But recently I've been giving a lot of thought to the McConnells in the tree, particularly some of the McConnell women, and I realized that there are quite a few little mysteries lurking amongst them. For instance:
- Who was Martha Campbell, my 2nd great grandmother? Or was her name really Margaret? I haven't been able to find out a single thing about her background, not even the name of her father. All I know is that she married two McConnell brothers, had some children, and died young.
- Who did my 3rd great grandfather Jonathan 'Jock' McConnell marry? I think I know her name, but have no actual evidence. I think I know who her parents were too, but I could be totally wrong. And does this woman, whoever she was, hold the key to the family legend of a connection to the Mayflower?
- On that topic, did Experience Howland, a Mayflower descendant, really marry James Bearce, or was she in fact a man? (Are you intrigued...?)
- What was my great grandmother Alma McConnell's stepmother's problem? It seems that she was the reason for the family being split up and sent off in three different directions. I don't think I like her at all.
- At that time, when Alma was about 8 years old, why was she sent to live with a family who apparently weren't related to her in any way? Or were they?
- And what happened to Alma's wicked stepmother? After throwing the family into disarray, she seemed to disappear without a trace.
These are some of the questions that are preying on my mind. I've enlisted some professional help in answering one of them, but I don't expect results any time soon. Meanwhile, I'm plugging away at the others, in fits and starts, with some valuable input from my second cousin once removed, Ruth, who has been vexed by similar questions for years. We both hope that together we'll eventually get to the bottom of at least some of these puzzles.
As I continue along these lines of inquiry, I intend to write blog posts which will fill you in on the background of each one, keep you informed about any progress I make, and at the same time, paint some kind of a picture of the McConnell family. They're my second most problematic family - the first is the family that Alma McConnell married into, the Wanamakers - a huge swirling mass of confusion that I hope to understand some day. Meanwhile, I'll stick with the McConnells. Stay tuned.