Sunday, June 15, 2014

52 Ancestors #15: Asahel Wellington Norton - What's In A Name?

In my return to genealogy research I am trying to be more methodical.  I am working my way up my husband's paternal line from father to father.  So I guess that it is fitting for my Father's Day post.

The name Asahel appears to have entered the Norton family by the late 1700s through a man I believe was the father of an Asahel Norton born in 1806 in Pennsylvania.  This Asahel is my husband's 2nd great grandfather.  His son and namesake was born in 1845 as

Asahel Wellington Norton

In following the trail of Asahel W's life, it was interesting to see how many different ways the name Asahel was recorded.  Here's how it looked on a variety of documents:

                   1850 US Census - Asahel W, age 5
                   1855 NY Census - Asael W, age 9
                   1860 US Census - Wellington, age 15
                   1870 US Census - Norton, Wm A, age 24
                   1873 US Passport - Asa Wellington Norton though he signed the form A. Wellington Norton
                   1880 US Census -  A. W. Norton, age 35
                   1892 NY Census - Albert W. Norton, age 46
                   1900 US Census - A. W. Norton, age 55
                   1910 US Census - Wellington A Norton, age 64
                   1920 US Census - Asahel W Norton, age 74

Asahel died in 1927.  For years, the family only knew of him as A.W. and didn't know what those initials actually meant. But due to his association with the University of Rochester, we were able to get more details. Here is a snapshot of a listing from the University's directory:

I have never found a picture of any of these Asahels though I hope to do so someday.  I did find an interesting description of A. W. Norton in his 1873 passport application.  At the age of 28, Asahel W is described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall with a high forehead, brown eyes and a prominent nose.  His mouth as of medium size a regular tilt.  His chin was full on a square, rather angular face.  He had dark brown hair and  a rather dark complexion.  The most fascinating detail is that his right leg is about four inches shorter than his left.  I can't quite read it correctly but I believe the note is that his right leg is lame.  Still, Asahel went to Europe that summer, returning on 13 August aboard the S.S. California from Glasgow Scotland.  A few months later he married Martha Sampson, a young woman he met while boarding with her family as a teacher.

The name Asahel did not continue to the next generation.  But the middle name Wellington did - it was given to A. W.'s son, William Wellington, who I wrote about here.  I would conjecture that the name Wellington came from the very popular Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in the first half of the 1800s.  Now my job is to see how many generations back I can take the name.  Is it only 3 generations or are there more?!?

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