Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, May 19, 2017

the mystery continues

 I work on the family tree on and off. I haven't really made any new discoveries lately and am not expecting any anytime soon. I do keep going back to one small mystery involving a shipwreck. In 1851 an Immigrant ship that left from Dublin was wrecked off the coast of Amagansett in Long Island. It is believed everyone survived except for the captains wife who passed away a few days later on shore. The name of the ship was the Catherine. What interests me about this whole thing is a little girl named Catherine that was also aboard this ship. For reasons unknown she stayed in Amagansett and was adopted by John Strong of Pantigo. Where were her parents or guardians ? Why was she alone ? Anyway, this Catherine, who became Catherine Strong later married a man named Lyman Beecher Bennett.
 I have a Lyman Beecher Bennett in my family tree, brother to my grandfather Horace Bennett. Thing is I can't prove it was he who married Catherine but it is a possibility. As anyone knows that does genealogy positively identifying anyone from that time period can be difficult. This is all complicated by the names Strong and Bennett, they just might as well be Smith and Jones, they are that numerous. The only other clue I have stumbled across is a fellow named F.C.Weeks of Northport who says Catherine was his grandmother.
 I do find it interesting but have run into roadblocks in trying to figure it out. If I were to spend money on shipwreck books and such I may learn more about the ship but probably not the passengers. Perhaps if I could search the archives at the local library I could find more information about Catherine. I even question whether that was her name at all. I don't know how old she was at the time. Did John Strong, the man that adopted this child just call her Catherine after the ship that she was on ? It would make for a more interesting story. The girl with no name, washed ashore from a shipwreck, and no one to claim her. There are no tales of lives being lost in that wreck other than the captains wife. No reports of bodies being discovered later on. So, that is the curious part to me.
 I would think that if this Catherine had been in my family I would have heard the story. I never heard even a whisper of it. Surely it would be a great family story. I did hear the story of my grandfathers brother, Lyman, having been gone for some time. My mother told me the story of him knocking on the door at her house when she was just a small child. She said her father just looked at him amazed and said why Lyman, you're back. Problem is she doesn't remember much of anything else about that. Another issue is there are several men named Lyman Bennett. Lyman and Lyman Beecher are more common than one would think at first. The thing is there was a minister named Lyman Beecher that was held in very high regard and so a few children were named for him. And as I said earlier the family name Bennett is extremely common as well. There are several branches to the Bennett tree and some Bennetts aren't related at all ! It's all very confusing.
 I believe like most everyone that begins working on the family tree I want to find something interesting, some secret. We all want to be connected to someone of some note. It really makes little difference whether it is a good connection or not, What I mean is, even if that ancestors was a criminal, it makes a good story. The closest I have come is having ancestors that were round the world whalers and one was the town weaver. I haven't discovered any war heroes or infamous criminals. So far everyone in my family has been rather hum-drum. Well what are you gonna do ?
 This interest in Catherine surfaced again the other day. I have been thinking about it and think I will go check the passenger lists that I can find. There are several free sites devoted to this stuff. I have spent hours searching through various indexes and such, it can become addicting. It is always a difficult process to " prove " that what I have found is accurate. I really do try to be as accurate as possible and resist that urge to jump to conclusions. Sometimes however you just have to leave a question mark there and move on. I'm thinking that this Catherine may not have married my Lyman Beecher Bennett at all, just my luck, but I really like the story. I just can't rewrite history to suit myself though, although it seems some folks think you can. That is another blog for another day however.
 I see Catherine as a little red headed girl from Dublin. She was traveling to America and was separated from her guardian after the wreck. Unable to speak she was called Catherine because of the ship that brought her. Her guardian didn't want the further responsibility of caring for her and seized this opportunity to just abandon her. With no one claiming this child John Strong took her in and adopted her. Catherine went on to marry the local boy and lived out her life never knowing who she was. This was never spoken of to shelter Catherine. All her life she had these feelings of another life, another place somewhere, and a feeling that someone was waiting for her. And that is why we know so little about any of this.