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Seeking FINN or FENN families of New York/New England prior to 1780

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Seeking FINN or FENN families of New York/New England prior to 1780

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 2:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Aug 2013 10:49AM GMT
Surnames: ACKLEY, ASHLEY. FENN, FINN, TAFT, TEFFT, VENEVERY
I am looking for more information on a FINN or FENN family whose line is not well-defined or sourced before 1780 in New York. Here is the information about which I am relatively certain and for which I have sources.

David FINN b.~1780 d.~1850. He lived in various locations in the territory and state of New York and died in the state of Wisconsin. He married a Mary, a Polly, or a Mary Polly, whose surname has been variously reported, but is most often given as TAFT or TEFFT. David and his wife are reported to have had eight children of whom one is Robert.

Robert FINN b. 1817 d.1901. Robert, with his wife, Mary Ann ASHLEY (or perhaps Ackely?), 1821-1894, lived in various central and northern NY counties before emigrating to Wisconsin. Robert and his wife are reported to have had seven children of whom one is Luther.

Luther FINN b. 1847 d. 1931. Luther lived in various central and northern NY counties before emigrating to Wisconsin. He married Ellen GREGG (b. 1849 d. 1917) of Vermont. It is not known whether they married in New York, Vermont, or Wisconsin. Luther and Ellen are reported to have had nine children of whom one is Arthur.

Arthur FINN b.1878 d. 1944. Arthur lived his entire life in Wisconsin, most of it in Madison. He married Minnie WIESSMANN b. 1881-1951, who was born in Wisconsin, but whose parents emigrated from Prussia in 1884. Arthur and Minnie had nine children of whom my father, Willard, was one.

Of course, I am interested in hearing from anyone with connections to this line, but I am particularly interested in contacting anyone who may have information about David Finn’s father. The stories I have learned to date do not cohere. Here are the sometimes conflicting data that complicate matters:

--David’s father may have used the surname FENN. There are family trees on the ancestry.com site which include a Hewitt Finn or a Hewitt Fenn. This person’s birth and death dates are variously given as ~1755 to ~1785. No sources are provided for data in these trees. BUT, I did submit DNA to ancestry.com testing services and three people with the surname Fenn show up as having a good to moderate chance of being related to me. This is the only solid reason I have for believing that the family trees I have viewed may be on to something.

--Family lore says that David’s father fought in upper New York during the Revolutionary War, but that David’s father was later murdered in about 1785 while taking a trip to New York City for supplies. David was supposedly adopted by another Revolutionary War soldier. This suggests that David’s mother also died when he was still a child. If any of this information is true, it gets further complicated. The name of the adopting family is not known. It is even possible, I suppose, that the adopting family’s name was Finn or Fenn and that David’s father had an entirely different surname. Adding to the possibilities is that the various places in New York where David lived had many people named Hewitt, Hewett, and Huitt. Could David’s father been related to any of these families; hence, resulting in a melded given and surname? There are actually many more possibilities.

--David’s father is said to have married someone named Polly or Cynthia who was of Dutch extraction (Venevery, Vanvorhee, Van Avery, and more). One tree names her as Cynthia Nelson. Given that the information about David’s father is so fuzzy, I do not know how anything could be determined about the name of David’s mother. One thing is certain, the New York towns in which David lived had many families who had some variant of the Venevery, et.al., surname.

If anyone can shed light upon these puzzles, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

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