Using Ancestry.com To Get To Know My Ancestor, Alonzo W. Bradley

Who will you meet?

His Story

How can you use Ancestry.com to not only learn your family history but what can that history teach you about your country's history as well? Researching your family tree and your genealogy will help get you in touch with your roots. It will also help you gain an completely new understanding of how this great nation was created, built and is run today.

The date was April 20th 1836. It was a Wednesday and while the Territory of Wisconsin was being created, my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Alonzo Bradley was being born in Ohio.

Alonzo W. Bradley was born in Russell, Ohio in the County of Geauga.

He lived a full life and deserves more than one article. I'm going to delve deep into Alonzo's lush and rich history and consequently see what we can all learn from Alonzo about how he lived. I also want to see what Alonzo can teach us as Americans. Let's see if we can get an idea and a mpre intimate depiction as to how life in America was like for Alonzo and my family by exploring his fascinating life. Let us use Alonzo's experience on this planet to learn more about our history as Americans and human beings.

So, let's start at the very beginning... literally.

Setting the Stage

24 Stars
24 Stars
The USA in 1835
The USA in 1835
Ohio 1935
Ohio 1935
Making Maple Syrup
Making Maple Syrup

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July 1835

Jonathan and Hanna Bradley were living comfortably in Ohio. Jonathan was 40 years old and his wife Hanna was 35 years old. Alonzo would be their last child of nine kids total.

The United States of America has been formally in existence since 1788. That was when the United States Constitution was ratified. George Washington took the office of our first President in 1789. Other important dates to remember and consider was July 4, 1776. That was when the Declaration of Independence was written. From 1777 to 1789 there was a loose government in place under the Articles of Confederation. The Bill of Rights emerged in 1791.

So at this point, 1835, the United States had been in existence for 47 years or 59 years however you want to look at it, but the point being, Jonathan and Hanna are both the real deal when it comes to "first generation Americans."

What else was going on in 1835?

In 1835 the American Flag had only 24 stars to represent the then 24 states in the Union. It was also around this time, 1831 to be exact, that the term "Old Glory" came into being when referring to the American flag.

A little more on Alonzo's folks:

Jonathan Bradley married Hannah Permelia Brooks on March 5th, 1818 in Braintree, Vermont. Elijah Huntington was the Minister. They were Baptist. My family is Catholic now, so it will be interesting to see when that transition happened.

Jonathan Bradley was the son of Hopestill Bradley, Jr. and Deborah Littlefield. Hopestill was a veteran of the Revolutionary war. Jonathan was one of seven children.

Ohio.

By 1820 Jonathan had moved his budding family to Ohio. They settled in Painsville. Just 30 miles or so northeast of Cleveland. Ohio in 1820 was still in it's early life of being a state. Ohio was admitted into the Union by President Jefferson on February 19th 1803.

Cleveland and the surrounding communities had been populated since the mid to late 1700's. Cleveland however did not incorporate into an official city until 1836. The construction of the Erie Canal played an important part of the development and increased population of Cleveland and the surrounding areas.

By 1840, Jonathan had settled his family in Russell, Ohio. A small town in Geauga County. Maple Trees are abundant and so is the syrup and maple sugar that comes from the trees.

Alonzo had 8 brothers and sisters.

  • Joshua 1819-1822
  • Joel 1821-1856
  • Minerva 1823-1906
  • Issac Newton 1826-1906
  • Susan 1829-1900
  • Joshua 1831-?
  • Mary Elizabeth 1833-1915
  • John 1834-1907

Jonathan was a farmer. Hannah was his wife. July of 1835 will mark, most likely, Alonzo's month of conception. Their lives by today's standards must have been "simple." Simple if you consider that something as overtly taken for granted as indoor plumbing really hadn't come into fashion and that a horse was the prime means of transportation. That being the obvious, consider that Aspirin won't hit the shelves for another 63 years.

Alonzo came into the world in a relative time of peace, but before he will pass he will be witness to two major wars, one he will participate in and the other one he will observe. That being the one of which was supposed to end all war. He will get to see the development of the automobile, photograph, moving picture, radio, and flight.

  • Ford's Model-T hit the road in 1908
  • Kodak opened for business in 1888
  • The first motion picture was projected in 1896
  • The first radio broadcast was in 1900
  • 1903 The Wright Brothers left the ground

In later Hubs we will look more into Russell, Ohio, pregnancy and childbirth in 1836, childhood in the 1840's and special Hub for the holidays, Christmas 1840's style. In addition this journey will take us through the Civil War and all the way to the beginning of prohibition, so stay tuned!

Alonzo and Jane Bradley on their 50th wedding anniversary
Alonzo and Jane Bradley on their 50th wedding anniversary

© 2010 David R Bradley

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Comments 4 comments

vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 5 years ago from Yucaipa, California

THANK YOU, David. I cried the other night at grace when I said I was grateful for John and Katherine (the first folks on the tree), and I am teary now as I look at yet another point in time on our tree. It is truly moving when You see we do not obviously stand alone, and how much more peace there might be if we all realized that none of us stand alone and never have and never will.

Love you, David and so appreciate your endeavors in tracing our heritage.

Vern

Dad


Candy 5 years ago

I will look forward to following Alonzo and his family.


Joseph Cardona 5 years ago

I wish I had that picture when I lived in Ohio. It's an awesome piece of history. Great job.


Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 22 months ago

I learned my ancestors came because of the American Revolution to defend Louisiana from the British and preserve it for Spain. I had no idea before going back, and was quite surprised. So, I see how we can learn history as you so well pointed out.

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