My maternal grandfather Thomas Huntington Chappell created a Family Tree document using a specialized book with little cutouts that allowed you to see multi-generational connections to a specific person. As a child I spent hours looking at it, fascinated by all of the names and dates going back to England in the 1500s. On my mother's side we're very fortunate to have an extremely well documented family history that also shows the earliest arrivals in colonial America in the 1620s. On my father's side, the Walkers had almost no family history documented beyond the notes in a family bible from the 1800s. When my dad entrusted me a treasure trove of photos, letters, and other family keepsakes, including the original marriage bann for my third-great grandparents in Glasgow in 1823, I was inspired to dig deeper and document as much detail as I could. After several years of research I wrote a fledgling Walker family history starting with the earliest Walkers I could find, David and Jean (Thomson) Walker. For each subsequent generation, largely relying on public census, birth, marriage, and death records along with some fortuitous connections with distant family as far as away as New Zealand, I compiled as much as I could into a narrative of each family member, through to my kid's, nieces', and nephews' generation.
The images below are a small subset of the photos collected by family over the years or pulled from online images of some of my more distant ancestors such as Jedediah Huntingon, General in the American Revolution, Gurden Saltonstall, governor of Connecticut from 1708 to 1724, and John Winthrop "The Younger", the founder of New London, Connecticut in 1646.
Unless you've spent a lot of time researching or even just viewing your family tree, chances are you don't realize just how many surnames are represented from many generations of marriages. We all have about 128 fifth-great grandparents, possibly fewer if there was any degree of distant cousins who married, resulting in a criss-cross of family connections with shared ancestors and fewer branches in the tree. The lists below highlight just some of the family names on each side of my tree, going back about 5 generations. It's astounding and humbling to think of all of the relationships and births that led to each of us being here. If there was just one missed connection in our family history, we'd be a completely different person, or perhaps not here at all.
Walker Family History
For my Walker family, and extended family with Walker ancestry, I'm including a downloadable file of the latest version of the Walker family history I first wrote in 2010, and occasionally update as additional family members arrive or when I uncover new information, photos, or documents.