William Henry Roll

Welcome to the new and improved Roll Family Windmill website! We have upgraded our authoring tools to design and create content and present it to you with style. We will be better able to maintain content and share information about the genealogy of the Roll and allied families.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --Laurence Binyon,"Ode of Remembrance"

I have gathered a posie of other men's flowers, and nothing but the string that binds them is mine own. --Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Documenting your family history is a lifelong pursuit, a task of pleasure and research that is never completely finished.

Not to know one's ancestors, is to be a tree without roots, a stream without a source. --Kung-fut-se

The wind whispers through the trees, recalling words and dreams and memories of those who left us long ago. --Unknown

St. Basil of Caesarea, born about 330 A.D., said, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."


This website was created the old-fashioned way; it has been hand coded.

keep calm

Preface: Priming the Genealogical Pump
Pour a bucket of water in before pumping

water well pump

A cast-iron water well pump

I remember my grandparents Philip and Marguerite Lennon's humble home on Lincoln Lane in East Hanover, Morris County, New Jersey, about 1950. Lincoln Lane, now Lincoln Street, was a dirt road, two parallel ruts made, over time, by the passage of automobiles. About two-tenths of a mile east from the pavement at River Road, in a clearing in the pine barren, surrounded by blackberry and raspberry bushes, near the power transmission line, stood the small white house, a short walk from the Passaic River. My family lived there while preparing for the move "out West" to California.

Out behind the house, on the path to the print shop, was the well. A bucket full of water was kept there at all times, because the hand pump would not work unless water was first poured in to prime the well.

Genealogical research is much the same process. In order to get information from the sources, some information must first be poured into the search. And the better the quality of the information poured in, the more likely useful results.

My genealogical path began with a four page letter to Mary Adeline Roll (Mrs. John Nowelsky) from Roll family genealogist Richard John Franz III, which I found when going through files in my father's estate in 1997. That letter whetted my appetite. This little genealogy, based on the work of Richard Timbrook Wilson, The Genealogy of the Roll Family (1920), was the priming that allowed me to begin pumping the well. Franz's information proved to be very accurate, and the results amazing. Other genealogists have made significant contributions over the years.

The water well analogy led me to name this site the Roll Family Windmill, because the Dutch windmill was also a water pumper, uncovering rich fields for cultivation.

Richard II

The crowned rulers of nations*

The well path has led to the cabins of seafarers, tents of wandering tribes and armies of conquest, humble homes of farmers and tradesmen, dungeons, dwellings of pirate kings, and elaborate palaces of crowned rulers of nations, empires, and churches on six of the seven continents.

* A cutout from the portrait of King Richard II of England (1367-1400) famously shown in Westminster Abbey, London, where he is buried. It is the work of an unknown master, and the date is usually given as about 1390. This painting is the earliest known portrait of an English monarch.