Town Names and Family Pride

Not everyone can make the prestigious claim of a town bearing their family name. The Amos Boys can. In fact, through their mother’s maternal side, they can actually claim ownership of two towns—two, if you allow a bit of embellishment. And since embellishment is often what family history is all about, we’re going to do just that.

A few miles east of Lansing, near I-69 and Woodbury Road in Shiawassee County, is the has-been Irish community of Corktown. Even though there are Corktowns wherever the Irish have gathered, and even though ours is so small it doesn’t even make the map, we can still puff with a little bród Éireannach.

Corktown was settled by our ancestors, the Corcorans, who came from Roscommon, Ireland in 1838. The Corcorans farmed on Corcoran Road and being the community-minded folk that they were, they donated land for the Corcoran School, the Corcoran Cemetery and a Catholic church.

Looking at our family tree, we find names such as Bartlett Corcoran; who begat Patrick, who immigrated to the United States; who begat Owen; who begat Anastasia. (Anastasia is such a cool name—I really think one of you millennials should name your baby girl Anastasia.)

Now, let’s go seven miles up the road to the small town of Laingsburg. With a population today of 1283, this cozy, little community is actually listed on the map. Laingsburg was settled by our ancestor Peter Laing, who, in 1836, moved to the area from New York and set up a tavern.

From the Laings, we can boast Scottish roots. We have John Laing, who immigrated from Annondale, Scotland in 1773; who begat William; who begat Peter, who founded Laingsburg; who begat Paisley.

Let’s now connect these two families.

In 1870, Paisley Laing and Anastasia Corcoran married. They settled on Stoll Road, south of Laingsburg and raised this great family of five children, one of whom was Maggie Francis Laing, the Amos Boys’ grandmother.

Paisley Laing Family

Paisley and Anastasia Laing Family
Standing, l-r: Nellie, Phoebe, Maggie
Middle: Paisley (holding Hazen, baby of John and Fanny Hart), Fanny, and Anastasia
Front: Joseph B. Gulick (Nellie’s husband), John Hart (Fanny’s husband) and Earl Gulick (Maggie’s husband). Missing from the photo is Paisley and Anastasia’s son Peter, who perhaps was the photographer.


Paisley Laing House

Paisley and Anastasia’s farmhouse as it is today, 10060 Stoll Rd., south of Laingsburg.


So here we have a summarized version of our family on the Amos Boys’ mother’s maternal side. In two weeks, we’ll take a further look at Laingsburg and its founder Peter Laing. In the meantime, be sure to read Dave’s comments. He’s a super sleuth and found interesting data on the Laings.

Reunion
What are your plans for the upcoming reunion on June 16? We’ve got great ideas formulating, including a self-guided road trip to Laingsburg, Corktown, Williamston, and all the family farmhouses and cemeteries in between. Let us know so Elaine, Jan, Shelley and Jerri Lynn have an idea of how many are coming. Be there!


Genealogy information gathered by Jerry from the Michigan State Library, Corcorans and Burts, by Paul Burt, 1983; The Hill and Below, by Birdie Colby and Emma Jane Wright, 1976; Ancestry.com; and U.S. Census Records. Also included is some of Jerry’s speculation, which he claims is his specialty.

Our 5 Claims to Fame

why geneology?

Every family makes claims of genealogical greatness, but only ours holds credibility. Right?

Actually, there’s some merit to that humorously biased statement. For us, our genealogy truly is great because it belongs to our family alone. It connects us to our past, impacts who we are today, and preserves our heritage for the future. So this week we’re going to introduce a study of the Amos Boys’ genealogy. In the weeks ahead we’ll look at their maternal family, and later in the year, we’ll do their paternal family.

How many of you are genealogy geeks?

I’ve been since my early 20s, when Grandma Gladys sent me an old family photo. Over the years, I’ve acquired bits and pieces here and there and shoved them all into a box. Nowadays, I just go to Ancestry.com and everything’s available in a handy database. It kind of takes away the thrill of historical sleuthing, but who has time for that anyway?

Jerry’s into genealogy too. He’s much more meticulous than I am, and he’s done extensive research on his maternal side.

“There used to be an area called “Hulick Land,” says Jerry. “They don’t pronounce the G’s (or J’s) like we do, they say them like an H. It was right between Holland and Germany, and the two countries used to fight over that. Supposedly, that’s where the Gulicks are from.”

Gulick, as you may know, is Gladys’ maiden name.

And then there are names like Laing, Holmes, Van Ortwick, Cocoran, Mottinger and Beaumont. Obviously, we’re a great mix of people coming from many places.

This is going to be fun, isn’t it?

If you’re interested, sign up at Ancestry.com. You can subscribe for a monthly fee, or you can go to your local library and access it for free.

In the meantime, here are our family’s five big claims to fame (stay tuned to learn how we connect):

  • William I, Duke of Aquitaine, France, and founder of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny
  • Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great and Holy Roman Emperor
  • Stephen Hopkins, Mayflower Pilgrim who landed in Plymouth, MA, in 1620
  • Peter Laing, founder of the hopping metro of Laingsburg, MI.
  • Scottish raiders who stole cattle from the English (okay, maybe this isn’t classifiable as famous, but it’s interesting nonetheless:-)