|Norton Common Cemetery, Norton, MA|
I have ancestors with all these surnames and I assumed that they were siblings and close cousins of my ancestors. What has surprised me though, is how distant most of these cousins are to each other. It seems that many of these family lines stayed in Norton (and nearby Mansfield) for several hundred years.
|Zophar Skinner and Bethiah Freeman Skinner|
Norton Common Cemetery,
|Bethiah Hodges Freeman, Norton Common Cemetery|
The oldest tombstone I photographed in my direct Hodges line appears to be Zophar's mother-in-law, Bethiah Hodges (1744-1829) - She was married to Nathanial Freeman (1744 -1829). Nathaniel's tombstone was pictured here in a previous post. Bethiah's father, Jonathan Hodge's tombstone is probably also in Norton Common Cemetery, but it is too lichen covered to be sure. It was photographed by a distant cousin and is pictured here at FindaGrave.
It's been interesting trying to see how all these Hodges, Freeman and Skinner tombstones tie into my direct line of ancestors. In most cases, I've had to extend the names I've found both forward and backwards in time to find the common ancestors. My database now contains many more distant relatives with these surnames than it did before I started this project! And it's fun to see how each of these names on tombstones links into my family tree, albeit distantly. I've used a variety of online sources to find names in vital records. The records at Ancestry.com, AmericanAncestors.org, and FamilySearch.org especially have been invaluable.