Margaret Shannon


Family History/Genealogy


Amazon Author Page


There was always a library in my parents’ home. On the shelves, Will and Ariel Durant’s History of Civilization sat next to the poetry of Khalil Gibran. World War II books were alongside author Edgar Casey’s explorations and works on Transactional Analysis. There were two volumes, published in 1916, that I pulled down often: The Abbe-Abbey Genealogy and The Memorial of Thomas Abbey. I was fascinated by the lives of my ancestors. While in elementary school, I won a Daughters of the American Revolution writing contest with a story about Captain Thomas Abbey (1731-1811) and his famous drum.

My interest in Genealogy continued to grow, and I discovered more of the story of my father’s Irish immigrant mother and the Ashman line. I met distant cousins online through genealogical websites and visited Enfield, Connecticut to see the statue of Thomas Abbey. The impetus to write a book about my ancestors centered around sharing this history with my grandchildren.

Through the years I have had a career in Interior Design and as an ordained United Methodist clergywoman, and I owned a home-based custom quilt-making and finishing business and a shop on, SerenityHouseQuilts. I am the mother of three grown sons and grandmother to five incredible young people. Today I live in New Mexico with my husband and two dogs. Hiking, photography, travel (again post-Covid), genealogy, writing, family and friends fill my days, lived one day at a time.

More from Molly

I plan to continue my chronicles beyond Volume One of Abbey-Ashman, which covers the origins of my maternal Abbe/Abbey ancestors in England followed through four generations in Colonial America.

Volume Two will cover the fifth generation, Peter Abbey, and six generations of his wife, Hannah Alden, tracing vast branches back to England and the pilgrims of the Mayflower.

Volume Three will follow four generations of Abbeys from Peter’s son Seth Alden Abbey to my grandfather Henry Abbey Jr. These families move from New England to New York State, Connecticut, Ohio and beyond. Some eventually settled in California, Mexico, and Arizona. Military service took others around the globe. The women who married the Abbey men had origins in Northern Ireland, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

Volume Four will cover my paternal Ashman ancestors, who were early pioneers of California. They had origins in New York, in England and Northern Ireland, and branches of these families extend to Australia and New Zealand.


Title: Abbey-Ashman: Two Colonial and Pioneering Families of North America, Volume One: The American Colonists
Published: 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction: Historical, Genealogy

Beginning in 1475 England, this genealogical journey engages readers in the social-political structures which drove the family to brave life in the New World. The history of these first generations in America is both complicated and fascinating and must be remembered. The author explores John Abbe’s beginnings in England and offers extensive and current research. Then follow four chapters each covering a generation of author’s Abbe-Abbey ancestors in colonial America up to the American Revolution. Sections titled “History and Inventions” and “The Lives and Role of Women” are included for each generation, as well as stories from the author’s travels and research. Images, charts, and photographs enhance each section. These features serve, as one “beta” reader commented, “to turn dry lists of ‘begats’ into compelling stories of real people who lived real lives, leaving England behind and forging a new home in a new land.

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