George Hoffman; Patriot?

My wife’s paternal line goes back to George Hoffman, born in Germany in 1736. Her grandfather kept a journal every day he was in college, starting in 1912. It includes stories of how he met his wife, and train travel to New York state to get married. After college, he kept journal entries on a less often weekly, and later only monthly, basis. But in the back of the journal is a Hoffman family tree. He got the info from his aunt; we don’t know where she got her information. But most of the tree, so far, seems to be fairly accurate, even though it has no sources.

Other documents have verified much of what is in the Hoffman journal family tree. Found out George Hoffman was born Johann Georg Hoffman, German for John George Hoffman. He Americanized his name after coming to Pennsylvania. The names of his wife and children are confirmed in other documents, including his will, written in 1801 in Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

[Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993; George Hoffman will of 1801; Pennsylvania County, District and Probate Courts, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Wills, Volume F, 1795-1803, pp. 294-300, images 506-509 of 542, images and database online, Ancestry.com : accessed 18 November 2018).]

Now, another user on Ancestry has made the claim that George Hoffman fought in the American Revolutionary War. They do not substantiate that claim with sources. I have sent an ancestry message to this person asking what sources they have, how can they prove their claim, and they have not responded. If George did fight in the American Revolutionary War, he is an American Patriot that would qualify my wife for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

So, another thing on the Research To Do list is to answer the research question, did this George Hoffman actually fight in the American Revolutionary War? I am actively searching for information; if you have any tips, let me know. When I find an answer, I’ll post it here.

Lucky Find: Find A Grave to American Patriot and Mayflower

Earlier, I wrote about Find A Grave and the problem with unsourced facts that are so common online. This does not mean that we don’t do research online, however! I want to tell you about a Lucky Find for me, which started with Find A Grave.

Ruth Ann Smith is my 3rd great grandmother. She was born in 1842 and died in 1881. She married Matthew Gooding Reed. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name is Reed. Several years ago, I didn’t know a lot about her, and was not having any luck with the wide net search of ancestry, and was getting frustrated. I decided to check out Find A Grave for clues. I use the clues on Find A Grave as a hint to find other sources and facts. (I have since learned a lot more about specific, targeted search tactics online.)

However, when I found the Find A Grave memorial for Ruth Ann Smith, I was greeted with this photo of a stone monument at her gravesite:

46871009_127070594198

(Find A Grave memorial # 46871009 for Ruth Ann Smith, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/46871009/ruth-ann-reed, accessed in 2012 by Mark Cross)

I backed up, hit the reload button, and checked again. Wow! I had never heard of George Soule, but the Mayflower was exciting!

Thus began a long road of research, that I am so glad I took steps on. I found a couple of distant cousins who placed the stone monument at her gravesite. The monument itself is not acceptable as proof for the Mayflower Society, but evidence behind it is. The cousins shared with me some newspaper articles about their placing the monument in Nebraska, and two cousins shared with me a copy of their accepted application for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, with membership numbers, that I could use.

From Ruth Ann Smith, I am descended from Solon Reed, and my cousins were descended from siblings of Solon. But I found out I do not need to prove the entire line to George Soule; from Ruth Ann Smith up to George Soule has already been proven, assisted with the copy of the approved membership applications my distant cousins sent me. All I had to do was prove from Ruth Ann Smith down to me! Once I did so, I was accepted into the General Society of Mayflower Descendants! My mom and my sisters have also joined, and some cousins on mom’s side as well. George Soule, Mayflower pilgrim, is my 10th great grandfather. We are looking forward to the 400 Anniversary in 2020!

One cousin also sent me a copy of her DAR application as well. It seems our ancestors had a rather fortuitous marriage; the ancestors of Ruth Ann Smith lead to George Soule, a Mayflower passenger, and the ancestors of her husband Matthew Gooding Reed lead to John Lecky, who fought in the American Revolutionary War! John Lecky is my 6th great grandfather, born in 1744 in Scotland, and since he fought for American Independence, he is a Patriot that qualifies his descendants for membership in either the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).

I sent the documents to my mom so she could work with the historians of her local DAR chapter to join, and once she was in, I started my application for the SAR, and was accepted.

So, if there are any other cousins out there that are descendants of Matthew Gooding Reed and Ruth Ann Smith, you qualify for membership in BOTH the DAR/SAR and the Mayflower Society! If this is you, contact me and I can help you get started. Similarly, if you are descended from one of the ancestors of either Matthew or Ruth Ann, you may still be related and qualify for membership in one of these lineage societies. If you have questions, let me know.

I want to point out that the stone monument photo on Find A Grave is not the proof I needed. But it was definitely a clue that I could use to proceed! A Lucky Find for sure!