I began genealogy research during the mid 1970's from Denver, CO. I took some classes, read books and jumped in by writing Clerks of the Counties for wills, old style. I met Carol, Milt and Troy Gresham as one of the first subscribers to the GAWYSI (Gresham Any Way You Spell It) news letters. I have purchased any and all Gresham books thru the years.
Early on, I had promised my father, John T. Gresham that before he died we would know more about where his Gresham ancestors from Leon County, Texas had come from. No one had a clue except they thought he was from Virginia.
My father passed away last June at age 99. He was a WWII veteran and fought on Okinawa and Leyte. He was present in Korea for the surrender of the Japanese. He was someone who lived life positively every day and was still planting trees for the next generation in his 80's.
I kept my word by reading roll after roll of microfilm at the Denver Federal Center and local Mormon libraries on my vacation days until I found our John Thomas Gresham, original settler in Centerville. He was living in Boligee, Greene County, Alabama on the 1840 census with his name spelled Grisham. I knew it was him when I saw that his wife was 10 years older with 5 boys. What a surprise!
After a lot more work, I was able to find out who the Thomas Gresham was that he lived near then connect him back to his family in Taliaferro and Wilkes Counties, Georgia. Our John Thomas Gresham had been orphaned at the age of 12 and had gone to live with Thomas Gresham, his cousin there in Alabama to learn the blacksmith trade. I was finally able to trace our Gresham line back to Goochland, then King & Queen Counties, Virginia.
I retired to East Texas and joined Ancestry in 2008. It took weeks, but entered all my paper group sheets, scanned wills, orphan records, birth and marriage records into the computer and began adding other Gresham lines to my tree to get "the big picture" of how and where the old Gresham lines in Virginia had branched out.
I continue doing research on all my family lines, but am particularly interested in old Gresham lines in Virginia. There seems to be many different views about Gresham genealogy that have come from family biographies, not actual court records. Since the records from King and Queen County were burned, many trees have grouped together people from their associations with county land records. This has limitations and problems with the precise science of genealogy.
We will never know exactly who the sons of Edward Immigrant Gresham were or how his grandchildren fall into line underneath his assumed 4 Gresham sons Thomas, Edward, George and John that are listed for King and Queen on the 1704 Quit Rent Roll. We do know that if you add up the acres for these 4 men, it is exactly the number of acres of Edward Gresham's original land patent of 1650 and the acres he purchased at a later date. We can only have assumptions, but that makes for interesting conversations.
My dad's DNA is on FTDNA under kit 236828 at 111 markers. He is on the Grisham, Gresham, Grissom Project and the East Anglia Project. He closely matches Troy Gresham. He does match closely with men who still live in the Norfolk, England area, the ancestral home of the first Gresham.
My tree on Ancestry.com is called Gresham, Robinson and Allied Families. user gresham970. I have added many Gresham lines from England that came to the U.S. at later times hoping to find men who would test for YDNA and join the projects. It is now a "Big Gresham Tree".
I hope it helps other Gresham researchers in the future. I enjoy discussions and am easy to get along with, but do dislike guesses.
(Something I wrote a few years back.)
A TURNIP TRUCK
I have always known that my existence didn’t just happen with me popping up like a mushroom or falling off the back of some turnip truck. I understood early on, that someone here on earth had also paid a price for me. For whatever reason, I was born with a deep sense of gratitude and connection to my ancestors.
I remember being horrified when I learned that 80% of the ENTIRE populations of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, etc. died from the “Black Death” that is believed to be the Bubonic plague. It was a fast moving wave of pestilence carried by fleas causing painfully agonizing boils and a writhing death for millions of people in just 3 short years. What amazes me to this day is that MY ANCESTORS LIVED! Somehow they were among the 1 in 5 fortunate! And so were yours. How blessed is that!
These amazingly strong ancestors of the people living today, whom God had blessed with their lives, then claimed land that had been vacated and needed tilling. The rich came out of their manor houses and worked alongside to keep themselves from starving. This new land cooperation lifted men up out of an endless cycle of poverty to eventually become the new middle class. These hardy people went on to repopulate all of Europe, rebuild dead cities and invent amazing things, eventually even coming to The New World. I am so grateful for each and every one of my ancestors, whether rich or poor, who paid a price for me. They were the farmers, the carriage makers, the blacksmiths, the carpenters, the ship builders, the stone masons, the butchers, the weavers, the saddle makers, the iron workers, the preachers, the teachers, the lawyers, the doctors, the merchants and all in between.
I am grateful for each generation of parents who loved their children and carefully taught them to love God, to read, to work, to be honorable, to be brave and disciplined. All those parents from so long ago, who dreamed of their children having an even better life, made sure that they learned good manners, social skills, integrity, compassion and respect for others. It was those dreams of countless generations of loving parents for their children that have given me the life I have today. I did not fall off a “turnip truck”.
Each individual person is never a standalone item. Every single one of us is connected to each other, our ancestors, our heritage, their sacrifices and the wars they fought to give us this great beautiful United States of America with the generous opportunities we enjoy.
Each decision we make in life can either raise our future children up to a higher level than we have achieved or we can drag them down. They are the precious unborn who have no choice in the matter except to either struggle because of the decisions we have made in our own self-interested path or succeed because we have lifted them up with our own sacrifices. So today, I give thanks to all my ancestors and to God for watching over them so that my life could be so richly blessed.
I apologize to my ancestors for making so many decisions that did not live up to the love and sacrifices they made for me throughout the centuries.
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