For years I had a stack of family history material stashed away in a file cabinet. This material was given to me by my Uncle Lewie back in 1984. Unknown to me then, he had been doing family research for quite some time and had accumulated a lot of information. This was before computers became as common as home appliances. After Uncle Lewie passed on I considered what to do with all of this "family history" stuff. Early in 2002 I decided to continue the research and put the results on the web for anyone who might be interested in having it. But first I had to fill in some blanks.
It's been an interesting experience, for I knew very little about creating and publishing a web site and even less about doing genealogy research. Not only did I have to learn yet another computer language, I also had to learn the genealogy language and research methods as well. Needless to say, I'm much better at computer languages. In the interest of time, I decided to skip the 'web tools' and use pure HTML to create the site.
I created this website primarily as a place to store the vast amount of information that has been gathered over the years, and as a means to share that information with family and friends. Publishing family history on a website is ideal because the data can be shared immediately and at no cost to the viewers. As it turns out, it also allows gathering of the family history to be a shared "work in progress," as many distant relatives have come forward with a lot of information to share. This type of website also facilitates easy revision of data already published.
When doing research you never know what will turn up under that genealogy rock. For instance, I knew that my great-great uncle (on my mother's side) was a very prominent 19th century congressman from Ohio. His biography and long congressional career are well documented in the history of Ashtabula county, and also on the internet. But I was surprised to find that descendants of the Erastus N. DeVan/Ruth C. Weller union have a distant ancestor in common with a very famous nineteenth century American poetess and two presidents living today. On the other hand I was shocked to learn that one of our distant grandmothers was accused of being a witch (in Salem) and executed. She wasn't a witch, but that was the mindset at the time. You will find the poetess and public figures listed somewhere in this website, and I am still working on the Grandmother Witch connection.
It's interesting to learn how many people each of us is related to. Generations and grandparents work on the powers of two. Go back one generation and we have two parents (well, most of us); go back one more generation and we have four grandparents; back one more generation and we have eight grandparents, for a total of 12 grandparents in those two generations. Go back ten generations and we have 1024 grandparents in that generation alone, and have accumulated a total of 2044 grandparents. But, go back just five more generations and we have over 32,000 grandparents in that generation alone, and have accumulated over 65,000 grandparents, total! And that's just grandparents! When you consider their siblings and children of the siblings, each of us is probably related to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.
WOW!!! No wonder I keep bumping into distant cousins!
This website is a "work in progress." Some of the information has been verified, some will be verified in the future, and some may never be verified. That's the nature of genealogy research. Some of the information has been verified by me, some by people I trust, and the rest is what I call empirical knowledge; I know it's true from experience, or I found it in historical family documents. These documents are listed on the references page. I also have a lot of documents that may never get published on this website, for instance, wills and marriage certificates that are barely ledgible, books signed by Erastus and Ruth DeVan, and Enos and Clarissa Weller. These books are well over 100 years old.
Best of all, I experienced living in the house that Erastus built, a house that never had modern plumbing or even a room in which to bathe. I played on the land above the Grand River where Old Talcott first settled and built a log cabin. I wore Edwin's Civil War boots and I played with his sword and trumpet when I was a kid. These are great memories to carry through life.
My thanks go out to a lot of people who have contributed to this site, and some don't even know it. Uncle Lewie was corresponding with and shared a lot of information with a distant cousin who was sharing information with another distant relative. Much of that information was collected over 30 years ago and passed on to me. My thanks also go out to all of those anonymous people who researched the Crary and Gallup families, and the Giddings family name, and shared the information on the internet.
If you plan to use any of the vital information on this website, keep in mind what I said about verification. And everything except the names and vital information is copyrighted, either by me or the owners of the information and/or photographs.
As a final note, this website was designed for the viewer to progress through it using the links on each page. I've recently added a table of contents for the site and an index of names that appear in the family names page.