New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.



Miscon in Missoula MT in May or June, often Radcon in the Tricities of WA. Spocon in Spokane WA,
November 2015
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Genealogy: a hobby of mine…

My dad and my mom used to tell me family stories, some of which I used to think were tall tales…

I eventually found out they were mostly true, only the details being slightly bent in the oral history.

I found out, for instance, that my father came from a family that had been very determined to keep family records, before and after coming to America.

And that my mother had a grandmother who’d lived a real western adventure.

And that my parents both grew up in Oklahoma during the wild days, just after the state came into the Union.

The outlaw Cole Younger, associated with Jesse James, had a nephew who worked on my mother’s parents’ farm. And it was this gentle-spoken young man who introduced my mother to my father. Cole Younger himself had been in prison in Stillwater, MN, and had been released, to spend his final years in Missouri. Most of Cole Younger’s family had been killed in the violence of the post-Civil War period in Kansas—it was a bad place and a bad time. But one of his brothers or sisters apparently lived long enough to have a son, whose name was Bill or Bob, as my mother recalls, who worked on the family farm in Anadarko OK, and who apparently visited his uncle in Stillwater. When my father admired my mother from a distance, Younger, acquainted with both, managed an introduction. My father worked at the Anadarko ice house, and my mother began to insist on doing the drive into town after ice that summer. They were secretly married in El Reno OK, and didn’t tell relatives on both sides until some months later.

My maternal great-grandmother was the survivor of an accident that drowned or separated her family as they were crossing a major river on the move west. Her name was Missouri Duff. But in my searching census records, I found her on an old census report from before the accident, and I found, in the next census, her mother and a brother living in a town near the Missouri river. Evidently they’d survived, her father and other children had drowned—and she’d survived, taking the name of Missouri and moving first to Kansas and then to Oklahoma, to grow up and marry with never a notion she had living relatives.

My grandfather was a cowboy turned salesman as Indian Territory became settled towns. His mother was Louisiana Carolina Boone, and my father named me after her. She was one of those Boones, and she came into Indian Territory out of Texas with her husband, my great-grandfather, and ended up living with my grandfather, then taking care of my father when he was very small.

When she died, my father went to live with other relatives, an uncle, and only came home to live with my grandfather when he married my step-grandmother, a spectacularly gracious lady, in every sense of the word.

Well, I got all the family stories—including the night St. Elmo’s fire turned up on a herd of cattle when my grandfather was riding herd in an impending thunderstorm: horns and hooves glowed—the herd spooked, and if you remember the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” it must have been like that.

A part of my family is Dutch, and used to own a major slice of New Jersey and Manhattan: they became bankers, and one a Supreme Court judge—but half that family broke off and went down to Virginia and the Carolinas. That was my half, poor as church mice, and working in farming, from Virginia to Nebraska during the Civil War and down to Kansas in the Bleeding Kansas days, then on into Oklahoma.

But when I got seriously into genealogy, I began to fill in the pieces of various things. I found Missouri Duff’s missing family. I found how we connect to Daniel Boone’s father, Squire Boone, and how we connect, though part of the Boone family fiercely disputes it, through a dubious union, to the de Bohuns, one of the kingmaking families in England. Whether or not the Boone line does connect—I’m related to the de Bohuns down another line as well. And here’s an interesting point: these families keep connecting and reconnecting: geographical closeness, and social circles: availability of potential good matches, strengthening economic and political ties, in an era of arranged marriages. When you have a nest of connections that keep reiterating, I think it likely that relationship is true.

A great number of my forbears came over from England: read: ran for their lives to get out of England during the English Civil War. A lot of them were Charles I’s supporters. My ancestors were not fans of our Pilgrim fathers, quite on the other side of the political fence.

I’ve been able to trace relations  going back and back and back…a lot of lines through those English emigres…

And here’s the kicker. It turns out Jane and I are related to each other—back in England. One of her folk married one of the de Bohuns,  both of us in direct descent.

One of the really fun things is going through Wikipedia finding out about these people. Mine had a penchant for getting involved in royal politics and getting caught on the losing side—many were very creatively executed in a very brutal age.

Fortunately, they managed to reproduce before meeting their nasty end.

Not all were saints. I’m related to Hugh the Despenser—-reputed as one of the most corrupt men in England. And to William Marshal, reputed as one of the most honest.

I’ve found answers to family mysteries: the family story is that we came over from Ireland, when most geneologies try to make us German. Well, we’re right: our guy, John Cherry, married to Bridgett Haney, was of British origin, but had been living in Ireland, and his wife was apparently Irish—when they, or he, immigrated to the states. And that was the origin of the story. That family came over from Normandy, but not in the invasion: the name(of, originally de Cerisy, has a ‘de’ (of)—which is the sort of thing that ordinarily denotes some lordly family, but in this case I think it simply means “from the village of Cerisy”, a little place in Normandy, France, no nobility involved, and not one of William the Conqueror’s lot, just a guy from a French village who came to England.

And—a very interesting update: research in French records gives another story—not de Cerisy, ‘from the village of Cerisy’, but de Chery, from the town of ‘Chery,’ in the Centre district of France. It seems that one Jean de Chery held property in Normandy, or had some ancestral rights in William the Conqueror’s land, but that one could not at that time enter Normandy from the rest of France without a royal permit—which Jean de Chery sought from his king, Charles. King Charles, now called Charles the Mad, had once been known as Charles the Good, but he had had a mental breakdown, what they call the glass syndrome, becoming convinced he could shatter, literally, and convinced that assassins were on his track.

Actually, re Charles’ paranoia, it’s not paranoia if they’re really after you, and it wasn’t a bad guess. There were three contenders for the French throne: the Capets, descended from Charlemagne, the Burgundians, who claimed southern central France as their ancestral domain, and had allies clear across France; and the de Courtenays, who contended they should be kings of France. Burgundy was assassinating people who stood in his way.

And there is a document which indicates that the de Cherys were a) in charge of the substantial town of Chery, and b) closely tied to the de Courtenays who were c) increasingly split as to where their fortunes would best advance, in William’s enterprise, or in France, trying to succeed the failing Charles Capet the Mad…that Burgundy was intent on killing and supplanting. There was a de Courtenay branch, the lords of Arrablay, one of whom, I think also named Charles, is documented to have married his neighbor, one Jeanne de Chery; so there were marriage ties between the de Cherys and the vastly powerful de Courtenays.

Burgundy began to gain ground, and while the de Courtenays didn’t sail with William the Conqueror, a number of them went over to England after the Conquest—possibly because they were feeling the heat from Burgundy and Charles the Mad was, well, mad…

The de Courtenays who emigrated to England set up a castle with William’s permission, in Leicestershire, central England.

Well, now we have one Jean de Chery (the male form of John/Jeanne) who at a certain point seeks the permission of Charles the Mad to go visit his properties in Normandy, after which he vanishes from history, and the de Chereis turn up in Leicestershire…attached to the de Courtenay branch that had established in England. It was, thanks to William, *no* trouble to get ship from Normandy to England in that time.

And Burgundy was busy assassinating his rivals, and King Charles was getting crazier, and the de Courtenays in France finally dwindled down to a few, one female unable to pass the title, and virtually powerless, though they still existed.

Part of the de Chereis family moved from Leicestershire and set up in the south, at Maidenhead and Bray, in Berkshire, and those folk by then are spelling it Cherry, and still marrying people of some substance, to judge by the graves, the literacy, and the constant interweaving of spouses of some indication of wealth, even title. Then from Bray, a Cherry (they all tended to be named John and David and Thomas) went over to northern Ireland, and after a few generations, a John and his son David emigrated to Virginia, in a time of religious unrest and civil war. So my little guy from de Cerisy may instead be a much more politically connected guy skipping out of the town of Chery, in central France to go join the de Courtenays in Leicestershire, before the king who was his patron went entirely over the brink.

Jane’s family name, possibly originally Faucher, may, according to one name-origin, have come from the Limoges area of France, then to London, then to the Americas, which is kind of generic information and not easy to attach to individuals, but there is new information, too—indicating a substantial house in England, the house at Fanshawe Gate, which is now a beautiful garden showplace in Derbyshire—and a connection of her very definite ancestor, via records in Massachusetts, to a Fanshawe from the house at Fanshawe Gate who went from that Derbyshire hall down to London: that ancestor married one Eunice Bouton, who seems like a quiet New England lady of French ancestry—until you get into her past, and figure that—ironically enough—that lady’s ancestors run back to the dukes of central France, back before the Norman Invasion. Both these possible connections are still under investigation—but they do answer some interesting questions and fill in some gaps; and they are better connected to specific individuals whose time and place we can say match and intersect. It’s worth more study, at very least. The de Chereis are in Burke’s Peerage.

Anyway, hunting ancestors one of my favorite winter-evening hobbies. I was amazed that I could trace anybody by real, checkable records, but the computer age has made it an easy-chair kind of hobby; you can access, almost instantly, every digitized census report and village record, not just in the States, but in Britain, Italy, France, and now apparently into Japan and Germany, the Netherlands, you name it. They open up more of these every month, and if they ever digitize Creek County, OK, I may be able to open up a whole new part of the tree by finding my paternal great-grandmother. That could happen.

The software system I use  is and if you’ve ever wanted to get into this, it’s a marvelous way to learn history: it gets pretty personal when  you know it was your great-great-great-great grandfather in that battle…

For any of you who are in the Ancestry network, our tree is “It’s the Eleventh Century and We’re All Barbarians…”, a quote from our favorite Christmas movie, The Lion in Winter, which is appropriate on so many grounds.

678 comments to Genealogy: a hobby of mine…

  • ryanrick

    I’m so excited! I just got my DNA results from NatGeo today. Interesting that I’m part of a haplogroup they know next to nothing about [only about .1% showing up on all those they’ve tested], but that also sucks. It’s J1B1C1A — but looking at comments from 10 others who ‘have shared their story’ looks like a lot have ancestry in Quebec, Germany and Prussia, so I’m wondering if a Frankish/ Merovingian ancestry doesn’t make up a chunk of it. Interestingly I’ve got 2.4 Neanderthal and 2.3 Denisovan. I haven’t read husband’s results yet or his hapogroup(s), but he’s really low on the Neanderthal side of the fence — 1.5 Neandthal and.6 Denisovan. Gonna have to poke around and see what else I can find out about all this.

    • paul

      Have you considered that may be why you are together? It may have given you different MHC, Major Histocompatibility Complex genes. Incompatible as organ donors, but it’s believed they are expressed in pheromones we detect, and give rise to babies with broader immune systems, i.e. better survivability.

    • CJ

      Wow, that’s a haplogroup I haven’t seen. And you have a good guess there about origin. My paternal haplogroup is a G, which is Caucasus Mountains 5000 years ago, moving northward to the area that became Germany, and may be associated with the Franks as well. My maternal one is H5b, which developed somewhere around Asia Minor into Greece and southern Italy 5000 years ago, and then moved northward.

      The weird thing is that Jane and I are 7th cousins on my father’s side from an unassuming Miss Carpenter in the Americas, 8th cousins on my mother’s side via a scholarly Dunster (associated with Harvard U.) family in England (Ms Carpenter and Mr Dunster never met) and previously connected in other lines via English cousins much further removed, over and over again, families that just wove back and forth in successive generations.

  • ryanrick

    Finding virtually nothing about my haplogroup — so it’s not just NatGeo who hasn’t seen many. Interesting really. Mom’s family has been in Quebec for ages — her father’s lineage goes back to when Nicholas got off the boat from Rouen in 1658 and I can shove her line in a broad zigzag back to Charlemagne and the Merovingians. But not much on her mother’s family, but what we do have is well entrenched in Quebec. I had gotten my dad a kit for Christmas, but I’m not sure if he’s sent it in yet or not. I’m very anxious to see his since his father was Irish [Scots on paternal mother’s side] and his mother was Cree Indian. And since I’m a girl, getting into that side of the fence is a tad tough. Although percentages did show I had about 10% Native America and a small chunk of NE and SE Asia as well, so maybe they can pick up some of dad’s ancestry after all.

  • CJ

    Nudge your dad. We had to nudge a male relative recently—we thought it was sent in a year ago. Assure him it’s not testing for the whole genome, just the y, which is going to tell just the provenance of the male line some five thousand years ago: some people imagine their whole genome is going to be read and put somewhere on physical record, subject to hackers and government probes—or conversely that they’ll find out they have some horrid ailment. Assure him this is not the case, the lab hasn’t the time or interest to extract the whole genome, unless paid enormously; they only test for what they charge for. And as for the security of his dna, his dna is available to all interested parties on the rim of every cup he drinks from. WE constantly shed these bits and bobs of dna, rather like Pigpen in Peanuts. 😉

  • CJ

    You might, also, Ryanrick, be interested in Ancestry’s autosomal test: this is where they computer-search for certain telltale strings of dna…and combined with a family tree, they can haul up other ‘similars’ and say hmm, yep, that would make sense. They’re running an experimental thing that says to perfect strangers, hey, you might be related to this group of relatives somehow—which is kind of interesting. I’ve definitely found one that is, and four that I can’t figure where the link would have happened. Not in America. And autosomal results are good for only four or five generations back in terms of relationships, though they can say a bit about ethnic origins.

    • ryanrick

      I actually got on Ancestry’s DNA testing very early — they offered it to me free if I paid for the S&H and I thought you betcha! It’s been a while since I’ve looked it and plan to this weekend at least to compare a few things. The nice thing abut NatGeo, for the guys they look at both the Y and the mDNA. I think with Dad it’s just a case of having forgotten about it. I just nudged my stepmom which may have better results than nudging dad. He’s 81 now and I’d sure like to see this done while we easily can. The Ancestry test was very early and I know that they’ve rerun somethings as they’ve gotten more data to compare to. The early results have this isolated little bunch in the Stans with nothing between it and Europe, so maybe that glomed onto the J1C1B1a. I’m still wondering about the northern Caucasus Mts. and early groups swinging to the north and coming into Europe and Scandinavia that route, not just moving back and forth along the Mediterranean. My first thought when I looked at the maps was, gee I’m descended from the ravening hordes off the Steppes!

      • CJ

        Lol—I looked at my mum’s H5B area and said, Good grief, we’re Hittites, though there are Italians in the remote tree. Jane had a weirder one…a bit of Asian, perhaps from off very early trade routes…we’re talking before the Silk Road.

  • I’d been wondering why I couldn’t split my file into multiple sections, and it turns out that there are cross-linkages all over it. The best part: my brother’s daughter-in-law shares ancestors with both my brother and his wife (and his wife’s great-uncle). It gets very, very messy. (I’m starting to think of it as Atevi genealogy.)
    Ghu only knows what DNA testing would turn up. (And my SIL’s stepfather’s family, a lot of it, is from Quebec. It goes way, way back.)

    • tulrose

      Quebec genealogies are well known for marriages hither and yon in what was a relatively small population.

      My Haplogroup is unbelievably mundane – H1a1. My brother’s is not much better being R-P312. We’re both spread out over western Europe.

      • ryanrick

        The one truly lovely thing about the Quebec genealogy is that the good Father’s wrote down everything! looking at the Drouin files, found out that my mom was not the first born — there had been a stillborn boy as the first baby. How terribly sad and scary for my grandparents! It’s just a bit of an adventure to cope with makes sense of French in variably handwriting, variable ink preservation and sometimes spelling. Love that they recorded maiden names and parents on both sides! Makes for some easier searching.

  • CJ

    Jane’s got a particular problem in her Canadian lineage: she’s a Macphail, a clan which was forcibly loaded on ships in the Clearances, when a landholder sold land to Lord Sutherland—the Scots living on North Uist were forcibly gathered up (kudos to the lady who pitched a major fit and started a riot for the sheriff disturbing her loom) and loaded on ships for Nova Scotia. There was then another major to-do, when the Canadian authorities tried to tax them as immigrants. The tax got paid, not by the Scots, and they were let off, but it was a wilderness with no preparation, and winters up there are fierce. Jane’s family was of the same clan, but apparently left Scotland of their own volition and came into Ontario. And tracing Scottish families is not easy, since names are many times repeated, generation to generation. That family then had sons who left Canada and went down into what became the states, one, her some-degree great-grandfather dying in Vermont, and a great-something-uncle pioneering a trail west across the Rockies. But finding their origins is an ongoing puzzle.

  • ryanrick

    One of our big surprises was the Iroquois connection. One forgets that tribal boundaries have no correlation to modern boundaries and that the Iroquois were just as prominent in Quebec as they were in New England. On dad’s side, there was Louis [I can never remember how to spell his last name — it was an Iroquois name, and not a French surname], born about 1795 in an Iroquois village not too far northwest of Montreal who was baptized by the good Fathers and duly recorded. He ended up signing up with Frobisher [I’ve seen a copy of the contract], going west into Alberta and what became the Northwest Territories, and was apparently a rather important guide and voyageur — who managed to be very native after all. He had one wife with about a dozen kids and part of the year he spent with his other wives [sisters] and had about 17 more with them. They called such women “country wives”. Around 1845 the RC priests managed to work their way in that area and he finally got legally married — to the first gal, but not either of the sisters. I think all three wives were Cree. One daughter by one of the sisters is my great-gran’s mother. Typically, if these ladies had a surname, they followed the French tradition and kept their father’s name and not their husband’s.

  • CJ

    There was such a case, legendarily, in Oklahoma, in which a Kickapoo gentleman with multiple wives and children was told by the authorities that he could only have one wife and he had to choose. He swept a gesture at the wives and children, saying, “Government man, you pick, you tell them.”

  • paul

    “Curiouser and curiouser” one might say, but others still regard the first migration into the New World story as FAR from understood.

    There’s a new report, from the Harvard Medical School no less, that Amazonian natives have genomic similarities to Australasians. As I was reading, it just begs for the Ainu, Kennewick Man connection. His genomic comparison to modern Native American clades that was supposed to have been the nail in the coffin cannot be considered conclusive if it is not compared to this Population Y genome. “What you find depends on what you’re looking for.”

    • ryanrick

      It wouldn’t be an Ainu connection for the indigenous folk in the Amazon — more likely Protopolynesian. They did say in the article that there are no matches to any other North or South American populations, so no correspondences with the Colville Confederacy, which is the closest group match known for Kennewick. Although other groups could well be related to Kennewick if tribal members would offer DNA for comparison. Still pretty interesting about the potential of a southern migration and could answer some questions, like how folk got to the south end of Chile before 14000 BCE to create the Monte Verde site. My first thought was, cool, this could answer the yam and chicken issue — both of which do show up in South America long before European intrusion and colonialism and which pointed directly to at least a trade connection with Polynesians, even to Easter Island as a contact point. But there’s been occasional talk of really old and unusual remains showing up in Brazil and maybe there was a second haplogroup that came into the Continent with the First Americans ca 15,000 ago. There’s nothing that says it could have been one genetic group who trundled across the Bering land bridge or sailed down the coast line. The next big question, though is if they can fine-tune how old this Population Y is.

      • paul

        @ryanrick, Yes, you have outlined the current argument well. I have my suspicions that we have it right even yet. We barely know about the Denisovans, two samples from the same site IIRC. The whole question of pre- & early modern human migrations in Asia >15K years BP has changed considerably in my lifetime, and now we’re able to investigate ~50K.

  • tulrose

    Has anyone been watching “First Peoples”? The only one I managed to catch was the one on Aboriginals unfortunately. In 2011 a scientist in Denmark isolated DNA from a 100-year old sample of hair from a full-blood which hadn’t been contaminated with Western or Asian DNA.

    • paul

      I have. Have you checked to see if it’s available online?

    • “First Peoples” — iTunes lists it as available in HD for $12.99 for the season. I’d presume Amazon’s Instant Video has it for about the same, or has it available on DVD or Blu-Ray.

      • tulrose

        Thanks BCS. I’m making a concerted effort here not to buy anything, no matter how small, that will eventually sit around and gather dust. Spouse these days is tethered to an Oxygen Concentrator and finds it easiest to watch things on his big TV than anywhere else. Streaming to his TV isn’t an option at the moment and he doesn’t want to bother with it. Keeping things simple around here is what I’m aiming at.

  • tulrose

    When you finally come up to breathe and get back into all things Medieval here’s a new site “The Soldier in Later Medieval England 1369-1453”

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