23rd Edition August 1997
The purpose of the newsletter is to share information among those interested in the Ancestry of the Hembree family lines. I have attempted to do this with information, which I could prove out, by documentation or by enough other means to be able to state with a high degree of confidence that the data was factual, or I stated it lacked proof. Aware that I share only a small part of the data obtained by my research, some have asked that I share data whether proven or not.
Knowing we are all mortal beings, my brother Edward is encouraging me to document all data I believe important, as an aid to others who may pursue the chase at a latter date. Our ancestry is not of common interest to all family members, but the problem of research being wasted, is common to all who share the interest in genealogy, thus this being the seventh year of the newsletter, and the encouragement to preserve more of my findings, even if incomplete, I shall attempt to follow some good advice. Hopefully it will be a benefit, even if it is sometimes only bits and pieces.
While it may seem simple to know the name of a family. The name of Hembree has so many variant spellings, that I think it worth some discussion to understand why the early records of the family seem to bounce around, making it difficult to be certain of the correct family line. Once mastered, each spelling is some help in where to look for them. i.e., search Quaker Society records for Embree. It should be understood, that while a name is given to a child, there is no obligation for that person to retain the name. He/she may change it as often as they like, usually with little or no trouble to do so. Since I chose to trace the lineage of all Hembree’s in America, the importance of sifting through the variant spellings cannot be overstated.
The usage of the variant spelling of the name by different siblings is more than an accident, or colloquial pronunciation. All things considered, I think some of it reflects the different thinking of individuals, following great events which only time would heal, such as:
While they may have wanted to free themselves of different problems, nonetheless, none really wanted to break from their ancestors, by taking a completely different family name. A break for any reason could be a drastic step, but to say the least, often neighbors were friendly only when they were of homogeneous beliefs. The Rev. War, and the Civil War, both had neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother. Strange as it may appear today, it seemed reasonable to disassociate oneself by changing the spelling in a minor way, to be recognized as a different family. Or to simply clarify who you were, or were not, without breaking the strong family ties to your ancestors. There was also the problem of illiteracy, and many probably did not realize a change was made. Despite the variant spellings of the name, most were of English origin, but with varying opinions of loyalty and freedom to or from England.
In contrast to some state policies, many Quakers moved to different areas to enjoy special tax privileges and or religious freedom from persecution, for belonging to the Quakers. Or you could simply change and e to o, Emery to Emory, and not have your land claim questioned for being a Quaker. Later in the 1880’s the name spelling was further confused, when many were given an English version of the name as they passed through immigration facilities. We can be certain that within family lines, the different spelling of the name was more than illiteracy or mere colloquial pronunciation. It was a way to be, or not be, recognized for different beliefs while retaining the family heritage.