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Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

To Do List

Greetings, readers, on this frivolous April Fool's Day. Who knows what pranks and jokes may occur this day? Well, no pranks from this corner, just some introspection and a bit of forward viewing. Your author is attempting to plot a course of action for this year's family research, which always now includes staying aware of advances in DNA technology. This may be an outline for work in the balance of 2024; it is at least a nascent attempt.


It occurred to me that when researching various ancestors the fact arises that their migration to America was as part of the great escape from religious persecution. We have covered the life and times of one of our most famous Huguenot ancestors Bartholomew DuPuy, my 8th Great-grandfather: "He was heir to the title of Count. He enlisted in the French army at age 18 and became Captain of the household guards of King Louis XIV. In 1664 he retired, bought an old chateau and vineyard at Velours, and in early 1685 married Susanna Lavillon." And, ultimately, escaped with his life upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes which had provided for tolerance and civil rights for French Calvinists in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.

How many others were Huguenots? Perhaps we can construct a list sufficient to deserve a full column.


My recollection is that over my many decades of family research I have uncovered several stories regarding the contributions of my ancestors to the founding of New York and its famous suburbs. Some of these stories have already been included in prior columns. Did I miss some?

We have previously written about our 7th Great-grandfather Pierre Cresson: and

Pierre Cresson was a Huguenot exile.

"Their ancient family seat was Mesnil la Cresson (Cresson Manor) near Abbeville, Picardy."

"Pierre Cresson, a Picard Protestant, born in 1609, fled into Holland, and there remained an exile seventeen years; part of this time at Sluis, Delft, Leyden and Ryswich; in the early part of this period acted as gardener to the 'Prince of Orange,' and was ever afterwards called 'Pierre le Jardinier'; with his family emigrated to America, 1657, settled at Harlem, of which town he was one of the first Magistrates in 1660. He removed to Staten Island in 1678; died about 1684."

His line was rather full of folks who helped build New York and it's famous suburbs of Brooklyn, The Bowery, etc. And this ties back to my first potential subject line. (The Prince of Orange was William III, born only one week after the death of his illustrious father. He was named titular head of all the states listed above from his birth; however, he only attained practical rule in the 1670ís when he reached the age of approximately 21. This Prince of Orange, along with his wife, Queen Mary II, co-ruled and that period would become known as the Reign of William and Mary. He became King of England, Ireland, and Scotland in 1689 until his death 8 March 1702.)


It is a constant that I research these key figures in our family tree whose biography is missing some key element(s). Returning often to these personages, no new factual documentation has yet been found to finally break through the wall of "Not Known." Argh! The frustration!


This is an ever evolving field where new processes, methodologies, and procedures miraculously amplify the ease of use of DNA in so many fields: law enforcement, medical advancements, potential cures for historic diseases, improvements in farming and ranching and manufacture of goods derived therefrom, identification of John and Jane Does whose families long for closure, anthropology where archeological finds are used to advanced scientist's knowledge of humankind.


April 17 2024 marks the next court date for Rex Heuermann who was arrested July 13 of last year after DNA, cell phone records, witness testimony and other evidence connected him to the original Gilgo Beach Four. We will stay on top of this case as new facts emerge.

In addition to the ten sets of remains connected to the Gilgo Beach investigation several municipalities around the nation have law enforcement reviews of cold cases with the potential to involve Rex Heuermann. Any news on these investigations will certainly be grist for a new column.


Prior columns have been devoted to a handful of our ancestors whose roles in securing our nation's sovereignty resulted in historical records being created. We shall continue to search for more and give those brave ancestors their due recognition.


That, dear readers, is my To Do list thus far for 2024. Feel free to message me if you have interest in a different scope of research. Ideas are always welcome.

In the meantime, please avail yourself of the millions of documents now available thanks to the wonders of the Internet. Pursue your own Armchair Genealogy!

Click on the author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.


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