finding your roots

Fight the power!

Mike May 9, 2012

When I was a kid, I had heard family stories about a Revolutionary War veteran, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a colonial-era governor. As more information becomes available over the Internet, I’ve been able to verify all three of these stories over time.

My Revolutionary War ancestor (one of many, as I’ve discovered), a man by the name of Samuel Treat, served in the militia in Boston and in the Continental Army. He’s always been known as “Captain Treat”, but evidence I’ve found shows his highest rank as a lieutenant. He served at Castle Island in Boston Harbor under John Hancock. The picture I’ve attached is a 19th century daguerreotype taken of a portrait of him in uniform that was done at some point during his military career. One of his cousins, also named Samuel Treat, *was* a captain in the 2nd Continental Artillery under Henry Knox. He was killed in action at Fort Mifflin, PA in November 1777. Several contemporaneous accounts noted that he served with valor.

Although not a direct descendant, I was able to learn that my first cousin eight times removed is Robert Treat Paine of Boston, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I was also able to track my lineage back to Robert Treat, governor of the colony of Connecticut in the late 1600s. This cat did some living – he sat in on a witch trial, served several terms as governor, founded the city of Newark, NJ, and resisted an effort by the king of England to revoke Connecticut’s charter.

I was surprised to find out that the stories I’d heard were actually true! Doing the research can really pay off!

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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