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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Ots-Toch Cousin Found!


I had not one, not two, but three cousin connections during the recent Legacy Family Tree Cruise last month! Above is a photo of me with one of my newly-found cousins, Judy Nissila. We look alike don't we? Well, at least we both know how to clown around for the camera. The photo was taken in the Palace Theater on Royal Carribean's Explorer of the Seas as it sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 5, 2011.

Here is how Judy and I made our connection!
  • Each night at dinner, all cruisers were assigned a table in the dining room - mine was Table 318 near the window on the starboard side, deck 3. Since the Legacy group was so large (over 175 of us!), we decided to switch tables each night in order to get to know a variety of people.
  • On Monday evening, this vibrant (and beautiful) woman named Judy sat at our small table (which seated six), across from me.
  • As often happens with genealogists in any location, the discussions turned to surnames, ancestors and brick walls.  Judy started to relate how she was looking for that father of one of her ancestors who was French and had traveled up the Hudson River in New York, eventually landing in Canada.
  • I asked if he was a fur trapper, which was a common occupation for the French in New York and Canada during the time period, being the first half of the 1600s.
  • Judy affirmed my "diagnosis" and went on to relate how he had married a "Mohawk woman."
  • As my curiosity was peaking and I was working on a specific ancestral line of my own in my mind, I asked Judy if "they lived in a castle near present day Albany, New York."
  • She was surprised that I knew so much. Well I finally laid out all my cards on the table and let Judy know that one of the children of this Frenchman - Jacques Hertel  was my 12th great-grandfather. I descend along the Van Slyke line through his daughter Ots-Toch.
To say Judy was shocked and delighted was an understatement.  I'm sure we bored the rest of our dinner companions but we swapped the info that we each had (and could remember without our Legacy databases in front of us!).  I also told my new cousin that I was in the middle of reviewing a book about the Van Slyke family (read the review here) and that I would send it her way once I was done.

And so I have - the book is in the mail and I couldn't be happier with my new cousin connection.  After that evening, and after meeting most, if not all, of the cruisers, I met another Jacques Hertel cousin as well as a cousin through my Elder John Crandall of Westerly, Rhode Island line!

Photo: Cousins on a Cruise, Wednesday, October 5, 2011 aboard the Explorer of the Seas, Legacy Family Tree Cruise 2011 by J. Nissila. Digital image, original photo in possession of J. Nissila, [address withheld by request].

© 2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

3 comments:

Kristin said...

Perfect! Couldn't ask for more of a cruise.

Anonymous said...

Hi, You have cousins in Ontario, well all over Canada now, the Houstons. We descend from Ots-Toch through Catalyntje Bradt. She married John Butler and my Grandmother was Dorothy Butler.

Rebecca Houston said...

Rebecca Houston
also descended from Ots-Toch to Jaques Van Slyke to Gretje to Arent Bradt to Andries Bradt to Catalyntje Bradt etc.