Just like a truck driving through a construction zone, I am embracing the concept of slowing down in my genealogy. In the beginning, like every new budding family historian, you want to see how far back you can go as fast as you can. So, you become a name collector. All you are interested in is the names and dates of your ancestors (and usually just on your direct line).
By slowing down you get a chance to think, analyze what you’ve found, and write up stories about your ancestors…not just collect names. And it’s the stories that give them meaning and make them interesting. They become more than just a name.
Over the past few months, I’ve been tackling my dad’s Dutch side. As of 6 years ago, I didn’t even know we had a Dutch side! This line intimidated me, but I feel more confident now and ready for the challenge of this new family line.
The first time the surname “Krewson” appears is my 2nd great-grandmother, Susanna Krewson. She was born around 1829 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and married Andrew Bothell in 1847 in Newtown, Bucks County. The Krewson surname is interesting (and challenging) because it can be spelled in so many ways…Krewsen, Kroesen, Cruson, etc. This couple and their children eventually migrated south to Cecil County, Maryland. My new truck driving route goes right through Cecil County and it’s all I can do not to stop and go to the library or historical society!
Susanna was the daughter of John Krewson and Jane Parker. How do I know that? It took a lot of digging, correlating, and plenty of thinking! Births were not recorded at that time. I have not located a baptism record for her and she never appeared on a census record with her parents. The 1850 census record was the first one that listed every member of the household by name. By then, Susanna was already married and living with her husband and children (still in Bucks County, PA). From the first census in 1790 to 1840, only heads of households were named. Everyone else was just a tick mark in an age group. So, in 1850 she was with her husband, Andrew, and children, Alexander and Charles. Apparently, the Bothell surname had plenty of spelling variations too!
She is only directly connected to her father through his will, where he mentioned each child by name (women by their married name). And there she is…Susanna Bothel.
It was only through her siblings’ baptism records, other census records, and her parent’s Find A Grave memorials that I could prove Jane Parker was her mother.
Susanna’s story is there, it’s just hidden in the records of those around her. I’m hoping she is mentioned in her husband, Andrew’s Civil War service record, which I am patiently waiting for from NARA.
Genealogy tip: Take the time to really look at what you’ve found. Many times the answer to our research question lies in a record we already have. By really scouring each record you’re sure not to miss a thing!