Project Update: Captain Robert Rivers II (1677-1742)

My method is pretty basic. I prefer to work on my tree from what I know to what I can prove from documentation to what I can presume from documented facts I uncover myself to what I speculate from what I know. However, it’s not always a straight linear method like it sounds. Sometimes it is helpful to consider the work of other researchers or the personal knowledge of informants, such as cousins, other relatives, associates of relatives and ancestors, historians, or knowledgeable elders while doing my own work. It can be really helpful because sometimes it allows me to steer myself, going from pieces of knowledge I didn’t have before, finding and collecting the documented facts that support that knowledge, and then going from there. Sometimes I’ve found myself stuck. Having a solid network of fellow researchers and informants is essential to doing genealogical research, and I imagine it is essential in doing research for books, films, news stories, and other pursuits, as well.

I started entering data on Captain Robert Rivers II, my seventh great grand uncle, after learning that a cousin of mine, we’ll call her Lagertha, is a living descendant of him. Exciting! Capt. Robert (“Master Mariner”, as he is often titled) was the half-brother of my seventh great grandfather George Rivers, Sr. I wanted to add Lagertha to my tree on Ancestry, so I started with Capt. Robert and went on down the line to Lagertha.

Lagertha had shared with me a screenshot of a page from her mother’s tree on Ancestry that diagrammed her relationship to Capt. Robert on through his descendants.

Also, using Joseph D. Rivers Pedigree Chart #1 I can use the screenshot that Lagertha shared to guide me through all the names to clarify the line to which she belongs.

Robert Rivers I, my eighth great grandfather, had at least two sons from two different marriages. Captain Robert Rivers II and George Rivers, Sr. were half-brothers.

Robert I was the son of Lt. John Rivers, IV, my ninth great grandfather.

DescendantChartLtJohnRiversIVp1

Robert I’s siblings included William Rivers, Daniel Rivers, John Rivers, and Nehemiah Rivers.

Four of the Five Children of Lt. John Rivers IV and Ann (Newman) Rivers, including Robert Rivers I, my eighth great grandfather, father of Capt. Robert Rivers II, Master Mariner and George Rivers, Sr., both of James Island, South Carolina

Two Children (From two different marriages) of Robert Rivers I, Capt. Robert Rivers II and George Rivers, Sr.

Robert I was probably born on Bermuda, where his parents settled and where the four other brothers of his I know about were born also.

Captain Robert Rivers II, Robert I’s first son as far as I know, named one of his sons Mallory, which was the family name of his Uncle William’s wife, Elizabeth. William was the first Rivers on James Island and one of his daughters married a man from the Stanyarne family and they had a son named Rivers Stanyarne. But as you’ll later read Capt. Robert married a Mallory woman. We’ll see. Joseph D. did not add that into his charts, which is a little odd if it’s documented.

The Capt. Robert Rivers II, Master Mariner line of the Rivers family is the line that produced Capt. Elias Lynch Rivers, Lucius Mendel Rivers, John Laroche Rivers, and many other prominent Rivers family individuals and families. I had not worked on this line as much because I descend from his half-brother’s line, George Rivers, Sr., who was born I believe about thirty years after Robert was born. Capt. Robert was old enough to be George’s father and Robert I, his grandfather. Nevertheless, George Rivers, Sr. was a grandchild of Lt. John Rivers IV and Ann (Newman) Rivers also, and although I do not descend from Capt. Robert II Lagertha and I both share common ancestors beginning with Robert Rivers I, my eighth great grandfather and her eighth great grandfather, I believe, as well as son to Lt. John IV, my ninth great grandfather.

Another woman who I started chatting with on Facebook, we’ll call her Polly, more recently who is also a cousin related to Cousin Lagertha revealed that she and Polly “both descend from Amelia Rivers and William Brown” and that her great grandfather and our other cousin’s grandfather were brothers. Polly also told me that Lagertha’s grandmother was a Rivers cousin as well.

Both cousins also shared information I did not have about the spouse of my eighth great grand uncle (Captain Robert). I didn’t even know her name, Keziah (Mallory) Rivers (1689-1739), born in Bermuda, died in Charleston, South Carolina. She married Capt. Robert in 1710, when she was either twenty or twenty-one. Her groom was thirty-two or thirty-three, which signals to me that Keziah probably was not his first wife. According to Polly the marriage of Capt. Robert and Keziah produced two children.

So now I’m excited to hopefully have the chance to examine the research of Lagertha and Polly so that I may fill in the details of the descending lines from our common ancestors to these two cousins of mine and fellow family history enthusiasts.

Children of Lewis William and Susan Amanda Walston Rivers, My Great Great Great Grandparents

Today I started getting back into my family history research and genealogy work by looking at the children of my third great grandparents, Lewis and Susan Rivers, and recording facts about them into my Ancestry family tree and into virtual cemeteries on Find-A-Grave.

Why did I start here?

Lewis and Susan, if I go backwards in generations from myself to my parents, to my paternal grandparents, to my paternal great grandparents, to my paternal second great grandparents, were the first generation to have more than two children for which I don’t already have a good amount of information recorded. I’m an only child of my parents. My dad was one of three children. My grandfather was one of two sons. My great grandfather was one of two sons. But my great great grandfather, Dewitt Oscar Rivers, was one of nine sons!

I started with David Gillum Rivers, the oldest of the children of Lewis and Susan. He was born in 1858 and died in 1937. He married Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hancock and they had seven children. I’ve been looking them up in census, marriage, death, birth, burial, and residential records, and adding data to my family tree on Ancestry.

It’s been a day of uncovering bones in a bulldozed pit using only a toothbrush and a whole lot of patience.

Back At It

I am back on the saddle again, hit with the genealogy bug, ever since I got my computer and internet hooked up in my new home, with space to store all of my research materials and reference books.

I’ve been going over the Joseph D. Rivers Pedigree Charts. I’ve been going through the screen clips of those charts that I’ve clipped into Evernote, and I’ve been placing where I left off two years ago.

I’ve restored my Ancestry account and have purchased a new Ancestry DNA kit.

I’ve made a collection of ‘ancestor cards’ that will be a short glimpse of a particularly interesting ancestor. I’ve been working on my virtual cemeteries on Find A Grave.

Stay tuned for more posts!

Why I Celebrate Samuel L. Jackson Day on 21 Dec Every Year…

Facebook Post from 21 Dec 2012
This note about a happy day popped up in my ‘this day in history’ type feed from Facebook, and I remember this day vividly. It was a great wintery day!

My girlfriend and I celebrate actor Samuel L. Jackson‘s birthday on this day, rather than the day my mom died nine years ago, but it’s hard to forget sad days.

I’d rather remember the happier days, but I realize that in remembering the bad times I create a palette of moments that makes all of those moments important in expressing how truly valuable is life.

Happy moments stand out, however brief they may be.

This is one reason why I love history so much! By studying what happened in the past I can see how all of these moments are connected — how they touch each other and ultimately lead us to the present moment. Right now.

Mom, I love you for being me my mom, and particularly for all of the happy moments you gave to me.

Happy Birthday, Samuel L. Jackson!

Happy December 21!

Many ancestors, many siblings, many descendants, many cousins

rivers_family_treeIt is hard to imagine sometimes how many ancestors we have when we go pretty far back in generations.

 
When you start counting these things it’s easy, at least for me, to be amazed.
 
Everyone has two biological parents, no matter how complicated the fertilization process is, because, let’s face it, things have changed. There are all kinds of technologies and procedures that complicate matters, but just for the sake of this lesson: We each have two (biological) parents, and every one of our ancestors has two parents.

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The Joseph D. Rivers Pedigree Chart Preservation and Continuity Project – Update, September 2016

There are five “sheets”, which are really five different charts, that make up the Joe Rivers Ped. Chart collection. I found them when a fellow family historian pointed me to the Thomas W. Rivers Collection that is available online through East Carolina University. That collection contains all five of the charts that are known to exist that Joe Rivers compiled, using data compiled by a whole slew of family historians who have researched the Rivers family, and other connected families, over decades and decades. These are people like Leon Madison Rivers, just one of thousands upon thousands of our cousins who took his interest in looking into and sharing our family’s history to a whole new level and made it available to future family historians to use and build on. It has been my passion to just be able to take part in a story that has been unfolding and has been told and re-told for a long, long time. I hope that when I’m long gone that future family historians can use the work that we’ve all put into understanding, recording, and sharing this great story of ours.

 
What I’ve done so far…
 
with Sheet 4 of the Joe Rivers Pedigree Chart, which is the copy of the huge “family tree” chart that was recovered from Grandma Reba’s and Grandpa Thomas’s home in 2009 (thank you, Vera Rivers Schemering!), or maybe 2010, is to capture small “screen clips” of a digital copy (thank you Deborah Jane Rivers Clasby!) of the chart and to save them to Evernote, a “note-taking” app.
 
I took the whole sheet and “clipped” an image of every family group on the chart, and now I am entering the data from the chart, as best as I can, since some of it is difficult to read, even when the print is blown up to 200-300%.
 
Over the years, in my moments of lunacy, I’ve saved many of those screen clips as image files onto my PC’s hard drive so that I can add them to the RootsMagic database, and I have used Evernote to “tag” them and organize them into families and sort out the families, places, and individuals associated with each image. I use these “notes” when I enter the data into RootsMagic, and I use other online sources, like big-name genealogy sites (Ancestry.com, GENI, WikiTree, Genealogy.com, FamilySearch), newspaper archives (newspapers.com), document archives (university libraries), to find primary and/or secondary and tertiary (etc) sources to support the claims made in the charts.
 
When Joe Rivers compiled all the data he could amass in preparing these five beautiful charts he was using data that came from real research. He used documentation. He checked on sources. He recorded where he found those sources and where they could be found again. He may have even possessed some primary documents, like Family Bibles, family papers, family heirlooms, photographs, hand-drawn charts, or any vast number of ‘documents’ (using that term loosely). At this point I am unaware of the location of these ‘documents’ that Joe Rivers was using. He makes references in his charts to certain ‘documents’, such as a family heirloom that was a vase, emblazoned with the initials “G.R.” that indicate, supposedly, that the vase once belonged to George Rivers, Sr, a Rivers Family patriarch (my seventh great grandfather).
 
These source ‘documents’ that Joe Rivers used in his project had to have gone somewhere or stayed somewhere. Maybe some of them ended up in the Library of Congress, an archives somewhere, a library, or a museum? Maybe they are in the possession of a Rivers descendant? Maybe some of them were ‘lost’ or destroyed? Maybe some of them ended up on EBay? I don’t know. What I do know is that these objects, these family heirlooms, these source ‘documents’ should be preserved and archived and documented and be made available to be used for research and for viewing. Maybe someday they will be?
 
In the meantime, I am using the charts as a guide, and I am using the resources available to me, to document the information made on the charts, to fill in the data ‘gaps’, to get through the ‘brick walls’, and to add information that was not included on the charts. A lot has happened since the final chart was published in 1970!
 
Although I feel like a total snoopy-snoop for doing so, due to time constraints and money constraints, I’ve had to use Facebook and Find-A-Grave and Twitter and Ancestry and GENI and Flickr and Instagram and all kinds of websites and social media in order to gather some of my the information needed for this project. I’ve made it a point to ask people if they would like to provide information for this project and have done some ‘interviews’ here and there, using email and social media. I’ve also used information that was made publicly available. It is not my goal to publish personal information about my living or recently-deceased relatives and ancestors and to make people vulnerable in terms of personal security or to violate their desires for privacy. So, I follow a system for protecting the privacy and security of people in this family project. Please let me know if you spot something that I may have missed or overlooked.
 
I am working on this project on an almost daily basis now and I will make an effort to keep you all posted through my blog and through this group.
 
I can’t explain why I’m so crazy about doing genealogy and learning more and more about history and our family’s history other than to say that I know I was born to do it, and I promise to put everything and all that I am into this project. Thank you all for showing interest in this project and for all your help and cooperation and support!