Sharing a Birthday

Sunday, May 1st is my birthday.  It also happens to be my dog’s birthday.  And my uncle’s.  So, I went looking through my family history research to see who else in my family was born on May Day.

Of all the thousands of ancestors and relatives whose birthdays are recorded in my research, I found only one with the same birthday as mine.  His name was Thomas Hollingsworth and he was both my eight-times-great grandfather and my nine-times-great grandfather.  (I descend from two of his children, one by each of his two wives.)

Thomas was born on May 1, 1661 in Belliniskcrannell, Sego Parish, County Armagh, Ireland.  He came to America with his father Valentine in 1682, possibly on a ship called Antelope.  They were part of the Quaker exodus from the British Isles during the years when Quakers and other religious “Dissenters” were treated poorly.  Valentine made a great life for himself and his family in Pennsylvania (see my previous post, Valentine Hollingsworth).

Just a few years after moving to America, Thomas married another Irish immigrant named Margaret Calvert.  They had only one child, a son, before Margaret’s untimely death.  My great grandmother Sarah Edna Ferree descends from their son Abraham, who moved to the Winchester, Virginia area and remained influential in Quaker circles there.

Abram's Delight in Winchester, Virginia

A house which was started shortly before Abraham’s death in 1748 and finished by his son Isaac is still standing near Winchester.  Isaac used this house–called “Abram’s Delight”–to host Quaker meetings.  You can read more about it at the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society website.

After Margaret’s death, Thomas remarried to Grace Cook.  Grace bore him nine children, including a son named Thomas, Jr. from whom my great grandmother Esther Crowe descends.  Thomas, Jr. died while on a trip as a Quaker missionary to the Carolinas in 1753–he was 54 years old.  He had been a Quaker minister for 25 years.

Thomas Jr.’s grandson Levi moved his family to Belmont County, Ohio and became one of the first settlers there in 1804.  His daughter Hannah reported that when he first came to Flushing in Belmont County, “he occupied a shanty 12 x 14, with puncheon floor, door, ceiling, table and cradle, with greased paper as a substitute for window lights. Beds were made by setting a post at a proper distance from the wall, placing poles from that to the wall, and stretching deer skins thereon.”  An essay written by Levi in the 1820s has been preserved at the Ohio Historical Society.

The Hollingsworth family’s history is filled with interesting stories.  You can read more on Doug Hollingsworth’s website at

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9 Responses to Sharing a Birthday

  1. mirroredImages says:

    Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and to mindy too)

  2. Rebecca says:

    All these names are awesome. (Levi. Hannah. Grace. Etc.) Happy birthday!!

    • Thanks, Rebecca. Naming is such an interesting process. It’s fascinating to look at the different branches of my family tree and see the different naming patterns. It’s also interesting that I’m the first Kevin and the first Brice (my middle name) that I’ve found.

  3. bronxboy55 says:

    Abram’s Delight made me wonder how many homes being built today will still be standing 260 years from now. My guess would be none.

    Thousands of ancestors? I knew you’d been working long and hard at this, but I guess I had no idea to the extent. Great post, Kevin. I hope you enjoyed your birthday.

    • Thanks Charles. It is amazing that even in just my family, I know of several houses that are each over 200 years old. I think it’s great that the physical efforts and expended resources are put to use for so long. I think we don’t focus on this enough today…we still live in such a disposable society, even after all the efforts of the Green movement.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Val says:

    Happy extremely belated birthday!

  5. Gayle says:

    I got to your blog by doing a search on Valentine Hollingsworth. He is my 9th great grandfather, so we must be cousins. I did a college paper on Abram’s Delight back in 1979. Haven’t been there since, but will get back sometime. I just added your blog to my blog reader, so will continue to follow.
    Belated Happy Birthday, too.

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