1920 - 1997

From: Bruce Christman


I moved to Roswell, Georgia, ten miles north of Atlanta, six years ago with my family. We had lived in Niskayuna, New York, a suburb of Schenectady, where Kurt Vonnegut once worked as a flack for General Electric. I was born in Little Falls, and I was baptized as an infant in Ephratah Methodist Church. Ephratah is the hometown of both my parents. Ephratah is where Anthony Beck saw a vision of the future from "Spook Hill".

A couple of years ago, I went to the 4th of July fireworks celebration in Buckhead, Atlanta's shicky-micky area. Buckhead is where Mark O. Barton shot about twenty people a few weeks ago and then killed himself, because his god - money, did him dirty. I watched the Americans celebrating in their shallow elitist arrogance. Like normal. It was disgusting. Driving home, I remembered a pamphlet my mother gave to me about the history of her family - the Ephratah Snells. I found it, read it again, and it bit me. Palatines, Tar-Camps, Schoharie, the Mohawk Valley; injustice, indignance, resentment, rage - the Battle of Oriskany - I am still in a trance. I set out to study the history of my ancestors and their contribution to the founding of this nation. A more important story was revealed to me over time. That is another story.

I wondered how far back I could trace the Christman family and I did not know where to start, except for what I could remember about my own family. I began to read everything I could find about the Palatines looking for clues; not much came - only names on a few lists. Then somebody told me about the Family History Center here in Roswell. I hit the jackpot. An entire Christman family tree was there through the 18th century into the 19th century with names I recognized. It was great. Between my names and the names at the Roswell FHC, I got the whole story back to 1668. So, I looked at the FHC source. "That's odd", I thought. The source for the information was Rex Stevenson. Not a Christman. Rex Stevenson - and he lived right down the road in Woodstock, Georgia. I couldn't believe it. Who the heck was he? Then I discovered something really strange. He worked out of the same Family History Center I was standing in; but, sadly, he had died. I came all the way to Georgia before I got interested in my family history and the only guy who ever did any research on them lived right down the street. But he was dead.

Needless to say, I wondered how he knew so much about Christmans and where he got his information? - And why? Nobody knew. And, when I realized a relationship between the 18th century Christmans and Grays, I went to the FHC to look up the Grays. Again, they were in the computer. The source? - Rex Stevenson. Not Gray. Rex Stevenson. Who was this guy? And not only did he do all the work, everything always checks out as I look at wills and so on. It's quite a strange coincidence. And now, since I have joined the computer age, there he is again; and one of the founders, no less, of the Herkimer/Montgomery NY Gen Web - unbelievable.

Although I never met Rex Stevenson, his research has had a dramatic impact on my own. Because of the framework he built, including allied families, I have been able to concentrate on the story of the big picture instead of just trying to find people. His framework brought the story together. Not only did I find the exact location of the 1728 Christman property above Burnetsfield because Rex told me that Hans Nicholas married Margaret Feller, but I have identified eight Christmans who fought at Oriskany and one who was in Fort Stanwix at the siege.

Rex Stevenson's credibility is spoken of highly by people at the Roswell FHC, and now, finding his glowing memorial on the NY Gen Web confirms even that. Although I have had to dot the I's, cross the T's, and sort out the Jacobs, Johns, Elizabeths, and Catherines, into the 20th century, Rex Stevenson built the Mohawk Valley Christman genealogy framework and I thank him.

Sincerely, Bruce Christman, Roswell Georgia


From: Kathleen Novicki

I am a cousin of Rex Stevenson. I am a descendant of the maternal line of Rex Stevenson. Every where I look, I see his name on my ancestors!!! It appears his line went along Abraham Jacobson and my line went along Abraham's oldest and only brother Jacob. It appears he knew they were brothers but lost sight of Jacob and could not continue his research. This is because Jacob moved to Oswego Co. and Abraham stayed in Herkimer area. I think he would have been tickled "pink" to hear the additional extensive cousins he has. And if someone took over his research, perhaps they too would be interested. Do you know if anyone did take over his research? Thanks. Kathleen

Reurn to "In Memory of Rex Stevenson"

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