Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Truth Being Stranger Than Fiction...

Everyone should have a friend like my friend, Rebecca.  She is a lot of fun.  Rebecca is also a Proverbs 31 woman whose faith I really look up to.  My own sister, Kerry, is such a blessing that I can’t even adequately express it.  Rebecca is just a bonus sister, that’s all. The really wonderful thing is that her husband, Mark, and Bruce are just as friendly with each other as she and I are.  That, in my experience, is a rarity.

My friend, Barb New, first inspired me to research my genealogy.  Rebecca further spurred me on and gave me a lot of good tips on how to research and record information.  Rebecca is from a Virginia-based family.  Her research has been extensive, with many trips to the mountains to research documents, graves, or homesteads.  My family is from the North.

Years ago, my grandmother, Helen, told me that “Mrs. Galvin” (her mother-in-law) came from “old Connecticut Yankee stock.”  However, all of the family that I knew details about were Irish Catholics on both my mother and father’s sides.  Being Irish Catholic, in addition to being a religious background, also speaks to my heritage and culture.  It has been how I thought about myself until very recently, although I do not worship as a Catholic.

I’ve been looking into that old, Connecticut Yankee family of Mrs. Galvin’s, born Ella Bella McCullough.  On an aside, she is not the only member of my family with a rhyming name.  My mother has a cousin named Sally O’Mally.  Seriously?

Great Grandma Ella’s “old Connecticut Yankee” family were the Brainards, also spelled Brainerd as you research further and further back.  I have traced them to my 10th great grandfather back in Braintree, Essex in England in the 1580’s.

My family, at least the Brainerd/Brainard  branch, were Puritans not Catholics. They came to the United States to worship Jesus as THEY saw fit.  They settled in an area called 30-mile Plantation in Haddam, Connecticut in the 1600’s.  A note about them in a genealogy book at the Connecticut Historical Society states, “This family was known for its talents, wit, and piety.”   A wonderful legacy which I hope I can emulate.

One of my forebears was David Brainerd who ministered to the Native Americans in New Je
rsey in the early 1700’s.  He was part of the “Great Awakening” revival of that era.  The notes of his Indian ministry indicate that he bought land for them when their own ancient property was threatened and established a school and an infirmary.  He was my seventh great grand uncle.

David died of tuberculosis when he was 29 in the Massachusetts home of Jonathan Edwards.  Mr. Edwards was the most famous of the Great Awakening preachers.  David was in love with Jonathan’s daughter, Jerusha, and her father was his mentor.  They would have been married, but for David’s terminal illness.
David left diaries of his struggles and triumphs in the Christian life which Mr. Edwards thought would be of benefit to other Christians.  He published them in a book (still in print) called, “The Life and Diary of David Brainerd.”

And this brings me back to my dear Rebecca…who is the great some odd great niece of, wait for it, Jonathan Edwards.


Alex M said...

Our lives are all connected in some way shape and form -- how cool for you!

Judy said...

Wow! You descend from great people!