We had another terrific meeting this month, thanks to Bryan Quisquirin (photo at right) for his wonderful and professional presentation on Philippine Genealogy Research. Not many of us were aware of the interesting history of the country, or the unique research challenges and accessible records available for Philippines research. Bryan is an expert in this research and we are very happy he is a member of our society.
The slate of officers of the society was presented by President Tom Bopp, and a special thanks for all the work he does as president, including lugging the projector/screen/computer back and forth every meeting. Thanks to Georgia Bopp for coordinating the pizza delivery today. We're becoming so efficient! Jan Everly Williams continues to do a wonderful job putting out our newsletter "Ke Ku'auhau" and maintaining our website www.rootsweb.com/~hihcgs Martha Reamy was back this meeting and brought a trunkload full of books and magazines to sell/give to members at the meeting as a fund raiser (and to lighten her shelves at home!) Joann Henely discussed the new website www.geni.com which is a place to store genealogical data online for free. She gave away three unique geni.com t-shirts. Our next meeting will be March 8th at 9am at the Manoa Gardens Community Center, Bobby Stevens will be the speaker then.
A special note: I hope you have been tuning in to the PBS television show "African American Lives 2" which seems to be on Wednesday nights at 9 pm (Channel 10 on Oceanic Cable). It's a wonderfully done program of African American genealogy. Our friend Megan Smolyenak is one of the professional genealogists that help research the material.
Also thanks to Bobby Stevens for his interesting "mini-biography" presentation of his 5th GGFather who, after tons of trials and tribulations, was able to land in Virginia in the 1738. Bobby certainly has his roots firmly planted in that state as his family has lived there ever since! (See the story below)
Below is the "mini-biography" that Bobby Stevens (photo at left) related to the meeting. I would call this fantastic story the "Journey of an important 14th century, Northern Italy family who settled in Switzerland, then immigrated to America in 1738 via Holland and England, on a disastrous sea journey with Swiss Protestants to make a new home and settle in 'New Found Eden' along the Dan River, Virginia."
Shertoruis Turriani's family name disappeared from the Soglio church records after February 1738. They left Soglio and moved down the Rhine River to Rotterdam and thence to England in June 1738. They left Plymouth on the sailing ship, Oliver, in September 1738 with over 300 Swiss Protestants aboard. The journey took 5 months. The ship foundered off Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia. Shertorio's wife and other family members either died on the journey over or as the result of the shipwreck. Surviving were Shertorio Toriano, three sons, a daughter, and a kinsman, Carlo Toriano who gave a deposition on the wreck.
Before progressing the genealogy and progeny of Schertorio (Sher) Toriano, let us review the events leading to the tragedy of the shipwreck. This account and Carlo Toriano’s deposition has been taken from Swiss American Newsletter of May 1998. William Byrd II of Westover, Virginia obtained a patent in 1735 for 100,000 acres of land on the Dan River, on the condition that he settle at least one family for every 1,000 acres within two years. Securing 100 families was not easy but Byrd felt that his contacts with John Ochs, a Swiss promoter, would be fruitful. The first attempt to induce settlers to come to Virginia in 1736 was unsuccessful. Then Byrd turned to Samuel Jennerin of the Helvetian Society. To promote the project they published a book in 1737, entitled, New Found Eden, which described the land in Virginia in glowing terms. Promotion and recruiting was successful, and the Society chartered a ship, the Oliver, to bring the colonists to Virginia. It was the only ship in 1738 bringing immigrants from Europe to Virginia.
The Oliver was ready for passengers June 22, 1738 in Rotterdam. The first destination for the Oliver was the port of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Aboard the Oliver, the start was hampered by the decision of Captain William Walker that the Oliver was overloaded. He returned to Rotterdam and resigned his commission. Captain Wright replaced him and the Oliver left again for Cowes. The Oliver spent almost six weeks in Cowes. Upon departure, the seas were so heavy they took refuge at Plymouth. They did not leave Plymouth until early September. By that time the passengers had been on board two and a half months without getting farther than England.
One passenger left a written account of the voyage in which he said the first six weeks were favorable sailing but during the next ten weeks they were tormented by storms. They lost the mast and the Captain died. Finally the Oliver appeared off the coast of Virginia early in January, fully six months after leaving Rotterdam. The end of their troubles seemed to be near as they were within two hours of Hampton (mouth of James River), but the passengers grew impatient. After their starvation diet, they insisted that the master anchor and obtain provisions. Their demands were backed by pistols and rifles. While the party was ashore, violent winds arose and the ship dragged its anchor until it grounded.
Forty to fifty persons were trapped and drowned between decks. Two ships that lay near the Oliver provided assistance and put many people ashore. The weather was so cold that about seventy of them froze to death. The Virginia Gazette reported there were ninety survivors. Among the survivors were Schertorio (Sher) de Toriano, his sons, Peter, Andrew, Schertorio (Scare) and daughter Mary. On May 4, 1740, he leased 200 acres of land on the north side of the Dan River, Brunswick County, St. Andrews Parish, Virginia. This property later became part of Lunnenburg County (1746) and Halifax County (1752). On September 1, 1746, in Lunnenburg County, Sher and eldest son Peter, who was of age, took their Oath of Allegiance to the King, they not being British subjects. The younger children not being of age, the father took their oath for them.