Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mary Hart family information

The following is an excerpt from A Story of William Hart and Jennie Ann Johnson Laws by Donna Laws Hemingway, a granddaughter. Clink on “Donna Laws Hemingway” in the labels links to read more about Donna and this now out-of-print book. She wrote the findings of her research in first person; so “I” refers to Donna.
Mary Hart was the daughter of William Hart, born 29 January 1802 and Frances Norton, born 27 December 1801. They had ten children, six boys and four girls, all born in Brandon, Suffolk, England, with the exception of John their seventh child who was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Mary was child number three being born in 1830, and the first daughter in the family.
The Hart family was more of a stable family [in contrast to her husband’s family, father was Benjamin Laws, who moved around and whose records are harder to find, DK]. They were in Brandon for several generations and evidently owned land. However, they were not a marrying family. I have looked for years for the marriages of our Hart Ancestors and they have all been hard to find. Many I have not found.

We have the picture of great grandmother Mary Hart. I had always said, "She must have Indian blood in her. She has a high forehead and just looks like an Indian to me." Everyone assured me that she did not have any Indian blood in her. She was born and raised in England and was all English. While I was in England I found that her Great Grandmother was a Skilks. I had never run into that name in England so I wrote a very knowledgeable researcher who had helped me many times when I was stuck on my research. He said, "Mrs. Hemingway, Skilks is not an English name. At the period of time you are searching, 1745, the manor houses were most happy to have dark skinned servants in their manor houses. Slaves were brought in, take your choice, Indians from America, Indians from India, Black people from Africa. They were sold to the owners of the Manor houses to work for them, and the men who bought them would give them their freedom to marry and have families, but they still worked for the owner of the Manor house. Well, I chose Indian, as her granddaughter looks like she has Indian blood in her. There is my funny story in my research. I have since found a family of Skilks. It would have had to have been her grandfather that would have been brought to England in the 1650's as a slave. But what ever, it is an interesting story to me.

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