Place your Betts!

As happy as I was to find John Comfort, I realized figuring out how he lead to my great grandmother Ellen would be a little difficult. I also realized that information existed elsewhere in the Comfort family book, so at this point, trying to duplicate that research seemed like a waste, especially since I had just found a new name: Betts.

In the United Empire Loyalist Application PDF I found, it listed the mother my my loyalist ancestor as Elizabeth Betts. When I scrolled down to the end of the document, I found a short biography of Elizabeth and information about her grandfather, Richard. I smiled when I read that he was a “remarkable” man who lived to 113. I hope I have those genes!

Map of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Source: Wikipedia.

I immediately opened a new window and Googled him. Right away, this PDF came up. I was flabbergasted. I had hit the motherload. Richard Betts, in fact, was Captain Richard Betts from Hartfordshire, England and was in Massachusetts Colony in 1648. He was a magistrate, the High Sheriff, a Quaker and an “extensive landholder.”  All in all, he sounded pretty cool.

Cooler still for my quest was the realization that I had an ancestor on this continent over 360 years ago. I was floored. It as exactly what I had been looking for. To me, it meant that I could say, “I’m from here” and mean it.

It didn’t stop there. I saw that his wife was Joanna Chamberlain and so I Googled them together. This is a great trick to make Google’s algorithms work for you in your own ancestry adventures. What I found was ridiculous.

When the title The Ancestors of Senator John Forbes Kerry popped up on my screen from that search, I was taken aback.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I thought.

It wasn’t kidding.

John Kerry’s 8x great grandparents were Captain Richard Betts and Joanna Chamberlain. As a political junkie, all I could do was laugh. A little more reading also revealed they’re the 9x great grandparents of Patrick Swayze. The colonies were clearly a very small place.

That was the end of the line for the Betts-Comfort family. Finding data from England was just too hard without going there or paying for it. But that’s was fine. I was happy with what I found.

And besides, I had 6 more lines to research!


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