Chapter 5 (Family Charts)
THE FAMILY Charts
WHY INCLUDE FAMILY CHARTS?
This chapter provides a graphic summary and extension of our research. We have created family charts or trees for the individuals buried in Percy Cemetery, placing them within their respective family contexts. Individuals do not live or die in a social vacuum. They are members of at least an immediate family and, as will be evident in examining our presentation, families are often linked to each other through intermarriage.
The tragedy of death has two distinctive levels. There is the individual tragedy of a person’s death. As much as we are aware of its inevitability, we are grief stricken because this person has died.
The second level of tragedy relates to the survivors of death. Death leaves “holes” in families. Wives may suffer the loss of a husband or a husband the wife. Children suffer the tragedy of a lost parent(s) and parents the loss of children. In this sense, the tragedy of death lies in the fact that the survivors must somehow survive. They must adapt to the personal loss of a loved one. In addition, for many families, there must also have been inordinate economic as well as other forms of hardship.
Some families, it seems, were especially vulnerable to death. For example, Morgan and Barbara (also known as Jennie) Thomas buried all three of their children in the eleven year span between 1870 and 1881. Richard and Susan Beall had six children. Three of them died in the same year, 1862. A fourth child also died but we have been unable to locate a death date. Even worse, the Johns family lost three young children within a single week. Other families suffered similar tragedies. The point is that by placing the deceased within a family chart, we are better able to see the effect of death in its entirety. We move away from a focus on individuals and begin to consider the effect of death on the survivors.
There is another important reason for providing family charts and that is for the sake of genealogical research today. There is an immense interest in ancestry. People want to be able to trace their lineage, their family lines, to understand better how the present evolved from the past. For some people, the important fact is simply knowing the family’s history. Others have different motives. Questions of ancestry often have important legal implications; for example, proof of ancestry may be important in relation to the issue of inheritance. Medical researchers are using family genealogies to track patterns of disease and other medical problems within and between families.
There are certainly status considerations in establishing a family chart. To be able to demonstrate a link to historical personages or events may have implications for membership in certain social circles or organizations (e.g., the Daughters of the American Revolution). Thus, we have produced family charts which genealogists will find helpful in their efforts to trace a family’s history. Perhaps we can provide some stimulus for others to begin the search for their familial roots.
A third reason for this section is more sociological. We wanted to see who married whom. Examining our family charts serves to establish certain regularities or patterns in marriages. For example, the Percy, Davis, and Tennant families were closely allied to one another through intermarriage. It is also true that individual members of these families were the “movers and shakers” of Frostburg's history; these three were very prominent families because their members were the pioneer builders of the city. We must assume that intermarriage, especially within distinguished families, had its advantages. Wealth and power were to some degree consolidated. We have to understand that history is more than the behavior of individuals. It is closely linked to family alliances. By providing some of these familial linkages, we can perhaps better understand something of the history of Frostburg.
INTERPRETING THE FAMILY CHARTS
In creating family charts, we have endeavored to be as complete and accurate as our sources and efforts have allowed. For any individual buried in the cemetery, we attempted to determine who that person’s parents were as well as siblings, spouse(s) and children. Thus, our rule of thumb was to create charts that are three generations in
Anthony E. Crosby and Michael R. Olson
28 x 22 cms
Cemeteries, Maryland, Frostburg; Obituaries, Maryland, Frostburg. .
Frostburg (Md.), 1800-1972