Once upon a time... about 30 years ago... my grandfather, Arthur Stanton Adams, gave me a pedigree chart his father, Charles Stanton Adams, had worked on around the turn of the century. Although over time, I worked and checked a number of the lines, a few were still just what my great grandfather had listed. One of these was the parentage of his own grandmother, Sukey Foster Adams.
Sukey was listed by Charles as being born 13 March 1793, daughter of Rev. Jacob Foster of Berwick Maine and his wife Hepzibah Prentice. He had nothing further on Jacob Foster and a good bit on Hepzibah. In the meantime I worked other lines, especially my mother's where I started with zip. Eventually as the online world grew, I uploaded my gedcom database to Rootsweb's World Connect, including the erroneous parentage for Sukey.
Fast forward to April 27th, 2003... when I got an email from Sheryl DeJong, a lady who volunteers at the Textile Collection at the Smithsonian Insitute in Washington DC. Seems that years and years ago, my grandfather donated a sampler he had to the Smithsonian, apparently unaware even that it was his great grandmother's work. Sheryl is trying to establish the details of Sukey Foster's life and wrote saying that the birth date I had online was wrong and subtly implied that the parentage was questionable as given by mentioning that Jacob and Hepzibah were listed as having had a daughter Sophia in 1760 New Hampshire.
First I checked my own sources and saw it was solely based on Charles Stanton Adams pedigree so I immediately went looking on the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Ancestry. From both resources I located a vital record for Sukey Foster born 10 March 1791 to James and Sukey Foster in Framingham. There were other children listed, as well as some earlier births to James and Sarah Foster, including one, Joseph, born 14 Dec 1785. The record states that the name Sarah is crossed out and "Sukay" is written in which seems to imply same father, second wife.
At this point, I wrote Sheryl, giving her what I had found so far and asking her if it was possible to get a digital image. I also wrote my sister who lives in the greater DC area, telling her the events and suggesting she might be able to go over to the Smithsonian and see the sampler first hand, getting a picture maybe. That was Monday night... Tuesday when I got home from work, right next to each other were replies from both Sheryl and my sister.
Sheryl sent a super image of the sampler which I have reduced in size and enhanced a bit bringing up the colors and removing background to make for better viewing online. It has NOT been retouched. The other email was from my sister and began with "I have something to add to all of this. I have 4 sheets, approximately 24" x 24" that I assume were for high end penmenship exercises."
She continues, "The first is: The Family Tree — Is labelled as such in fancy writing at the bottom, then a small green mound of grass, a cylindrical brown trunk with symmetrical branches to each side. At the end of each branch is a circle of leaves surrounding a name and birth date as follows (from bottom to top and left to right):
The other three exercises were poetry and artwork, two by Sukey and one by her brother George, in 1806 and 1807. Well, after recovering from wanting to smack my sister who has had these for probably twenty years or more since my grandfather died... the children listed on the family tree are all of those named in the vital records as children of James and Sarah or James and Sukey plus added two more, Sarah in 1776 and Mary in 1790 ! ! ! ! ! !
To date (7 May 2003) I am continuing to research the Foster line. May 17th I am going to visit my sister to see the penmanship exercises and make digital copies and see what else she has hidden!