Trip brings family history to life for couple

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SHERIDAN — The trip introduced a unique opportunity for Nancy and Sam Talbott to see evidence of family ancestors. The couple is researching if Sam Talbott is a descendant of American patriot and colonial Williamsburg resident, John Blair. The Senior Center was organizing a trip that included a tour of Washington, D.C., and colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

“Sam is descended from Blairs,” Nancy Talbott said. “We want to find out if our Blairs are from this John Blair. I called a relative who said to me, ‘hey this guy’s (Blair) in Williamsburg.’” The couple signed up for the trip.

“John Blair signed the Constitution at the Continental Congress,” said Talbott. Blair, a colonial Williamsburg resident, represented the Commonwealth of Virginia and signed the Constitution in 1787. Sam Talbott found John Blair’s signature on the Constitution when the group visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C., on the trip.

Blair came from a prominent colonial family. Talbott discovered that John’s father, James Blair, was a colonist and the first president of the College of William and Mary founded under a royal charter granted by King William III and Queen Mary II in 1693. The college is the second oldest college in continuous operation in the U.S.

While visiting the historically restored town of Williamsburg, Talbott inquired about the Blair house. It was well known.

“We were able to locate John Blair’s home and his garden,” Talbott said.

Talbott herself is descended from Revolutionary patriot, Nathaniel Loring. As descendants of a Revolutionary supporter, Talbott’s family has been accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution, a nonprofit organization whose mission includes promoting patriotism and preserving American history. Membership is offered to those who can prove lineage to a Revolutionary patriot. Talbott’s mother sponsored her into the DAR in the early 1960s and Talbott has been a member since. She recently attended a Wyoming State DAR convention in Thermopolis.

The Talbotts felt they scored on several points on their trip including finding the Blair house and John Blair’s signature on the Constitution.

The itinerary included some free time in D.C. and Talbott spent half a day at the national DAR headquarters.

“There are thousands and thousands of items in the DAR headquarters,” said Talbott. The headquarters include a library and a DAR librarian helped Talbott search for information on Nathaniel Loring.

“The librarian brought me a Loring-Haskell family Bible donated to the DAR in 1985,” Talbott said. The Bible included pages of marriages, births and deaths that the librarian copied for Talbott.

“I’m not sure if this is my ancestor but I’m still pulling on the thread,” Talbott said. Now home, Talbott will research the information to confirm ties to her family.

Years ago, the Talbotts’ quest to find their connection to patriot John Blair began when the family discovered papers from Sam’s Aunt Ruth referencing John Blair.

“There were scratching on regular paper talking about Richard Blair, Robert Blair and the College of William and Mary,” Talbott said. “It included what looked like a family tree.”

Talbott was intrigued. Her genealogical quest led her to the Senior Center trip that took her to the National Archives, the DAR headquarters, colonial Williamsburg, and the historic Jamestown Settlement Site.

“James Blair is buried at Jamestown,” Talbott said. “We saw his grave.”

Family stories started Talbott’s genealogical journey. Growing up, her father had a four-drawer filing cabinet where he stored his research on the family history. Talbott’s brother, Ted, inherited the files.

“As Ted talked about Dad’s papers and letters in the filing cabinet, it made me more interested in what made me who I am,” said Talbott.

“My ancestry began to mean more to me,” Talbott continued, saying she has been researching her family’s genealogy for about 10 years. “The Blairs are just one itty-bitty part of what I’m doing. I’m such a visual person, going back to Williamsburg and seeing John Blair’s house means so much to me.”

By |Jun. 3, 2016|

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