First published on August 31, 2015.
I’ve been focusing lately on my Husted lineage, partially because that’s the most recent research that I’ve been doing and partially because I have a treasure trove of pictures from that side of the family. However, I started my research, maybe two years ago, by following my last name, Dwinells as far back as a could.
You would think that this would be easy because my last name is unique, but because my last name is different, it was spelled so many different ways: Dwinell, Dwinnell, Dwinels, Dwinnells. You get the picture. Some of these variations in spellings are caused by error on the part of the census taker, transcriber or even the part of my ancestors. If they weren’t literate, it might be hard to spell your last name. However some of the variations are due to different parts of the family estranging themselves. I remember by grandmother saying that some parts of the family moved away and changed the spelling of our last name to even further distance themselves from relatives that they didn’t like.
Although this created a lot of confusion for me, I was able to uncover a wealth of information about the Dwinells family that goes as far back in America as the Husteds. While doing my research, I found that there was a book out there about my family genalogy, The True Genealogy of the Dunnel and Dwinnell Family of New England… by Henry Gale Dunnel, written in 1862. (I also want to mention that Internet Archive is amazing). In his introduction, Henry Gale Dunnel writes that he started his research because of the discrepancies between his father’s last, Dunnel, name and the last names of his uncles, Dwinnell.
Henry finds that his ancestor, who also happens to be my ancestor came to Topsfield, Massachusetts in the 17th century. His name was Michael and his last name varied. You can see on the genealogy that I posted, how many different spellings of his last name there are. There is some more information about Michael that I will talk about in a later post. Michael is my eight-times great-grandfather and when I discovered him, as with most of my discoveries, I was amazed. I knew the name of my eight-times great-grandfather. I knew where he lived and some of what he did. For me, that’s a big deal.
To lay the ground work for the Dwinells side of my family, I made a quick tree: