52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #5 My father, Alan Edouard Samuel

Again this week I have combined the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weekschallenge with Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over. Week 5 of the Do-Over had us focusing on building a research toolbox and on citing sources. My poor citing skill was one of the main reasons I decided to participate in the do-over. I had about 950 people in my “tree” some of whom I simply exported from other people’s trees. But, most crucial was the fact that I had many, many facts attached to people and I had no idea where the information came from. I also had many “holes” where I was missing information.
The theme for Week #5 of 52 Ancestors is “Plowing Through.” That is exactly how I have been feeling- “plowing through” research related to my father, adding it to my research log (Week #3 – Research Logs), carefully tracking my research attempts (Week #4 – Tracking Searches) and meticulously (hopefully correctly), citing the source of each fact before adding it to my genealogy software, RootsMagic.
I chose my father for a few reasons. One: The Do-Over had me start with myself. That was the focus of my last post. Then I moved to my father. Two: I have pretty much finishing gathering the vital stats for my father. 3: My father actually was a farmer. Truthfully, more of a farmer-wanna-be! So, here goes:
My father (center, wearing white pants) at the reunion he organized for his 75th birthday in 2007.
His sister, Jessica is to the left of him. 7 of his 9  kids were there.That’s me in the turquoise shirt and weird print skirt.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

August 1932
Alan held by his mother, Hortense Kesner Samuel
Alan Edouard Samuel was born on July 24, 1932 at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens, New York. He was the first child of Edgar Samuel and Hortense Kesner. His childhood was spent in Brooklyn where he attended Erasmus Hall High School.
 Alan attended Hamilton College in NY, earning his BA in 1953. He married “the girl next door”, Doris Lichtenthal on June 28, 1953.
From 1954-1955, Alan lived in Japan while completing his service in the Navy. Alan earned the rank of LTJG (Lieutenant, Junior Grade.) He served in a variety of positions, from working in the mailroom to pleading cases as a military lawyer. During this time, Alan taught also some courses in Ancient History at the USAFI (US Armed Forces Institute.) 
In November 1955, Alan was reassigned to the States. He moved to New Rochelle, New York with Doris and their 9 month-old daughter, Deborah. (That’s me!)

By 1956, Alan had been accepted to Yale University in New Haven, CT. Alan, Doris and their two girls moved to New Haven while Alan attended school, paid for by a fellowship (daughter Jeanne had been born in June 1956) . Alan received his MA in 1957, shortly before his third daughter, Katharine was born.

Here’s an example of why I need to do the Genealogy Do-Over.
Finding the source of this article is on my To-Do List!

In 1959 Alan earned his PhD from Yale. He taught, first as an “instructor” from 1959-1963, then as a Professor of Classics from 1963 through 1966.

That same year, Alan and his family relocated to the suburban town, Hamden, CT. In 1961 his fourth daughter, Elizabeth was born. Shortly after, the marriage broke down and Alan moved out of the family home. By 1964, a divorce had been granted.
Alan married his second wife (Name withheld for privacy reasons) in 1964 and in 1966, he and his wife moved to Toronto, Canada, where Alan secured a professorship at the University of Toronto. Alan’s fifth daughter (Name withheld for privacy reasons) was born in 1971.
Alan’s second marriage also dissolved. On February 15, 1975, Alan married his third wife, Valerie Stevens. Valerie had one child from a previous marriage, (Name withheld for privacy reasons).
At some point in the early 1970s, Alan and his wife purchased a 50 acre farm in outside of Guelph, Ontario in the village of Campbellsville. Here, Alan spent many happy hours mowing and selling hay, and later growing Christmas trees.The family lived in a residential section of Toronto
but they also maintianed ownership of the farm, eventually moving there full time.
This marriage would last for many years. Alan and Valerie adopted three children, two girls and one boy (Names withheld for privacy reasons.) Alan continued to teach at the University of Toronto and also began a publishing company, Edgar Kent. Inc.
Valerie passed away in 2001. Alan remained at the fa
rm, eventually retiring from his teaching position. He continued to work in the publishing business, writing scholarly articles and books. He also wrote some stories related to his childhood. (In 2009 I pulled those stories together into a self-published book for family, Stories from My Life.)
In 2007, Alan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He married his fourth wife (Name withheld for privacy reasons) shortly before his death on August 15, 2008.
So- those are the facts. As you can imagine my father’s life lends itself to a much more in-depth post. Maybe two. Or ten. A childhood full of impish stories, four wives, nine children, a well-respected scholar and an extremely intelligent man (with dubious decision-making abilities) provides a plethora of stories just begging to be told.
For now, I’ll end this post with two appropriate references to this week’s theme of “Plowing Through.”

Alan, 1959
The first is a picture of my father digging an “addition” to the brook that ran behind my childhood home in Hamden. 

My mom told me that the neighbors were pretty upset about it. Dad had decided to dig a brook on our land, forming a sort of semi-circle from the natural brook that ran behind all the homes on our side of the street. Apparently, his efforts resulted in a lowering of the water depth for the entire length of the brook. Oops.

The second reference I found while doing “an exhaustive search” for Week 3 of the Do-Over. After Dad became ill, he was quite concerned about the fate of the farm. According to an article posted on the website of the Ontario Farmland Trust  the property is now a protected area, “Made possible by the dedication and generosity of the late Mr. Alan Samuel and his wife, the late Valerie Stevens, as well as their children, the easement protects the property’s unique agricultural and natural features in perpetuity.”

Photograph of the farm – taken by Alan’s daughter, Kristin Samuel-Stevens

Perhaps there will be an appropriate theme in the future where I can tell more of my father’s story. What might that theme be? Oh – so many choices….one thing I can say about my dad – he was not a boring man!

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