This article, published into 2009, represented the continuation of Master's research into the Jerdone Family Network. As you can see, the irrepressible Alexander MacAulay does make an appearance.
Some historians have characterised the American Revolution as a political and economic process that evolved over many decades, rather than merely seeing it as a single event-albeit one of great significance-that occurred in 1776. While many colonists already felt physically and culturally distanced from Britain prior to the Revolution, with some having departed explicitly to effect this separation, merchant families in particular remained entangled in a web of personal, political and economic relationships that connected them to the greater British Atlantic world. Within this dynamic environment, local and regional loyalties vied for influence with both British and American identifications. Recognising how and why these connections and loyalties were either maintained or discarded during and after the Revolution is vital to understanding the changes wrought by American political independence in 1776.
This article proposes to explore these processes through an examination of the Jerdone kin-network, an extended family boasting relations and connections throughout Britain and America. The family papers, containing business records and personal correspondence over the generations preceding, encompassing and following American independence, have been carefully preserved by generations of Jerdones and offer insights into the formation and dissolution of transatlantic ties in this period. They are even more valuable owing to the fact that, at any point between 1740, when Francis Jerdone first immigrated to Virginia, and 1841, when his last surviving child died, at least one branch of the extended family lived in Scotland, in England and in Virginia, and that each branch chose to maintain regular communication with the others. The ability to explore how often those in Virginia corresponded with friends and relations in England and Scotland, as well as the frequency of transatlantic visits and return migrations, enables us to gauge the ways in which commercial and personal relationships changed over time. Moreover, how and when members of the Jerdone family chose to don either British or American national or cultural identities, and the rapidity or reluctance with which these identities were later discarded, reflects changing loyalties during and after the Revolution.
*Image courtesy of archer10