My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Saturday, April 7, 2012

THURSDAY'S TREASURE - Catholicism and Our Family's Faith

First, I need to acknowledge that I know this isn't Thursday. It's Friday, Good Friday in fact. But as I thought about my post for today, trying to recognize the importance of this day, I thought about one of our family's real treasures - our Catholic faith. All but two of my mother's ancestors came to America as Catholics and passed their religion down through their children, grandchildren and beyond. It's a faith and a religion that I, too, practice, that my children practice and one that my husband will become a member of tomorrow night, at the Easter Vigil Mass.

My Mother's Lineage
   + Susan Elizabeth Flemming (1909-1999)
             ++ Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955)
                   +++ Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932)*
                          ++++James Benjamin Flemming (1827-1907)**
                          ++++ Sarah Linza Jackson (1837-1902)**
                                  +++++ William Jackson (1800-1879)**
                                  +++++ Elizabeth (1802-1870)**
                   +++ Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922)
                          ++++ Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896)
                                  +++++ Thomas McCaffrey (1799-1890)
                                  +++++ Susan (1793-1769)
                          ++++ Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917)
                                  +++++ Patrick McCluskey (1810-1855)
                                  +++++ Mary Ann (1805-1871)
          ++ Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961)
                   +++ Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912)
                          ++++ Martin Horst (1830-1878)
                                  +++++ Johann Ekhard Horst (1802-1852)
                                  +++++ Elizabeth Martin (UNK-1844)
                          ++++ Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908)
                                  +++++ Matthew Weinschenk (UNK- b. 1842)
                                  +++++ Maria Barbara Biebel (1787-1842)
                   +++ Odalie Felice Fortier (1857-1920)
                          ++++ Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867)
                                  +++++ Jacques Omer Fortier (1792-1823)
                                  +++++ Charlotte Adele Chauvin deLery (1796-1834)
                           ++++ Augustine Melanie Laperle DeGruy (1822-1872)
                                  +++++ Jean Baptiste Valentin Dufouchard DeGruy (1751-1838)
                                  +++++ Melanie Gaudin (1786-1853)
+ John Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964)
          ++ John Martin O'Donnell (1865-1937)
                     +++ Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911)
                           ++++ Richard O'Donnell (1787-1857)
                           ++++ Margaret (UNK)
                     +++ Bridget Kennedy (1838-1883)
                           ++++ James Kennedy (1818-UNK)
                           ++++ Mary Maguire (1833-1893)
         ++ Mary Huber (1873-1913)
                    +++ Philip Huber (1847-1901)
                           ++++ Georg Huber (1809-1900)
                                   +++++ Peter Huber (1772-1858)
                                   +++++ Katharina Busch (1787-1862)
                            ++++ Eva Katharina Fauth (1807-1885)
                                   +++++ Christian Fauth (1776-1828)
                                   +++++ Anna Catherina ( 1777-1852)
                   +++ Barbara Brunett (1852-1896)
                            ++++ John Michael Baptiste Brunett (1818-1863)
                                   +++++ Lucovici Brunett (1800-UNK)
                                   +++++ Catharina Schmidt (1800-1881)
                            ++++ Barbara Frisse (1822-1893)
                                   +++++ Joseph Frise (1796-1864)
                                   +++++ Marguerite Lang (1802-1868)

*Converted to Catholicism
All others Roman Catholic

As you can see, my ancestors on my mother's side are almost all Roman Catholics - in five generations there were at least 20 different families, out of twenty-two, that were practicing Catholics. Families came from France and Germany, from Ireland and Canada. They were baptized in the church, received the sacraments, were married in the Catholic Church and were buried in either Catholic cemeteries or the Catholic sections of the city cemeteries. They practiced their faith, raised their children as Catholics, and it has continued to pass through the generations. In several families I can track them up to eleven generations (but I had to stop because there are just so many, many families!).

The only families that were not Catholic were the Flemmings and the Jacksons. James Benjamin Flemming and his wife Sarah Linza Jackson (my 3x-great-grandparents) were Baptists. They were married in her hometown of Darlington, South Carolina in 1854 and moved to Rome, Georgia, before the start of the Civil War. They remained Baptists throughout their life as did all of their children but one. Their oldest son, Charles Clinton Flemming - my great-great-grandfather - changed the path of his family and their descendants when he converted to Catholicism.

The family story goes like this:
"Charles Flemming was apprenticed to a saddler in his early youth, later going out west where he became deathly ill. He was cared for at this time by a Catholic woman who gave him Cardinal Carroll's book, "Faith of Our Fathers". After reading it, he became a Catholic. After he recovered from his illness, he went back to Rome where he met Lizzie McCaffrey at church. They were married on April 9, 1877." [From "Family History" in 1993 Flemming Family Reunion booklet, written by William A. Powell, Jr.]
History of Catholicism in the United States
Catholicism arrived in what is now the United States during the earliest days of the European colonization of the Americas. The first Catholic missionaries were Spanish, having come with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. French colonization came in the early 18th century, with the French establishing missions in the Louisiana Territory districts (including Alabama). The number of Catholics grew during the country's history, at first slowly in the early 19th century. In the mid-19th century an influx of Irish and German immigrants made Catholicism the largest religion in the United States. [Thanks again, Wikipedia]

It remains the largest single religious denomination in the United States, comprising about 22 percent of the population. Worldwide the United States has the fourth largest population of Catholics, with 77.7 million. Mississippi and Alabama have the smallest percentage of Catholics in their state at 6%.


1 comment:

  1. Susan, what a beautiful post, especially during such a holy time as the Easter Triduum. Your parents and ancestors must be very proud of you and your family for "keeping the faith" alive and honoring it - and them here. Congratulations to your husband, as well as to you and your children. You will never forget this Easter!