How do I think outside of the box to discover my Colonial Maryland ancestry?

Heirlines Professional Genealogy Tip:

A recent Heirlines in-depth family tree research project involved a difficult to solve problem in Colonial Maryland. The ancestor, Philip Cazier, whose family had come to America from France and settled in New York City in the mid 1600’s, moved with his family to northern Cecil County, Maryland, where they settled and spread out. Tracing early immigrant ancestry can be very difficult, but clues can be found, sometimes in the most unusual places. If the client is willing, they can be pursued and may produce genealogy gold.

When he first moved to Maryland around 1730/1731, Philip Cazier was a merchant, and may not have needed a large property to farm. He was known as a “Gentleman” as late as 1745, a term which in that society indicated a person of esteem. [1. June D. Brown, Abstracts of Cecil County, Maryland Land Records 1634-1751. (Family Line Publications : Westminster, Md. 1998)44, 122, 143, 160, 207, 217, 223. (FHL#975.238, R28b) (Document 7)] After that time period, he was termed “farmer”. His son John was called a shoemaker in the 1740’s, [2. June D. Brown, Abstracts of Cecil County, Maryland Land Records 1734-1753. (Family Line Publications : Westminster, Md. 1999)217, 241, 242, 257. (FHL#975.238, R28ba) (Document 8)], and by 1753 John was known as a cordwainer, which was a shoemaker specializing in soft leathers. Philip’s son Philip Cazier Jr. was described as a saddler in 1746; but by 1753 was known as a “Joiner” or carpentry framer. Using these known family relationships gave us an opportunity for a most unusual genealogical search using a very interesting set of deeds that took place in 1746 and 1747.

In 1746, Philip Cazier Sr., sold to his son Philip Cazier Jr., four negro slaves, a silver tankard, 4 silver cans, 10 silver spoons, 1 silver tea pot, 6 silver tea spoons, a pair of tongs, and all of his other moveable goods. On May 12, 1747, these same items were again named in a bill of sale, indicating to us that Philip Cazier Sr., was moving, and was obtaining a loan from his son. While the loan was in place, the property served as collateral. This was not unusual in an age when banks did not exist, and barter was the commodity.

Of special interest was that the silver tankard was marked “HCC”, the 4 silver cans (or drinking cups) had the same mark; the ten silver spoons were marked “PHC”, 4 silver spoons were marked “DHM”, and the silver tea pot bore the initials “CC”. These items may have been family silver, possibly bearing marks of the Cazier family. Philip Cazier may have been the “PHC” identified on the spoons suggesting that his name might have been something like “Philip Henry Cazier”. “HCC” might have been a father or grandfather; and “CC” may have pertained to another relative. In each case the final initial “C” is consistent with the Cazier surname. Only the four spoons with the initials “DHM” are out of order. These may pertain to a maternal relative, or may have been silverware purchased to fill in a set.

Silver service was then as it is now, indicative of family wealth. Silver was much more valuable then, than it is now. Initials on silver were generally given for the male head of the household because it was part of the wealth of the head of the house, and was accounted for as such for taxes and inheritance. Therefore “PHC”, “HCC”, and “CC” may be important clues to identifying Cazier paternal ancestry. It may be a long shot, but we can contact specialists in antique silver, to see if there is any other silver of that area and time that carry these initials. If we can find any of these monogrammed pieces still existing in Maryland or among descendants of Marylanders, it might be possible to match the style and markings with other antique silver from New York, or from Europe. A long shot, Yes; but an interesting idea, No? We hope the client sees the potential for this very difficult Colonial Maryland ancestry research in this outside of the box possibility for genealogy gold.

Submitted by:

James W. Petty, AG, CG, BA (History), BA (Genealogy)

Ancestors are the People of History. Do you know who yours are? Let the Professionals at HEIRLINES FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY find your ancestry! 1-800-570-4049 PO Box 893 Salt Lake City, UT 84110

© 2008, James W. Petty, AG, CG. All rights reserved.