One of the ways I teach my students to have pride in who they are and the culture they share with the world is to explore their ancestry. We all have a sense of pride in our origins. And it’s a lot of fun tracing your roots. It’s a wonderful Project-based Learning activity filled with research and documentation.
Below is a little of my own research into my own ancestry. It’s absolutely fascinating how small the world really is.
My Own Highlights
My personal favorite ancestor was my 9th great grandmother on my mother’s side, Ots Toch, a princess of the Haudenosaunee (Mohawk) First Peoples Tribe. She was of the Turtle Clan, the daughter of a Mohawk Sachem (chief). She was known as the Queen of Hog Island in the state of New York, and the Europeans would often refer to her as a princess. She was the daughter of the Chief at the Great Castle at Canajahorie. It was said that Ots Toch was wild and savage like her mother. In local lore, Ots-Toch is often compared to Pocahontas, as the two share many similarities.
A Dutch carpenter by the name of Cornelius Van Slyck, of the original founding Dutch Van Slyck/Van Breukelen family in New Netherland, arrived in the New World at 30 years old looking for adventure. He became an interpreter for the Mohawk Nation, and was even adopted into the tribe and considered family. It’s no surprise then, that this is where he met the fiery Ots-Toch. Cornelius engaged in fur trading and had gained much recognition among the Haudenosaunee, he would have been a good match for the Mohawk woman. After the marriage, Ots-Toch and Cornelius settled down in the village at Canajahorie. There, they had five children together. All of their children were well known and respected in the Dutch community. All except one left the village and married Dutch settlers.
Interestingly, through their lineage I am also related to another famous Dutch ancestor who like Ots Toch, believed in a matrilineal society. Her name was Elizabeth Cady-Stanton, my 5th cousin 5x removed, and was the heart of the Women’s Suffragette Movement. We both descend from the Families of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut.
Daughters of the American Revolution
Most people would think themselves fortunate to have even one ancestor who fought the American Revolution. I have several, and it is a great source of pride for me… and probably why I love history as much as I do.
Capt. David Cady Sr. my 12th great-grandfather of the Families of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut.
Ancestor #: A018068
Service: CONNECTICUT Rank(s): PATRIOTIC SERVICE
Birth: 9-17-1703 KILLINGLY NEW LONDON CO CONNECTICUT
Death: 11-1-1788 KILLINGLY WINDHAM CO CONNECTICUT
Service Source: CT REV WAR ACCTS, 1ST SER, VOL 6, P 10, ROLL #36.10
Service Description: 1) MEMBER OF COMMITTEE
Capt. David Cady Jr. my 11th great-grandfather of the Families of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut.
Ancestor #: A018069
Service: CONNECTICUT Rank(s): CAPTAIN
Birth: 2-10-1743 KILLINGLY WINDHAM CO CONNECTICUT
Death: 4-17-1807 KILLINGLY WINDHAM CO CONNECTICUT
Service Source: JOHNSTON, CT MEN IN THE REV P 14; NARA, M881, COMP MIL SERV RECS, ROLL #362
Service Description: 1) 21ST REGT OF FOOT
Capt. Isaac Cady Sr. my 12th great-uncle.
Service: CONNECTICUT Rank(s): PRIVATE
Birth: 1-28-1741 KILLINGLY WINDHAM CO CONNECTICUT
Death: 1777 THOMPSON PAR WINDHAM CO CONNECTICUT
Service Source: JOHNSTON, CT MEN IN THE REV, P 14
Service Description: 1) CAPT JOSEPH CADY, LEXINGTON ALARM
Capt. Ebenezer S J Cady my 2nd cousin 8x removed and Great Grandfather to Elizabeth Cady-Stanton; feminist suffragette.
Service: NEW YORK Rank(s): CAPTAIN
Birth: 1-20-1743 LYME NEW LONDON CO CONNECTICUT
Death: 9-11-1816 CHATHAM COLUMBIA CO NEW YORK
Pension Number: S*W16524
Service Source: S*W16524
Service Description: 1) COL WILLIAM B WHITING
David Cady my 6th great uncle, who was an aid to General George Washington:
Ancestor #: A018071
Service: NEW YORK Rank(s): SERGEANT
Birth: 10-17-1764 FLORIDA ORANGE CO NEW YORK
Death: 4-25-1844 PERINTON MONROE CO NEW YORK
Pension Number: *S29053
Service Source: *S29053
Service Description: 1) ALSO PVT; CAPTS JACOBUS VAN ALLEN, ELIJAH BOSTWICK, JOHN DAVIS, THOMAS SKINNER
2) COLS ROBERT VAN RENSSELAER, MORRIS GRAHAM, ASA WATERMAN, MARINUS WILLETT
Gerritt Gysbert Van Brocklin my 5th great grandfather:
Service: NEW YORK Rank(s): PATRIOTIC SERVICE
Birth: BAPTISED 10-28-1705 SCHENECTADY ALBANY CO NEW YORK
Death: 2-23-1795 CAUGHNAWAGA MONTGOMERY CO NEW YORK
Service Source: ROBERTS, NY IN THE REV, SUPPLEMENT, PP 181, 182
Service Description: 1) SUFFERED DEPREDATIONS
Gysbert Van Brocklin my 5th great uncle:
Service: NEW YORK Rank(s): PRIVATE
Birth: CIRCA 1750 ALBANY CO NEW YORK
Death: POST 2-18-1817 JOHNSTOWN MONTGOMERY CO NEW YORK
Service Source: ROBERTS, NY IN THE REV, P 185
Service Description: 1) ASSOCIATED EXEMPTS, TRYON CO MILITIA
Lebbeus Armstrong my 6th great-grandfather was a Lieutenant who fought in the French and Indian Wars in 1758, and the American Revolution.
Service: VERMONT Rank(s): LIEUTENANT
Birth: 9-13-1738 NORWICH NEW LONDON CO CONNECTICUT
Death: 10-17-1789 BENNINGTON BENNINGTON CO VERMONT
Service Source: GOODRICH, ROLLS OF THE SOLS IN THE REV WAR, 1775-1783, P 26, 115, 213, 424, 486
Service Description: 1) ALSO PVT & ENS CAPTS DEWEY, HUTCHINS, TICHENOR;
2) COLS HERRICK, WALBRIDGE
My Most Beloved Paternal Ancestor
Sir John of Gilnockie Armstrong, on my father’s side, better known as Robin Hood or so the legends go. He is my 14th great-grandfather. Because he married well, I can follow my lineage to my 22nd great-grandfather Walter High Steward of Scotland. He also married well, and as a result I am descended directly from 23rd great-grandfather Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. In fact that lineage looks like this:
Alan fitz Flaad is my 28th great-grandfather, a Medieval soldier, landowner and Sheriff of Shropshire.
Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland is my 25th great-grandfather. He served as the Justiciar of Scotia, the most senior legal office in the High Medieval Kingdom of Scotland.
Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland is my 24th great-grandfather.
James Stewart, 5th High Steward of Scotland is my 23rd great-grandfather
Walter Stewart, 3rd High Steward of Scotland is my 22nd great-grandfather who married Marjorie de Bruce (Princess) my 22nd great-grandmother.
Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland is my 23rd great-grandfather. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, and eventually led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He fought successfully during his reign to regain Scotland’s place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero.
Robert de Bruce, King of Scotland and 6th Lord of Annandale is my 24th great-grandfather.
Robert V de Bruce King of Scotland and 5th Lord of Annandale is my 25th great-grandfather. He was a feudal lord, justice and constable of Scotland and England, a regent of Scotland, and a competitor for the Scottish throne in 1290/92 in the Great Cause. Widely known as Robert the Noble, he was also grandson of David of Scotland, 8th Earl of Huntingdon and Matilda de Kevilloc of Chester, Great-grandson of Henry of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland and Ada de Warenne and Great-great grandson of King David I of Scotland and Maud, Countess of Huntingdon. In addition to Annandale, Robert was Lord of Hartlepool (otherwise known as Hartness) in county Durham and Writtle and Hatfield Broadoak in Essex, England. His first wife brought to him the village of Ripe, in Sussex, and his second wife the Lordship of Ireby in Cumberland.