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 www.ancestry.com 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.

697 Comments

  1. CJ

    The American Experience from our family’s point of view…
    Almost certainly most of our family would have been Tories…given a chance; but going back to England was mostly not a safe choice.
    And this sympathy changed over time.
    Not to mention some of us were on both sides of the Royalist issue…or rather, we seemed to be mostly for our town not being burned or shelled. Shepton Mallet in Somerset was one place we were from. And Stoke Canon in Devon.

    Most of our family who came to America sailed across the Atlantic not for religious freedom, but to save their lives from the Pilgrim Fathers, who were running England and burning people alive. The Puritans temporarily had control of England, and a really purist lot were setting up at Massachusetts Bay, because England wasn’t pure enough for them-—so a considerable number of my folk, who were Quakers, and not regarded as pure by the Puritans, considered Massachusetts as the last place on earth they wanted to be, except maybe London under Cromwell.
    Other lines of my family were dodging Puritans because they were Roundheads (Cavaliers, Royalists, who had supported King Charles I). They mostly came ashore at the landing at Isle of Wight, Virginia.
    Some of the Quaker group in Pennsylvania got mad at the Quakers for shunning a family member re an unapproved remarriage out of the community, so all of them upped stakes and abandoned the Quakers of Pennsylvania to go down to the Carolina wilderness, wear buckskin and build out of logs. That lot seems to have shed their Quaker character, since the sons spent the next while fighting, exploring, and one reportedly wanted to get a commission in the British Army.
    Another line of mine, Irish, had been sent by King Charles before he was beheaded by the Protestants, to try to establish a refuge for Roman Catholics in the Colonies, in Maryland, for fear the Puritans would take over all Europe.
    And yet another batch, Dutch Protestants, were ousted from New York by the outcome of the Dutch-English Wars, and part went to Tennessee, and the rest went over to Pennsylvania, again trying to avoid British Protestant rule, though some stayed, and a family feud apparently played as much in that division as politics did. My half of the family headed for Tennessee.
    The English Civil Wars, I and II, had first killed King Charles, taken on the Dutch, brought in the Restoration (Charles II, who wanted to be Catholic) and finally replaced him with William of Orange, a Protestant from the Netherlands…before William and Mary gave way to Anne, who gave way to German George I, who was Protestant.
    One of my ancestors was an English gentleman, in the gentry sense, who tried to protect his town from a Royalist incursion: he brought his household staff to try to hold the town square, but a pikeman knocked him off his horse—he was rescued by his staff; and the Royalists came in anyway. Then the Protestants did. And the Royalists. And the Protestants. That family later gave refuge to a man who’d tried to take the British crown himself to restore order…and stood by him to such an extent that the son who’d done it had to get himself and his family out of England. Born to the gentry, the son ended up dying on ship a little short of the Colonies, and his daughter married into the Quakers who’d ended up in the Carolina wilderness, in a log cabin.
    My lot by then weren’t much participant in religious wars, nor wanted to be near them.
    They were involved in the Revolution…but mostly defensively. A couple were in the War of 1812.
    Mostly my lot, the Dutch and the English, had taken out toward the west: as it developed, they went. Education fell by the wayside in the southernmost families—their great-grandparents had been very learned, but letters became something you picked up at home. There were exceptions: one, my third-great grandfather, was a doctor, who had one son, my great-great grandfather, who became a lawyer. But he was murdered.
    My people mostly dodged the Civil War—where they could. Some moved to newly opened areas, and crossed the Ohio and the Mississippi. One, the lawyer, was a Confederate spy only because northern troops were coming into northern Arkansas, where his family had hoped to be safe: he also was a cavalry officer, when it came to a shooting war. A few of my folk fought in the ranks of the Civil War, on one side and the other. The rest were farmers or merchants headed west as fast as they could to get away from it all.
    They came into free land in Oklahoma…and ran into the dust bowl. They stayed on, when others went further west. They became staunch southern Protestant, with little clue what they’d come from, except the sons of the Confederate spy, who did have a slight clue they’d been something different, but thought they were at least half from Ireland.
    I can say my feelings about the Thanksgiving story are now quite changed. My people were not the native Americans—but they were not the Puritan Pilgrim Fathers, either—they’d faced that lot over pikes and muskets over in England. I think most of my folk have had a jaundiced view of religious wars, honestly come by. I didn’t expect to find what I found when I started the hobby…I was mostly interested in the Carolina family—but it’s gotten much, much farther afield than that. We’re not who I thought we were, and that’s a real interesting thing to find out.

    • CJ

      Thank you—I love those sorts of tables. They may have bugs in them, but at least you get decent dates.

      Heaven help me, I spent last night trying to sort out a line of pre-William Bretons who lived in Rennes and the French town of Cornille, and were supposedly link to Cornuiaille/Cornwall, through a batch of mates with Welsh-style ferch and verch names. I’m going to be trolling the internet trying to find something reliable about the Bretons.

      I now find the reason of all that French I took in college—being able to read the French Wiki.

      Google translate has to be my recourse when I get too deep into the German wiki.

  2. paul

    So besides being cousins through Henry Tudor, our families were on opposite sides in the Hugh Despencer the Younger affair. My ancestor was Edward III, son of Isabella.

  3. CJ

    Lol—well, I did find I’m descended from the most honest man in Britain (William Marshal) AND the most corrupt (Hugh Despencer.)

    • Raesean

      William Marshall indeed was one of the most decent and courageous men I have ever had the pleasure to meet/read about. His life was a fascinating story. I want them to do a movie on it! We have his childhood reminiscences as told to a friend/bibliography that really make his story rich and him human. His nick-name as a young, teenage squire was some Norman version of “greedy guts” because he loved to eat, for example. I remember, years ago in the SCA, a friend telling og Marshal’s final exploit as an old man, leading a charge bare-headed (against the town of Lincoln?) so that the other side would know who was coming up against them. It felt like we were talking of recent endevour we had heard about on the news or radio.

  4. CJ

    Lol!
    I’ve got a few of those. It’s one reason I’m going through my tree with a finetoothed comb. I was so naive when I created the first one.

  5. CJ

    I’ve added a Genealogy tab to the website menu, by the way. I’ve done a story-form post of our family story—but it’s American history as seen my our family. I hope people enjoy it. I’ve filed enough serial numbers off not to embarrass any close and living relatives.

  6. chondrite

    Speaking of the Carolinas… I have a book, recently withdrawn from our library, called “Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ for My Journey Now,” by Jock Lauterer. It is oral recollections from hill folk of western North Carolina, ca. 1960s; the people were all in their eighties or older at that time. I remember you said you were related to a Boone family line; one of the interviewees is Quintenna Boone Hampton, six generations descended from Daniel. If you don’t already have access to this book and would be interested, I’ll gladly send it over.

    • CJ

      That would be interesting, also because several of my families in that region are not well-documented…ie, I have information, but gaps. Lots of gaps.

  7. Confutus

    I’ve been crawling up and down my family tree quite a bit lately, working more on relatives than ancestors. My father didn’t tell many stories about his family, and my grandmother’s mother died shortly after she was born, so she didn’t know much about that side of her family. I do know that about 3/4 of my ancestors in the early 19th century joined the Mormons and came west, settling in Utah, (where I have oodles and scads of not-so-distant relatives, many of them genealogists of all degrees of care and competence. My problem is not so much lack of information about my ancestors as the abundance of misinformation.
    What with the zombies, and the time-travellers, and the precocious parents, the duplicates and the false duplicates, merged identities, boys with identical twin sisters, multiple sets of parents, and children who vanish into or appear out of nowhere, I’m having loads of fun trying to get clean family histories. When these appear in the 20th century and the 19th century which are reasonably well documented and comparatively easy to check, I scarely dare venture into colonial history or across the pond.

    • weeble

      The thing about European records is they were kept by the church. I finally FINALLY managed to find out what little German village my great-great-grandmother and her parents emigrated from in 1850 or so, and BANG, found the family had lived in that little village for about 300 years. Believe it or not, they have BETTER records (kept by the church AND the village-AND sometimes both that village and the next one over!) than Ohio in the 1850s, so I found it far easier to trace the family back there! I lucked out, because one rather industrious census taker had actually recorded the name of the town instead of just ‘Bavaria’ or ‘Germany’ so when I got to see the actual census pages I was bouncing. Transcribers filling a blank on a chart always left that crucial little note out because it didn’t fit the form!

      • CJ

        Yay! I have developed a real affection for the steady work of parish priests, vicars, and town clerks. We owe them a debt.

  8. tulrose

    I got the AncestryDNA results today; 48% Scandinavian, 41% British Isles, and 11% Southern European. The Scandinavian seemed a bit odd until I recalled the migration patterns. My British Isles is mostly Norfolk with some Scotland and a very little Lincolnshire and they are all east coast. There is also a small amount of Ireland in there. The Southern European could be anything from the Romans on forward who ended up on the east coast. So far, no matches closer than 4th-6th cousins and that’s through my Wells line. I have no clue whatsoever who one of my gt grandfathers was, unfortunately. So, I’ll just wait and see if anyone else shows up.

  9. CJ

    Who knows? I’ve got some Yorkshire Vikings in my line, and those were small boats. We may share a few fair-haired ancestors. If you believe my lines, the Scots mingled: the Orkneys were full of mingling. So were coastal areas of Ireland.

    And indeed, if you have ancestors up by the Wall, anything is possible—the Legions included everybody in the Empire: I’ve seen Syrians and North Africans and Dacians mingled with lads from Gaul; and by the time the Eastern Europeans (Goths and Visigoths) had tramped over to the west and settled in the fall of Rome, and the Vikings had come down—it was fruitbasket upset in Europe. According to one of my lines, there’s a Visigothic Spanish princess (they’re always princesses, never, ever scullery maids—or perhaps that’s the line any sensible woman takes when kidnapped by Vikings) married into a batch of Vikings.

    My own DNA is 93% British Isles and 7% Unknown or too small to process, but funny thing, all the 4th cousins that don’t turn up to be related turn out to be British Isles with a large admixture of Scandinavian, or Central, South, and Eastern European…and a few that are Southern European and Scandinavian with no British Isles, which kind of helps indicate where the missing 7% is centered.

    Funny thing is, I’m very Dutch—mother’s father was Tolbert Vandeventer son of Abraham son of Pieter Jans son of Jan Pieterz Van Deventer, etc, etc, straight out of New Amsterdam in New York and Deventer in the Netherlands, with purely Dutch relatives on both sides once you get back to Jan Pieterz, which is not that many generations ago. You’d think that line would show up somehow somewhere in the DNA—but—the Dutch lines do have links into Scandinavia, ditto any Norman French lines, so it may be that ‘Scandinavian’ covers all of north Europe.

    • tulrose

      My Norfolk people started moving up to Yorkshire to work in the factories. It was steadier work than just being the ubiquitous Ag-Lab. Gt Gt grandfather Joseph was born in Lincs (I think); his name was a french/swiss name and he could have come from anywhere. I’ve never been able to track his wife apart from a possible marriage, her son’s baptism and the baptisms and burials of 4 lttle girls up in Staffs. Who she was and where she went is still a mystery. My most direct line of Scots are from up in Inverness. There’s also a smidge of Irish. Unfortunately I don’t know how that smidge got to the colonies. It was most probably on one of the ships that cleared out the workhouses of women; she was Roman Catholic, that I do know. Her husband was from the Bristol area and I haven’t had much luck with him until he entered the prison systems in 2 countries.

  10. tulrose

    The Dutch were great traders. They bumped into Western Australia long before Captain Cook found the east coast. The west coast is littered with wrecks. It’s a very unforgiving coast line. You come around the Cape of Good Hope on the way to the spice islands, hit the “Roaring Forties” and are very easily blown off course and go splat. This page has a nice map of the route they took that caused the splat. http://www.lifeonperth.com/dutchshipwrecks.htm#dutchwreck

  11. CJ

    Interesting.
    Re the Scots of Inverness—Jane’s people are MacPhails, and the MacPhails research led me there, where they had a major clan center up on N. Uist. The isles north of Inverness are listed as ‘Inverness’ when it comes to census. You may have followed the FB discussion of what happened on N. Uist in the clearances, or the role the Sutherlands played, but basically a Scottish landholder sold off a massive amount of property to an English nobleman whose wife was a piece of work. The Scots on N. Uist lived by cottage industry, fishing, and particularly the harvesting of kelp; but in the uncertain weather of a couple of bad years, the kelp didn’t grow, and the winds blew contrary, and they were unable to pay the rent on their houses. The sheriff had to come in and move them out—the landlord had a legal right; but the sheriff, probably local, had some conflict and backbone in him: they burned some of the houses, but he made an exception for the elderly and sick. There was also a to-do over a piece of weaving in progress—and there were several MacPhail lads arrested for riot. The lot were transported to Nova Scotia (not known for kind winters) and told to live. And some blackguard local official tried to charge them some sort of immigration tax when they got there. It was a mess. Anyway, if you have folk from INverness there’s a history, and Inverness may also mean the isles. If they were taken out in the Clearances, as they’re called, they could come in on Nova Scotia, and there are lists of those who came on what ship. Others (including Jane’s ancestors, apparently) were MacPhails who were better-off, and must have paid their own passage, because while there is a Stormont in Nova Scotia, where the MacPhails are, there is another in Ontario province, where Jane’s MacPhails were, at least for a couple of generations.
    It’s a very interesting period; looking up the Clearances and North Uist will get you a lot of it.

    • tulrose

      The 2 from Inverness, Mary Lindsay and Isaac Williamson, were a husband and wife pair who ran with a gang robbing and beating up the local shopkeepers. They were, without a doubt, the worst of my convicts. I’ve a synopsis from the Aberdeen Court of Judiciary and I really need to fork over the money for a transcript of their files. I have their Van Diemen’s Land files (all available for free from Tasmanian Archives). Isaac’s brother, another of the gang, was described as a really bad lot and was executed in Van Diemen’s Land. This all took place in the 1830’s.

      And I’m partly wrong about Inverness. Mary was from there, we think, and Isaac was from Ross-shire. It was Aberdeen where they were with the gangs.

  12. CJ

    Well, they get a little sympathy: Scotland was in dire straits from the technological changes—land being cleared of crofters to run sheep to feed the new looms which were displacing the cottage weavers, and the poor were being shoved into mills to run the looms…the advent of the machine age had some serious casualties, both financial and in psychological terms, not to mention the health crisis that would come with the shift to the coal furnaces…when I was first in England, in the ’60’s, we had a foggy day, and you sneezed black for days. Not even thinking what was done to human lungs in the eras of the real pea-soup fogs, and those that had to work with these engines…this just after the Napoleonic Wars, when a lot of things that needed addressing weren’t being addressed, which is a common situation in war eras. In the case of the Scots, the kelp, and the wool industry and the Irish and the potato famine, coupled with the Protestant-Catholic to-do, things were a mess. I don’t know how they were in Wales: I have a lot of Welsh ancestors, but most of them seemed to be doing pretty much as they’d always done, also going back and forth to Devon; and then when Devon shed colonists headed for the colonies (massively, to judge by the numbers of separate families in my lot that were from Devon) a number of Welsh families went, too. In Devon, with my folk, the issue seemed to be a community of Quakers who really weren’t that ‘Quaker’…they’d been Roman Catholic, didn’t want to be Church of England, and Quaker seemed to be what was left to be.
    Your lot are an interesting set…I’ll bet the files are worth reading. I have read some of the theft reports for the Old Bailey, and one who COULD be one of my lot was involved as a witness involving the theft of a handkerchief or a shirt or something of the like.

    My people kept getting themselves politically involved and creatively executed. Or dead in battles fought over somebody else’s political power. For quite a while nobody seemed to die of natural causes. It is remarkable that they had an unfailing penchant for picking the losing side. And one of my lads whose dad was on the winning side helped his old friend who was on the losing side get out of Dodge, so to speak, and the whole family ended up emigrating…so even when they won, they found ways not to.

  13. CJ

    Note: I moved 3 comments—from Ryanrick, Purple Julian, and me—from Genealogy over to the Linguistics forum. Because I can’t get directly at the PHP code in this installation, I had to put them over there under my avatar, but I preserved the names: it’s an interesting discussion on IndoEuropean origins.

  14. CJ

    Lol—no, keep them coming. The number of people who claim to be Pocohontas’ descendant is epic…poor Jane Rolf (I shudder to say, the girl *is* in my family tree, as a niece, in a line I handle with tongs)was apparently a sickly type who did not live long, and while she may have had a child herself, she was not prolific, and Pocohontas’ life was probably shortened by exposure to every European disease that had ever made it to London.

    To the topic—the DNA thing is kind of interesting, still panning out pretty much as expected—though it’s kind of frustrating that so many people aren’t linking their trees in. And that nobody ever contacts ME with a ‘hey, I’ve got the missing father of your John Smith…’ in my tree…though I must’ve messaged 20-30 people with, “hey, your Mary that has no father is likely the Mary Ann in my tree, same date, same husband, and her parents were…” A lot of Boones turn up. A lot of Bollings. Those people kept records. And why on earth I keep getting tree-matches ONLY with the surnames “Davis, Moore, Jones, Smith, Bolling, Boone, Wilson, Murphy, Edwards, Hawkins, Gardener..” And as a for-instance, Mr. Bolling is married to the unusual name of Anne Stith, and the Stiths were a pretty ‘known’ family. Why in the reasons of the Sacred ‘Bots of Ancestry are the Stiths never cited as a match, though I know that every second Bolling they match me up with is descended equally from Anne Stith? Every Boone of Squire Boone’s lot comes through a Devon lady named Maugridge…and yet in all the many Boone matches, I’ve never had a Maugridge match up until day before yesterday.

    There’s something really weird about how they select the families they tell you you ‘match surnames’ with. And are the Dutch which comprise at least a third of my grandfather’s side included with the Scandinavians? The only geographic match I’ve gotten to Holland is a solidly English girl born in Holland because her family had gone there for safety.

    National Geographic is also running a genealogy project which is tied to research of human migrations, and I’m real tempted.

    • tulrose

      I’ve got nothing matching closer than 4th-6th cousins and have yet to figure out where we may intersect. I sent my brother a Y-DNA one and that should prove more interesting. That’s the line we suspect is French, Swiss, something along those lines if only because of the name Tissott (or Tissett or …).

  15. paul

    We’ve some deDene’s in our tree. I read some speculation the name derived from “the Dane”, i.e. Scandanavians that came “a viking” into Normandy. They apparently joined Billy on his English holidays. No reason your Dutch line couldn’t have some Scandanavian roots.

    That link is very hard to read against that background, but I saw mention of Diana Spencer. Does that name derive from the Despencers of Edward III’s time? Hugh’s in your line, and I guess a cousin of mine through Constance of York.

    • tulrose

      That’s odd. On my monitor it’s as plain as day. If I search for Spencer it’s a little difficult to find with the highlighting.

      • paul

        I’ve got that same issue with Galaxy Zoo’s blogs also. This is a home-made Linux system, everything compiled here, so I’m still running Firefox v2, and an older Linux, i.e. stepchild, version of Flash. I see sole lettering agains a bunch of leaves. I gather those should be backgrounded.

        (If I were to download a Mozilla compiled version of Firefox, it would be statically linked with all their versions of the libraries. Mine was built here from source, so it uses the same versions of the libraries as everything else. Much more efficient that way! 😉 )

        • paul

          “sole”??? “some”!

  16. Confutus

    One of the most useful pieces of advice I’ve found is “Know your family”, which is part of why I’m trying to do things the other way around and follow descendants of my ancestors. When there are four Merlin Plumbs and seven John Barrs, it’s important to keep track of which is which, they all had different birth years, birthplaces, different parents, different wives and different children..John Barr the irish immigrant, his son John Barr who married and lived in South Carolina and moved through Tennessee to Ohio, his son John Barr born in Ohio, and John Barr the grandson of the second John Barr are four different people, and woe unto whoever confuses them.
    Or, just this week, there was the person who found the uncommon name of Lybius in the 1850 census, then a Frank as the son of a Libbeus in the 1930 census, and somehow leaped (over the baby boy named for his father) to the conclusion that they were father and son. Either that, or said person confused the Libbeus who was married (sort of) in 1846 with the one born 4 years later. Or perhaps both. Since I know where the family was for the next 80 years, what they were doing, who was in it, and how they got from Iowa to Arizona, I can state with some confidence that this person skipped a generation. It’s easy to do, if you aren’t careful.

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