geneology

Munson Family Crest

This framed drawing of a coat of arms was something I always remember seeing at my great-grandparents house. My great-grandfather’s mom was born a Munson. The Manson/Munson name seems to something that was used interchangeably in the family throughout history.

When their house was sold in the mid-1990s, I was able to obtain this drawing since I have an interest in family history. I kept it in my room on display until I joined the Navy. It ended up boxed for a few years until I was able to get my things from my parents. If I had a place for it, I would put it on display. I think to me it is a link back to my great grandfather.

A few years ago, I took apart the back of the frame. I was curious if there was anything on the back of the crest. Instead, I found an envelope with two letters inside. One of the letters is handwritten and quite old. The other letter is typewritten with no date.

The handwritten letter is fairly fragile. It is starting to separate were it has been folded.

The letter says (be prepared for long sentences):

Manson Coat of Arms

See works of John Burke and those of his son Sir John Bernard Burke, heraldic writers and authors of Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, also numerous other published works on heraldry.

In the family of Nathaniel Munson, descendant of Richard Munson of Sudbury, Mass, and son of Capt. James Manson of Boston who unearthed the extremely old coat of arms of the Manson family, that had been handed down from generation to generation.

This coat of arms was apparently hand-painted in colors and framed. Samuel Manson Jr. ( son of Samuel Manson, son of John Manson who settled in Kittery, Me) settled in Georgetown, Me, and lived to the end had numerous descendants. This Samuel Manson according to accounts possessed family papers that would be of much service in the present genealogy of the Manson Family but were unfortunately destroyed by fire.

This copy of Coat of Arms and data was furnished by Alfred S. Manson 1 Allston St Boston, Mass (something) 25th, 1899

A singular thing was that A. S. Manson has a book plate like the above made, unaware of how the original Coat of Arms looked but they were identical.

The typewritten letter is much easier to read, so I will not type that one out.

The explanation of the coat of arms is interesting. The best part of this letter is the list of names. These are my ancestors going back to when this family line settled in the Americas.

The T.V. Munson at the end of the list is my great, great, great grandfather. There is a book written about him called, The Grape Man of Texas. In that book is an illustration of this coat of arms. He is an interesting man in his own right, and will be the subject of a future post.

Toward the end of last year, I removed the coat of arms and letters from their frame. I saw they were becoming more fragile. My grandma gave me some money for Christmas, and I decided to use that to frame these items correctly.

They are now laid flat to keep the creases from breaking. They have acid free matting, and UV protection from the glass.

Someday I hope to do some research into the Burke’s Peerage angle. I want to see what exactly is written about the Manson family. I want to know if it will give further genealogy information. Mostly though, I want to know if the family actually was some sort of nobility.

– Joshua

Family History: Jill Sheard

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by history. I like to read the stories of what people have done in the past. Even better, I like to visit historic sites and imagine what life would have been like for the people who lived there.

That interest in history has lead to an interest in genealogy. It is fascinating to place family members in their historic context. What did they do? How did they live? What part may they have played in the big events of the past?

I fully realize that most people do not have big parts to play in history. Most just live, work, and raise families. I am going to start writing some posts about some of those people in my family. I want to get what I know out there for other people who are interested in genealogy, and to preserve the past.

I am blessed to have people who have passed their genealogy work on to me. Most of it is on paper and needs to be digitized before it disappears. I also have a decent amount of older pictures that I would like online since they are fragile.

I don’t know if anyone else will be interested in this work, but having it on my blog gives me easier access to it later.


My first story is about my great, great grandmother. She was the mother of my mom’s, dad’s, dad.

Family history said that she was part Indian, and died when my great-grandfather ( William Earl Smith) was very young. William Earl was then abandoned by his father William Joseph Smith soon after her death. William Earl ended up being raised by some of his Smith relatives. He didn’t know much about his mother, so little was passed on.

Recently, my mom did a DNA test to see what it showed of her heritage. We know little of the Smith side of the family so we expected some surprises. The one thing we knew though is that some Native American heritage would be there.

We received quite the surprise when my mom received her results. There was 0% Native American, so how did family stories end up labeling my my great-great grandmother as an “Indian”? There also a couple of unexpected additions, namely a tiny amount African and a larger amount Eastern European.

Yesterday, I started out to clean my garage in preparation to move. In my garage, I found a box with pictures and family trees my mom had given me. For some reason I didn’t know it was there. One of the pictures was of my great-grandfather with his parents.

On the back is written the family story.

It says:

Great grandpa “Dude” William Joseph Smith

Wife – Jill (part Indian)

Grandpa William Earl Smith

Grandpa Smith was born in West Virginia and his mother died when he was very young and his father came to Tonawanda where grandpa was shuffled around and raised by his Grandmother Smith and Aunts and Uncles.

So the wording on the picture just confirms the family tradition. I did learn a little new information. My great-grandfather was born in West Virginia, and his mother was named Jill.

For some reason I decided to do a search on West Virginia genealogy and I got an auto fill of vital statistics added to that. The first link was to the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. That state has uploaded birth, death and marriage records to the internet.

I searched for William Smith and got 302 results. Smith is much to common a last name. I scrolled through the results, looking at a few promising names, then I found William Earl Smith.

Interestedly, my great-grandfather applies for a delayed certificate of birth 57 years after his birth. His birth certificate gave me a maiden name for his mother, Jill Sheard. Further searches on the West Virginia site showed no birth or death certificate for a Jill Sheard.

It is great to know more then I did, but now I have new questions.

  1. Did my great-grandfather get his mother’s name right? It was decades after her death and he was young.
  2. Was she born in West Virginia or did he just put that because he didn’t know?
  3. If she wasn’t Native American then what was she? Was that used because there was something else that was considered worse then that?

I am afraid that I will never fully learn about Jill Sheard. There really isn’t much information about her that I know. Hopefully, I will find more as I work on my family’s genealogy.

-Joshua

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