Genealogical Serendipity Across the Pond – and in Lewis County

You never know when genealogical serendipity will happen. For Judy Kalich, a member of the Lewis County Genealogical Society, it happened when a cousin connected her with a “new” third cousin, sometimes removed, Barbara Hargrave of San Francisco. Judy and Barbara discovered they shared their third great grandparents, Joseph and Mary Pettett, both born in Kent in the 1780’s.

Joseph and Mary Pettett

Joseph and Mary Pettett

Judy Kalich's photo of Amy Anne Honeysett who married Albert Pettett in 1853.

Judy Kalich’s photo of Amy Anne Honeysett who married Albert Pettett in 1853.

Last summer, Barbara went to Scotland, Ireland and England searching for her Pettett ancestors. In Kent, England, not only did she find the family home and family graves, she helped break through a brick wall for the current resident of Joseph and Mary’s home in Stilebridge who had been researching the history of the historic tenanted home with an oast house. The fascinating twists and turns of Joseph and Mary’s son Herbert (aka Albert) were featured in a BBC issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine (April 2016). Hint: Always leave open the possibility that the name you’re born with isn’t the one in archival records.

Back to our Lewis County connection: Through her careful research, Judy already had Joseph and Mary Pettett in her family tree, as well as a picture of the house in Stilebridge. What she also had, that Barbara didn’t have, was a priceless picture of Amy Anne Honeysett, who married Herbert (aka Albert) in 1853. The photo was featured in the BBC article, putting a face to the story of the cousins’ ancestors.