Oct 8, 2011

The Fessenden Connection

Another maternal line cousin that I’ve met while doing genealogy research is a descendant of my 3rd great grandparents, James E. and Emma (Elden Chase) Libby (who had 14 children, by the way!). My line descends from their son, Samuel Appleton Libby (1826-1901) who married Angeline Riley. Bill’s line descends from James and Emma's daughter, Harriet (1810-1904), who married Josiah Bacon (and had 11 children). One of those sons, Charles H., and his wife gave birth to Alice Eliza Bacon (pictured upper right) who married James Henry Fessenden. Two more generations produced Bill, who is my 4th cousin! Early Fessendens who came from England were located in Maine – same as the Libbys. Bill's line stayed on the east coast.

In May of 1853, my 2nd great grandparents migrated to Dubuque, Iowa where two brothers were involved in building houses throughout the Mid-west. Samuel (grand uncle of the woman pictured above) worked with those brothers, returned to Maine in June of 1856, married Angeline in October 1856, and then settled permanently in Iowa where he farmed and worked at his carpentry trade. Samuel and Angeline had nine children, one of them my great grandmother, Mabel Libby. Mabel married Adelbert Anson Phelps and their daughter, Bessie Mae, became my maternal grandmother.

Bill’s sense of humor is very endearing and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him. Bill’s retired Navy and my hubby is a retired Marine. With their proclivity to jokes and military background, I don’t know that we should ever put the two together!!! We also have similar philosophies as to housecleaning, we’ve discovered. His comment goes like this: “In this house, dusting is reserved for those people who visit for the first or second time. After that, they are expected to take the place for its “lived in” appearance. Family knows better than to expect extra cleaning on their behalf.” I’m there!!

I love a story that Bill tells about a family member: “My mother’s (older) sister was born at home and the duty of registering the birth at city hall was given to my grandfather. His wife wanted their daughter to be named Josephine, while he favored the name Hannah. Being the good husband, Michael agreed to the name Josephine and recorded it at city hall. My aunt went through life believing her name to be Josephine. Well, Aunt Jo never married, nor did she ever learn to drive, so she never had an occasion to procure a copy of her birth certificate, until the mid-1960’s, when long after her parents had died, she decided that she wanted to travel abroad, and as such, needed a passport. There was a problem though, when she tried to get a copy of her birth certificate, city hall couldn’t find one to give her. The clerk asked her if she perhaps had a twin sister, born on the same day, named Hannah, because that was the only Delaney on record having been born on that day. It seems my grandfather got his way, after all, and gave his daughter the name he wanted. In the end, my aunt had her name changed legally to Josephine Hannah; that way she could use the name she grew up with, and there would be attachment to the birth record.”

As my “family” expands, I am blessed with an array of really great cousins. It’s also great fun to touch base genealogically with these cousins, learning where the family has migrated and why. Bill lives on the New Hampshire seacoast, while my family’s ancestor braved the wilds of Iowa in the mid-1800’s. I migrated to California in the early 1960’s, so we’ve covered both coasts. Bill states that they do have a short summer – and the rest of the year is early winter, winter, and late winter. I’ll take California (and now Southern Utah), thank you!!

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