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About This Web Site  
About This Web Site

This web site is the culmination of over 30 years of research on the origins of the Ela name. My father, Chipman Phillips Ela, gave me some material over the years, which initially aroused my curiosity; and later, having developed an interest in the Civil War, I began to search for ancestors who might have served during that conflict. On my mother's side, I quickly found two ancestors who served in the Confederate Army, but long hours of research turned up no soldiers on the Union side. Only recently, I finally found records of three of my Fryeburg ancestors who served: Charles Ela, my great-great-grandfather, and two of his sons. They served in the 10th Maine, and the 29th Maine (for those of you who may be interested in those details).

I had no expectations as to the socio-economic status of my ancestors, which is probably a good thing, since, for the most part, they were simple farmers and laborers. The only ancestor who achieved some degree of fame was my Great Aunt Fannie Andrews. She was my grandmother Ela's older sister who graduated from Radcliffe, and was appointed by President Wilson to be a delegate to an international conference on education that was to be held at the Hague, in the Netherlands. She traveled extensively in Europe, and personally met many heads of state. Her collected papers and writings are in a permanent collection at the Radcliffe library. For those of you who may wish to learn more about this remarkable woman, go to the Harvard University Library site.

When I began serious research into my family, I immediately discovered the Ela Genealogy, and was understandably disappointed to learn that there was no connection between my family and that of Israel Ela. My father had been contacted by a descendent of that family, David H. Ela of North Anson, ME, who was doing research into both of the Ela families. I corresponded with Mr. Ela several times, and he was very helpful in my own research. He ventured a few possible theories on how the two families could be connected, but my own research has convinced me that there is no connection, and that the Fryeburg Elas are, in fact, descended from the Healey Family in England. The primary factor that has maintained my interest in this research, is the elusive Joseph Ela, the purported progenitor of the Fryeburg Ela family. Tthere is absolutely no record of him to be found. No grave, no official document of birth, marriage or death - nothing. I have only a family tradition that was given to my grandfather by his father, that the first Ela to come to the U.S. was a Joseph Ela who came over from England in the late 1700's, who had a son, William. William, in turn, had a son, John, and starting with John, there are records to corroborate this oral history, but no record has ever been found of Joseph. The family tradition maintains that William was killed in the War of 1812. This has been borne out by my own research. Adding to the mystery surrounding our origins, there are no records of Lydia Ordway (sometimes spelled, 'Oddway'). With five children to support, one would suppose that she would show up in some census record somewhere. Even if she remarried, there would be a record of that, and since the children evidently kept the name, Ela, they would show up in a census record. The name, 'Ordway' appears frequently in New Hampshire and Maine, and there are many people researching that line, but I have still been unable to find a Lydia Ordway who could have been William's wife.

Another 'mystery': there is a William Ela buried in Conway, who appears to have moved, for a short time, to Fryeburg, indicating that he had a connection with our family, but then he and his family moved back to Conway. Johnathan Ela had no sons named William, nor did his brother, Seth, who also lived in Conway, and this William is not mentioned in the Ela Genealogy. William Healy died in 1815, so could not have been this William's father.

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