Sunday, October 7, 2012

Middletown First Settler Descendants to Convene in Middletown Oct 17-20

Genealogy and history enthusiasts from across the U.S. will gather in their ancestral hometown October 17-20, 2012 for the triennial meeting of the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants.

Featured this year is a presentation free to the public, “Middletown as a Seaport” by Erik Hesselberg, on Friday, Oct. 19, 1:45 p.m., at Russell Library. A reception with refreshments welcoming interested Middletowners will be at 1:15 p.m. Erik Hesselberg is a longtime journalist and editor who is working on a book on our seaport past.

The four-day event includes opportunities for research, networking with Middletown “cousins,” and tours of early burying grounds. Also scheduled are visits to such essential local history destinations as Russell Library and Godfrey Library in Middletown. Two guest speakers on local history topics round out the Middletown component on Friday, and many attendees will attend the annual seminar of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists in New Haven on Sat., Oct. 20.

Registration for the activity-filled meeting is still open, and membership in the organization is not required to participate. The headquarters hotel is the Marriott Residence Inn in Rocky Hill, Conn. For more information and a downloadable registration form, visit the organization’s web site
… or just search “Middletown First Settlers.”

The founding of Middletown dates from 1649, when the General Court in Hartford approved the settlement of what was then known as Mattabesec. Membership in the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants is open to descendants any of the 89 families that settled in the town before 1700, plus descendants of Native Americans and African-Americans who resided in Middletown prior to 1700. Today, millions of descendants across the U.S. can trace their family roots back to the early days of Middletown.

The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants was founded in 2000 by the late Gale Cornwell, a descendant of early settler William Cornwall (1609-1678). In 1900 his grandfather campaigned with other descendants for the placement of Founder’s Rock (and plaque) next to Riverside Cemetery. At the 1900 ceremony these descendants expressed their wish that Middletown founders would also be recognized 100 years later. Through Gale Cornwell’s initiative, an organization of genealogists and descendants was formed to fulfill that wish. The organization also participated in Middletown’s 350th Anniversary celebration and parade in 2001.

For additional information about the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, visit the
web site.

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