My Family History

This blog chronicles my research into the ancestry of my four grandparents. Starting around the 1930s these four families would cross paths in and around the neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The rest is history.


According to an unsourced authored narrative, “The Hendrickson Family of Long Island,” by Andrew J. Provost, published in 1943, the progenitor of the Hendrickson family in New York is Hendrick Harmanszen, who first appeared on the New Amsterdam records in 1638. His children were born in Holland. One son, Harmon Hendrickson born about 1612, settled in Flatbush, Long Island, and died there, about 1675. Harmon’s two sons, Harmon and John who settled in Hempstead, Long Island, are from whom the Long Island Hendrickson families derive. A third son, Hendrick took up land in Hempstead but returned to Flatbush. His descendants have not been traced. A possible fourth son, Jacob of Flatbush married Geese Bartholds probably had sons Daniel and William who founded prominent branches of the Hendrickson family in Monmouth County, New Jersey. 

At this time, it is unclear from which line we descend. My grandfather, Carlton Norman Hendrickson Sr.’s earliest known ancestor, Uriah Hendrickson was born about 1750 in Oyster Bay, Long Island. He was married to Elizabeth Valentine, also of Oyster Bay, in 1783. They had three known children; Hannah, Elizabeth, and Valentine. In his compilation, Provost confuses the identities of two Uriah Hendricksons and a Urias Hendrickson (he only identifies two of the three). Our Uriah Hendrickson died on 4 June 1839 in Manetto Hill, Long Island. Who his parents are is a mystery. He seems to have lived and associated with the Hendrickson families of Oyster Bay however, there is no proof that Uriah is related to this branch of the family. 

More to come…

Associated Surnames: Anderson, Pearsall, Babcock, Van Sise, Valentine, Stilwell, Robinson, Murray, Bedell, Bucken, Martin, Doughty, Oliver, Walton, Powderly 


My grandmother, Dorothy R. McKnight descends from a family that has its roots in Ireland. Where in Ireland we can’t be certain. Her earliest known McKnight ancestor, James McKnight is found living in Brooklyn, New York in 1855 along with his wife Elizabeth and twins John and Francis.  According to that census he owned or worked in a shoe store and had been in the United States for only two years. His wife was in the country for eight years and they were married for one. They had two other children along the way – James Joseph Michael and Mary McKnight. We descend from James’ son Francis “Frank” M. McKnight.

Associated surnames:  Madden, McDonnell, Skelly, Goettisheim, Kirchberger, Wangner, Kline, Schule, Rockenbaugh, Roller, Beutler


The Ewart family has its origins in Carlisle, England, a border town in northwest England just south of Scotland. They were from a long line of butchers and farmers. As a Merchant Marine, my great-grandfather Harold Parker Ewart’s job took him all over the world, making frequent trips back and forth from England to the United States. It appears that he immigrated to the United States in 1917. His wife Mary Annie (Telford) along with their three children Grace and Ronald and Harold came later in 1919. They settled in Brooklyn, New York also establishing a temporary residence in Fall River, Massachusetts.  My grandfather Harold, also a merchant marine, married Hazel Catherine Knowles in 1943. He died 4 years later of tuberculosis in February of 1947. My mother being born later that year knew very little of her father and his family. Exploring this line of the family has been rewarding.

Associated surnames: Parker, Little, Browne, Nichol, Telford, Brayton


My grandmother Hazel Catherine Knowles was a first-generation American. Her father, Alfred William Knowles was born to Willam Knowles and Ellen Johnson in the Chelsea section of London.  He immigrated to the United States somewhere between 1883 and 1892. He likely came alone since the rest of his family remained in Battersea which is just south of London. He married Margaret Flood, a native of Ireland in June of 1892 in Brooklyn, New York. They had six children together. Alfred was a paper hanger and painter as was his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His earliest known ancestor James Knowles was born in Suffolk, England, and was a well-known clock and watchmaker in London. His watch papers are held at the British Museum in London.

Associated surnames:  Johnson, Moore, Hambley, Goldsworthy, Flood, Dunn