have done a bit of research into my “roots” and discovered that I am
descended from people who came from England, France, Scotland, Ireland and
Switzerland. I am a bit over a
third English and slightly less than a third each, French and Scot, with a wee bit of
Irish and Swiss.
was of particular interest to me was research into the faith of my ancestors.
They were New England Puritans, Church of England folk in South Carolina
and Virginia (some of whom became Baptists and Methodists and moved on to
Tennessee), French Huguenots in New York and South Carolina, and South Carolina
Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland. On
my mother’s side, the daughter of a minister married a minister for many
generations. So I am directly descended from one Presbyterian, four
Methodist and five Baptist ministers. My
mother’s generation broke the chain, but she prayed that I would become a
Here is a picture of my mother's father, Dr. Robert Lee Benn. He was a Presbyterian minister, and I was named for him. He died in 1939; I wish that I had known him.
Through genealogical research by relatives on both my father and mother’s sides, I have been able to verify some of my family names. Are we kin? On more than one occasion I have discovered a distant cousin. Once I had mentioned in a Thanksgiving message that two of my ancestors had come over on the Mayflower -- this was before I found out that Isaac Allerton, the lieutenant governor, was a thief. After the service, someone in the congregation told me that his ancestor had come over in the great Puritan migration of the sixteen thirties. When I asked who that was, he responded, "Francis Wyman." He was my eighth great grandfather, and that made us cousins.
Francis and his brother John settled in Woburn, Massachusetts and operated a tanning business that stayed in the family until 1768. The pollution caused by the tanning industry in Woburn formed the background for a recent film, starring John Travolta, "A Civil Action." I guess the Wyman brothers had no idea what they started. That is just one example of the interesting discoveries that a study of genealogy can bring.
Here are my family names:
Please write to me if you think that we're kin. I use Family Tree Maker software.