I must tell you that this prompt didn’t really inspire me, especially after coming off of last weeks’ high. So, in light of the fact that this is my blog, and I can do what I want to, I’ve decided to take a bit of a riff on the theme.
Three names repeated in my family lore are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The names come from the Bible, in the book of Daniel. They were three Jewish captives who refused to comply with the edict of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to bow before an idol. As a result, they were thrown into a burning furnace, and due to the intervention of God, were not consumed by the fire. When Nebuchadnezzar witnessed the miracle, he praised the God of the three faithful young men.
My family story goes that there were three Keen brothers, also named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who immigrated to Colonial America. Two stayed in the north, while one went south. These three were supposed to have been the first of our Keen ancestors to come to North America.
I have searched, but I have found no evidence to back up this story. Now, I’m positive that I have not exhausted every avenue of research. But, with on the evidence found in Sarah Keen’s will, I believe that the story of the three brothers is just that, a story. However, in most family stories, there is a kernel of truth, as we shall see.
Based on my finding evidence that Tubal (also known as Jubal*) Keen was Washington E. Keen, Sr.’s father, I am able to search back further in that line. Here’s a visual of what I had before last week (follow the red):
Based on Sarah Keen’s will and her marriage record to Tubal Keen, my line now looks (something) like this:
I traced this line back to London, England, to Josiah Keen. Josiah, born in 1620, emigrated in 1638. If this tree, and my initial research is correct, he is the original Keen to come to North America, dispelling the three brothers story.
But, where are the kernels of truth in the family story?
I found Tubal’s (Jubal) baptism record in the Pembroke Massachusetts Vital Records, which listed his parents as Francis and Margaret Keen. He was baptized November 1758.
I found the marriage record for Tubal’s parents, Francis and Margaret, in the same vital records. They were married November 1, 1739.
Based on birth records for Massachusetts, Francis and Margaret had at least four children while in Pembroke:
- Francis, born June 20, 1740
- Tubal (Jubal), baptized November 1756
- Meschech, baptized October 8, 1758
- Nancy, baptized June 7, 1761
And, there’s that name, “Meschach.”
Tubal, son of Francis, and Sarah had four children:
- Shadrach, born 1795
- Washington, born circa 1810
And, there’s that name “Shadrach.”
No Abednego in sight, though!
I think that with time, the generations became conflated and the story subject to error and “telephone.” The nuggets of truth remained, in that two of the names are correct. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Until next time!
*Tubal transcribed as Jubal shows up in at least one other record. I believe that in cursive, “T” and “J” can often be confused. Much like “Keene” in cursive becoming “Kune” in a census record.