My Great-Grandfather’s Name Was Abraham.
Both my uncle on my mother’s side and my grandfather on my father’s side gathered extensive family genealogical records.
This year, to celebrate my 65th birthday, my Texas-based brothers decided to gather their families with mine near Boston, where one of my sons lives.
During the week, we drove to Guilderland Center, near where my father was born in Schenectady, New York.
There is an historic house, the Mynderse-Frederick House, there that used to belong to a Frederick ancestor.
Built in 1802, the house was bought in the 1820s by Michael Frederick and stayed in Frederick hands, alternately a tavern, saloon, and private home, until 1940.
In 1974, a developer donated it to the town of Guilderland for use as a museum and headquarters of the Guilderland Historical Society.
From my grandfather’s records, I learned about Tebalt M. Frederick, son of Michael Frederick.
Tebalt M. Frederick was named after his grandfather, Tebalt, who had died a few months shy of his 100th birthday, gored by a bull when he was walking home through a neighbor’s field.
Tebalt had fought in the Revolutionary War.
In 1864, Tebalt M. asked permission to name his new grandson, my great-grandfather.
He favored the name Tebalt. The boy’s mother would not consent, but said he could choose any name other than his own.
But, let my great-grandfather tell you in his own words, as his mother told him the story:
“The Civil War still being in conflict and grandfather [Tebalt M.] being very patriotic and an earnest Republican, his next choice was the name of Abraham Lincoln.
“This did not exactly meet with the approval of Mother and Father and when the Sunday morning came when this grandson was to be taken to church to be baptized, his Mother could not find his clothes.
“Grandfather said they would not be found until they promised him the baby would be named Abraham Lincoln, so that is why this little man has had to go through life with such a big name, but he has always been very proud of his name.
“However, he dropped the name of Abraham and was always known as A. Lincoln.
“His Mother used to tell that when he was baptized it caused quite a little commotion in the church, because at that time not all the people were with the President, and did not think as his grandfather did ‘any more than they do today.’”
“A record of his baptism can be found in the records of the Helderberg Reformed Church at Guilderland Center, N.Y.”
We saw the Helderberg church next door to the Mynderse-Frederick House, but did not think to go in, not realizing its significance in the naming of my great-grandfather.
My grandfather was named Raymond Lincoln Frederick, Senior.
My father was Raymond Lincoln Frederick, Junior.
My older brother was named Robert Lynn, to preserve the R.L. initials, and his son is named Robert.
My younger brother was named Bruce Raymond and his son is named James Lincoln.
I told my great-grandfather’s naming story to the historian showing us the house, as it was my impression that Northerners were largely abolitionists, so never understood why calling a boy Abraham Lincoln would cause a stir.
“New York was the last Northern state to ban slavery, in 1827,” she told me.
“There were a lot of farmers around here who had slaves.”
Well, that explains it.
If you want to do the kind of genealogical research my uncle did, you can go to Ireland like he did, every year for 20 years.
Or, you can dig through old family records like my grandfather did and assemble a 10-generation family tree.
Or, you can sign up at ancestry.com to search through their records from home.
Click here to get started on your own genealogical research at ancestry.com by creating your own family tree.
Have you ever visited an old homestead?
Do your grandchildren know about it?
Have you ever visited the country your ancestors came from?
To you and teaching your grandchildren about your roots.
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru
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