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  1. admin Post author

    Dear Kevin,

    Thank you for your interesting email. We have looked up Adelphia Florilla Converse in various sources and think we have found your ancestor, though – frustratingly – not her parentage. (You may have also got this far.)

    The trail was a bit confusing as there are two Adelphia Florillas. The book “The Converse Family and Allied Families” by Charles Allen Converse mentions the one born in 1790, as a daughter of Elisha Converse, but she would be too old to be the Adelphia Florilla you mention. We did, however, find the later one in born 4 November 1822 [not clear where this precise date comes from – 1870/1880 censuses give 1826 as her birth year, see also below] in New York, died 10 September 1899 in Pineville, Rapides, Louisiana. We also found her listed in 1841-42 as a student in the Monticello Seminary, Godfrey, Madison County, Ill. (adjacent to a “Pamelia M. Converse”, who may be a sister or other close relative).

    She appears later in several US Censuses under her married name (Southwick) and in some 1874 Louisiana documents claiming recompense for loss of lumber and livestock during the civil war. In one of these documents (her deposition letter) she states her age as 48 yrs, so born in 1826 (as in the 1870/1880 censuses)

    It seems plausible that these two Adelphias are related, probably as aunt and niece, respectively. Looking at the extensive family of Elisha Converse (page 897 in the book), there are several of his children, sibs of the Adelphia born 1790, who might have had a daughter named Adelphia Florilla Converse b. 1822 (but in most cases their children are not listed in the book). They are: Roswell Converse, b. 1780, Jonathan Converse, b. 1782, John Mason Converse, b. 1797, and Louisa Converse, b. 1792 (who married a Converse, Sprague L. Converse – her children would thus still bear the surname Converse). Elisha Converse b. 1794 could also be a possibility, but the book lists his children, and they do not include an Adelphia.

    There is a tendency in that family (as in others?) to name children after relatives, and I think it very likely that your Adelphia Florilla Converse ancestor is from that family, ie descended from Elisha Converse. I have not found that name anywhere else. It is because it is such an unusual name that we might make that assumption.

    If we then accept Adelphia Florilla Converse b. 1822 as a grand-daughter of Elisha Converse (approx. 1750-1843), this leads us back via Jonathan, Ensign Edward, Samuel, and Sergeant Samuel to Deacon Edward Converse, who, as you know, arrived in America in 1630 in the Winthrop Fleet.

    Professional genealogists? – we have no expertise in this area and, since we live in Scotland (UK) we don’t have any relevant local connections. But a good place to start might be the New England Historic Genealogical Society (

    DNA? – the only way to prove direct ancestry from Deacon Edward Converse would be by Y-DNA analysis. But the Y-chromosome is carried only by males, and passes from father to son in each generation. Clearly not possible in your case since you are from a maternal line. Autosomal DNA (as from Ancestry DNA, for example) might, if you are lucky, throw up matches to living “cousins” who might have documented links to Deacon Edward. But the connections would only be very tentative. Autosomal DNA gets mixed up with maternal/paternal genes at each generation, so traces of early ancestral DNA is very rapidly diluted.

    We hope this is helpful.

    Best wishes, Carolyn and Alan

  2. Kevin Southwick

    Dear Carolyn,

    I’m very happy to find your Converse info because my great-great-grandmother was Adelphia Florilla Converse born in New York County, NY in 1822. I wish I knew the names of her parents. Can you suggest where I might find more information about her? She later lived in Alexandria, La where there were many Converse relatives. Having studied her for many years, I have the sense that she was very respected in her community.

    It seems that her family had some prominence because she attended an exclusive women’s school in Altan, MO (St. Louis, MO) and later in life was a close acquaintance of Admiral Farragut, a prominent US Navy Admiral.

    I won’t bore you with more details, but if there’re any professional genealogists whom I can contact, please let me know.

    I’d also like to know if a DNA test might show if I’m descended from Deacon Converse. If so, where should I have that test made.

    This is very interesting. I’m happy to discover your information and will gladly share the results of whatever discoveries I and lucky to make.

    Kindest regards,

    Kevin Southwick
    Houston, Texas

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