Monday, November 14, 2011

Mystery Monday - Is There A Steamboat in My Past?

Today is the 246th anniversary of the birth of Robert "Steamboat" Fulton.

Big deal, you may say.  I would have too, until I learned he might actually be a relative of mine. 

Robert Fulton
Wikipedia Image
 Robert Fulton was born on November 14 in 1765.  In his short lifetime, he became an engineer and inventor.  He is widely credited with designing the first steamboat, in the early 1800s.  His partner in this venture was Robert Livingston, though Livingston receives little credit for his involvement.  Prior to the steamboat, Fulton designed the first known submarine in history, at the commission of Napoleon Bonaparte. 

Fulton was born in Pennsylvania, studied in Europe, married Harriet Livingston (his steamboat partner's niece), and eventually moved to New York, where he died on February 24, 1815, at the young age of 49.

But back to his possible connection with my family. 

When I first saw my maternal grandmother's birth certificate, I smiled to read her father's name:  John Fulton Jordan.  I'd never heard his full name.  But I didn't think twice about it.  Then I started going through census, marriage and other records.  Here's what I found:

My great-grandfather John Fulton Jordan's parents were Oliver Perry Jordan and Ann Wright, who married in Harford County, Maryland on February 6, 1868.

Statue of Robert Fulton in the
National Statuary Hall Collection
at the U.S. Capitol.
Hubby's photo, September 2011.

Oliver's parents were John Jordan and Henrietta Prigg, who married in Harford County, Maryland on February 2, 1841.  I have documents that indicate this John's middle initial is either an "F" or a "P."  It's simply unclear.  I haven't been lucky enough to find anything with his full middle name.

John Jordan's parents were (yet another!) John Jordan and Rachel Fulton, who were married in Harford County, Maryland on December 14, 1813.

Again working on, I received a hint from another family tree.  After communicating with a Fulton family member also on the website, I learned Rachel was a distant niece of the famous Fulton.  I thought, "Even if it's a distant connection to a famous inventor, hey, I'll take it!"    

But I quickly calmed down and thought hold on, girl.  I had taken a very good genealogy starter course, so I knew:  until I can document these branches of the family tree for myself, take it with a grain of salt.  So I'm working on it.  I've had a few trips to the county historical society.  Next up will be a review of land records and wills, as they're available.  And maybe a Jordan or Fulton will come forward with new information.   Until this research can be completed, this connection remains a Mystery.

1 comment:

  1. The research is part of the fun! Good Luck.
    Theresa (tangled trees)