’s 4th cousin. She was his 4th cousin, because she was her husband Samuel’s first cousin. She was also Orson’s great great great grandmother. Further confirmation of this is the will of Joseph Eggleston which names his wife as Coran. It also lists daughters who would have all been married at the time, with the first one as Rebecca Eggleston.
Using Work of the Past to Create a More Complete Record
I have come to realize that part of my research must be looking at the work of previous researchers, taking another look at the same documents they saw, and asking questions about what they knew and how they came to certain conclusions. I feel that I have benefitted from partnerships with those who did research long ago and are now on the other side helping out.
We are fortunate to have the information Uncle Theron gathered. I have to wonder how many of younger generations are gathering information quickly online that has already been researched and compiled. Sometimes I wonder if we are all doing the same things over and over again, just with newer technology? And gathering data does not always result in coming to correct conclusions.