Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. I hope you enjoy this beautiful view from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina on 6/24/18.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Genealogy Trip for Me

When I told you that I was taking time off from blogging to work on my Family History,  I didn't tell a fib.... I was able to do some research on my Ballard side of the family while I was in Williamsburg and Yorktown.  Granted,  we did many many other things on that trip --but I did enjoy my Genealogy visits!!!!

Today I'll share some of those visits with you... The photo above is a picture of Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, Virginia.   My 8Great Grandfather was Thomas Ballard (1630-1689).   Thomas Ballard was a man of wealth --and had been VERY active in that church during its beginnings.

Be sure to click on the photos for enlargements.   AND--if you missed my post on Wednesday telling about this wonderful trip,  click HERE.

Here is a photo  of the sign outside the church. There were historians available for us to talk to about the history of the church and area.  I had a wonderful conversation with a lady who knew quite a bit about the Ballard's.

One thing I learned is that some factions of the Ballard family pronounced the word,  Bal-LARD, with the emphasis on the LARD... I have always heard it said BAL-lard (with the emphasis on the BAL)....

I also found out that some old-time members of the Ballard family think that the Ballards came from France (French Huguenots).   Most of us think that the Ballards came from England.... Very interesting though---and so much more to study!

This inscription is on one of the pews in Bruton Parish Church.  As you can see,  Thomas Ballard was very involved with the church,  and was on the vestry from 1674-83.  (We had been to Williamsburg and to Bruton Parish in 2007--but at that time,  I didn't realize that I had a relative who had been so involved with that church.  This visit was so meaningful.)

Here's a happy woman ---at the pew which honors her 8Great Grandfather Ballard (on my mother's side of the family).  Besides being involved in the church,  Thomas Ballard was a very important man.  Some of the things I have learned about him are:
-He was called the 'founder' of the Virginia Ballards
-He was thought to have come from England, from a wealthy family
-He was known as the Honorable Thomas Ballard
-In 1650,  he married Anne Sara Thomas,  and they had 8 children
-He was a tobacco farmer and merchant and owned alot of land
-From 1652-1663,  he was the Clerk of Court of York County, VA
-In 1666,  he was Burgess of James City County
-In 1669,  he became Lt. Col of the Militia in James City County
-In 1680,  he became Col of the Militia
-From 1675-77,  he sat on the regional Royal Governor's Council
-He was re-elected to the House of Burgesses and became Speaker of the House from 1680-84.

Here  is another photo showing the pews in this church.  Each pew has its own door --and the doors can be closed.

Here is a photo of the church --looking toward the front and the altar.  The altar and communion rail are of black walnut.

The minister is WAY UP THERE.... These high pulpits were popular back then...  The church was renovated in 1939---which is when this pulpit was built.

George took this shot showing more of the church.  The special pews near the front were for very special people such as President Thomas Jefferson or President George Washington. 

This bronze lectern was given in 1907 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt.  There is an American eagle on one side and the British lion on the other side.  The lectern was designed to hold the Bible given by King Edward VII.

Next,  we took a tour (with one of the church volunteers) of the cemetery surrounding the church.  It is written (in several accounts) that Thomas Ballard is buried at Bruton Parish --but I found out that his grave (along with many others during those early days) is unmarked.   SO---I was a little disappointed not to be able to see his grave/tombstone.

The cemetery is interesting to visit---but it is closed to the public (unless you get permission and have a church volunteer go with you--like we did). 

Next we went to Yorktown for some more Family History.  Thomas Ballard's grandson,  Capt. John Ballard, lived here.  And, as you can see from the photo above,  there is a street in Yorktown named Ballard Street.  It is one of the major roads in Yorktown, VA.

Captain John Ballard (1693-1745)  is my 6Great Grandfather.  He was a merchant in Yorktown and a captain in the militia.  He married Elizabeth (Bland/Wallace/Gibbons) and they had 7 children.   NOTE about Elizabeth's last name:  There are many different accounts --and nobody knows for sure which family she is from.  I'd like to think it's Bland --since there are so many Bland Ballards in our family. 

I was so happy to be here and experience this history.  The Ballard House was built between 1706 and 1709.

John and Elizabeth Ballard and their family lived on this property from 1727-1744, but the house remained in the Ballard family until 1761..   This is the Ballard House today.  They have preserved it --and it is in good shape.  The inside is very different today--but the outside is very similar.  In 1968,  the National Park Service acquired the property.

This is the sign outside of the Ballard House.  You will need to click on this in order to see it closer.  You can see what the kitchen probably looked like back in the 1700's. 

I bought 3 new books while on this trip.  One of them is about Colonial Yorktown (and shows photos and info about the Ballard House).  The other two are about Bruton Parish Episcopal Church.  It's great to read Thomas Ballard's name in the history of the church and the entire community.

For instance, in 1693 Thomas Ballard was responsible for providing the land for the formation of William and Mary College.  Then in 1997,  when the college was doing some utility work,  remains of a foundation were found.  Excavation was then done ---and remains of a home which may have belonged to Thomas Ballard were found.  I wanted to see that area while there,  but couldn't work it out this trip.  (It's an excuse to go back,  don't you think????? ha)

This is where it all started for me... These are my Grandparents on my mother's side of the family.  My grandmother was Ida Elizabeth Bruce (1874-1904) and my grandfather was  James Franklin BALLARD (1861-1936).

I am proud to be a BALLARD!!!

Hope you have a good weekend.  Hope we get some rain from that storm.. We NEED it here.



Twilight Man said...

Congratulations! What an amazing discovery you made to trace back your family's long history! We are proud to know that you are the most adventurous 8Great Grand-daughter of the Ballard!

The interior of the church has got a very unique and nice ambiance.

Small Kucing said...

From 1600 ...that's a long line of history. Awesome that you managed to trace your root.

Too bad his grave is an unmarked grave. He was such an important man. Why unmarked grave? Is that a norm during that era?

Ginny said...

I remember seeing the picture of your grandparents, and also a church pew where an ancestor sat, could it be this same one? I love looking through the church, it is really unique and lovely. Does it have a congregation, or is it strictly for touring and historical value? Gosh, that lectern is really something else! My favorite picture is you behind the pew door!!

Our photos said...

Beautiful photo of the church!
Greetings, RW & SK

Terri Buster said...

You lucky girl! I am so jealous that you got to do this. I have so many ancestors from Virginia and I would love to tour some of the old churches and forts...one of these days..!!!

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Betsy What a wonderful productive trip you had. I found this post very interesting and the Ballards go back a long way. I once knew a Ballard when I lived in England in the 70's

Ann said...

What a wonderful trip finding out so much about your family history.
That church is gorgeous and I love the Ballard house

Neal said...

Very interesting. That is a beautiful church. I can remember walking in there and saying "wow...beautiful" to myself.

Catherine said...

Haha ~ I love looking at old black and white photos. No one really smiled. I guess because they had to hold perfectly still for so long? Wonderful that you have a photo of your grandparents.
Happy weekend Betsy!
xo Catherine

Beth @ E. Lizard Breath Speaks said...

nice post. love all the details. have a lovely weekend. ( :

Sandra said...

Hi Betsy,
what an amazing trip! it's so brilliant that you have a tangible part of your history, you must be so proud of your family and their achievements - its all very exciting! x x

linda m said...

What a productive trip. You are so fortunate to have found out all that information about your ancestors and to be able to visit a structure that they actually lived in. You have a lot to be proud of. I love the pictures of the old church; it is a beautiful place. Have a great weekend.

Tabor said...

I now can visit that area again and it has more meaning for me since I 'know' one of the grandkids!

diane b said...

It must have been exciting for you to be there and learn of your ancestors. They were an important family obviously and still having the house there is special.

Anonymous said...

Awesome trip for you to take. Thanks for sharing the history and photos. Have a lovely weekend.

Fun60 said...

You have been busy Betsy. Your 8Great grandfather must have been one of the earliest settlers to arrive in America if indeed he came from England. It was 1620 when The Mayflower set sail with over 100 pilgrims to start a new life in America. I find it so fascinating that you have been able to trace your family back this far.

Chatty Crone said...

I knew you were searching, but nothing like this.

My goodness I am so impressed.

That church can sure tell quite a bit of history - fascinating.

I bet you were thrilled.


Sandra said...

the bronze lecturn is amazing and the church is just gorgeous. i would not want to sit in those pews though, even with the cushions that i am thinking they did not have when the church was built. i like each one has a door.. we live a few blocks from Ballard Elementary school..

Jeanne said...

That must have been such a great feeling to be in that church where your 8great grandfather worshiped! Very interesting story and beautiful church.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, what a goose-bumpy trip. How fascinating to learn so much about your ancestors and that they were so interesting and prominent.
I kind of like the door to the pews.

From the Kitchen said...

Loved my visit with you this morning. I've sat in one of those pews and wandered about Williamsburg many, many times. On our last visit, I was saddened to see that it has become very busy with the influx of traffic going to the amusement park. I wanted it to be the same sleepy little town with so much history to tell.


Daisy said...

That is a pretty, little church. I really like those photos. Glad to hear you were able to spend some time working on your genealogy too. Neat to learn more about your family ties. Have a great weekend, Betsy!

Glenda said...

Oh, I love this, Betsy! That church is a wonderful place with lots of history for many people, and I'm glad to see that it's been preserved so well. I have a FB friend who lives in Yorktown, and I'm going to share this with her, as I'm sure she'll see some places that are meaningful to her as well. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

Anonymous said...

Hi Betsy, As an amateur genealogist, I think your hunch about "Bland" is likely a good one. Most of the time when a surname is used time after time as a first name or middle name, it is to instill the family surname in the memory of descendants for many generations. In other words, that surname is important. Just my free advice. Your trip looks so wonderful! Glad you took it. I hope you get the benefits of the tropical storm or hurricane but not the down-side. Have a fantastic weekend!

Sylvia K said...

Fascination history and I can understand why you had such a great time and are so proud of your family history!! Thanks for sharing, Betsy! Have a lovely weekend!

Jim and Sandie said...

Now that was a successful journey. It's wonderful that you were able to learn so much about your ancestors. And the information you'll be able to hand down to your children and grandchildren is priceless.

Out on the prairie said...

I am 4th generation so have a short history here. What a lovely church, they always catch my eye and my heart.

Dee said...

Dear Betsy, this is all so interesting and I"m wondering if this something I could start doing--studying the genealogy of my family. You've inspired me!

Way back in 1970 I took a class on architecture at the University of Minnesota. We studied the architecture of the United States from the earliest settlements to about 1820. The Bruton Parish Episcopal Church was one of the buildings we studied. Peace.

Joy said...

I was teary eyed upon reading your family history. It is so precious to know your forefathers. I wish I could do it too.
Have a nice weekend Betsy:)

Susannah said...

Hello Betsey, This wonderful post just hit home for me. I have always been interested in my family history. Many of mine are buried near me here. Your post today is wonderful!!!!!! I am so happy you found all this great information. I would have been elated just like you. I would be so proud of the Ballards.

Susannah said...

PS - I forgot to mention how beautiful the church is. Do they still hold services there?

Chris Rohrer said...

Your grandma was only 30 years old when she passed away??!!! Whoa....

As for your trip, it looked like a lot of fun. Geneology can be kind of fun I think:) Glad you were able to step back in time and retrace footsteps. So glad to follow you on FB to keep up your daily fun:)

Have a good weekend Betsy(and George:)!

Carol Z said...

This is fascinating. I would love to be able to trace back, but our family records are much less complete.

Nellie said...

How wonderful that you are able to trace your ancestry to Thomas Ballard! Bruton Parish Church has great importance in our history!

Jazzmin said...

Wow! That was all I could think as I read about your amazing trip and saw all of the photos. I can't even imagine how exciting it must have been to experience your genealogy like this... this was so fascinating! I love being in old places, the feeling of taking them in is a treasure. But to be in that beautiful church that is so many centuries old, and then to see the cemetery- wow.

You have such an incredible family history- I can see why would you are proud of it.

Have a blessed day!

Jazzmin :)

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The church looks fantastic. I also like the red house. Glad you were able to visit these places.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wowza....your family is quite popular Betsy! Love all the photos; that church is amazing. I'm wondering why the pews had doors on them. I've seen that before but never knew why they did that.
Glad you were able to delve deeper into your genealogy on your getaway.


Can I say it? Alright, I will......

Heavens to BETSY!!! What a great trip. Now this is the kind of travel I LIKE. Isn't it great to become one with your ancestors like you experienced?!!

Wow....I loved this immensely. You did yourself proud girlfriend. [and I'm glad your trip wasn't cut short in any way because of this insane government of ours. My sister was at the Grand Canyon on a trip, and had to leave the area because of this shut down. Oh my lord, if I could only go on, but I think I'd write a novel.

Seriously, this post was MOST interesting to me. Very much so.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, what a trip! You have a very interesting family! I am happy for you, learning more about your family history. Great post. Have a happy weekend!

Terry and Linda said...

How much fun that had to have been. And to get to see the cemetery...DELIGHTFUL! Now you've got me wondering, but I think there are Ballard's in either my tree or Terry's so I have to go see!


Rose said...

This is all so interesting to me...love reading about it. are any of your sons interested in all the work you have done? And have you always been interested in it?

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a marvelous genealogy trip for you. So awesome to have so many ancestors with good documentation in the records.

Linda@arichtapestry said...

Speaking from experience I know your trip to visit the place where your ancestors came from was a thrilling and emotional one. Having those tangible connections in the records and buildings is very special. You must be very proud of your Ballard branch of the family. The church is beautiful architecturally and quite rightly well preserved. It's the small details I enjoy seeing such as the box pews, the pulpit and the gallery and above all remembering the
church has been a place of worship for
several centuries.

Ms. A said...

How interesting, exciting and a beautiful place, too. I can feel the pride in your words!

Anonymous said...

This is a trip you will always treasure Betsy.

Eva Ason said...

That must have been so nice for you to visit there. Congratulations! The church looks similar to the ones we have in Sweden, very nice.
Enjoy your weekend!

Donna said...

That is a lovely church at Williamsburg and we always enjoy visiting it. I remember that you had said that a relative was a founder of it. How wonderful for you to visit the area and discover a part of your family's history!

Connie Arnold said...

We visited that church when we were there and enjoyed it. How much more special to have the family connection! Thanks for sharing the great photos and your family history.

RoeH said...

How wonderful! And I want those pews in my church. I could have used that closing door when I had little kids. I love this because you know how I love family history too. We know nothing about ourselves until we find history about our ancestors. It always answers many questions. There's a quote I found that I'm going to use on the title page of a book of histories I want to publish...."If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it's part of a tree." (Michael Crichton) I love that.

Jeevan said...

Wow! That’s very interesting and well trace back on your family history... be proud of your great grandfathers. I liked the photos on the church (both inside and outside as well), glad u got to visit it along taking walk around the church.

Happy Sunday Betsy!

Betty Manousos said...

what an awesome discovery you made, betsy!
congrats!! i am so glad to hear that you managed to trace back your family's long history.
that's really fantastic!

that is a lovely church, too.

big hugs!

p.s. sorry for only now commenting.

Linda Gross said...

To think I, too, walked in the footsteps of your 8 great grandfather. I have visited the church AND cemetery as well. Is that the cemetery right next to the church? If so, when I visited, we could walk freely through it.

CaptRon817 said...

Hi and thanks for all of the time required for you to put this together. I find it most interesting!!I too am a descendant of Thomas Ballard. My grand mothers (on my fathers side) name was Molly Ballard. A family member did the research for my immediate family that eventually traced my grandmother to this man, Thomas Ballard. What a delightful and interesting journey it has been to follow our tree!! One can only imagine all of the many "branches" that exist today. Thanks again for the countless hours that you spent creating such an interesting and informative web site! Thanks, Ron Allen (Texas)

Betsy Adams said...

Hi Ron Allen (Texas)---It's great to hear from you. I'd love to hear more about your Ballard Family Line... Please email me at betsyadams@mac.com.

Betsy Adams