The ancestry adventure continues


The ancestry adventure continues … Last week I shared a notable find of John “the pilgrim” Ogden, my 8th great-grandfather who was an enterprising and successful settler on Long Island and later in NJ. A house he built became a governor’s mansion and still stands today. I recently found a 1905 genealogy book that will allow me to trace his ancestors back to 12th century England.
I’m fascinated to find out where possible why each made the dangerous journey to America. John came over with an initial land grant to start a new life – while research of another branch of the tree told of desperation as a reason. That of Susanna O’Brien Nottingham (1756-1833) a 5th Great-grandmother, and her husband William. She worked as a servant for a wealthy (but apparently cheap bastard) man in England.
From an article – “William and Susannah left England because she broke a minor law. She picked up a pigeon and cooked it for a meal for her starving family. In violation of an ordinance, she and her husband were fined. Because they were unable to pay the fine they were sent to debtor prison, and later sent to the Colonies to work off their debt.”
Evidently, the bird was from a large park on the estate and considered a “royal bird”, and thus she was convicted of poaching.
Some spent years working off their debt here under harsh conditions. The rest of her story is yet unknown. She lived to age 77, a widow for 30 of those years. Hard to imagine what that trip on a penal ship must have been like, let alone the years after.

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