My family never pursued genealogy until I got an AncestryDNA kit for Christmas. The test revealed we were a mix of Irish, Scandinavian, and other European ethnicities.
This was an interesting discovery on its own, but I still wanted to learn more about who my ancestors were.
I decided to dig deeper into Ancestry’s records to try and learn more about my family’s history. In the process of researching my ancestry, I made some unexpected discoveries and found a one-of-a-kind gift for my father.
My mom’s side of the family tree was easy to track. In just a few hours I traced all the way back to her 8th great-grandfather, Nathaniel Bailey.
Bailey was the first settler in Washington County, Maine. He was stabbed during an altercation, and died near Foley Road.
The area was named “Bailey Kill” after his demise, and eventually became known as “Bailey Hill.” Today the town is named Baileyville in his honor, and his 5th great-grandson still resides at Bailey Hill.
The story of Nathaniel Bailey and my mom’s side of the family was interesting, but my dad’s history remained unknown. Based on the DNA test, it seemed possible his ancestors could be from Ireland or Scandinavia, but we weren’t sure.
The big breakthrough on my dad’s side came when I found an out-going passenger list from the UK on Ancestry. My grandpa, Kevin James Hanna, was listed clearly on the form.
Kevin was just eight years old when he set sail on the Franconia from Liverpool to New York. He was accompanied by his mother, Martha, and younger brother, Anthony. The trip across the Atlantic took 14 days.
The log also included their last address, a town in the East of England that included a Viking settlement. Perhaps this would explain our family’s unexpected Scandinavian roots.
I was thrilled by the discovery and had the log printed and framed. I gave it to my father, along with the story of his dad’s arrival in the United States, for a truly unique gift.
Since we have an exact address of the family’s former home, we hope to travel to England and further explore our heritage.
Give a Piece of Family History
With over 20 billion records it’s easy to find your own unique piece of family history. A story or document from your family’s past makes for a memorable gift, and can open up new discussions and deepen relationships.
Disclosure: Rachael Hanna is the proud sister of an Ancestry employee. These discoveries were made by her using free access to Ancestry.com.