Friday, March 2, 2012

Ada Grace Colby Werst Branchflower and Frederick Naaman Cone

People often ask how I became interested in Family History and Genealogy. I can point to two family members who sparked my interest. During my growing up summer, my family always spent part of the time in Oregon. We divided the time between my paternal grandparent's (Charles Newton Cone and Hazel Bynum Allen) home in Portland and my maternal grandparent's (Ada Grace Colby and her second husband Kenneth M. Branchflower pictured above) home "Pine Lawn Farm" outside of Newberg.
The hot lazy afternoons on the farm provided mandatory nap time for my younger siblings and I was allowed to read or talk to my grandmother. She gave me old family albums to peruse and told stories of her mother and father and growing up on the farm in Kansas. She also showed me the family Bible and her grandfather's (Van Epps Hugunin) discharge papers from the Civil War and explained that his Grandfather had served in the Revolutionary War. The stories made these ancestors come alive for me and sparked a life-long love of history.

One the more formal Genealogy side.... in the 1960's my paternal grandfather Charles Newton Cone brought on a visit to my family's home in Willingboro, New Jersey a copy of the Cone Family Tree as researched by his older brother William Laurence Cone. There were losts of jokes about how the first Cone in America had been a 'horse thief' , a Scotsman who had escaped the English in Massachusetts and fled to Connecticut. My grandfather talked about his father Frederick Naaman Cone (pictured above) who had researched the family ties and proven descent from Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower and joined the Mayflower Society. Charles Cone was a chemist and not much interested in genealogy but I studied the Cone Genealogy carefully and became facinated by our connections with past.

I wanted to know who the people were, not just their name and dates of birth, marriage and death. We all know how the Pilgrims came to the new world for religious freedom but why did the others come? How did they get here? What were their professions? Where were they from? The Cone side was mostly English but Grandmother Cone had some Welsh ancestry and on my maternal side the Wersts were Germans and and the Hugunins were French Hugenots. Those were the questions that interested me then and still do. I'm still working to answer these questions.

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