States: New York: Albany
It is with profound regret that I report the passing of one of the most dedicated and senior researchers of the Springer family in the United States and Canada. June Mildred Preston, UE (United Empire Loyalist), of Burlington, Ontario, died February 26, 2011, at the age of 85, having spent the last 40 years of her life tracing the various lines of the Springer family. Born at Hamilton, Ontario, June was a descendent of David Springer (17?? – 1777), of Albany County, New York, a Loyalist in the Revolutionary War and patriarch of the Springer family of Ontario, Canada. Many of you may never have heard of this wonderful lady, which is not surprising considering that June Preston never owned a computer. She conducted her research the old-fashioned way, by letter writing, visiting libraries, and building her own library of historical journals and records abstracts. Her correspondence, written in neat and legible longhand and often covering many pages, forms a detailed history of her work on the Springers. June called herself a “lover of truth,” and much of her efforts involved dispelling many of the spurious family histories and false claims generated by the Springer Fortune hoax. Her goal was always to seek out original record sources, rather than rely on the conjecture and recycled hearsay that so much of today’s supposed “knowledge” of the Springer family seems based on.
As a descendant of David Springer, the thrust of June’s work involved establishing David’s lineage – a difficult and challenging task, given the abysmal lack of contemporary records from that period. Her earliest findings, including detailed studies of naming patterns, migration routes and known associates, led her to conclude that David was directly descended from the Springer family of New Jersey, and before that, from the Connecticut family of Dennis Springer and Mary Hudson. It was finding the proof of this connection which occupied June Preston’s life up until the time of her passing. Recent DNA tests have all but confirmed this connection. When I informed June of this by phone, she was encouraged, but not convinced: “I’d still like to find David’s baptismal record!” she said. Perhaps June is now in that place where all things become known – and at last, she has the answers that eluded her for so long.
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