Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Surname Line with the Longest Stay in a Locality

It’s Halloween weekend, even though Halloween falls on Monday this year. October has flown by and it’s hard to believe we will be in the holiday season in a few short weeks.

However, it is time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

This week’s challenge is an interesting one and a bit different than usual:

1)  Which family surname line (of identified ancestors) of yours stayed the longest in one U.S. state or other country province/shire since, say, 1600?  For example, in the USA, my Seaver line was in Massachusetts from 1634 to 1940.  For England, my Vaux line was in Somerset from the late 1500s to 1840.  For Canada, my Kemp line was there from 1785 to 1902.

*  List the generations for one or two of your long-staying-in-one-locality surname lines.  (Yes, I know that some countries used patronymics – follow the father’s line back in time).

This isn’t as simple as it sounds.

On my father’s side, the Slovak Rusyn church records only go back to the early 1800s.

My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Helena (aka Julia) Scerbak from today’s Udol, Slovakia.  Her Scerbaks were already living there when the records began in 1827 and my direct line continued to live there until my great grandmother died in 1967, aside from a fewy ears in the 1890s during which time my grandmother was born in New Jersey. However, my grandmother’s siblings still own homes in the village today, so that places the Scerbaks in Udol for at least 195 years and no one knows how long they lived there before the records began. Udol was first named in historical records in the late 1300s. My direct line would have lived there for 140 years, aside from the few years in the 1890s.

Michael Scerbak, (c1795-?) married Helena Murcko
John Scerbak (1836-1916) married Maria Patorai
Michael Scerbak (1868-1932) married Anna Murcko
Julia Scerbak (1893-1985) married George Kucharik aka Sabo

Julia emigrated back to America, where she had been born, in 1910. Her youngest brother, Stephen, was born in 1917 (died 1996) had six children and his son, also Stephen, still owns property in Udol.

My paternal grandfather’s documented family line in Vysna Sebastova, Slovakia is even shorter because the records also begin in the early 1800s, but the family was very small and left for America in the 1880s.

My mother’s colonial New England lines are much easier to document.

My closest, most recent surname connection is through my maternal grandmother, Hazel Coleman Adams.

The Coleman family arrived in Nantucket, Massachusetts by 1638 and really has lived in only two states since then – Massachusetts and Maine.

Thomas Coleman (1602-1682) married Susanna Rawlins
John Coleman (c1644-1715) married Joane Folger
Thomas Coleman (1669-1753) married Jane (MNU)
Joseph Coleman (1704-1756) married Rachel Norton
Joseph Coleman (1739-1791) married Eunice Coffin

Joseph Coleman moved his family to Orange County, New York at the beginning of the American Revolution because Nantucketers considered themselves sitting ducks for either side even though they sought to remain neutral to escape the ravages of war.

So, the Colemans lived in Nantucket Island for about 173 years.

Joseph’s and Eunice’s son, Joseph, apparently didn’t like New York and removed to Bowdoinham, Maine by 1794.

Joseph Coleman (1768-1852) married Ruth Spur
Thomas Coleman (1800-1888) married Mary Elizabeth Astle
William Coleman (1834-1905) married Sarah Moriah Crouse
Hartwell Coleman (1868-1938) married Anna Jensen
Hazel Ethel Coleman (1901-1995 married Vernon T. Adams
Doris Priscilla Adams (1923-2008) married George M. Sabo

From Thomas down to my mother, each of these people was born in Maine, except for William, born on the Miramichi in New Brunswick, Canada when his parents lived there for a few years. William was only a couple of years old when they moved back to Maine, so I am going to stretch it a little and overlook those few years.

Therefore, Joseph Coleman was in Maine by 1794 when he bought land in Bowdoinham and my mother was born in Calais, Maine, as was her mother and grandfather.

So, the span of years in Maine is 140 years because my mother and her family lived in Portland, Cumberland, Maine until 1934. Then, my grandfather got transferred by his employer, Western Union, to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area.

These are my ancestors whose families can be documented in the records for the longest time span.

This was a great idea for weekly challenge, Randy. It made me realize that many of my ancestral families seemed to move after several generations. I guess they really felt the pressures of land scarcity and high prices.


One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Surname Line with the Longest Stay in a Locality”

  1. Wow, you have some longevity in those places! I have the same issue with the German records. Likely my Germans were there longer but no records to show it.

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