If someone says they’re Sicilian it would be hard to tell where they come from…New York or New Jersey would be first guess. But if someone said they’re Sicilian and POLISH, they’d HAVE TO be from Chicago.
Me? I’m pretty much pure white bread. Mostly English stock with a dash of Scot and Irish and a bit of French Huguenot thrown in from my mother’s side.
Once when I was in high school I was searching for something in my parent’s antique desk in our living room. I came across a genealogy from my mother’s English lineage that traced back to Banquo. Banquo was the Thane of Lochaber, a character in William Shakespeare‘s 1606 play Macbeth. In the play, he is at first an ally of Macbeth (both are generals in the King’s army) and they meet the Three Witches together. After prophesying that Macbeth will become king, the witches tell Banquo that he will not be king himself, but that his descendants will be. Later, Macbeth in his lust for power sees Banquo as a threat and has him murdered by three hired assassins. I put it back in its place and that’s all I remember of it.
One day, bored at work, I “Googled” myself to see what I could come up with. I’d written a lot of freelance magazine articles and thought I might find those. In my search I found the “Philbrick/Philbrook Family Association.” I thought that was interesting so I sent them an email saying I was Richard Philbrick and my father was James and HIS father was James, etc. A couple of days later I got a 32 page genealogy tracing the family back to the 1100s in England! Far effin’ out!!
I also discovered that the first Philbrick to hit these shores was Thomas Philbrick, a ship’s captain who arrived in Plymouth Colony in 1630 and settled in Watertown, just outside of Boston. He lived there for several years and then left and became one of the first settlers of coastal New Hampshire. Lots of Philbricks are to be found there today.
What’s really interesting, to me, is that the Eatons, my mom’s family, arrived in New England and settled in Watertown in 1635. Now, how large a population could Watertown have had in 1635 that the Philbricks and the Eatons wouldn’t have known each other? I bet they did, and 300 years later a descendant from each family would meet, fall in love and voilà, here I am.
A lot of people did a lot of work digging into the family history and for several years they published a quarterly newsletter. In that I learned that one of my ancestors was a captain in the Revolutionary Army and was with Ethan Allen at the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. Philbricks fought in the Civil War, and like in the Revolution, on the winning side. There were Philbricks who became Mormons and made the trek to the Great Salt Lake with Brigham Young.
Then I found the web site Phamous Philbricks…Discovering who some of my distant cousins are blew my mind. You’ll have to go there and find out for yourself…