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New Canaan Genealogist Digs Deep For Family Connections From The Revolution

Kathleen Tesluk gives a talk on the Revolutionary War.
Kathleen Tesluk gives a talk on the Revolutionary War. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Members of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution are a diverse bunch. Some are New Canaan or Connecticut natives. Others moved to area from out of state.

Chapter genealogist Kathleen Tesluk, a New Canaan resident, recently researched the family history of chapter members and was surprised with the results: While the chapter’s members hail from different places, they shared many links in their past.

“It amazed me how many overlaps we had,” Tesluk said. She learned that some of the members descended from ancestors who fought in the same units in the American Revolution.

Tesluk also found she shared a link with two other members of the chapter: All descended from legislators in the North Carolina legislature, who may have signed their own “Declaration of Independence.”

“The world of 1776 was a lot tighter than we think,” she said.

Tesluk also uncovered some surprising stories. One member descended from a captain of a whale boat, who was one of the many captains tasked with capturing British ships and taking their goods.

“That as an aspect that nobody knew about, at least in our chapter,” she said. “Their efforts caused the British to retreat.”

Tesluk said research is easy now with the advent of websites such as familysearch.org and ancestry.com. Those interested in learning how to research their family history can enroll in a plethora of courses available on the Internet, she said.

But she also advised would-be researchers to “write everything down” and remain skeptical of information on the Internet. Some websites might have information that refers to an ancestor’s name — especially if it’s a common one — but pertain to the wrong time period.

Other websites may offer information directly provided by other genealogical researchers and might not be entirely correct. But despite the few pitfalls, the research is rewarding and awe-inspiring, she said.

“It’s just kind of amazing the connections that everybody has — in some way, shape or form — to the past,” she said.

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