Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Trip Back to My Ancestors Virginia Part 1

I went on another tour of ancestral states in late September and early October. I started off staying 5 days in Washington DC where I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about our shared American history. I also learned that the DAR is planning on creating their own subscription website, when I visited their library.

On my 5th day in Washington I joined a Trafalgar tour which took us to historical sites in Virginia, then through West Virginia and Maryland, to Pennsylvania to view more historical sites. Returning to DC we even passed through a portion of Delaware. More states than I've ever been through in my 53 years.

I was surprised by how close all of our destinations were on the East Coast. Driving from where I live near Los Angeles to San Francisco is about a 7 hour drive. Everything is much more spread out here. The route some of my ancestors took from Telford, Pennsylvania  to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia now takes about 4 and a half hours by car. If they walked that distance it would have taken around 80 hours. It probably took them a couple weeks to make their migration to Virginia.

My ancestors who made their journey from Pennsylvania to Virginia were mainly Germans. Johannes Roller and his wife Anna. Lewis Zirkle and his mother Eva Bear. Johann Roush and his wife Susanna. They all settled in the Shenandoah Valley.

I also have Scots-Irish ancestors who initially settled in Pennsylvania and migrated through Virginia to Tennessee, namely Andrew Forgey and Margaret Reynolds. I believe Andrew and Margaret likely did live in Virginia for a few years, in the 1770's before settling in Tennessee around 1780. Andrew's brother Alexander Forgey died in Virginia.

The Browning family migrated from Maryland, through Virginia, to Tennessee around 1790.

I'm not sure about the origins of two other Virginia ancestral families. My Wray family settled early in Virginia. The associated Thurman family was probably in Virginia in the 1600's.

As we made our way from Washington DC to Colonial Williamsburg I kept my eyes on the landscape which is so different from dry California. I've never seen so many trees in my life.

Our first stop was Mt. Vernon the home of our first President George Washington. Gorgeous location and beautiful home. I really enjoyed my visit. I thought about the fact some in our family have speculated that our Shenandoah ancestors may have seen Washington as he surveyed near their property.


Above George and Martha Washington's Tomb.
The slave burial ground is being excavated as you can see below, in order to determine how many slaves are buried there, and exactly where the graves are.
Slave burial ground excavation

Another part of the slave burial ground.

Of course I had to take a look at Washington's famous false teeth.

After spending a few hours at Mt. Vernon we headed to Yorktown. We spent a couple of hours at a Revolutionary War living history museum. Interesting to see how muskets were loaded and fired. I would have liked to have spent some time in Yorktown itself. That was one of the problems with this tour. It was a very good tour, but we went to a couple recreated sites instead of the original sites. I was going to ask about whether there is a list of Revolutionary War soldiers who were at Yorktown, but forgot. William McPike was thought to have served at Yorktown.

Traveling to Yorktown we passed through New Kent County. I'm still trying to establish descent from Richard Thurmond who lived in New Kent County in the early 1700's.

1704 Quit Rent Rolls New Kent County

We headed for Williamsburg to check into our hotel after the Yorktown tour. We headed to Colonial Williamsburg as a group for dinner at a tavern that evening. Nice ending to a very nice day.

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