Posted by Sappho on September 10th, 2012 filed in Daily Life, Family
In 1825, Peter Moore appears in the documentary record, a fair haired, blue eyed man about 5’6 1/2″ (we must not neglect to give him that extra half an inch), born in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, and now ready, at the age of 21, to enlist in the army. He enlists in Louisville, Kentucky, gets posted to Fort Brady, a frontier fort established in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan to guard against British incursions from Canada, where he enlists again in 1830, after which he is sent to Fort Dearborn, a United States fort built in 1803 beside the Chicago River in what is now Chicago, Illinois. By 1850, he lives in Sparta, Livingston, New York with his wife and seven children; by 1860, still living in Sparta, he and his wife have increased their brood to eight. Sometime between 1860 and 1880, he dies.
This, along with the names of the wife and children, is all I know of the man who appears to be my great-great-great-grandfather.
Of his granddaughter, my great-grandmother, I know more. I know that she hated the song “The Wearing of the Green,” and that suggesting that the name Moore was Irish was a sure way to offend her. I know that my great-grandfather’s courtship of her began when, working his way through college as organist at her church, he angered her so that she dropped out of the choir, so that he had to go looking for her and talk her into coming back. I know that she traveled from Connecticut to California, alone, by train, to marry him.
What I don’t know, and am trying to learn, is whether or how she may be related to another Moore, born in 1847 in Armagh or Down, Ireland, who came to the US in the wake of the Potato Famine. Possibly my great-grandmother, who was so insistent (at a time when such things mattered) on not being Irish, is rolling over in her grave at the suggestion. 23andme, though, says that I am a cousin to a descendant of the Potato Famine immigrant, and Moore is the only obvious surname where we intersect.
Genealogy makes a good activity for the days after chemotherapy, since it requires little physical activity, and no in the flesh interaction with people who might have illnesses that I could catch. So I have gotten my 23andme genome analysis, and have, for now anyway, an Ancestry.com account. I have learned several things. It is possible to grow a tree quickly to over 900 people (I now wonder if this was wise – might I have offended the other people whose trees I swept into mine with a few key strokes? Do I now have too much unverified information?) if you have American colonial ancestors, and one grandparent in particular supplies those in abundance. (As I said on Facebook, it seems that every one of his ancestors came over on the Mayflower, and then all of them together fought in the Revolutionary War. Not literally on the Mayflower, but close enough in time.) And it’s possible to reach a dead end much more quickly on other lines (I’m stuck at great-grandparents and a couple of great-great-grandparents on the Greek side of the family). It’s possible to make some genetic genealogical matches quickly (I found a third cousin once removed right away on 23andme, and an eighth cousin twice removed soon after), while others stay as nagging puzzles.
The puzzles come with ethnic stories of their own. Nothing dramatic; 23andme reports that I am, as expected, white (with a small dash of Asian, going by my sister’s report), and, as expected, overlap most with people whose grandparents came from the UK or Greece. But there are smaller stories: the Moores, who may or may not connect to Ireland (Scots-Irish? it would explain great-grandmother’s rejection of the wearing of the green), the possibility of a Vlach connection on the Greek side, and one genetic cousin for whom our current best guess at our connection is that she comes from the slave line of the family, while I come from the slaveowning line (perhaps I should have led with that one, but I don’t yet know the Peter Moore for that story).
I may or may not learn the full story of these connections. For now, I just have bits and pieces: the fair young soldier Peter Moore, some census comparisons that give hints of who the Hines/Hampton/Burnam/Taylor family slaves may have been, and the knowledge that my aunt is not, after all, the only Greek to bear the given name Yvonne.