This past Saturday I was inducted into the Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was overwhelmingly wonderful and quite surreal, and the culmination of nearly thirty years of research into my Bursley family. It would never have been possible without the collaboration with my third and fourth cousins, and underscores the importance of finding others who are researching your lines.
The success with my D.A.R. application (and recent approval of my Mayflower Society application as well) has inspired me to dig back into the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley. I’ve posted a bit about my dilemma previously, having miniscule info to go on to determine Cynthia’s parents, and even worse, a very common surname that also turns up zillions of hits in search engines. However, by golly, I am feeling pretty darn confident in the following indirect evidence, which supports that Cynthia’s parents were Aaron Day and his wife, Martha:
- DNA evidence. A FamilyTree DNA Family Finder autosomal test matched me to a descendant of
Joseph Warren Day, the youngest son of Aaron Day and his wife Martha. (We share 63.8 cM’s.) An Ancestry.com autosomal test provided two additional genetic matches – both to two separate descendant’s of Aaron’s oldest son, Nathaniel. Our shared, documented family trees demonstrate we are 4th cousins once removed, consistent with the relationship Ancestry predicted by the portion of shared DNA.
- Naming conventions. Cynthia (Day) Bursley named her youngest children Aaron Day Bursley and Martha Eliza Bursley. Cynthia’s presumed brother, Nathaniel, also named one of his daughters Cynthia. This latter Cynthia, daughter of Nathaniel, married Benjamin Lovejoy on 9 Oct 1864 in Medford, Piscataquis County, Maine.
- Duplicate, original family photos. A photograph of a woman labeled Cynthia Lovejoy was listed on the “Scott Kentish and Border” Ancestry.com tree posted by user “devorguilla.” My heart just about stopped beating when I discovered this photo, as I immediately recognized it - I have
my own copy of it in the photo album originally owned by my great, great grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood, daughter of Cynthia (Day) Bursley. While the photo identification appears to be incorrect (Cynthia Lovejoy lived in Maine where she died in 1867, age 29, and the photo was taken in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1871 or later), it establishes an undeniable connection between my Cynthia (Day) Bursley and the Day family of Plymouth, Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Nathaniel Day, father of Cynthia (Day) Lovejoy, and presumed brother of Cynthia (Day) Bursley, resided.
- Physical proximity in Maine. In 1854, Benjamin Bursley, husband of Cynthia Day, was the town clerk for Kilmarnock (now Medford) Maine, where Aaron Day was enumerated on the 1860 Federal Census.
- Physical proximity in Minnesota. Benjamin and Cynthia (Day) Bursley moved to Minnesota in 1854, about three years prior to Cynthia’s presumed nephews, Francis and Amos, and 11 years prior to her presumed brother, Nathaniel.
- Nearby cousins. A family story was passed down to Cynthia (Day) Bursley’s great granddaughter, Goldie Simpson, regarding the 1862 Dakota Uprising. The story states that Cynthia’s daughter, Lavina Bursley, witnessed the scalping of a cousin by Indians. While no evidence has surfaced that this occurred, it is highly unlikely the story would have been rumored had there not been extended family and cousins in the region.
Thanks to collaboration with a newly discovered fifth cousin, I’m on my way to understanding who Cynthia (Day) Bursley’s ancestors were, and getting to know another branch on my family tree.