A Note from 1990

What follows marks the second major revision of "From Whence We Came and Who We Are: A Genealogical History".

My first effort along these lines was completed at Thanksgiving, 1981. Copies were sent out to various family members and the responses came pouring in. Some were outraged at the personal information included. Others were concerned about inaccuracies. Many were apathetic. Several became avid genealogists themselves.

My second effort was completed in August of 1985 and contained much new information, and a bit less "personal" material. Copies were sent out to a smaller sampling of family members. Response seemed to be a bit more favorable.

Some truly significant "discoveries" necessitates still another effort: this one in November 1990.

The Queen/Bartel branch of the family had conducted a Family Reunion in June 1990 and a vast amount of information was exchanged.

The Lewis branch of the family discovered a line which enables their women members to join the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Two long lost branches of the O'Connell family "found" each other and exchanged information concerning the descendants of John O'Connell I's two sons, John II and Daniel.

Additional information was obtained on the Shullaw branch, and a number of family photographs from each of the branches were discovered and exchanged. It generally became apparent that another rewrite was in order.

Each of the family sections is organized in a slightly different fashion, depending upon how material was received and the day this writer happened to be sitting at her computer. I hope that you find the material interesting and accessible.

...Dianne O'Connell 1990

Introduction - 1992

Alaska is my home. My little family lives five miles up a rutted, twisting road overlooking the sparkling city ofAnchorage. In the winter, the sea of lights in beautiful. In the summer, the sun sets near midnight and the quiet, floating hot air balloons hover above the city skyline.

Our home is visited my moose munching on the young trees in the woods surrounding us and bear families invade our back porch for a closer look at "civilization." Magpies squawk and scream as they dive-bomb our distracted dogs; a family of sparrows can be heard gently scuffling in their home inside our garage wall. The sacred ravens tip their wings as they return to the mountain in the cool air of day's end.

It is beautiful. but is it not where I was born, nor where I was raised as a child. I sometimes yearn for the hot, summer sun of MidwestAmerica. I sometimes crave the shade of a bumpy, scratchy old oak tree -- one green with leaves glimmering in the summer sun or one all orangy with crackled colors fluttering to autumn's earth.

But then I turn to the Mountain, the one on which we live. Or, turn to the Inlet with the Sleeping Lady resting on the horizon. I breathe the cool air ofAlaska and the breath of my sleeping children. I watch the pink sky of early evening - and I know that I cannot go home. I am home.

What of my forefathers and their mothers before them? Did they breathe the air of colonialConnecticut, theOhio Valley, anIllinois stream, a farm inVirginia, inPennsylvania, inMaryland, orTennessee and finally say, "But I am home."

What did they yearn for as they looked across the sky and saw the farms and villages ofEngland,Scotland,Wales, Ireland,France andGermany? For it is from thence they came. And it is from here on the icy slopes of the Chugach that their common progeny seeks their counsel.

A Note from 1992-1993

A new computer ribbon,

A new baby or two,

A departure, a marriage,

A few new names,

A few new dates,

Mostly just a chance

To revisit old acquaintances.

And, Again, In 2001

My maternal grandmother Alma Mary O'Harra first encouraged me in the pursuit of ancestors when I was a child. I carried a rudimentary "family tree" around with me in my wallet for years which, at least, provided the names of my great grandparents.

Later, more than ten years after my paternal grandfather James Leroy Shullaw died, I was shown an extensive scrapbook he had kept of family newspaper items and obituaries. His wife, my grandmother Dorothy Geneva Smith, then showed me a handwritten history of HER family (in a Double Q notebook) written in the year 1910. I laboriously hand copied the family history and went back some years later to Xerox the obituaries.  I later met my grandmother’s second cousin, Dorothy Culver Palm of Galva,Illinois – who possessed an identical copy of the Double Q notebook with the same family history included.

When I married my first husband, Robert Warren Anderson, his mother provided a history of her mother's family and his paternal grandmother gave me the genealogical work done by her brother on their family.

My second husband, Charles Lewis O'Connell, brought to the marriage a very old family Bible with the names, dates, and certificates for nearly all of his branch of the O'Connells inAmerica.

My mother-in-law Claudia Irene Lewis made copies of the Lewis family bible entries as well as provided a collection of obituaries. My husband's sister Jerry Anne and a cousin Gladys Shay filled in many dates and names. Claudia's sister Edith Taylor was responsible for the research which pushed the Ritter/Knaus branch of the family back into the late 1600s. Both Claudia and Edith joined the Daughters of the American Revolution as a result of this work.

Another great find along the way for my own family was provided by my aunt, Mrs. Robert R. (Nina) O'Harra. She secured Xerox copies of Dempsey family obituaries and bible entries covering 100 years.

I have met distant relatives such as Marly Porter who don't seem quite so distant anymore with our shared interest in genealogy.

I have utilized the services of many professional genealogists -- the list has gotten too long to include.

I have also utilized the U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Archives in Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Anchorage; the LDS family History Center, and various county courthouses across the country.

And then in recent years, there has been The Miracle of the Internet. An incredible addition to civilization enabling one to make contact with branch of extended families long lost to natural memory. We have broadened and deepened our information on descendants of the Culvers and the Fergusons, of the Shullaws, Buks, and Jacksons, of the Dempseys, O'Harras, Slagles, Kronsbergers, and Andersons -- all thorough e-mail contacts with distant relations made through the Internet. Although it should be noted that good old-fashioned letter exchanges were responsible for the vast majority of the new O'Harra information found.

And more will come. Just this summer, 2001, we learned of a whole new line of French Huguenots (the family of Hannah Burrell).

This is more than a history of a family. It is the history of the search itself. Each year uncovers something truly exciting, sometimes after a decade or more of searching. I began looking for records pertaining to Herman Bartelle and his wife Augusta Ankele Bartelle back in 1980. Found in 1992. And an additional piece of information was forwarded from the Little Sisters of the Poor during the summer of 2001.

There are no secrets kept here. But this is a rather private communication between me, my ancestors, and my descendants. You are welcome to peruse, but only if you are kind to us.

            ...Dianne Anderson O'Connell,Anchorage,Alaska                                                                                                      (Revised 2001)

And Now It is Christmas, 2005

I’ve collected birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and obituaries; rummaged through libraries and microfilm depositories throughout the country; I have corresponded with relatives and researchers by letter and e-mail; have spent countless hours scouring records posted on the internet; and have trapsed through cemeteries in cities, in rural townships and on personal farms.  I’ve published books for individual family members and designed websites for the whole world. 

What’s so different now? Why do I need a “new version” of what I’ve been working on for 25 to 45 years? 

Well, for one thing – I found some more stuff!  All these years, I’ve known about the women along the Culver Family Line but I’d never taken the time to go check out their families. Lo and behold, most of the have descendants who have spent as much time researching THEIR families as we have researching ours. 

There are two big differences in this effort: 1). It focuses exclusively on the family of my paternal grandmother Dorothy Geneva Smith Shullaw, a descendant of Gideon Culver and all those Culvers before him; and 2). The appendices include information on all those Culver wives and their families.  This effort is called “Out of New England” because that is where these folks began – arriving from Old England toNew England in the 1630s.

Enjoy.                                                            Dianne Anderson O’Connell, December 2005

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