|I do not know of a Henson family tree other than the one I made on the next page. Any
American Henson relationship, or family tree, would not link directly to Matthew. It would link to his sisters, mother, father or half brothers. So
far I have not heard from anyone with proven maternal
lineage other than the ones in Dr. Counter's book. However, dozens of people have emailed
claiming that a grandparent once told them they were related to Matthew Henson.
But they must instead be linked to one of Matt's sister's children (see
the tree on next page). |
Genealogy is based upon factual documents and records such as birth
certificates, copies of marriage licenses, census records, etc. Sometimes
graveyard markers mention birthdates, marriages, etc. that provide more clues
which can then be researched. To create a family tree you have to become a
detective and obtain copies of public documents, etc. A family tree is not
simply a story from grandma.
Nothing can be established without copies of original marriage records, birth & death certificates,
etc. Genealogists search old public records at the courthouse, visit
gravesites to read and photograph inscriptions, locate where old documents are
stored. It can be difficult and require clever detective effort. A family tree to connect your
family to Matthew Henson means searching for 100–140+ year old
documents. Matt's sisters were born almost 140 years ago, his mother over 150
years ago. Who were his mother's sisters, brothers, and their offspring? They
were slaves. We have no information about Matt's sisters, or his mother's
family, or his wife Lucy's family.
Most people simply tell stories passed down by family members now dead that cannot be verified.
Many who contacted me had no interest
in actually performing any real genealogical record collecting. SOme claimed
that having Henson as a last name proved they were "direct descendents of
The next page contains a reconstruction
of Matthew Henson's Inuit descendants. Matt had a poor memory of his childhood before age
12 and could not remember all his siblings, but I started this tree with his biography
Dark Companion. There is, additionally, information from the 1871
census records that we've reconciled with Matt's remembrances in Dark Companion.