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

    :facepalm: I swear, I thought I had gotten Pocohontas OUT of my family tree…because it is a much-constructed and highly unreliable lot of reporting; but it turns out the Bollings (who are direct in my mother’s line, through marriage) are related UPWARD into the Pocohontas line somehow. And I found one Mary Davis, descended of Mary Elizabeth Hughes, who is the daughter of a Quaker river trader, one Rice or Rhys Hughes, who had a Powhatan-tribe wife who was supposedly the daughter of Opechanncanough, brother of the Powhatan chief often identified as simply Powhatan, who was the father of Pocohontas (and half a dozen other kids by various wives.) I AM certifiably related to the brother of John Rolfe, who actually married Pocohontas; and then just to make my head ache, Ms. Mary Elizabeth Hughes married twice, once to Pollards, out of whom my Shelton family line descends, and once to the Hugheses, who ASCEND to the Powhatan connection, and DESCEND to the Smiths who are my mother’s great-great grandparents and THEY ascend up…I haven’t traced it yet, but I suspect strongly they are the connection to Peregrine Smith, a con artist who had lunch for a long time off his (not true) descent from Captain John Smith, who had the run-in with Powhatan.
    I am taking two aspirin and postponing further research on this line.

  2. JungleTom

    Along with sci-fi, gin rummy, computers, horses, etc., I’m a genealogy nut, too, and have Humphry de Bohun IV as my 23rd g-g – see “My De Bohun Connection” – of course, at that point, it’s strictly for fun. Mathematically 2 to the power of 23 is 8 million plus ancestors? – quite an error probability. But I find genealogy much like an ongoing detective story, looking for clues, puzzling out a probability without clues, and maybe finding a date and/or place after a ten-year off & on search. The internet makes it a different world for genealogists, and I find the resources increasing almost geometrically year to year, with reference and other printed material constantly being digitalized & uploaded. Plus the ability to communicate with so many like-minded people. A few days ago, I found a 1882 Montana newspaper 3-line death notice for my gg-granddaddy that I thought died in Ohio! “GG-Dad” Wow!

    • CJ

      I so love these things: the details begin to assemble themselves (along with history notes) into stories you can at least tell yourself, even if you can’t prove them. Jane and I both have de Bohun relatives: a very interesting crew, indeed, with deep roots. The threads on my family had gotten worn very thin—while my father told me about my great-grandmother Boone, he had no details of who she was, and indeed, the Boone clan didn’t have the photograph I have, possibly the only one extant; and her whole story had kind of sunk into obscurity; and her father and grandfather were known and documented locally (in Arkansas) the story was a Civil War story and the Boone clan hasn’t emphasized that period. My mother’s side—there’s, again, very few pictures, which I have have, and am posting on Ancesry; and tracing my maternal grandfather into the correct line was not easy…War of 1812 on that one; and then there was the crazy battle when the eastern end of Tennessee tried to become the State of Franklin: there was one of my great-somthings on one side of the ensuing mini-war and one on the other.

    • paul

      Minor nit: If 23 is the number of “greats”, then you have to add 2 for grandparents and parents. So it’d be 4 times that number–still a very large number either way. 😉

  3. CJ

    I am (almost) my own grandmother…or at least that confused.
    Now and again you run into complete geneological craziness that is hard to map in a tree. My 8th-great grandmother on my father’s father’s mother’s side (I think) was Sarah Shelton/aka Skelton, who was related to the Bathhurst family of England and the US, descending to Sophie Smith, my third-great grandmother.
    Now…up another track, also from Sophie Smith on my father’s side, you also find a gal named Mary Field Jefferson, dau. of Thomas Jefferson, etc…whose brother, Peter, is Pres. Thomas Jefferson’s father.
    Hold onto this.
    Now, Pres. Jefferson as a young man fell madly in love with a young widow, Martha Wayles: she had been married to [brace yourselves] Bathurst Skelton, who died young, and I think may have brought a young Skelton with her. Jefferson married the widow, who gave him children before falling ill and dying about 6 months after the birth of her fourth child: she was never first lady because all this was before Jefferson became president. Jefferson had an in-house mistress, Sally Hemings, who was with him all the rest of his life, bearing him several children and putting him in the very awkward (to say the least) position of having to manumit half his sons and daughters in his will.
    Weird enough…
    But Sophie Smith’s daughter-in-law was—you’ll never guess—Nancy Adeline Skelton, who married my great-great grandfather Lafe Boone, and was the mother of my great grandmother Carolina.

    I have tried to figure how to put this situation in the family tree (with footnotes) in a linear form, but try as I will, the automated program is going to blow a gasket trying to figure how the relationships work.

    I am actually laterally related to Pres. Jefferson NOT through the abundant Skeltons and Bathursts, but through his (I think niece or cousin) Mary Field Jefferson…

    • weeble

      And to think, in the current, enlightened culture, they try to impeach a president for a ruined dress….

      *rolling eyes*

      At least if you ever run out of plots, you’ve got plenty of interesting story possibilities in the family tree!

    • BlueCatShip

      Strange how we’re all such an odd mix of strengths and weaknesses. Even the best of us screw up sometimes.

      I remember being indignant at the time. Then wishing the news would just shut up about that and the other scandal at the time. Then wondering how many kids got an education in human behavior, both the facts of life and personal character, out of it. …Sure was strange hearing those details at dinnertime, and I was 20-something, I think.

      However, the man did a good job in office otherwise. Better than one successor, IMHO.

      Over the years, I then came to realize maybe I had erred too far towards too much self-control in that particular part of life. Or anyway, that things weren’t happening the way I would’ve liked. Strange to think one’s kept too tight a rein on that, somehow, without quite intending to, or that other paths would’ve been better, or just that life hadn’t gone the way one might wish. And not to know quite what to have done differently. …On the other hand, if’n the creek don’t rise, there are still years left to change course. So….

      Funny thing too, we look up to men and women out of history and stories, despite their flaws and mistakes, occasionally because of them, and we like them, even hold them up as exemplary, because of their strengths, occasionally for overcoming their less lovely ways.

      Then again, some of those rogues, scoundrels, and such can be downright entertaining too.

      Nope, no profound thoughts going, sorry.

  4. CJ

    Slavery began in the ancient world as a civilized alternative to slaughtering the enemy…a way to acculturize your enemy, in some areas. Roman slaves had rights, they had protected bank accounts, they were protected against sexual exploitation, and they had the right to have their owner set a price for their freedom and stick to it. House slaves were also often educated—if they wished to be—by the simple expedient of having them sit in on the children’s lessons; and if they were manumitted, the expectation was that the former owner would set them up in business and treat them as clients, providing medical care and legal services. Their children could become Roman citizens. Hebrew slaves were automatically freed after a specified time. Others, in other areas, were not so well treated as either of these, but there were gradations. The abuses of more ‘advanced’ civilizations who acquired slaves not as POWs but as economic prisoners, sold off by their neighbors to be rid of them, shipped under bad conditions to completely foreign cultures to serve for life—was a particularly wretched application of the status: not for these people the arrangement under which some of my ancestors arrived (indenture, in which you undertook to serve a certain number of years in return for boat-fare) —but a lifelong servitude, with no buy-out and no rights: be it understood American slaves may have been a jump better off than those in Haiti; but they were vastly, vastly worse off than any ordinary servitude in ancient Rome. American slave owners justified themselves that it was ‘in the Bible,’ but the notion that the mistress and children of what amounted to an English gentlemen were not permitted free status in that region solely because of their race—is *why* American slavery became so pernicious. In Rome, you learned Latin, you learned to read and write, you bought your freedom from tips, you got freedman status, set up in a shop, you paid a fee to the government and your children were granted Roman citizenship—forever free, forever indistinguishable from others…it was not the Romans who had the worse system.

    • Raesean

      The best book that I know of examining the different systems of slavery worldwide and through time is Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death (it’s big and thick and, I think, a very good and important read). His main thesis is that slavery amounts to socially “killing” a person in a society. Even if that person enjoys a fair amount of individual, personal prestige and power (the Ottoman or was it Byzantine? eunuchs, if I remember correctly for that example). The emperors trusted slave eunuchs as their viziers because the slave did not have a web of threatening social relations and ties to other houses. Orlando covers the Roman system well and very much agrees with CJ that the American Southern version of slavery was one of the most pernicious there has been.

      I first read the book because I was doing research on indentured Scottish prisoners of war in 1650 after the Battle of Dunbar (another spectacular Scottish defeat at the hands of the English=Cromwell) who were sold into 7 year indentures — which I argued were definitely temporary slavery — at the Saugus Iron Works (first on the continent) and up the New England sea coast. Some of those Scots, after they finished their indenture, became ancestors of important, New England families (including the Clafflins, who later named a dormitory in Harvard Yard, a building on Beacon Hill in Boston and had an estate in nearby Belmont) while descendants of temporarily indentured Africans brought over at the same time in the early 1600’s went on to full time slavery, no rights or wealth.

      Second I read the book because Orlando was at that time married to one of my Celtic professors at Harvard, who was Welsh (he’s a major, chaired Sociology prof there). If you do read the book, look at the dedication. It’s in Middle Welsh and is from the Mabinogion, describing Rhiannon, I believe.

  5. CJ

    In the case of the Romans, the custom in many areas of the world was simply to kill off every male above the age of infancy, which would keep the area from going to war for a couple of decades, and probably would mean they would be raided out of existence by their own neighbors. The Romans were not nearly as inclined to kill people as the average of their age: even the gladatorial games grew out of the feeling that killing criminals was of iffy morality, and if the gods had another vote, maybe they’d save one. This became, of course, a morality play, much like television, and was itself corrupting, but they were by then stuck with it as an increasingly non-ethnic-Roman populace just grew to invest emotionally in the games. WHich is another story. The policy was on slavery that if they had had repeated trouble in an area, they’d carry off the men, particularly, into slavery, and in the old days they’d become Romanized, and settle in—becoming part of that large, increasingly troublesome population. Then after the Carthagianian and Mithradatic Wars and the tobogganing and unplanned acquisition of the whole Eastern Med, they began to have the same trouble we do with the mega-farms buying up the little ones. Vast estates sprang up with huge numbers of slaves, and they couldn’t go the manumission route, because these were militarily trained, often dangerous and angry people—viz Spartacus. The numbers of slaves brought in by a handful of super rich families became a major danger, a major economic problem, and was a hellish situation smart ROmans began to argue had to be changed—they began to question the institution of slavery, but nobody could figure out how to eliminate it. This was the way things were in the first and second centuries AD. Then the weather changed, the barbarians came flooding west, and things went to hades in a handbasket.

  6. purplejulian

    it’s interesting that the big farming estates in britain, run on slave labour, continued after the roman empire withdrew, and so slave labour also continued into Anglo Saxon times. then during the danish incursions the Saxons taxed farmers very heavily and the combination of that and bad economic times sent most small farmers into ruin, and they became indentured labour on their own land. ie serfs. so in the UK under the Saxon kings we had a system of farming and land holding based on slaves and serfs tied to the land. but where the Danes took over, in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, yorkshire and further north, the incoming Danish farmers were small-holders and free men, but they didn’t replace the saxons, they fitted in alongside them (we have villages with norse names and saxon names alongside each other). so we had a percentage of the population with a completely different take on things, much more independent. it’s no coincidence that this part of the world was more rebellious and free-thinking later on (Wat Tyler, Oliver Cromwell). 😀

  7. BlueCatShip

    What then happened after the Norman Conquest, regarding free vs. slave vs. serfs, among Saxons (English) and others in England?

    There were two books for extra reading in my college American History I class that dealt with slavery and alcohol / tobacco / sugar, etc. Both were really good books. The one also went into the ways that, despite the social barrier, Southern cooking was transformed by both white and black cooks, with English, German, and African recipes and ingredients adapted using American ingredients (new foods). Of course, the one book detailed the descent from indenture and early European slavery practices to what American slavery became, and then into Reconstruction and movement towards Civil Rights.

    I hadn’t known the Roman take on things. What a mix of practical, enlightened, and brutal attitudes towards it.

    But there’s the basic problem of, what do you do when a portion of the population is poor or uneducated, some are homeless or orphaned, disabled or aged, or jobless? What do you do, when there’s a disparity between labor/jobs and people to fill those jobs, either educated or skilled or not, a surplus or a lack? What, also, do you do when there are hostile nations nearby making war, or worse, when civilization itself is tenuous, both for those other nations and ultimately, your own?

    We live in a time when modern medicine, food, refrigeration, plumbing, heating and cooling, and other conveniences are available throughout much (not all) of society, including nearby nations. — Though there are disparities within and around, and wider disparities around the world.

    Back then, in Roman and in feudal and even into the 19th century, things weren’t so assured, and barbarism or the lack of what “modern” or “civilized” conveniences there were, was just not that far away from anyone’s doorstep.

    We still face many of the same social issues today. They’re ongoing human social problems.

    I have found myself wondering lately just how things are going with economic pressures and widening gaps between rich and poor, technology able, available, and educated versus those who don’t have access to technology or training. Are we headed, not only for corporations in control, becoming de facto governing bodies, as has been predicted in science fiction many times since the early days? Could present day contract and temp workers, who often lack corporate benefits, or even nominally permanent workers, be headed toward a system that begins to become like indenture or slavery, or if not that, some other form of group control over people? I wonder sometimes.

    However, on the other hand, I wonder if things like community centers and senior assisted living might point the way towards a form of community and neighborhood support, where people can get help and services and share, not a “commune,” but some way that provides a newer equivalent to the local neighborhood / community / extended family support for people to lean on for whatever they need, and what they can provide back to help in return.

    Surely there are better answers than repeating past mistakes in social structures.

    I suppose the thing I took away from history classes and reading was how much deals with patterns, people dealing with one problem or other and coming up with solutions, or more often, patching things and the next person/group who comes along gets to deal with the consequences, and a whole new step in the situation happens.

    • purplejulian

      as far as I understand the Normans continued the same systems as they found them. the ruling class changed from english to norman, but the people who did the work continued much as before, as long as taxes were paid and order was kept. England was a goldmine (in fact silver mine) for the Normans, it had been so well organised by the anglo saxons – that’s why they invaded.

  8. CJ

    As an odd slant on the topic, we’ve watched The Slave Hunters, a Korean drama, after watching Great Queen Seondaok and Baek Dong Soo, in that order. Great Queen is the rise of the Korean state; Baek Dong Soo is a time of troubles, and then The Slave Hunters is a very gritty later-age epic (they have guns as well as swords) about a fallen nobleman who makes his living chasing down slaves after slavery for debt and as punishment for political dissent became an entrenched and ruinous system under a very weak and misguided king. It’s one of those sets of dramas that leaves you wanting to shake people until their teeth rattle and say—this slavery thing was not a good idea!

  9. tulrose

    @CJ: If you have an FtDNA account and join the MtDNA H Haplogroup Project they have a closed Facebook Group open to members.

    • CJ

      Definitely, that sort: a test can’t tell you you’re specifically related to ANYBODY unless they hit on someone in absolute direct descent from, say, Richard III: the Y-dna inherited from father to son is identical in every step, give or take mutations; but Richard III had no heir.

      What counts is where you can say, yes, well, we all KNOW we’re related, to whom, how, when, and we have DNA that’s specific at 40 sites; plus DNA strings in common with the same families we’re definitely related to in family trees. EG, the Boone clan has had a lot of people take the MtDNA and Y-DNA tests, and the same results come back, so we can say, yep, descended from John, check, Benjamin, check, George, check—they’re now getting into iffier territory, trying to trace back to see if the Boone clan did, as many of us think, come from the de Bohuns—but that’s harder, because that family is harder to trace, and older. We’re pretty sure back to the 1600’s. But beyond that, the de Bohuns, who used to be prolific, fell on hard times, were executed, dispossessed, and so on, so finding legitimate de Bohuns and getting samples is harder. Some Boones maintain they ARE that descendency, but the connection is currently a matter of tracking people down and getting samples.

      Re MtDNA, the only thing I can say is there’s a part of my really silly-farm genealogy, the part of the chart where you get into too-famous ancestors you can’t prove— that absolutely agrees with the locale in which my MtDNA was widespread: Balkans, Thracia/Hungary, Greece, southern (Greek and Wave-A colonized) Italy, and Illyria/Albania.

  10. ryanrick

    Stumbled onto this article today, looking at population movements for Europe. Going to have to see if I can track down the article it references to get more info. But I’m still wondering why no one seems to be looking at the Basque? I know they’re supposed to be relic population and their languague is unique to Europe, so one would think this sort of study would address them as well.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22252099#

    • CJ

      I’m H, all right, H51b, which is a part of the H’s that weren’t that agricultural, to judge by where they were. As above: Balkans, Thracia/Hungary, Greece, southern (Greek and Wave-A colonized) Italy, and Illyria/Albania. And Holland, of all places. I’m a good part Dutch on my mother’s side, but… that H5b1 report came from way, way, way before there was a Holland, and from much further south.

      My brother’s getting the test done on his Y-DNA and we’ll see how that goes.

  11. CJ

    Just watched a piece on the Marquis de Lafayette, and found out something about my own third-great grandfather. One of the pieces I didn’t have—was Lafayette, who did more than help out G. Washington: he pleaded with Washington, after the war, to do away with slavery…and set up a model plantation in the US where he hoped to show how to transition slaves to free citizens…set them free, train them for jobs, give them papers, etc, — but he went back to France, where he became involved in the politics of the French Revolution, spent years in jail in what became Czechoslovakia, was finally released, and made, in his old age, a tour of America, in which he was more popular, statistically, than the Beatles…who didn’t draw as large a percentage of fans in NYC.
    My father’s middle name was Lafayette: I’m pretty sure Great-gran Carolina Boone gave him that name (and likely served as midwife)— It was her father’s name, Lafe Boone, as he was called. And Lafe Boone was named by my third-great grandfather, Dr. James Monroe Boone, who was notoriously murdered in Arkansas. Dr. J.M. Boone had done precisely what Lafayette had done…on the eve of the Civil War, he had set up his farm as a ‘free farm,’ where he freed his slaves, paid them wages, built them houses, —and named his son Lafayette. Unhappily, a slave from a neighboring farm, being friends with two lads from the Boone farm, set up to run for it and steal funds from Dr. Boone. They invaded the Boone farm and beat Dr. Boone to death trying to get the location of the imagined money, and were driven off by the house staff and the tenants. The three perpetrators were caught, and the one was hanged: the other two were released. But Lafe, who was a practicing lawyer, and his brother Beya, tracked them down and killed them. Lafe, who bore THAT name, became a spy and a cavalry officer for the Confederacy. Beya, I think, just went over the border into Texas. Lafe had a leg shattered by cannonshot, but did not have it amputated, which was probably a mistake. He lived in considerable pain.
    Anyway—I think THAT is how the Lafayette name got into my family—a noble idea, which became in my great-grandfather, a very bitter irony. And the name passed to my father, who, I think, would have gotten along with third-great grandfather better than with Great-grandfather Lafe.

  12. ryanrick

    Stumbled onto a BBC article on DNA evidence for Minoan Crete. Seems those tested were part of the indigenous population and not of the Levant or North Africa like some theories had pointed at. However, I personally have always wondered if the main location for the culture wasn’t on Thera and when it blew up, what was left was Crete — possibly a major exodus point. However, I really don’t know enough about the history of this period like you do CJ. But thought you’d like to see this.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22527821#

  13. CJ

    Interesting. Curiously, I never doubted that they were European. Their legends say so. Artifacts that show a cultural continuity, like the quadripartite altar, are also found on the Danube. The pillar-cult may come from Asia Minor, but the legends, particularly the Jason/Medea legend, say “Black Sea,” when it comes to the Children of Atlas (Atlantides) like Minos,and the related Heliades (Medea, Circe)…. It all ties up very neatly; and I’m one with a bias toward believing the myth-makers of ancient times know their geography and kinships pretty well—why else would the story be relevant to the hearers?

    Just got my brother’s report: the Y-component of our family also stems from the Black Sea region, on into Europe, with a strong Germanic component. G. That’s interesting. We’re not sure what it’s telling us or how far back we can trust it, but Dad’s genealogy ran clear back first to Picardie, then to Normandy, and on to the Carolingians. I can trace the last matrilineally *certain* MtDNA-lineal-person to a woman in, I think, Maine, but I’ll have to sit down with the chart and see how far we can trace the batch that came from Ireland/English…whether we’ve got a patrilineal connection all the way to Picardie.

    • paul

      For the uninitiated, “Maine” is in France! 😉

      • CJ

        Actually THIS Maine is in the US. Getting a straight DNA line is a lot harder in some lines, and unfortunately, my mum’s male line is extraordinarily well-documented, complete to boat tickets in 1680, but the female one is a struggle. Likewise my father’s female line goes back to the Conqueror, but the male line gets iffy between Shropshire and Ireland.

        • paul

          Ahh, my apologies, I didn’t understand how it could get iffy in the US. I’ve been working with ours, which leads to “Black William” de Braose. The family comes from Briouze in Argentan, Orne, just north of Maine in France. That’s why it stuck out at me.

          The Chronicle of Ystrad Fflur’s entry for 1230 reads: “In this year William de Breos the Younger, lord of Brycheiniog, was hanged by the Lord Llywelyn in Gwynedd, after he had been caught in Llywelyn’s chamber with [John] the king of England’s daughter, Llywelyn’s wife”.

          Oooh! “Kill Bill!” Not such a smart move, Bill. Especially because the Welsh hated the de Braose Marcher Lords–he’d find no friends in Llywelyn’s court!

          One of his daughters, Eva, married William de Cantelou, from whose family we derive the name of the delicious fruit.

          • CJ

            Yep, I’m related to Black William, too. 🙂 Just this one lady in Maine (US) was one of those branches of the maternal family harder to track. But as more Americans get onto Ancestry, the more family Bibles cough up their secrets, and we can find pieces we couldn’t find.

  14. ryanrick

    Here’s another Minoan-related article for you all. It probably should be in your linguistics thread, but I know a lot of people would probably be interested in it and this seemed the best fit. It’s about Alice Kober and Linear B. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22782620

    • paul

      Like those Minoan costumes! 🙂

    • CJ

      Interesting! Ventris died in a motorcycle crash in England, as I recall, like T.E. Lawrence…and somebody else that was working on one of the archaeological puzzles. The word was out in Classics to stay away from motorcycles…

      I did think about tackling Linear A once and long ago, but it seemed one of those things where you could sink into an academic abyss and go zooier and zooier like the chap I knew whose forte was 4th century Athenian coinage.

  15. tulrose

    Do you have Hatfields & McCoys in the family? The History Channel has a series starting on 1st August. I’m not sure if it’s fictional or based on “reality”.

  16. CJ

    Neither in mine. But I’ll be interested to see it.

  17. CJ

    WOrking on Jane’s relatives: Hannah Loomis, who married a Rockwell. Now THERE’s an interesting family, the Loomises. A very prolific clan, Joseph Loomis and family, arrived in Connecticut by ship, settled, some in MA, some in CT, and eventually some in NY. They became Loomis, Lomas, Lomax, and whatever. They were preachers, deacons, Revolutionary War officers, et al, distinguished, often well to do, leaders of the community. And horse thieves—one family, one large family of them, trained their children to be thieves, not only that, —skilled thieves. They specialized in horse theft. But did not stick at other things.

    They were sooooooo notorious that Ezra Loomis Pound the poet petitioned to have Loomis removed from his name.

  18. CJ

    Way neat. Jane is H. I’m H5b…Mum’s folk came from Anatolia, below the Black Sea, ca 5000 BC. Dad’s had a tendency to live in mountainous areas, and probably eventually centered in Germany about the same time. Most folk with our immediate ancestry are (Y-DNA) R1b—but we’re G-M201, which could be Frankish. Our far-back genealogy chart agrees with that on the paternal side. Curiously, the H5bs mostly turn up in the Med—but also in Holland at a more recent date. Go figure. Of all places the ancient Mediterranean folk DIDN’T tend to go in later times, the coastal lowlands of northern Europe probably topped the list, so if it happened widespread in the population, it likely happened way, way back. We also have (though fairly thin in the line) an Italian component in one line, far back, and I need to figure out whether it’s maternal or paternal. It’d be nice if Ancestry/FTM would print a color distinction between ancestors that are maternal vs. paternal—when your tree passes 10 generations with a lot of information in it, it gets damned hard to remember who’s on what side; and very many, past a certain point, are on BOTH.

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