Our Fox ancestry was covered in my earlier book, Growing with America: The Fox Family of Philadelphia. Now we turn to Ruth Martin’s side of the family. She had colonial ancestors in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia with names such as Alden, Wolcott, Lay, Carbery, Hite, Manning, Blair, Warfield, Dorsey, and Neale. They all converged on our nation’s capital when it was first being built.
Rather than repeat what others have done, this book attempts to bring many of these ancestors to life by examining, in some detail, their timeline and life circumstances. A personal letter, a detail in a will, or even some good DNA detective work can move that curtain hiding a vista of the past. I wanted to try to understand the challenges these people were facing, so different from today but still the same human responses at play. I have not hesitated to speculate as long as this is truly identified as speculation.
It became evident that there were a number of overriding themes I wanted to cover: (1) the convergence of many diverse traditions and religions, (2) some personal stories that interested me, including some memoirs never before published, (3) discoveries resulting from genetic testing, (4) the family’s interaction with slavery and the Civil War, and (5) recognition of earlier family research, setting the record straight where necessary.
With the advent of full genome testing, it became possible to trace relationships in all branches of the family—not just the Fox male line or the all-female line. While quite haphazard in going back this far, this did tend to confirm what the books said about mother’s family. Most significantly, however, it led to contacts with a few very knowledgeable people and to some fascinating new speculations.
In a way, this is a sequel to the earlier book since more Fox family information has been uncovered both via genetic testing and by personal contact.