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The Dexter History from the Ohio Perspective

In February of 1999, my grandmother, Marjorie E. (Huston) Dexter passed away.  It was rather sudden for those of us who weren’t involved in her life on a day to day basis, because we hadn’t seen her issues increasing.

Marjorie Elizabeth (Huston) Dexter
Marjorie Elizabeth (Huston) Dexter

But Grandma had her own way of doing things.  She kept some stories to herself, embellished a lot of others.  She was the one, though, that really got me started on this quest, so for whatever else may have happened to her or during her lifetime, she gave me this gift of interest in our heritage that I will never forget.  The skeletons and the joys that crop up are what they are — pieces of a history that make up the rest of us in one way or another.

Before she passed away, I had been doing family research-mostly just mythology — family stories and anecdotes with no documentation to go along with them.  In 1997, 20 years after I had started (and none to seriously, at that), I got my first computer and shortly thereafter discovered FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com along with Cyndi’s List and other online sites dedicated to helping searchers put family documents into their hands to validate those connections and eliminate the myths.

I had built the ahnentafel (the tree itself) to a few hundred individuals, primarily my direct family on both sides and had tons and tons of questions.  I was hitting a lot of brick walls, but had not yet made a valid connection across the pond.  I saw a few primary families I was questioning-some in Leicestershire, some in Staines.  I just wasn’t connecting with the right person to help me validate those ideas and families.

Then, within a few short days after Marj’s death, I received an email in response to one of my online queries from Roger Connelly.  Roger identified himself as a cousin on the Dexter side-his connection was through his mother-and my great grandfather’s mother, Mary-who were Dunlap sisters. He had been developing his Chamberlain family lineage and George James Dexter cropped up as the spouse of one of his aunts.

Obituary of George James Dexter
Obituary of George James Dexter

He passed on a copy of George’s obituary and more – the clues from which were invaluable to connecting the families, discovering more about his military history and learning about his death and burial. The hints about his family’s immigration were not correct, but close enough to work with, and his birth location gave me a direct verification to the Staines clan.

At that point, things really started happening.  I quickly connected with Alan King (Shepperton, Eng),

Alan and Di King
Alan and Di King
Bill Guest
Bill Guest

Noel Bye (then of Tasmania) and Bill Guest (Wellington, NZ), all of which significantly helped put puzzle pieces together and to the list of cousins and interested local historians.

Noel confirmed his connection with the Staines clan and then somewhat fell off the radar.  But Bill, who was connected to Noel’s family lineage, was able to give me the appropriate 1850 Census records that started bringing more of the Staines clan to reality.  We stay in touch and he has contributed the wonderful story that his wife, Sue, put together from the letters of Eric Standring, available for Site Members to read. (Be sure to request the password by emailing request@dextergenealogy.com!)

When Alan came into the picture, he, as a local Staines historian, had been conducting walking tours of the area and noticed the Dexter name — and then my inquiries.  He corresponded with me and also provided more fleshed out details after visiting the local churches that kept cropping up in Dexter stories — specifically the Independent Chapel, that the family was so instrumental in building and growing.

David L Dexter family
David L Dexter family

More details emerged as David Leonard Dexter (Newent, Eng) and Dave V. Dexter (Neenah, WI) brought more information out.  The Dexters of Staines remained involved in their community and church – and helped to start the first fire brigade of Staines.  The Spelthorne Museum has a dedicated area for the Fire Brigade and contains a great deal of information about the Dexter involvement.

With help from David L., I was soon in touch with Kenneth Dexter.  Ken’s line had a bakery with wonderful reputation.  Ken grew up in that environment and wrote his family’s story, (currently available on Amazon.com) “A Fleury Business”.

A Fleury Business, By Kenneth Dexter
A Fleury Business, By Kenneth Dexter

George Dexter (not George James, but this generations’ own George) is also a significant gatherer of our family’s history.  It was he who got us past George Dexter, the tallow chandler and his son Thomas and Susannah, among the earliest founders of this family line that we have uncovered so far.

George Dexter
George Dexter

I hope you will come back and read up more on the family.  Despite the time it takes to put information together, our collaborative efforts are great fun and full of wonderful information.

Also, for those who are researching outside of the direct Dexter family lineage, your stories are part of the heritage of our family as a group and are no less valuable.  Please feel free to grow your own branches as well — Be they Rutherford, Keifer, Huston or Bruer (for my own line), or Bye, Standring, Pease, or Taylor, Connelly/Conley, Chamberlain,  Swan, etc.  It is through the richest of stories that our own unfold!

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I hope that each of you will take some time and will author your own stories here.  If you have questions on how to do it, let me know.  Each of you who have joined here can write and submit your articles easily.  You retain authorship and all copyright is in your own name.

I suggest to each of you to write a brief author’s statement which would include 1) who you are, 2) where you are 3) how long you’ve been doing this and 4) how you can be contacted for more information (if you wish to be contacted).

For each of you that are involved, our site will grow richer than before.  I hope you will.

Family Page Galleries, Post Pages and Authorship on The Site

Out of necessity, and in order to make sure that we are correctly linking data from and to the correct individuals, I am proposing that each of us (who are interested in this process) begin making nested family blog posts which will include photos from our own personal archives.

Doing so will help in a few ways: first, I won’t feel so responsible for errors…  (ok, smile if you will)… Secondly, we can build the family post pages in greater fashion while leaving the family PAGES (older, more historical data) intact and available to build upon those as well.  And third, you will each have control over your posts, and your authorship will be duly noted on each page.  That authorship is most important in establishing your rights to the material you post.

For example, I know that Bill Guest has a truly amazing article that will soon be posted regarding his Grand Uncle, Eric Standring (I believe that is his correct label… Bill? If I’m wrong, please correct me, it’s been a bit since I read it… but as I recall, Eric was your grandmother’s brother?).  Making sure Bill (and his wife Sue) has/have the appropriate attribution is important, and topping it off, he or they will be able to add photos to the story which will add a much more human feel and longer term impact.

I would also like to encourage each of you to write an author statement.  It would be the final paragraph, is biographical in nature and should be italicized to distinguish between your post and your statement.   If you will follow along a moment, each of you with authorship attribution (which most of you will have if you intend to contribute) when you complete your post (but before you actually publish it) should scroll down the dashboard page until you see the box labeled “Author”.  Click on the name in the box and scroll until you see your own, then select it.  When you post the page, it will name you as the Author automatically and as the articles are dated and timed, your claim to the copyright is fairly complete, short of submitting to the offices of copyright.

You are also able to upload audio and video files, which can be effectively added to a page as well. Feel free to address anyone reading as if you are telling the precise story you want.  When you close the page, your author statement will conclude the page.

While we all want to share the joys of our children and pets and more, I would prefer to not get into overkill.  We might offer a “Dexter Pets” page of photos, but the kids stick with the best of the best.  Special events, yes; recognitions, etc.  Things which put them in historical context – military service or a fraternal organization that may be documented as important to our descendants… But everyday posts can go onto Facebook or other social media for sharing.

I’ll do a starter page and see if we can build upon that.  Our collages should wind up being quite fascinating.

Love to all,

Connie

PS: Here is a sample author statement.  If you need help, let me know and we can talk it out.

Connie Dexter Spicer has been investigating her family origins, since, as a teenager-one of her school social science classes was a study of family history after the film Roots came out. The information she gathered then became the basis for all her research since. And, since those modest beginnings lead to connecting with cousins all over the world, it has been a very merry adventure for her.

 

Dexter Family International (MyFamily) Threads

While I could not retain and download all of the very many threads we had accumulated over 15 years, the threads I will be attaching on this set of posts will be the personal anecdotes, commentary and speculation specifically from the Dexters International family website that we had built.  Right now, with foot surgery keeping me off my feet for the next few weeks, it seems the perfect time to begin posting these threads.  These will be nested here in the appropriate category.

Feel free to let me know if you spot any errors or omissions at any time.

 

Sending love to all,

Connie