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.


  1. CJ

    Lol. That’s got to be worse than Scanlans. THanks for that!

  2. tulrose

    I’ve been having a lot of fun tracking down my husband’s family this last week or so. Lots of Jones, Allen, Galliher, Campbell, etc. Interestingly it seems that he is eligible to join First Families of Virginia and there are a lot of SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) files on Ancestry tracking him back through James Hunt Taylor and Thomas Williamson Jones with excursions into the Epes and the Goode families.

    The scholarship on those old SAR files is iffy but they do give good clues. FindaGrave has been quite useful with clues, particularly for Virginia and Alabama.

    • CJ

      You may cross ancestors of mine—most of mine were dodging the Puritans, so they tended to come in via Isle of Wight VA, and spread out into Henrico…

  3. CJ

    John Lackland—my 22nd great-grandfather; Jane’s 20th AND 21st great-grandfather. Nothing like family togetherness. He is also my half cousin 20x removed, my half second cousin 18x removed, my half first cousin 18x removed, and her 20th great-grand-uncle, and married to my half 20th great grand aunt Agatha.

    No apple ever fell far from THAT tree.

  4. CJ

    I have FINALLY (use a dictionary, eh?) found out what the elusive ‘sprote’ is. Sprote de Bretagne, Sprota de—whatever. It just means ‘fancy lady’ — I got onto this when Luitgarde de Vermandois turned out to have the same deathdate as the Sprote de Bretagne and both were listed as wives of William Longespee. I’ve long suspected it’s an honorific—but it just seems to mean ‘princess’ in the unicorns sense, not the realm of political power. Pretty-girl from Vermandois, in other words.

  5. paul

    So if you’re descended from John Lackland then “Dangereuse de L’Isle Bouchard” is your 24th great grandmother? There are many reasons why a woman might be called La Dangereuse, none of which one would expect to turn out well.

  6. CJ

    Yep. I’ve always thought she must’ve been named by parents frantic about living on the water—or that she went about in black lace and carried a poison vial…

    • paul

      Wikipedia has quite the story on that family. I started with Eleanor of Aquitaine.

      No, she was quite the femme fatale! Left her husband, and William the Duke of Aquitaine (The First Troubador) left his wife for her. The Pope supported his wife’s appeal. His legate could not persuade the Duke to leave Dangereuse. “Curls will grow on your bald pate before I leave the Viscountess.” They had three kids. The title fell to her daughter Aenor (who married the Duke’s son), and her daughter, the other Aenor, Alia-Aenor, Eleanor. Some of her characteristics were apparently passed down to her daughter and granddaughter, who went on the Second Crusade.

  7. CJ

    Gotta love it!

    I just found the all-time prize for names among my ancestors, outside of Fulk the Rude…a lady named Devorguilla of Galway. One of my sideways relations is Mourning Grubb. The Grubbs were a substantial family in England, fell on hard times during the English Civil Wars, and there was some deal where they had promised an ancestor that one of their children would always be named Mourning. So we have, yes, this very nice young lady saddled with the moniker.

  8. CJ

    Just found one of the neatest things ever. My mum was a Vandeventer, descendent from the Dutch colony in NY, NJ. And I turned up, hand-written,
    the boat ticket with which Jan Pieterz Van Deventer came to the New World. He sailed on the ship Hope, captained by Pieter Emilius; sailing with him was his wife Maria Hoogeboom, and their 3 children, aged 9, 6, and 4. The ticket was hand-written in Amsterdam, in 1662, and it cost collectively 126 of whatever unit the currency was…one assumes guilders.Using a historical Dutch currency converter, “126 guilders in the year 1662 was for your ancestor equivalent to 5.1 monthly wages of an unskilled worker. This roughly corresponds to 12008.98 USD today.” It probably included food, but not your modern luxury liner, for sure, and quite a major undertaking, to up stakes and move with very little property, on a 12000 ticket, with only relatives’ letters (likely) to tell you there was economic survival possible at the other end and that it was safe and peaceful…between the two Anglo-Dutch Wars, one ending in 1598 and the other starting in 1665. There must have been rumblings, even then. And by 1667—New Amsterdam passed under British rule, and a lot of my relatives decided Pennsylvania had possibilities, while my mum’s relatives, her 3rd-great grandparents, decided on Tennessee.

    • tulrose

      Really neat! Was it on Ancestry? Don’t forget to save the image on your local PC as well as linked to your tree.

  9. CJ

    It was on ancestry. I found several neat things: gravestone of my 5th-great-grand aunt Neeltje Van Couwenhoven; gravestone of my paternal great-grandfather, put up by my great-grandmother after whom I’m named. Signatures of my maternal 6th- and 7th-great Dutch grandfathers, the ticket, a dageurreotype picture of my paternal great-great grandfather Lafe Boone, and a pencil sketch of my maternal 7th-great English grandfather Col. Jonathan Tipton in a tricorn hat—a rather stout fellow, looks as if he loved his table and his ale…a lot. I found several for Jane, too: portraits of great-grands and second-greats she’d never seen before. And ditto my brother had never seen these things. You betcha they’re saved on my computer. People put these things on and yank them off again. I sent him the sigs, some portraits, and the ticket this morning—thanks for the reminder to spread these things out to multiple storage.
    I also found an alternate family history being sold by one of those ‘buy your coat of arms’ people—and I’m surer of my own origin, as a little village in Normandy. The chap in question, a Jean de Cerisy, was so named because he was plain lil’ ol’ Jean ‘from’ Cerisy, a little village in those days—there’s some suggestion he was a carter; and he came over AFTER the Norman Conquest, not in it. The for-hire people want to conjure up a lordship and a crest for a name Chei Rei, that just doesn’t make linguistic sense for English OR French, in Lincolnshire. My lot, as Cherrie, settled into North Kileworth in Leicestershire, and went through several generations before marrying ‘up’ a bit to the Welsh-and-Scottish connected Tubervilles and going over to northern Ireland. I have no confidence in the for-hire version.
    The only version Ancestry had before I really got to work on this was that the name came from a German family named Kirsch…well, there is one. But our batch has doggedly said they came from Ireland, and they’re half right: they hadn’t been in Ireland that long before they left: my guess is the same religious upheaval that put the Puritans in control of England had my folk coming over in droves, on both sides of the blanket. Some didn’t get along with the Puritans because they were Quakers; some didn’t get on with the Puritans because they were Catholic. Some didn’t get on because they had property and place until the Puritans took over. Gives you a whole different view of all those cute little Pilgrim figures we had to draw and cut out in grade school for Thanksgiving. My folk weren’t giving thanks about the Pilgrims at all—they arranged their entry into the US to dodge areas where the Pilgrims had the government in their hands, and their worst nightmare would have been about the Puritan pilgrims taking over the government in the Colonies, and having more wholesale executions of those who opposed the Puritans.

    • tulrose

      I’ve had a couple of neat contacts from distant rellies who shared photos of 2 of my great grandmothers. I may have a snap of another one in some old snaps my mother cleaned out of a drawer in Narrogin after Grandpa died. That’s all have of any of them. You are so lucky.

  10. CJ

    Don’t give up entirely. I didn’t think these things could possibly exist, but they turned up—saved in somebody else’s drawer, or bible, or whatever. I have no pictures of my great grands at all, and wasn’t even sure great grandfather had an extant grave marker: he died in Indian Territory. It’s so strange that pictures turned up of my great-great and third-great. I didn’t even think about daguerreotypes. Or a sketch. As more and more people link in these things appear. I am now motivated to scan in those I have of my grandparents and parents.

  11. tulrose

    Oh I haven’t given up. That’s what public trees are for, hoping to find someone else who has that little bit extra.

  12. Hanneke

    Can someone here advise on how I could find out if someone might be interested in a very old book I just received? It’s got a bookplate from ‘Dresden Church Sunday School’, saying it was given to Mary E. Shaw as a reward for the year 1894, by S. Salt, vicar.
    It also has the penciled-in name Michael Balogh, with two addresses:
    Wernerlaan 42, Hilversum, Holland; and
    173 Watling St., Wilnecote, Nr. Tamworth, Staffs., England.

    The book is The Dawn of Day, 1894, The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and it’s not in very good condition: pages yellowed, cover slightly water-damaged and the spine nearly loose from the front. Still, I thought some descendant of Mary E. Shaw and/or Michael Balogh might like to have it, and I could send it to them.

    The book came to me from an old distant cousin of my grandmothers, Zus (Petronella) Gagestein, whose grandfather as a widower in his old age married my grandmother’s grandmother (a widow whose first husband had been named Lodden). The Loddens lived in Hilversum (Utrecht, The Netherlands) at Bosdrift 4, a house my great-grandfather had built when the street was new. When the old man died, and his twice-widowed wife became infirm, she lived for years in one of the upstairs bedrooms, while grandma’s other granny, in similar straits, lived in the other upstairs bedroom. Grandma remembers helping her mother take care of those two old women for years.
    Zus Gagestein died unmarried, 12 years ago, and she only had one brother who died years before her. I don’t know of any family along that line that might be interested. I don’t even know if the people mentioned in the book were in some way related to her, or if she just picked it up secondhand somewhere.

    As I know nothing about genealogy, I have no idea where to start. Might someone here be related or interested?

  13. tulrose

    The only thing I can think of is to ask on the Rootsweb Mailing list for the Netherlands and see if anyone has any suggestions.

    You will have to set up an account if you want to post a message there (it is free).

    Have you Google’d their names? Use “~genealogy” after your search parameters to restrict the search to genealogical results. Also, the website (a clone of Ancestry) is free if you wish to search there.

    • Hanneke

      @Tulrose, thanks for the advice. I’m not sure posting it on the Netherlands site would get much response, as both Mary Shaw and Michael Balogh have more of a link with Staffordshire in England (Dresden and Tamworth are both in Staffordshire), and the book itself is in English.
      That’s one reason why I thought to try it here first, besides this being the only place I knew where people are interested in these sorts of things and often have lots of English ancestors.
      Your idea set me to searching, with the (new to me) added ~genealogy element, and I found this site:
      It appears to be full of Shaw family genealogy enthousiasts, and as far as I can see also wants me to register for free. Would this be a good place to post about this? Do you know if it’s easy to get myself unsubscribed from them, or are they dreadfully persistent?

      There are a lot of contemporary Michael Baloghs that turn up on a google search, but not such a concentration of genealogical stuff with that name, so if the abovementioned site is safe I think I’ll start with that.

      • tulrose

        @Hanneke, I don’t subscribe to that site myself so have no idea what they are like. RootsWeb has a “Shaw” site as well at and I know they aren’t intrusive. It generally depends on the board moderator as to how useful the board can be. Some are really active and others pretty dormant.

        Another place is Facebook. They have genealogy groups, both general Genealogy and more specialised such as the British Genealogy and Australian Genealogy, all 3 of which I keep an eye on. The active members are always willing to help.


        • Hanneke

          @Tulrose: thanks! I’ve mailed the rootsweb list administrator. I hope they can help me, so I won’t have to put my address on the open web for someone to contact me about this.

          • tulrose

            @Hanneke: I have a number of free email accounts that I use for message boards, mailing lists, facebook etc. Then if the address is published, who cares? It’s not your primary address and you can cancel it at any time. … Rosemary

  14. paul

    What is it with naming girls “Missouri”? My sister has taken up the research. She’s run across “Missouri Angeline Goodbar”, and a “Missouri A. Goodbar” which may or may not be the same person, she’s not sure–maybe a memorial name.

    Any idea why people were doing that?

  15. CJ

    On the trek west, which often happened without a destination in mind, but a general search after opportunity…they often named kids after where they’d been or where they were. My great-grandmother’s having two state names was a little unusual—Louisiana Carolina, but the Carolinas (N&S) were the home of the clan, as it had come to be—and Louisiana may be where they hoped to go. But they named her that in Arkansas, and she never was in Louisiana. Texas and Oklahoma, yes. My great-grandmother Missouri said that she had lost her whole family ‘in the stream,’ in a boat accident while crossing the Missouri…her other name was Isabel, and so she became Missouri Duff, married, and had kids eventually in Kansas and Oklahoma, where she is buried with “Isabel Missouri” on her headstone. Ironically—I may have mentioned this elsewhere—I did find some indication that two of her family may have survived the accident, notably her mother and one brother, who turn up on a census record in, I dimly recall, Iowa, and the lot of them on a prior census in, I think, Tennessee. I have a nearly full set of great-grandparents and third-greats, so the details sometimes get muddled in my head.

  16. James Sr. Tree


    I’ve been a fan of your writing since my senior year in college (1978/79). I didn’t know until this morning you enjoyed genealogy too. I’ve been helping my Dad with his genealogical work and 2 years ago he got his Y-DNA 67 STR marker profile done. It helped us discover a couple of previously unknown “cousins” that subsequent paper trail documentation corroborated. Unfortunately, along with 2 other previously known “cousins”, for a total of 5 individuals including my Dad, our family group is a distinctly unique haplotype within one of the verified R1b subclade haplogroups (the appropriate SNP tests were also done).

    What do you think of the whole genetic genealogy movement, given your interest in DNA? Our results seem to indicate its validity, although the results so far have left us at the same dead end of James Sr. (c. 1705 – c. 1774). One thing it DID do was conclusively disprove one extremely specious family myth that has been propagated for almost 40 years – a much beloved supposed tie-in with a well-known Irish Gallowglass family.

    The paper trail was always a ridiculous stretch, but the Y-DNA results have conclusively shown that there is NO recent patrilineal connection. There are Y-DNA results available from descendents of the Irish Gallowglass immigrant in question (they have heirlooms from the gentleman as well as the paper trail pedigree). However, despite trying to publish this information a couple of years ago, Rootsweb, Ancestry, etc. are still full of the erroneous family trees. It has made me wonder about A LOT of the traditional paper trail work published online to date. Again, I would be curious as to your thoughts on the matter.

    Cheers and thank you for many years of reading enjoyment.

    • CJ

      I just did the male-female dna check—because I’m a longstanding member, plus doing some volunteer key-entry for them—I lucked out and got selected for a free ticket to the broad-range test, which mostly just tells you where your dna came from, or where others that closely match your profile live. Well, no surprises there: I have some close matches wherever the Boone, Skelton/Shelton and Tipton clans spread, and wherever the Vandeventers and Van Doornes went within the US. And the pattern matches abound in Devon, England, home OF the Boones, Tiptons, etc, with a couple in Holland. Absolutely NO surprises. I did get my brother to agree to take the patrilineal DNA test, and I’m going to get Jane to take the other male-female broadrange test (we’re related to each other in the 1500’s and further back, abundantly, so that might be interesting.) And when we get all that done, I’m going to take the mitochondrial dna test myself. Since I got the freebie, the cost has declined considerably, so I hope ultimately we can get some of these tests for far less than they started out being.

      The info I’d like is 1200’s and before, where we have some odditites in the line…including one alleged connection to a Moorish general whose genealogy runs through N. Egypt and Turkey, and into Arabia, including some real illustrious personages. That is a curiosity. And that might or might not show up, in the roll of the genetic dice, because it’s real early.

      I’m on Ancestry, in the tree It’s the 11th Century and We’re All Barbarians (quote from The Lion in Winter). The World Tree is a Ouija Board, responding to bad info as well as to good. I’ve personally worked on my patrilineal line, clearing out some real chaff that had us coming from Germany (it’s England, via Ireland) and I’ve lately turned up some facts involving a de Chery family closely connected to the de Courtenays, at one point marrying into one of their minor branches. Nobody else has this —in English—but I took to looking these things up in the French Wiki, which has, as you might expect, more info on French people than the English WIki does. I’d seen some really ridiculous attributions, one of which is in Burke’s Peerage, and which is yes, an English variant spelling, but to say THAT name came from France—no can do. I asked myself, “If I were Norman, how would I spell de Cherries or de Che’reis?” and my answer was, ‘de Chery’. I looked it up, and there it was, from the village of Chery, in France Centre, next to the de Courtenay holdings, and marrying in with them. Ha. I now am looking into when the de Courtenay branch got into England, and who might have come with them—as they became increasingly persona-non-grata with the Burgundians in France.

      • tulrose

        I’ve just sent in my $99 for that test. I can’t get my only maternal cousin to take patrilineal test; he doesn’t see the point. There’s only one of him although I may approach one of his sons. My cousin is an only child of an only son of my maternal grandfather and we have no clue who Grandpa’s father was.

        • CJ

          Bummer that he won’t! Tell him it’s not blood: you only have to spit in a vial! Or swab his cheek for the patrilineal one.

          I’d think the boys might be good, all the same, and they’ll perhaps be interested.

          • tulrose

            It’s not that in itself. He’s having some health problems at the moment and that is taking up all the little energy he has. Also, the logistics aren’t good. He’s in WA (West Australia) and I’m in Oklahoma and he worries about people having access to his files. He’s not THAT much older than me but mentally he’s aged quite a bit the last 2-3 years. One of his boys, however, is active on Facebook and may be open to the suggestion.

      • James Sr. Tree


        Although there are several choices from which your brother can get the Y-DNA testing done, I would recommend looking at the Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) folks. And I would do at least the 67 STR marker test. It’s expensive, yes, but worth it in terms of being able to identity familial haplotypes. Of course the 111 STR marker test is even better, but so is the expense correspondingly higher. I would also recommend doing the appropriate SNP haplogroup test after the initial STR results come in. That definitively narrows down the familial possibilities, depending on which haplogroup you belong in.

        It turns out there is already a Cherry surname Y-DNA Project started. Here’s a link to their FTDNA Cherry Surname Project website which has a link to their primary project website, in case you haven’t found it before.

        The Clan Donald Project, which is perhaps the largest surname project, shows how interesting the results can be, and how history sometimes gets radically corrected. Here’s a link to their DNA Project website if you’re interested to see how the Y-DNA results start segregating familial groups.

        Unfortunately, it’s all about the number of people who get tested. The more people tested, the better the familial connections can be traced. But as tulrose found, a lot of people just don’t see the point. Like everything, it will take time (and a HUGE reduction in expense) for people to get truly enthused about it.

        Thanks again. Cheers and take care.

  17. ryanrick

    Not sure how I got into it, but way last fall Ancestry offered me one for just shipping & handling — you betcha! Finally got mine back and it was a bit of a surprise. Convenental wisdom was Ryan side: Irish/Scots (Ross 2 gens back) with a Cree grandmother; Lebel side: French-Canadian for circa 350 years and Normandy before that. So finding out the percentages was interesting — 37% Scandanavian (hmm, okay Normans in Normandy, Ireland & England with Vikings hither and yon); 22% Central Europe (France, Germany etc.) makes sense what with Charlemange and the Merovingians and continental Celts; 11% Southern Europe (Iberian Peninsula & Italy) — okay makes sense since the Celts who settled Ireland came from the Iberian Penninsula and a wayward Roman seems possible; now the 9% Central Asia (bits east of the Caspian Sea like Uzbekistan) made me go, oh! Mongols! — until I smacked my forehead and said Indo-European heartland (and Huns, Goths, Visigoths & oo Scythians); and the 6% British Isles which seems pretty sparse until you think the original indigenous folk coz all the later groups come from the above. That left me with 15% unknown which I suppose is the Native American component which hopefully will get filled in as more DNA samples some in. Got a couple new 4th cousins I haven’t talked at yet, but they don’t show up on my chart from my own research. Very fun stuff!

  18. CJ

    I’m 93% British Isles and some Dutch and a minor bit French.

  19. purplejulian

    but if you are british isles, that could be Norman/French/Viking (and you have Angevin and Plantagenet in your family tree) plus goodness knows what.
    my cousin on my mother’s side, which hails from south yorkshire and lincolnshire, plus 1030 AD cumbria, all of which you would think absolutely a candidate for viking, had his y chromosome done – and no, it’s not Scandinavian at all, it’s the above Scythian lot. (ah but of course, a lot of that is through maternal lineage, so y doesn’t work! I haven’t researched down the male line enough!)
    watching Michael Wood’s wonderful series, “A great British Story: a People’s History” last night – he observed that those of us with the Norman ancestry, with French names, are still the ruling classes, go to to the top schools and universities, and live longer.

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