A festive statue at DAR Musuem in Washington, DC, which my son and I visited over Christmas break.

Christmas Adventures in Genealogy

My extended Christmas break is coming to an end, and so is my writing of The Wathens of Southern Maryland: Their Genealogy & History. Although I am waiting for some final Y-DNA results that may provide additional information about the branch of James Hanson Wathen, the book is substantially done. I've been busy editing over Christmas, and I am on target to begin shipping the book in March.

During Christmas week, my son Jonathan and I took the opportunity to visit  the DAR Museum in Washington, DC. Of my three sons, Jonathan, age 14, shows the most interest in both genealogy and history, and he was eager to learn more about the Wathen family's role in the American Revolution. We left the house before sunrise in order to make it to the museum early, and the city streets were quieter than I've ever seen them. Visiting the museum was free, and metered parking outside was just a few dollars. I'd recommend a visit if you're interested in colonial history.

The DAR Library, housed within the museum, provides access to a number of hard-to-find records that I was looking forward to seeing. Jonathan was both interested and helpful as we paged through unpublished Revolutionary War records of Maryland. It was a great joy to share my own interest in history and genealogy with my son.

A couple of discoveries in Revolutionary War records are certainly worth sharing: James Hanson Wathen seems to have served the country both during and after the American Revolution. "James Wathen" served in the St. Mary's County Militia in 1777, and "Hanson Wathen" served in the St. Mary's County Militia in 1794. I had seen a James Wathen among the St. Mary's County Militia records before, but it somehow never occurred to me that this was James Hanson Wathen. The 1794 record was an entirely new discovery that I have not seen published elsewhere.

After investigating more thoroughly at home, I am convinced that both of these records refer to James Hanson Wathen, ancestor of most St. Mary's County Wathens. No other individuals by those names seem to have lived at the right time in St. Mary's County to have served in those years.

Unless it can be proven that the James Wathen who served in 1777 was someone other than James Hanson Wathen, this record of service would quality all decendants of James Hanson Wathen for membership in both the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution.

Learning about the many Wathens who served in the Revolutionary War - which I wrote about before in this post - has been among the most interesting findings as I've written this book. I had no idea that Wathens were so involved in America's fight for freedom, but it turns out that all three branches of Wathens - i.e., every single Wathen in St. Mary's and Charles Counties - descends from one Revolutionary War patriot or another!

Time is running out to pre-order The Wathens of Southern Maryland: Their Genealogy & History or to request a Memorial Page listing within the book! I plan to cut off Memorial Page listings on January 31, so now's the time to make sure your loved one's are memorialized within the book!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.