Thursday, November 14, 2013
Family History: It's Everywhere! (Or, A Message From Beyond?)
While viewing a recent TV episode, I found myself mentally veering wildly off the subject, and engaging in a little impromptu family history research. I was watching TLC's Long Island Medium (http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/long-island-medium), where the subject of the show is followed by cameras, as she delivers messages from departed loved ones to their families and friends. These segments are spliced together with funny scenes from the medium's family life. Whether you believe that her process is possible or not isn't the point: it isn't a documentary. I just consider it light entertainment, and treat it like a guilty pleasure.
On the episode in question, the medium and her daughter take a long weekend in upstate New York. One of the stories is set on a farm. In the background of one scene is a silo, on which you can see the name "Hull" in fading paint. I was immediately interested, because I've often seen the name Hull appear in close proximity to my ancestors in colonial New England.
Still watching the show, I pulled out my smart phone. On Google, I entered the name "Hull," and the name of the village I thought they were in. Within seconds, I found an entry for the name of the family farm, and a link to its website at http://www.hull-o.com/ . Browsing through to the history page, one finds out that, amazingly, the farm is still operated, seven generations later, by a descendant of the original Hull who founded it in 1786. The earlier Hull was a private in the continental forces during the Revolution. (As a side note, how long would it have taken to piece all that together in the days before we were all walking around with little computers?)
Having studied my ancestors for 33 years, it should come as no surprise that the urge to go into research mode never completely diminishes, no matter what I'm doing.