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Historian’s Report November 1996

The association has seen more progress in this last quarter than any time period in our near six-year existence. I reminded our President, Al, that the deadline for any new genealogical data for inclusion in the forth coming Thayer Genealogy, was fast approaching. Considering, however, that there has been so many wonderful new cousins recently discovered, I felt a sense of loss knowing that there many more out there who had not had the opportunity to hear of our worthwhile project. I convinced Al that if the members of TFA were to make an effort to reach each of the remaining 7,000 Thayer families in America in the next few months, that I would be willing to extend the deadline for those individuals who would also like to see their family records preserved for future generations.

When I was asked by our Membership chairman, Paul Thayer, if a recruiting project through mass mailing similar to the one we were launching had been performed by any other Family Association in America, I had to respond that I highly doubted it. We are so proud of our wonderful members who have given generously of their time and efforts to make this dream a reality! Several of our members across the country have volunteered their services and this project will likely be completed by years end! I wish I could thank each of you individually who has been involved in this most important accomplishment, but I am afraid I might leave out some individual whose participation I was not aware of.

In areas other than the mass-mailing project, (which has been coordinated by our Membership and Recruiting chairman, Paul Goodwin Thayer and David Manville Thayer; our President, Albert Thayer Morton, and secretary, Raymond Alexander Thayer); our leaders have been working behind the scenes on an appropriate Logo and letterhead; the successful Tee Shirt Project, with proceeds going to the publishing project, (headed up by Henry Jerome and Judy Thayer); the Thayer Quarterly indexing project) by TQ editor, Richard Allen Thayer); the fantastically successful WWW home page (by Internet chairman, Rodney Lee Thayer); a forthcoming Thayer Cookbook project (coordinated by Ralph Clinton Thayer) and even plans for a group for interested Thayer descendants to the ancestral home in Thornbury, England this coming June (coordinated by Director, Marilyn Munn Strand.)

A fourth printing of the Thayer – Tayer – Theyer Families of Gloucestershire, England 1500 – 1600 is now underway. I have just one Errata/Index to the Thayer Genealogy of 1874 available, if anyone is interested. If you have not already done so, be sure to visit our Web site at http://www.heiwa.com/tfa/tfa.htm. And finally, it is with great pride that I am able to introduce eight new Family Representatives this quarter.

Dawn Thayer Chandler Ronald, Kenneth, Donald, and Richard Thayer

I was on the Internet one night when Dawn Thayer Chandler was on at the same time looking for Thayer information. A third cousin, Ann Thayer helped get us together. Dawn, of 421 Alton Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49017, will serve as Family Representative for the descendants of Milo Moses THAYER(b.1830Hume,Allegany,NY) and his wife, Mary S, WRIGHT (b. 1835). Descendants of this couple settled primarily in Champaign County, IL, and Calhoun County, MI. I was able to find Dawn’s connection through my study of the Thayer families I had previously extracted and computerized from the earlier census soundexes. Photo shared by Dawn, shows her with her four older brothers (left to right) Ronald Erwin, Kenneth Warren, Donald Elwyn and Richard Dwight Thayer.

I found Bennie Thayer one night while “surfing” the America On-Line membership directory, and contacted him immediately, asking him to send me the name and birth year of his grandfather Thayer. Bennie informed me that his line of Thayers were well-organized and had about 270 members, of which he was the president. He quickly introduced me to the group’s secretary, Andrew “Bobby” Newell, through the Internet. It was only because of my previous correspondence with Norma Thayer Reed, formerly of Mannford, OK that I was able to find the connection for these descendants who have never known their lineage to the immigrant ancestor.

Brenda and Andrew “Bobby” Newell

Andrew “Bobby” Newell, of 1813 Rutherford St., Rahway, NJ has agreed to serve as Family Representative for the descendants of their ancestor, Lyman THAYER (born Vermont). Lyman, and three of his brothers, Orwell (or Oel), Ira, and Daniel settled in Pickins County, SC in the 1830’s. The other brothers moved on and settled primarily in Lebanon, Boone county, IN; with others settling in AR, MO, MN, OR, MS, TX and OK. Lyman remained behind in South Carolina and became the progenitor of our new found cousins. Shown in the photo here with Bobby, is Brenda, his wife of 31 years.

Cleveland Harper (“Harper”) Thayer, of 120 Rockview Lane, Morganton, SC 28655, was found by our Membership chairman, Paul Goodwin Thayer. Harper has agreed to serve as Family Representative for the descendants of William THAYER (born 1818 NY, died 1893 MI) and wife Zarina HAVENS (born 1816, died 1888 MD). Descendants of this couple settled in Grand Traverse county, MI; Cumberland, Burke and Guilford Counties MI; Dorchester county, MD; and Monterey county, CA.

I was privileged to meet, Dennis Wayne Thayer and lovely wife Caron, of 11317 SW 64th Ave., Portland OR 97219, about the middle of September. Dennis was referred to us by someone who had seen our home page on the Internet. He quickly installed America On-Line and contacted me. This led to a wonderful meeting at my home here in Beaverton, as these delightful new cousins live less than 10 miles from me.

Dennis and Caron will jointly serve as Family representatives

Caron and Dennis Wayne Thayer

for the descendants of John Marvin THAYER (born 1829 of Carroll, Chautauqua, NY, died 1889 NY) and his wife, Margaret Aline COWEN (born 1831, died 1901 NY). The descendants of this couple settled primarily in O’Brien County, IA. Others settled in ID, MI, WA and ND. Dennis and Carol, who are shown in the photo here, would like to make contact with other living descendants in this line.

I have been in touch with James Leslie Thayer and wife Geri, of 271-17 Romerman, Chehalis, WA 98532 for a number of years now, although they have just recently come aboard the TFA train! Jim and Geri will serve jointly as Family Representatives in the line of Horace Thayer (born 1795 Heath, MA died 1896 Flint, Genesee, MI) and wife Jane GAMBALL (born 1797 of NY). Descendants of this line settled in NY; Genesee county, MI; and Grays Harbor county, WA. Shown here in the photo with Jim and Geri, are their adorable children, Justin and Nicole.

Justin, Nicole, Geri, and James Leslie Thayer

Jeffrey Ervin Thayer of 1905 N. Dalton Ave., Boise, ID 83704 has agreed to serve as Family Representative for the descendants of Azel THAYER (b. 1802m d. 1877) and wife Elizabeth GARDNER (b. 1805, d. 1883). This line of Thayers originated and remained almost entirely in the state of Massachusetts, having their roots firmly planted in Milton, Norfolk County. To my knowledge, Jeff and his family appear to be the only ones who have migrated out to the great west!

Cousin, Larry Gene Thayer, of 149 A North Ave., Wauconda, IL 60084, was “discovered” by our Recruiting Chairman, David Manville Thayer. Larry has agreed to serve as Family Representative in the line of Winfield Scott THAYER (b. 1863 IN, d. 1935 IL) and wife, Clara Bell HOWARD (b. 1869 IA, d. 1914 IL). Descendants of this couple settled primarily in IA and McHenry County, IL. Larry informs me that his ancestor always went by the name of “Scott.” Assuming that there must be some “hero worship” involved here by knowing that there were at least three other Thayers with the same given names, I asked Larry about the significance of the name “Winfield Scott.” Larry found out that Winfield Scott once ran for President (he lost to Franklin Pierce, 14th president 1853-57), and was, indeed, a Civil War hero who was none other than “Old Fuss ‘n’ Feathers.” At the age of 75, Scott was overseeing the training of Civil War recruits!

I was privileged to meet cousin, Scott Edward Thayer, of 36B Gibb Street, Unit 23, Worcester, MA 01607 at our TFA meeting held June 15th. Scott brought along his uncle, William Henry Thayer, who lives on the “ancestral stomping grounds” in Braintree, MA. Scott has Thayer ancestry on both his maternal and paternal lines, but will be serving as Family Representative for the descendants of Abel THAYER (born 1789 Braintree, MA, died 1866 Orange Co., VT) and wife3, Lydia CLEVELAND (born 1793 VT, died 1863 VT). The descendants of this couple settled mostly in MA; and Orange and Washington counties, VT.

On behalf of the entire Thayer family, I extend my heartfelt thanks to each of you for serving in your various capacities!


I had a few questions I thought our members would be interested in. Patricia was more than willing to answer them.

Richard A. Thayer, Editor

QUESTION: You have set the end of 1996 as the deadline for adding new families to your computer files in order to give you a point at which you can start indexing the first volume of our comprehensive Thayer genealogy. How many individuals do you currently have in your database, and how many are linked back to an immigrant ancestor?

ANSWER: The 31 December 1996 deadline for the inclusion of any new information has been extended until the mass-recruiting project can be completed. We are probably the only Family Association in America, which has attempted such a monumental project as to inform all families in America with the Thayer surname of the TFA and our Genealogy project.

Our membership chairman, Paul Goodwin Thayer, and our Recruiting Chairman, David Manville Thayer, have been heading up this project along with the help of our President, Albert Thayer Morton and our Secretary, Raymond Alexander Thayer. There are an estimated 7,000 Thayer families in America today, and our dedicated leaders have been working overtime to contact as many of these families as possible so that they, also, might have to opportunity to participate in this worthwhile project of preserving our family records.

To make this experience an even greater success, we also have had the hard work of many of our TFA members across the country, which have responded to the call of service and are involved in the stuffing, addressing and mailing of these important notices. Some individuals that I know of:

Gene Dale Thayer, Stockton, CA
Patricia O’Sullivan, Kingman, AZ
Thayer Phillips Reese, Ventura, CA
Leslie Thayer O’Hara, San Francisco, CA
Julianne Mevis, Wauwatosa, WI
Timothy Como, Hickory, NC
Geri Hadaler Thayer, Chehalis, WA
Marilynn Munn Strand, Wheat Ridge, CO
Will Thayer, Longmeadow, MA
Mary Buchholz, Belle Fourche, SD
Roland Clark, Rosamond, CA
William Elms, Stow, OH
Stuart Thayer, New Orleans, LA
Joyce Thayer, Lafayette, LA

At present there are nearly 50,000 Thayer related individuals in my computer files. Of these about 10,000 are “unplaced.” These numbers are changing on a daily basis as more and more people become involved!

QUESTION: Have you decided which book you will publish first? Will it be on our ancestor and follows his lineage to the present, or will it cover all lines and have a certain cut off date for the first volume?

ANSWER: The genealogical data on the descendants of the Immigrant, Nathaniel Thayer, will most likely be covered first. This is the smallest family and there is the least amount of changes happening in this line. The information on this line should comprise one volume and will include from the immigrant to the present generation under one cover.

QUESTION: Assuming you start indexing the first volume of the comprehensive genealogy on January 1, 1997, and assuming we have sufficient funds to publish, when do you think the first book could go to press?

ANSWER: Sorry, I cannot answer this one just yet.

QUESTION: Has The Thayer Quarterly Newsletter brought any new Thayers into your database?

ANSWER: There have been a few individuals who have responded as a result of seeing their ancestor mentioned in the Thayer Quarterly Newsletter. Since it is too early to determine the final outcome of the mass-recruiting project, the majority of our new cousins are presently being found through the Internet. Some of these individuals have come through their finding us on the WWW home page. (If anyone has not already seen this, please check it out at http://www.heiwa.com/tfa.htm. The information there changes continuously!)

QUESTION: We know you are swamped with mail. About how many letters do you receive and answer in a typical week? How many E- mail messages?

ANSWER: In a normal week, I receive about 30 mailings through the US mail service. Some of these can be considerably detailed and take several days to answer. With about 200 messages a week on the computer, the e-mail traffic is considerably heavier, but most of it usually goes faster. The directors, officers, leaders and many members of the TFA are in contact with one another – generally everyday, and often – several times a day. This accounts for a large portion of the E-mail traffic. I know of no other Family Association that has experienced such phenomenal growth of membership and has such a strong network of leadership working together for a common goal as the TFA!

QUESTION: Looking back over the last year, can you estimate how many Thayer families you have been able to connect to their ancestors?

ANSWER: This is something that would be difficult to estimate, because the implications often have a much more far-reaching impact than just the family of the correspondent. Each and every year, for the last 6 years, I have been successful in making connections for hundreds of Thayer individuals. Who knows, perhaps someday there may be a letter waiting for me from someone who knows something of my own elusive great grandfather, Joseph Frank Thayer!

QUESTION: We have several members writing to all the Thayers in the United States, we have the circulation of the Thayer Quarterly, our Internet page, E-mail, and several advertisements placed in Evertons Genealogical helper. How would you rank these methods of communication in bringing in more information and lineages into your database of Thayers?

ANSWER: There are many avenues for this great news to travel around. Additionally, we have dedicated members who are using the phone to call other Thayers, often times on the other side of the nation. We also have individuals who are sharing news of our project with other genealogical association and libraries. All of the above are important. Often, we may become discouraged because we do not see the immediate results from our hard work, to find later from another contact that ìCousin Albert in Indiana forwarded your letter mentioning the TFA to me here in Alaska.î Every mention of the TFA helps spread the good word about hour special project.

Additionally, I have found a fun new way of finding new cousins via the Internet. My America On-Line service now informs me of other Thayers who are on the Internet at the exact same time as I am. I often take advantage of this opportunity to introduce myself and explain the genealogy project. These contacts get real excited when they realize all they have to do is provide me with the name of their grandfather Thayer, his year and state of birth, and I can then provide them with their lineage back to the year 1500.

The vast majority of the lineages have already been established through my personal research of the original vital records and census enumerations. Had I not spent the necessary years extracted every Thayer family in the 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 US Census soundexes, I would never have been able to do what am doing today. Most of the new information that is being added today comes in the form of personal correspondence from the descendants themselves. This extends the lineages to the present generation, and often helps in the connection for an individual that was born between the census years, or whose relationship has in some other manner been obscured.

Many of our members are making referrals on a regular basis. I have personal correspondence with near 800 Thayer families through the mail service, and an addition 200+ families of descendants through the Internet. With the help of these newcomers, the unidentified or ìunplacedî Thayer families are regularly taking on identity.

QUESTION: How many of the Gloucestershire books have been sold? How many are still available?

ANSWER: The Gloucestershire Thayerî books have been very difficult to keep in stock and have ALL been sold! I am now taking orders, however, for a 4th printing, with hopes for delivery in time for Christmas gift giving, please order now!