The Washerwoman’s Genes

March 7, 2006

Family History Center: The Wheels Go ‘Round and ‘Round

Filed under: Washboard — by WWG @ 9:32 pm

I started at 9:40 this morning: inserted the film reel, snapped the light on, turned the handle. The film was labeled “Methodist Church Kripplebush,” which refers to an area west of Esopus, NY, but the first items on it were for Reformed Churches in Dutchess County. What the hell. My main quarry died in Esopus, but I don’t know where in New York State she was born. I turned the wheel, turned and turned, noted names that echoed my families or those married in. Notes and notes, marriages, baptisms, turning the wheel. Around me conversations, more than usual, machines being fixed, searchers learning to use the scanner, chit chat chit chat. I’m turning the wheel, making notes, and page after page goes by.

I shift my legs, realizing my left has been crossed over the right at the ankle for so long it feels stuck. But I’m reading, still reading, turning the wheel, pages go by.

I’m lucky today; the first register is typed. The data is from the 1700s, but someone typed it up. The second, not so lucky, it’s a manuscript, but a transcription. Someone with a beautiful hand has made a fair copy of the church records, and even adds little notes when things are illegible or contradictory. I’m reading Dutch names, very Dutch, Van this and Van that, and then, gradually, in the second list, the names start to shift: Williams, Johnson, Green, Griggs, the English are taking over.

I’m thirsty. The gal next to me gets up and goes to the scanner, and I reach in to my bag for my water bottle. I don’t know if it’s allowed to drink in the reading room, but it’s all shadowy and dim, and probably nobody cares. The films are above our heads projecting down; the reader tables are laminated.

I think I should check what time it is. I pull up my sweater sleeve, and see it’s 12:30. Three hours have passed. I’m still consumed; one hour left till closing, and this record is endless . . . I turn the wheel, a genealogy mouse, spinning and spinning, getting, maybe, somewhere.

Here’s what I found:

Re the Quimby clan:

1783, April 6 Levi Quimby and his wife Elener Willsie brought Jane, b. Jan . 28, for baptism.

1787, June 21, Levi Quimby and Elenor Quimby are sponsors at the baptism of Elenor, daughter of John Wilsie and Susannah Brus [?].

On the same date, Joseph Smith and Hannah Buis [?] baptize their son John.

1791, April 23, Teunis Wilsie and Cornelia Wilsie are sponsors for Cordelia, the daughter of Gerardus Lewis and Fryirtje [?] Van Klenk.

1792, May 20, Abraham Van Keuren and Petronella Wiltsie baptize their daughter Jeanny, b. April 2.

Additional references to Wilsies: Abr. Wilsie and Seletie Lucky baptize Rebecca in 1793; Abr. Van Keuren and Nelly Wiltsie baptize Sarah in 1797. Abraham Willsie and Salatje Lucky baptize Samuel in 1798. John Willsie and Rebecca Gulilan baptize William in 1810. [Note: in Ulster County records I have found a Betsy Quinby married to a Philip Van Keuren.]

Additional references to Bruns/ Bruis [?]: 1793 Simeon Pels and Elizabth Bruns baptize Mary.

Re the Burgers:

1791, Isaac Burgan [?] and Anna Waldron baptize John, b. Sept. 1790. No sponsors.

1795, Feb. 1. Jacob Burger and Ann Maria Barus [?] baptize Abraham, b. Nov. 20, 1794. No sponsors.

1797, Jan. 7. Jacob K. Burger and Ann Maria Barus baptize Jacob, b. Dec. 19, 1796. No sponsors.

At this point, however, I cannot say that either Levi or Jacob are actually related to me.

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