Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stalking Dead People

Stalking Dead People is a somewhat unusual name for a blog but it makes sense since this is a blog about genealogy, also known as family history.

The title of the blog comes from a remark one of my middle school students made on a field trip to a cemetery last spring. She wanted to know why we were, "stalking dead people."

I began researching my own family history over a decade ago. Researching my father's ancestors has been relatively easy since a second cousin did much of the groundwork. Researching my mother's ancestors, however, has been brick wall after brick wall. Still, after ten years, progress has been made, and I have been able to identify all but two of my great-great-great-grandparents.

Over the past few weeks I have been updating my research on the ancestors of my grandfather, Alfred Harris COOKE (1897-1977). My grandfather, the son of Arthur COOKE (1865-1936) and Angelique Veneta DAY (1867-1948), was born in New Carlisle, Quebec. New Carlisle is located on the Gaspe Peninsula and was founded in 1784 by United Empire Loyalists. Arthur COOKE's mother, Judith CHATTERTON (1828-1912), was the granddaughter of two of the original settlers, Charlotte BEEBE (1767-1852) and Samuel CHATTERTON (1761-1845).

My great-grandmother, Angelique Veneta DAY, was the great-granddaughter of James DAY (1768-1833). James DAY, a shipwright, was born in England on the Isle of Wight and was hired by Charles Robin of Jersey to build ships at Paspebiac, Quebec, also on the Gaspe Peninsula. Two of James DAY's daughters married Jerseyman. It has been quite the experience tracing their descendants since relatively few records from Jersey are available online.

In addition to my own family history, I also maintain a website about the genealogy and history of five North Devon parishes: St Giles in the Wood, High Bickington, Yarnscombe, Atherington and Tawstock. I recently began transcribing 17th century burial records for Tawstock beginning with 1653. Work also continues on transcribing the monumental inscriptions located inside the church.

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