Slow progress

I have made some progress lately, and found just a bit more about the elusive William, but when I think about how many years I’ve been doing this, and how little I’ve accomplished with the Ela/Healey line, it’s sometimes discouraging. I guess that’s an “occupational hazard” with genealogy.

Those of you who have visited this site before, may have noticed that I’ve made some changes to some of the pages, and have also added some actual family photos to the photo page. I would dearly love to add more, so if any of you have photos, family bible pages, or anything of interest to our Ela family, please scan them, and send them along. I promise to post them promptly.

The most significant finding that I’ve made, is that I’m now 99.9% sure that our name was originally “Healey”. It’s almost for sure that William used the name ‘Healey’, and his children, when applying for a pension for his service during the War of 1812, also used the name ‘Healey’. As far as I can tell, the first one to use ‘Ela’ consistently, was John, even though he is identified as John Healey on William’s pension application. The application was made in 1821, and John would have been only around 15 or 16; and his sisters, Sally and Mehitable, would probably have been even younger. Since the application was made by them, and not his widow, it leads me to wonder if Lydia might have passed away prior to 1821. There are no census records for 1820 for Conway, NH, so no way to corroborate this theory.

I’ve yet to find anything solid about Lydia Ordway. The Town Records of Conway, clearly state that she and William were married in 1795, but there is nothing else. There is an entry showing the marriage of Lydia Ordway to a Charles Hackett, prior to the marriage of Lydia and William, but I’m inclined to think that that may have been another Lydia. The birth date that I have for Lydia – 1754 – would make her considerably older than William, which makes me question if that’s the ‘right’ Lydia. ‘Lydia’ was quite a popular name around that time, and the Ordways were a large family, so it’s not impossible that there were several Lydia Ordways living around the same time, in the same general geographical location.

I wish that there were other members of the family who would be interested in doing family research. My cousins on my father’s side don’t seem to have the slightest interest, even in reading about the family history, never mind contributing to the effort.

I know that a lot of descendents of the ‘Haverhill Elas’ have found their way to this site, so I have uploaded a copy of the Israel Ela genealogy, and made a link to it on the “History” page on this site. I hope it will prove useful to you.

My intentions are to provide more frequent updates to the site, and not let such a long period of time pass with no additions. I enjoy hearing from those of you who write, and I try to answer all questions.

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I know that those of you who have accessed this site in the past, most likely think I have abandoned this project. Not true, although I have been putting it off for some time, now. In addition, until fairly recently, there really hasn’t been much to add. I do have some family photographs to post, and I will, but it probably won’t be very soon. Now, for some updated information. I believe that I mentioned, in the Forum, that I have had my DNA tested, and the results posted. Since then, whenever there is a close match, I am notified. Up until recently, the closest ‘matches’ have been no closer than 23 of 25 elements (if you’ve done a DNA test, you’ll know what I’m talking about). However, a couple of months ago, I received notice of a match that is a match in 25 of 25! Not only that, but the gentleman who is the match, is named Healy. The closeness of the match means that Mr. Healy and I share a common ancestor, probably within not more than 5-7 generations (more or less). We have shared family trees, but have not, unfortunately, found where our two families might ‘link up’. He has traced his family back to England, so the ‘common ancestor’ must be there, somewhere.

What this means, is that the assertion in the preface to the Ela Genealogy, that the Fryeburg Elas are descended from Joseph Healey of Dunbarton, is very likely true. I have researched the Joseph Healy who lived in Dunbarton, but have been unable to find any facts to corroborate this assertion. However, given this latest development, I am planning to re-visit this area of research. So, for those of you who are descended from the Fryeburg Ela family – the name was once, “Healy”, and was changed, most likely because of Jonathan and William living in the same town, with similar last names.

You might recall that William’s wife was Lydia Ordway. I just learned – today – that there was a John Ordway – from New Hampshire – who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their historic journey. He was a sergeant in the army, and was chosen to go by Captains Clark and Lewis, and turned out to be a very trustworthy and valued member of the expedition. He kept a journal, and the contents of his journal are included in some compilations of the journals kept by Lewis and Clark. According to the information I read, he later moved to Missouri around 1809, and died sometime before 1814. He was almost surely related to Lydia’s family – possibly a brother of Lydia’s.

In other news, I was recently contacted by a gentleman who is descended from the Phillips family, and has done – and is continuing to do – extensive research on the Phillips line. If anyone who reads this, also has connections to the Phillips family, email me, and I’ll send you some very valuable links to Phillips information.

That’s it for now. I appreciate the emails I have gotten from some of you, and I try to answer each one as soon as possible. Some ask me for genealogical data on their family, but only provide me with their parents’, or sometimes, grandparents’ names. I simply have not tracked all of the Ela descendants down to recent times, so a bit more information is usually necessary. However, I will endeavor to do my best for all inquiries.

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Elusive ancestors

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately, researching the Town Records of Conway, New Hampshire. These records are on microfilm, available from the Church of Latter Day Saints. There is a Family History Center nearby, and that is where I’ve been doing most of my research.

It’s fascinating to read through these hand-written records from over 200 years ago, but by the same token, it’s mentally exhausting. Most of the entries are very repetitive, and focus on issues concerning roads, bridges, taxes, etc. After reading several pages, one tends to simply fly by most of the pages, stopping at various intervals, or when an unusual arrangement of text indicates something different on the page.

I have seen most of this information before. I was using a Family History Center in Hialeah early in my genealogical research. This was how I happened to come upon the entry concerning “Jonathan Eley’s Family”. Knowing pretty much what to expect, I was more inclined to take a bit more time, and search for other clues as to William’s whereabouts. Outside of an entry indicating that Lydia Ordway was married before her marriage to William, I really found very little of value.

I have also purchased a couple of old books dealing with the history of Dunbarton, New Hampshire. I didn’t want to spend the money, but these books simply aren’t available at local libraries. Both of the books I purchased mention Joseph Healy, as well as his father, Paul Healy; so I think that pretty much discounts the claim in the Ela Genealogy, that the Fryeburg Elas are descended from Joseph Healy of Dunbarton. This being the case, my next steps will be to check out a history of Lancaster, NH, as this is one of the towns mentioned by John’s sons as being John’s birthplace. If I find nothing there, I’m not sure what my next step will be. I don’t intend to give up looking for the origin of the Fryeburg Ela clan, but some clues would help.

I have found mention of Ela names in the Official Census records that I cannot connect to the Haverhill Elas. This was something I stumbled on last night, so perhaps I’ll be able to identify them later after a bit more searching, but there were three Elas in Londonderry in the 1790 Census: Asa Ela, Wm Ela, and Sam’l Ela. A cursory look through the Ela Genealogy did not turn up any reference to them, and there are no references whatsoever to an Asa Ela in the Ela Genealogy. The William is not likely to be ‘our’ William, as he is listed with a family, but of course, if Lydia was married previously, why could William have not been? We have no idea as to his date of birth – or death (if one discounts his dying in the War of 1812), and know only that he and Lydia Ordway were married in 1795. There are dozens of Elys and other variations of the name in the 1790 Census, and it would take years to track them all down in order to eliminate the possibility that one of them is William. I tend to restrict my research to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, but it’s entirely possible that William was a wanderer, and could have appeared in the Census in any of the then existing states.

Got an email today from somebody at the Fryeburg Historical Society. He claims that they have some Ela photographs, and is willing to send copies to me. I responded immediately. If anyone who is a member of the Fryeburg Elas ever reads this, and has any family papers or photographs, PLEASE try to send copies – I will upload them to the web site for all to enjoy.

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First Posting

I had thought that I would limit interactivity on this website to the Forum. I still think that’s probably the best method for sharing information, making inquiries, etc., but I also thought that some description of my thought processes and actual research might be helpful to those who may be researching the same lines. Hence this blog. If I find that it isn’t serving it’s purpose, or if the Forum becomes the main activity, I’ll just delete the blog, and concentrate on Forum activity. While waiting for Ela family researchers to converge on this site, though, I’ll start putting down some initial thoughts.


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