Climbing My Family Tree, Part Seven

Immigrants William Simpson & Janet Winchester Simpson, and William Clark & Helen Simpson Clark

This week I fudge just a little bit. My five times great-grandparents, William Simpson and Janet Winchester Simpson, didn’t immigrate to the United States, but rather to Prince Edward Island, Canada. William Clark, my four times great-grandfather, found himself in Boston, but only briefly.

What intrigues me most about the Simpsons and the Clarks is that their family lines originated in Scotland. Their stories include an escaped kidnapping and a shipwreck—complete with eight young children on board!  Continue reading


Climbing My Family Tree, Part Six

Immigrants Matthäus Hoffsäß & Margaretha Wüstin Hoffsäß

I have long known the oral tradition of my great-grandfather’s coming to America from somewhere in Germany in the 1800s, but I was some surprised to discover I have German roots on my mother’s side of the family as well.

Matthäus Hoffsäß, as it turns out, was both my five times and my six times great-grandfather. Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part Five

Immigrants Palmer Tingley, Anna Fosdick Tingley, & Stephen Fosdick

Palmer Tingley, my nine times great-grandfather, was born in Kingston-on-Thames, England in 1614. Palmer was a miller by trade, and at the age of 21 he boarded a ship departing London, headed for New England. The Planter set sail in mid-April, 1635, safely arriving in Boston harbor several weeks later.

Palmer was a “good churchman” and carried a certificate to prove so on his journey to America.

Two years later, Palmer fought in the Pequot War of 1637. Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part Four

Immigrants Joshua and Bathsheba Pratt

For our fourth episode, we return to Plymouth. Three years have passed since Isaac Allerton’s arrival on the Mayflower, and that first fateful winter when half the original colonists died. (See Climbing My Family Tree, Part One.)

Joshua Pratt, my nine times great-grandfather, sailed from England to Plymouth on the Anne in 1623. My research introduced me to Joshua quite some time before I learned of any of my Mayflower foreparents. I was ecstatic to “meet” Joshua as he was a true-to-life passenger on the ship that carried my fictional character, John Wilkins, on his journey to Plymouth in my book, John Wilkin’s New Plymouth. I found this to be an astonishing coincidence, as I knew nothing about Joshua at the time I wrote the book. Continue reading