Thursday, June 30, 2011

Study Break

Yeah, I know it is summer vacation and I started this blog to be about design and style, but I'm nothing if not ecclectic so today's post is heavy on history, names, and dates. I'll warn you in advance. This post has a lot of words. And no pictures. And is of very limited interest. Read on if you dare. Or skip over it and check out some of my other posts on style or diy projects. Or cats.

Thanks to the show Who Do You Think You Are, I’ve become interested in researching my family history. My job is in history and I’ve done historic property research in the past which also involves research into the people who called the property home. It always amazes me how much you can put together about the lives of ordinary people who lived hundreds of years ago just based on public records. I’m not just interested in the names and dates and filling in the branches of the tree, but in how people lived, what they did, why they moved across continents or oceans to unknown and often unsettled places. Unless you’re lucky enough to find letters, diaries, or other first person accounts, some of the questions can’t ever be answered definitively from the public records, but a little digging into the larger context can sometimes provide a theory on what may have influenced your ancestors (or former home owners if you’re research is centered around your house and property).

I may write at some point in the future about sources and how and where to go about finding them, but for this post I want to document something for my own reference that I am not ready yet to add to my own family narrative because I haven’t yet made a definite connection with my tree. The historical context is, I think interesting, and may be of interest to others on a similar path even if their connections aren’t with these specific people, and if I can get a stronger tie-in to these people then I haven’t lost the information and can add it into my story. I started my quest with my Irish ancestors because it is their name I carry and because they seem to have been the least documented so interesting and fun for me to pursue the research (a good deal has already been done on the Montgomery County, PA Germans, so for probably at least half of my ancestry it is a just a matter of fact checking and documenting – a tedious task – and writing up their stories). I was surprised to find a possible connection to my Irish ancestors from Germany and immediately wondered what would make presumably protestant Germans move into mostly Catholic Ireland? The names, dates, and places that follow are based on the cited sources. The context is based on my own research.

In the early 1700s, the Palatinate region of Germany was subject to invasion by Britain and France. In 1708 and 1709 they suffered the harshest winters of the past 100 years; these events set the scene for a mass migration out of Germany. At the invitation of Queen Anne, ruler of England and Ireland, 7,000 Germans sailed down the Rhine River to the port of Rotterdam, where 3,000 went on to Pennsylvania and the remaining 4,000 were sent to Ireland to strengthen Protestant interests there for England. In 1710 another large group went to Ireland, presumable for the same reasons (

1st and 2nd Generations
Steuffle von Spuerling was born in Germany in the 1600s. His son Peter Sperling was born in 1662 and died in 1718. In 1690, Peter married, although his wife’s name is not known. It is presumed he was born and married in Germany, as two of his children were recorded as having been born there in 1693 and 1695. His 5th child, George P. Sparling was born in 1699 but it is not known where. 

3rd Generation
George P. Sparling married a woman named Margaret Anna in Limerick, Ireland c. 1724. This is the first mention of the family being in Ireland, so we know they arrived sometime between 1695 when George’s older brother was born in Germany and 1724 when George and Margaret Anna were married. It is possible they were among the 1709-1710 immigrants who fled Germany and ended up in Ireland although there is no indication as to whether George P. moved himself as an adult or whether he was younger and immigrated with his parents and siblings. Before dying, in Rathkeale, Limerick, Ireland on October 11, 1747, George P. fathered thirteen children including the eleventh, William Peter who was born in Killeheen, Limerick, Ireland in 1732.

4th Generation
William Peter married Margaret Fizzel, born before 1734, on October 29, 1754 in Parish Church, Rathkeale, Limerick Ireland. William Peter and Margaret had ten children, including the third Ann, who was born on November 13, 1760. Her next oldest sibling, Anne, was born and died in Limerick in 1758, her next youngest, Mary Catherine, was born in New York c. 1762. Ann’s place of birth is not recorded but we can place the family’s immigration from Ireland to New York between the end of 1758 and c. 1762. Margaret died in February 1820 in North West Arm, Nova Scotia and William Peter died on February 4, 1821 in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

5th Generation
Ann married Bartholomew Musgrave on September 27, 1778 in New York City. Bartholomew was born December 25, 1757, possibly in Penrith, Westmorland, England. Ann and Bartholomew had eleven children, including the fourth, Anne, born August 16, 1785 in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. It is not known exactly when or why the family emigrated from New York to Canada, but after the American Revolution thousands of Loyalists fled to Canada from the newly formed United States and given the timeframe of sometime between Ann and Bartholomew’s New York wedding in 1778 and their daughter Anne’s Canadian birth in 1785 it is possible they moved for this reason. Ann Musgrave died in Upper North Sydney in 1837.

6th Generation
Ann and Bartholomew’s daughter Anne married Thomas Lochman/Lockman, who was born about 1780, on December 22, 1800 at St. George Church in Sydney, Cape Breton and had at least two children, who may have been Bartholomew Lochman/Lockman/Laughlin and Peter Thomas Lockman who seems to have emigrated to the coal regions of Pennsylvania around the same time as Bartholomew Laughlin, and later moved on to West Virginia. Anne died in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia (genealogy from

Most of the research I have done (and this is, at this time, all online searches based on the work of others, not primary) lists the two children of Anne Musgrave and Thomas Lochman as Unknown with the exception of one researcher, ( who has listed one of Thomas and Anne’s children as my ancestor Bartholomew. I have not been able to identify Bartholomew’s parents, the only info I have, from US Census data, is that his father was born in Ireland and his mother in Canada. Anne Musgrave was born in Canada, I do not know Thomas’s place of birth. The couple was married at St. George Church, which was Anglican. My ancestor Bartholomew is buried at a Catholic Church in Shamokin, PA. While it is possible that the couple married in “her” church because her family was living locally and it would have been important to them, would they then have gone on to raise their family in the Catholic Church (assuming he was even Irish-Catholic). Cape Breton, being largely French and Irish Catholic, surely would have had a Catholic Church. Anne’s father and one of her brothers were named Bartholomew, so this is somewhat of a link too, but not a strong one.


Anonymous said...

We are descended from the same Sparling - Musgrave - Lockman - Laughlin line.

Your ancestor Bartholomew Lockman is the older brother of my ancestor Thomas (b. about 1810 in Cape Breton NS; d. after 31 May 1860 in Pennsylvania USA.) The three other sons we have of Ann and Thomas (Sr) Lockman are Richard, james and Peter. Thomas Jr. is the great grandfather of my grandmother Helen Lauglin McDonald)from Schuylkill County.

On William Peter Sparling and the religion issue, there was a strong Methodist tie that seems to have been started among his group in Ireland, led by a colleague of John Wesley who may have visited their group in Ireland. Although Sparling christened some children, I believe Anne, at Trinity Church on Broadway at Wall Street, that Methodist community started an early, perhaps the earliest, Methodist church on John Street very near by. (the original John St Methodist Church and Trinity Church buildings have been replaced but the congregations continue at the same locations) Sparling among other business ventures, taught business practice, for his notice was printed in at least one local paper. He was pulled into land deals by the future (and first US) mayor of New York, on a piece of disputed land on the disputed New York State - Vermont border. Later Sparling was a target of attacks for insisting on payment of money loaned for these lands from Loyalist debtors who'd had to evacuate and lost all. Later Sparling co-signed for younger Musgrave land purchases in Cape Breton.
We have no idea if Thoman Lockman was Catholic, but apparently Lockman is an Irish, not a Palatine German, name. Presumably the Palatines were Lutherans, were sponsored to Limerick by Anglicans but were moving toward Methodism (more a variant of Anglicanism at first). But the Musgraves (the Edenhall Musgraves seem to have fought as Anglicans for Charles I in the 1640s) and the Sparlings must have been fierce protestants.

We have no evidence -- do you -- for the father Richard and Grandfather Thomas of Bartholomew Musgrave. We have seen records in Durham of Bartholomew Musgraves. Perhaps a coincidence, but we would love to know sources for Bartholomew's ancestors !

We assume there is a connection between the coal mining in Sidney Nova Scotia and the coal mining in hard coal country in Pennsylvania, but have no idea if Thomas was a miner. Perhaps this is what brought Thomas and Ann.

One can imagine,once in Pennsylvania with so many Irish Catholics, it is natural for newcomers to adopt the local religion, and even change your name to a more commonly recognized Irish name of Laughlin.

Finally, the Palatines under Queen Ann did not only go to Pennsylvania, but many in the early 1700s were involved in making pitch from the trees for the British Navy. This is difficult work. The first boatload dropped at Governors Island in New York Harbor for quarantine, and then upriver to work in the forest making pitch. In Limerick before that, they presumably linen-flax, also a tough job.

One Girl Two Cats said...

Thanks so much for your comment and information. The whole Methodist connection is new information to me and gives me another direction to work on. I could not get any further back on Thomas Lockman, where he was from in Ireland or who his parents were, but based on the naming conventions, I wouldn't be surprised if his father was Richard (his oldest son's name). I didn't work much at all on the Musgraves. If you're on ancestry, feel free to look me up there under cal2296.

Anonymous said...

I am also descended from Bartholomew Laughlin- if you e-mail me privately I'll tell you what I have on the Lockman/Laughlin families.

Carla said...

Thanks for your comment. I don't think I have a way to email you but would love to connect and find out what you know about the family. You can email me at

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...