Bits and Pieces

As one year ended and a new year began, I started to contemplate about what broad topic to use for my short, Friday posts. Because I sometimes have trouble coming up with something that does not require a lot of research, you will notice that I have chosen something that has not bounds. I love sharing these short pieces because they are items that would never end in one of my longer papers but are extremely interesting to me. Just to give you a little background about my writing: I do not find it easy to write. I love the research part; but taking a topic from research to posting has taken as long as a year. My current project is completing part two about my ancestor (John Whelden) who was brave enough to leave Salem, Massachusetts in 1696 after the Salem Witch Trials and sail south to the Carolinas. It is about 75% done but had to stop because of documents I need from the South Carolina Archives. I am hoping to go there this month and maybe get this one finished before spring. That’s a big maybe. We’ll see how it goes!

By the way, if anyone would like to send me topics you have thought about and/or willing to write a short piece, please let me know! I would love to have some collaborators! The first piece under “Bits and Pieces” at the top of the opening page of the blog is about an amazing book that I would recommend highly!

Fortenberry to Van Valkenburg

Finally, after 18 months, it’s a wrap!  I have finally finished the most difficult writing I have ever attempted.    As many of you know, our male Y-DNA links us with the Van Valkenburg family.  So, this article is my best effort to explain how we connect.  I know it is long and detailed, but I wanted to cover the topic completely in one discussion.

I have converted a PowerPoint into a PDF in order to protect my work.  I would like it to be viewed as a slide show so you can see each page as a whole.  As noted below, the best way to view will depend on the program you or your computer uses to open it.  The article has a lot of information in the endnotes. If interested in reading what they contain as you go through the paper, please print them first. They are pages 39-50. Please choose “Fortenberry to Van Valkenburg” from the blogroll on the right.

If you choose to view through Adobe Acrobat Reader:

1.  Locate the small print “view” pulldown menu on top left and choose Full Screen mode.  Then you click through the slides.  

2.  The internet links can be accessed by hoovering over a link.  When the full hand icon changes to a pointing finger, click and it will take you there.

3. When finished, hit the escape key on the keyboard.

If you choose to view through Google Chrome:

1.  To begin reading, start at the title page, located the three vertical dots on the top right next to the print icon.  On the pulldown menu, choose “present.”  Scrolling will bring up a full slide.

2.  When finished, right click and choose “exit full screen.”

3.  In this format, the links can only be accessed by hitting Escape and choosing the link then.


Documents and Places

I have decided to change my weekly focus before my usual switch date of January 1.   It has been difficult finding gravestones for quite a while, so why not just move to something different now!  My new “categories,” documents and places, will allow a lot of latitude and will give me a way to discuss some really cool and obscure family history.  I hope you enjoy this series.  Please choose “Documents and Places” from the pages above!  This image is a teaser for the first post!


John Whelden – Seeker of a Safe Harbor

I know it has taken me a while, but trying to write this particular story proved to be one of the most difficult ones I have ever done! This is the fourth in a series of articles about the Whelden family and is about John, the grandson of our immigrant ancestor Gabriel Whelden.  He was involved with so many unusual events that I had problems merging it all into a coherent story. I consider myself a “family historian” as opposed to a genealogist and wanted to explain how John’s life was impacted by the historical events occurring around him. Of course, the further back in time you go, the more difficult that goal is to accomplish. John Whelden lived during a very difficult time in colonial New England history and I am glad he lived long enough to have kids! Many, many people did not!

Please find his story at the end of the Blogroll list. It will download as a PDF. Once it opens, choose the three vertical dots at the top which will have a drop down menu. Choose “present” as that will allow you to view as a slide show.

New Year – New weekly post

Check out this year’s weekly posts on the page called “R.I.P.” from the list above!

Henry Whelden – Teenage Colonist

Finally, back to work!  Between cleaning out our house to downsize, selling the house, then moving into a new home, genealogy has had to take a back seat for most of 2020!   I have just posted the third in a series of stories about one of our many Puritan families – the Wheldens from Nottingham, England.  This most recent installment is about Henry Whelden, my 9th great grandfather.  (me-Adrian Fortenberry-Nellie Mae Simmons-William Eli Simmons-Mary Caroline Magee-Rebecca Pigott-Martha Warren-Martha DuBose-Mary Whilden-John Whilden- John Whilden-Henry Whelden).  To read his story, please open the article “Whelden Part 3 – Henry Whelden” from the bottom of the blogroll on the right.  It is a PDF file.  Once you click to open the file, move the cursor to the far right until you see three symbols.  Click on the one that is NOT a + or – to make the image fit the screen.  To make it function as a slideshow, use the page up and page down keys.  Enjoy!


Jane Whelden – Protestant Nonconformist

My previous article, posted back in September, was about a 10X great grandfather named Gabriel Whelden.  Over the years, researchers have be able to learn quite a bit about this man but very little about his first wife named Jane.  I shared some new documents back in September but no one could read them because they were written in Latin using Old English script.  Since then, I have been able to get them transcribed and translated and wish to share them with everyone.  To do this, I have chosen to take the appendix concerning Jane from Gabriel’s article and write her story as a separate document.   I would really liked to have met her!  Please download the article from the blogroll on the right called Whelden Part 2 – Gabriel’s wife Jane.  Enjoy!

New Friday Format!

I have begun a new format for my Friday postings that I think everyone will enjoy.  Each week I will be discussing someone related to the family.  It may be a direct ancestor, a many times removed cousin, or a distant aunt or uncle.  I am looking forward to this format because it will give me an opportunity to share the life and times of some of our very interesting kinfolks!  Please click on the Meet Your Kin” on the page bar above (it kind of gets lost in the artwork above).

The Life and Times of Gabriel Whelden

Today’s post is the story of an ancestor from long ago.  Gabriel Whelden was born about 1583!  It is not often that we get to look at the life of an ancestor who lived over 400 years ago.   Why the picture of a tree?  Of course there was no photography in the 1600s so this is an image of the general area where he lived before immigrating to Plymouth Colony.  This is a tree in Sherwood Forest thought to be 800 to 1000 years old.  Yes, Gabriel lived within the area encompassed by the forest made famous by the stories of Robin Hood.  I hope you enjoy what has taken me quite a few months to research and complete.  The document is a pptx file because the images look so much better in PowerPoint than as a PDF.  Please choose from the blogroll on the right “Whelden Family Part 1”

Note: Image source –By Nilfanion – Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Adrian’s final year in the Navy

During the past few years, I have been relating the events of ancestors from several generations ago, but now it was time to finish a story begun years ago.    This year would have been my Dad’s 100th birthday.  Since I had only one more segment of his time in the Navy during World War II, I wanted to finish this story for him now.  Many of his grandchildren may be surprised at just how much expertise with early computers he developed while advancing though his Navy Fire Controlman career.  Please choose Navy Part 11 – 1944-1945 from the blogroll on the right and enjoy.  

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