As I opened the envelope and read the news, I found myself saying "who would have thought". I was thinking back to two years earlier when Mike and I set out on this adventure. Mike, my husband of forty six years, was the real motivator in this journey. He had come up with the idea, in November of 2005, of doing DNA testing through Family Tree DNA.com and joining Ancesty.com. He and several of his family have long been interested in their family history and had some information already documented. So we set out to see what more we could find.
I am an only child. My parents, Vern and Ruby (Shadley) Phillips, had moved from Illinois to San Diego CA in 1939, where I was born Connie Lou Phillips in 1943. Therefore, for a Y DNA sample I needed a male donor. My father and his only brother were no longer living, so I asked my uncle's son if he would take the test. He consented and that took care of that hurdle, for the Phillips line DNA. While looking over the Family Tree DNA website Mike had discovered that there were surname projects listed. Mike and I both joined our surname projects, ordered the kits, and waited for our test results to come back.
Mike started his search for more information on his family right away, on Ancestry.com. Not having much success, he asked me one afternoon if I would get him the family information that my mom had given me years ago. I had it tucked away in a box and was rather surprised that there was so much there about the Phillips side. Mike plugged in some of the Phillips information and was surprised at the response he got from Ancestry.com. A few minutes later he said that he was going to join the Ancestry One World Tree, in order to link up to more sources. Well, that is where it all started. We were able to go back an unbelievable amount of time. I was hooked and so was Mike. We were very aware that this was not true documentation, but it gave us something more to work with.
I knew that my grandfather, Samuel Phillips, had been born and raised in the Erie, PA area. He had moved around as an oil field worker and ended up in Illinois where he meant my grandmother, Meekie Bailey, and they were married July 16, 1906. There was never any discussion about the Phillips side of the family, so I don't believe my dad really knew much about them. His mother died when he was ten years old and he, his older sister and brother where raised by Bailey family members, in Illinois. In later years, after I was married, my dad and mom did go back to PA for a couple of Phillips family reunions. Evidently there was a family member that was interested in genealogy and my folks had been given a copy of this information, while on a visit.
It was this same information that I was now using. The first page had the heading Bogue Record. Little did I realize how significant the name Bogue was going to become. Listed next was the Phillip Record. One of the listings showed that James Hubbard Bogue married Polly Phillips, Isaac Phillips' sister, in 1854 and that Isaac Phillips married James Hubbard Bogue's sister Mary Jane Bogue on Dec.14, 1865 in North East, PA. Isaac and Mary Jane are my great grandparents. This Phillips Record went back to Israel B. Phillips born 1765 Mendon, Mass. He married Hannah Mann and they were my great great great grandparents. Israel B. Phillips was the name I gave as my Earliest Known Ancestor to the Phillips Worldwide DNA Project, when we started.
So we began, in 2006, the relentless process of looking at censuses, other family posted descendants charts, Roots.com postings, Ancestry.com Personal Information sheets, etc. Mike was truly the one who spent the most time delving into all the records and material that was available. He would send off for cds covering censuses, books, war records, city, and state histories.
In 2007 I started contacting states for birth, death, and wedding certificates. I found a lot of addresses and forms on the internet. I was not having a whole lot of success and many of my SASE and checks came back with no certificates but letters stating, if I was lucky, where else I might try. So, I would try again or research some more. Meanwhile Mike would send off for cds and books he would find for sale on the internet and sit for hours looking at census records on line. Then one day I made a phone call to Rhode Island about a certificate. The town records said that they did not have any records that went back to the dates I was looking for and suggested that I call the Newport Historical Society. She said "they were really nice over there". So, I did. They had no information on my Israel Phillips and before hanging up I asked if they might have anything that went back even further to a Michael Phillips born 1623 in England and died 1689 in Newport, RI. The kind young sounding man said he'd look, if I didn't mind waiting and so he did. He came back a little while later and said he had a page out of the Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island that had a Phillips section that listed a Michael married Barbara with death dates 1689 and 1706. It also listed several children, their spouses and children. I was glad I was sitting down. I asked if I could send him a check to have a copy made and he said I could send a dollar and he'd send it and a copy of the book cover page to me. Well, that was the beginning of some of my major finds that happened last year.
I also started joining genealogy societies in 2007. One was the Erie Society for Genealogical Research, in PA and this brought another major find. The new member information booklet listed names and e-mail address of members and surnames they were researching. I looked up Phillips and found three contacts. One of those contacts was Shirley Thompson who had been working on the same family line as mine. We were excited to find each other and little did I know what doors would open up for me. Shirley asked if I had a copy of the Bogue genealogy book and of course I did not know what she was talking about. I did recognize the name Bogue because it was my great grandmother's maiden name. To make a long story short, Mike found the "Bogue Genealogy Descendants of John Bogue" by Flora Bogue Deming. It turns out that Flora Bogue was a first cousin to my grandfather Samuel H. Phillips and through her research of seventy years ago, I was now able to have a wider perspective on the Phillips line.
Things really started to come together for me. We had found some US census documents and some vital records posted on line. I'd also received several birth, death, and marriage certificate by now. Shirley Thompson had volunteered to take gravestone pictures of two sets of my grandparents buried in the Erie area. I had known from the original PA information that my great grandfather Isaac Alton Phillips had been in the civil war. After finding Flora's book I found that also through the Bogue line I had a grandfather in the Revolutionary War and was a direct descendant of Edward Fuller who came over on the Mayflower and also signed the Mayflower Compact. I got in touch with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and found out that Flora Bogue Deming became a member in 1938. I put my documentation together and submitted it for membership. Mike kept insisting that I should send paperwork in to the Mayflower society. I just didn't feel like I had enough hard documentation to offer. About this time a set of cds that Mike had ordered arrived. They contained "The Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy First Families of America". Well, we plugged them into the computer and looked up Phillips. There it was. Two different entries that documented just what Flora had said. She knew from family history that Ann Fuller was a direct descendant and kept repeating that in her book. With the Abridged Compendium documentation, I felt comfortable in applying to the Mayflower Society now. I also felt comfortable in changing my Earliest Known Ancestor, for the Phillips Project, to Michael Phillips born 1623 Sussex, England died 1689 Newport, RI. This is documented by Flora Bogue Deming and the Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island.
So here I am, looking at this acceptance letter from the Mayflower Society and thinking "who would have thought?" Flora would have! She had included a picture of herself in the book and a copy of that picture now sits with our family picture collection.
Michael Moore wrote:
My wife, Connie, recently wrote a piece entitled "Who Would Have Thought?" about her search for her ancestors. In that piece she mentioned Flora Bogue Deming, her cousin who passed away in 1958. Flora had written a book, published in 1944, with a very long title: "BOGUE GENEALOGY, descendants of John Bogue of East Haddam, Conn. and wife Rebecca Walkley also the North Carolina Bogues and miscellaneous Bogue Records, Ancestors of James Hubbard Bogue and wife Polly Adelaide Phillips, Their Royal Lines."
Connie had found out about this book and was able to get a copy of parts of it as well as a chart showing all the ancestors which was in the back. I later found the book available on the internet, as a CD. I bought the CD and had it printed and bound. That book became a valuable tool for Connie as she researched her Bogue and Phillips ancestors. She noticed, though, the chart had numerous ancestors who were not included in the text. Also, there was no discussion about Royal Lines in the book.
Just recently Connie was able (through our local library) to get a copy of the original book through the Illinois State Historical Library. We have just looked at it and made an amazing discovery: The CD I had bought completely skipped the preface as well as the sections on the Phillips and the Walkleys and Royal lines.
This week we copied those additional pages and she incorporated those so she has a complete book. There was vital information which had been skipped, especially the Phillips family. One of the opening statements Flora made was that Michael Phillips was the first Phillips immigrant.
The moral to the story is that the Bogue CD is still for sale and is critically incomplete. The actual book has a great deal of information about the Phillips line from Michael Phillips.
PS - This is a few weeks after I wrote this. Connie and I searched all over for a copy of the authentic book. Connie called an antique book dealer in Erie, PA, Flora's home town, and asked if they had a copy of the book. The lady said she did and Connie bought it. Whose name was inscribed inside the front cover? Flora Bogue! It was HER book! We think this is pretty spooky.