The Lives and Thames of My Grandfathers

Published by Twigg on 2014-05-28

I have been very busy researching the roots of my maternal grandfather. Of course this site is basically about my paternal grandfather. We have had the roots of my mom’s maternal grandfather for years, long enough to whet the appetites of all the grandchildren for more knowledge of our forebears. I have found some very interesting stories in Grandpa Troy’s lineage, so many that I have lost some of them in the maze of my tree on Ancestry.com. I remember there is an important Irish connection, and as I have just recently written about how the Irish saved civilization, it is important indeed. In fact I’ll be sure to wear green next St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t know I was even part Irish.

I have been attacking the search for the missing story in a systematic way. I am creating a pedigree worksheet one generation at a time. Working in an Excel spreadsheet I listed my mother’s dad and his ancestral fathers, one to a column. Then I entered the name of the wife of the first below him. Adding rows as I entered wives for each successive generation I ended with thirty-two ancestors in the fifth column. Printing on legal paper in landscape mode gives me a nice visual of who fits where. Each column on the printout is a generation.

I had worked through this process and came to grandpa’s earliest known ancestor. We did not know his wife, so I did a search. A wife came up! Also a new year of birth for grandpa. But most important of all a couple user stories popped up in search. The notes described what my ancestor was doing in his time and where. Earliest known Grandfather Scrivner was born in 1645 in England. He was a lighter. A lighter is someone who loads ships from smaller boats. The lighters can maneuver from shallow water at the docks out to ships moored in deep water.

Earliest known Grandfather Hodges, John Hodges, was a mariner. His ships took people and cargo to the New World. In the course of his work John Hodges gave a note to be paid in London on the last day of March, 1650. I can just see John Hodges sailing up the Thames to pay his debt at the Rammes Head Tavern. Can you see the five year old boy watching from the walk along the river? That is my other ancestor.
Imagine that 300 years later the captain’s grandson and the boy’s granddaughter will marry half way around the world.

London in the seventeenth century was the London of ‘London Bridge is falling down.’ It was the capital of a great maritime empire. It was a city of architectural wonders, of literature and art.

Those were the times of my grandfathers along the Thames.

/Twigg

One thought on “The Lives and Thames of My Grandfathers”

  1. We met today (March 31) in s/l and you showed me the campfire and we talked about the work you\’ve been doing with your geology interest . This is something I am involved in too – I enjoy it very much and have done a bit of work on both my maternal as well as paternal ancestry. Do you remember you showed me the link to your website? (which is why I\’m here). I like the sound of how you have tackled the layout of the generations in your excel spreadsheet thus:
    \”I have been attacking the search for the missing story in a systematic way. I am creating a pedigree worksheet one generation at a time. Working in an Excel spreadsheet I listed my mother’s dad and his ancestral fathers, one to a column. Then I entered the name of the wife of the first below him. Adding rows as I entered wives for each successive generation I ended with thirty-two ancestors in the fifth column. Printing on legal paper in landscape mode gives me a nice visual of who fits where. Each column on the printout is a generation.\” I am a devoted Ancestry enthusiast but have found myself at a loss for how best to attack the layout. I have a massive excel spreadsheet and am treating it a bit like a database, incorporating every detail and then deciding how best to prepare a report after that. It\’s hard to decide and sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed with the sheer volume of data and not quite sure how to lay it out in the spreadsheet. I\’d like very much to see an example of your spreadsheet layout.

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