Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Synchronicity Continues To Make Itself Known In My Life

As I continue to dig around into the roots of my family tree, I turn up some really fascinating stuff.
Ok, it's fascinating to ME at least.  The Hubs continues to roll his eyes and walk away whenever I start talking to him about it all.  He just doesn't 'get it'.
No interest in personal history. at. all.

But he could sit and watch the "World War II Channel" (aka the History Channel) for days without blinking.
Ok, I lied.....he'd switch channels between the History Channel, various Sports Channels and various Political Channels for days.  He has what I call "Male ADHD".

Anyway, back to my original train of thought.....researching family history.
Sometimes the digging leads you places you never imagined you would go.  Here's a for instances case of this.....

My Grandmother(father's mother) married a second time before I was born.  I knew this man as my paternal Grandfather when I was growing up, until he died when I was 7.  We had a special bond, he and I.  I'll explore this in a post for another time.

Even though I learned eventually that he was not blood related, when it came time for me to set up my family tree on Ancestry, I didn't think twice about including him on one of the branches of our family history.
Here's one of the few photos I have of him.  He's the one holding the baby(me)....

His name was David Noll Paul.
But he went by the name Dave.
Or as I called him "Potty Dave".  There's a story there too. ;-)

As I plugged in the information I had, I turned up quite a large family tree and relations who had already dug far back into their line.  I followed back the documentation into the early 1800's and found that in the recent past, his family came from a coastal area of NC in Beaufort County, going back a few generations.
The hairs raised on my arms as Hubs and I have taken 3 trips now down to various destinations in Beaufort County NC and it's our favorite area down there to visit.

Dave as he called himself was a man of the sea, who spent his life working on tug boats.
I found that when not farming, some of the men in his line had also made a living at sea and that this family lived in that area of NC over 3 generations.

When the documentations ran out, I then followed the family information back even further, since it had been put online by someone already who had done that research.  These clues led me to information online(documents held by Colby College as well as family history info) that stretched back to the first of his family to have come to the New World and it made me stop and catch my breath.  It's an exciting story.

The 1st settler hadn't come to North Carolina or even anywhere near there.  He had Maine!

Dave Paul's ancestor had been a 13 year old cabin boy named Robert Paul.
Not this kind of cabin boy.....
But this kind.....

 He was part of the crew on the ship "the Martha & Eliza" that had sailed from Northern Ireland bound for Newcastle, Pennsylvania.  The year was 1741.  The ship was loaded with a group of Scot-Irish Protestants(the proper term being Ulster Scots)escaping religious tyranny and famine in Ireland.  the Ulster Scots were not Irish, but Protestants from northern England and Scotland who had been forced to emigrate by James I in the 1600's, to "civilize" aka "make less Catholic", the population of Ireland.  This was part of James I's Great Scheme to colonize Ireland.

This group of passengers bound for the New World, were part of a plan called the "Grand Design", which would have set up a community among the religiously tolerant Quakers in PA.  This ship of passengers was joining a group of relatives & members already in PA.

The ship was a 90 footed 2 masted bark, often referred to as a "snow".  It probably looked very much like this one.....

Unfortunately for these folks, the ship sailed into a hurricane early on in the voyage and was dismasted.  Without it's sails, the ship drifted way off course and eventually floundered off of Grand Manan Island(which is now in Canada, but was part of Maine back then).

Not this shipwreck.....
But more like this one.....

The captain of the ship, Capt. Rowan, left the passengers on islands there, then took some of his crew in a long boat to the mainland at Pemaquid and left the survivors on the islands to fend for themselves without provisions or shelter.  Eventually sympathetic townspeople made trips out to the islands to rescue the passengers but only a  handful of the 200 who sailed from Ireland made it to safety on the mainland.  Most of these were women and children.  Only 14 of the passengers are named in documents from the era and one of them is Dave's ancestor, Robert Paul.
And then to just add confirmation to all this, I found a news article from 2006, about a Maine woman who was creating a musical show about the shipwreck and had taken up doing the research into this event as well.
If you are interested, you can read about that HERE.

Robert Paul eventually settled in Bristol, ME and married one of the other survivors from the shipwreck, Jane Patterson, who had been a babe in arms on that fateful voyage.  They went on to have ten children.  Robert Paul didn't return to the sea after the shipwreck.  He went on to help survey the lands of midcoast Maine.

Then between 1840 and 1859, Robert's grandson, James, migrated to coastal NC, where HIS great grandson David Paul was born in 1902.
And like Dave Paul's 3 x great grandfather had started out, he turned to the sea to make his living.

The freaky part is that, as a child, I had a psychic connection to Dave Paul, my grandfather, I also have a similar connection with mid-coast Maine that goes to my core.

I went to Maine for the first time in 1980 to work summer stock theater during college.  That is when I met my friend Brenda, who was also working at the theater.  She is a native Mainer through and through.  I got acquainted with the state because of her over the next couple of summers.  And I have felt drawn back to this region of Maine over the years and visit as often as I get the chance.  I have held a not-so secret wish to have a summer cabin in Maine when I retire since 1981.

Now don't try to tell me that my connection with my 'fake' Grandfather and Maine and the Beaufort area of NC were not in my DNA and part of my destiny!
Because if you do, I'll put my fingers in my ears and loudly sing this song.....



  1. I like reading all of this, Sluggy. I find it interesting. History is more fun when it's people you know or better yet, are descended from. People don't care about my stories, either. One of my ancestors (not a progenitor, rather, the sibling of one) was beheaded in the tower of London. People think I'm making it up or they don't care.

  2. It's funny, connections to land. DD and I went to a place in PEI and both fell in love with the area. Turns out, her paternal grandmother was raised on a farm in that area...

  3. I have long been a firm believer in "race memory." When you google or swag this, leave it in parentheses.

  4. 444--I'd love to hear your stories too! I am having great fun peeking in on the sibs of my ancestors too. I just found a medical dr., a 2x great grand of my 'fake' grandfather(on his mother's side)who served in the Confederacy as a captain. I found photos, one of his house even(nice digs!), his resignation letter from the army, his muster roll and even a photo of his headstone and where to go see it. Might just have to do that next time I'm in NC.

    I think it's weird tho that Hubs, who loves all this history stuff on tv, takes NO interest in the history that is actually connected to him! The one person I've connected with on ancestry who sounds 'normal' and wants to correspond is someone on HIS family tree, not mine. I spend all this time on his ancestors and he could care less.
    Tell me more about your headless kin....

  5. It's me, Sam--That's spooky! There are truly unseen forces at play in our lives that we all need to be more open to.

  6. Your post hits home with me. I been through NC a few times when I was a kid but never thought about living here. I have felt right at home since we moved here over 6 years ago and I have no desires to move again--yet!! Come to find out, my Ma-Maws family settled a few counties away when the came over from Germany. I had no idea we even had German in our background. I can't wait to visit Mocksville to see about my family. I was watching the news here one night and they mentioned a road in Mocksville named Sain Rd. Sain is the surname of my Ma-Maws family. If y'all ever make it back down to NC, let me know, maybe we can meet somewhere!! Take care.

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  8. Sorry about the double comment. I seem to fight with blogger more than usual lately. Hope y'all have a great weekend. Take care.

  9. Sheila--That's so cool! And I am NOT the only one who has experienced this. If you aren't on Ancestry dotcom and you want me to look some records up for you, just let me know. I love doing this....
    You need to go on Find A Grave too. You might find some ancestors near you that way too.

    And definitely on meeting up in person if I ever get down to NC again. 8-))


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