An Out-of-Place Ancestor

This week’s topic for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors series, is “Out of Place.” Too bad, I see this often enough, since I’ve been clicking on hints and attaching them, when I have no business doing it. But it seems so much easier to do on the ancestry app, than on the full-blown website. At least, that’s my current excuse, when I find an ancestor on the pedigree that really doesn’t belong there.

For instance, Richard Hunt’s (c. 1650) wife, Agnes. For some unrecalled reason, I had paired Richard Hunt up with an Agnes who was 10 or so years older than he was, and was from a totally different place in England. With no attached sources. Oh, how I hate it when that happens.

The ease with which we can peruse historical records and decide whether they fit our family’s story, is phenomenal. And sometimes we can make a leap of faith, based on some very minuscule clues that lie in wait among the details, waiting to sprout like seeds into a massive limb on the family tree. But is that limb grafted or real?

DNA “evidence” can seem like the truth serum that makes suppositions like this real: my ancestor’s wife was Agnes. There was an Agnes who lived in the next town, whose birthdate was in the range of her husband’s. One of their children’s names was the same as her father’s. Several of their descendants are DNA matches to me. Can this be proof enough?

artistic blossom bright clouds
Photo by Pixabay on

DNA Paved the Way

I found it coincidental that this week’s prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series is “DNA,” and that last week’s prompt was “Brick Wall.” Just this morning, I crashed through a brick wall in my pedigree research, using DNA. Bam!


I had seen other trees that listed Reynish as the surname of my 3rd great-grandmother. But they didn’t seem to match up with what I had, as far as dates and places. But with Ancestry’s new “Thru Lines” feature, I discovered at least 5 new DNA matches of people who were descended from Margaret Reynish’s father. That was rather compelling. I realize that you can have a DNA match whose pedigree has a number of names similar to your own pedigree, but that you might not be related to them by those particular people. But this looks promising: the five new DNA matches all descend from three of the brothers and sisters of my 3rd great-grandmother.

This wasn’t my first break-through helped along by DNA data. German and Scottish lines became manifest with the information from some of my relatively distant DNA matches. I’m excited about the DNA input, although I keep in the back of my mind the terse, warning voice of one of the presenters of a DNA live-streamed class at RootsTech: “Be careful!” [Diahan Southard from the class Connecting Your DNA Matches] 

I’ve been going over some of my mom’s old notes, and I’m just blown away by all the corresponding and collaborating she did over a long period of time. All that groundwork has led up to the magical genealogy searching tools we have today, with artsy charts and speed-of-light computer processors, and mammoth data storage capacity.

Lena “Brick Wall” Tripp

You may have guessed that this week’s prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series is “Brick Wall.”

Although I have about forty source citations for this ancestor, I still don’t know who her parents were.

In the Official Records, her surname is spelled variously Trippe, Trapp, Zipf, Kripp, Cips, Zyph, Sipp, and Heyar, but mostly Tripp. Her given name is sometimes Magdalena, Leina, Linney, and Lenny but mostly Lena. She lived in Erie County, New York, in the mid-1800’s.

I also have some Tripps in my tree from way back in the 1600’s. I found a book that contained a record of the Tripp descendants, and I thought I might enter all those into my tree, from the earliest immigrants to the contemporaries, and see if any found their way to Erie County, New York. And some did, but I still can’t find a link to Lena.

There ought to be some DNA connections, because Lena is only my 2nd-great grandmother, so hopefully I still have a notable percentage of her DNA mixed in with mine. So far I’ve only found one hopeful lead to pursue, a possible name for Lena’s mother only, on another person’s pedigree. But so far that hasn’t turned up anything that can be documented as proof, either.

Lena’s grave marker in Cherry Valley, Illinois

I Went to a Garden Party (in 1898)

This is in response to Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series of prompts about writing short posts, to get to know the ancestors better. Week #13’s prompt is “In the News,” and begs the question, “Have you used newspapers in your research?”

And the answer is, “Oh my goodness, yes!” I’ve found so many interesting items about my ancestors and their contemporaries, via newspaper articles, such as why someone got a divorce (alleged abandonment), possible reasons why a family moved to another city (bankruptcy), what they did for a living in the 1800’s (cabinet maker, coach builder, draper), or a transcription of their testimony at a trial when they were robbed. Newspapers can be a rich source of finding out what the ancestors really were like, and how they lived.

This article is from a very old newspaper, describing the proceedings of two local parties in Franklin, West Virginia, around 1900, which was reprinted in The Pendleton Times for the town’s bicentennial celebration.

Pre-1900 parties in Franklin, West Virginia

Two of my 2nd-great aunts (see the above doodle on the article) attended the “lawn fete” in 1898, along with several Boggs boys. In December of 1898, Annie married Hugh Carey Boggs (could he have been nicknamed “Pent”? Because I can’t seem to find another Boggs fellow with a given name of Pent. Maybe someone on Facebook’s Pendleton Pals site would know?) The other aunt, Mary Ralston Daugherty, didn’t marry, but was working as a stenographer as of the 1900 census. These girls had two other sisters, Susie and Sallie, within the same age range, all born in 1870-1880, who did not attend the party. Wondering why?

Putting A Handmade Ring on it…

Skip has been on a wooden ring-making crusade and I’m the latest beneficiary of his crafty experiments!

(waving it up front) the image is a little blurry, but it gives an idea of the thickness of the ring

This one turned out really good. I picked an exotic wood blank of pink ivory wood. It’s a very hard, smooth wood that ranges from pinkish to purplish in color. And, according to Wikipedia, it once was a revered commodity, allowed to be possessed only by elite inhabitants of the region where it is found. This one has a little freckle on it, which I love.

showing the freckle

Skip got the kits from Craft Supplies USA, the Woodturners Catalog, each for a few bucks. You can opt for a stainless steel or titanium core for the ring. My ring has the “comfort core” –a rounded or finely beveled center that won’t pinch. You can also buy a two-piece core that looks pretty cool. See some of the options at their catalog page.

titanium core

He went through 3 blanks before he found a technique for turning a ring blank that worked well. One of those three tries ended up as a little pile of sawdust on the shop floor! The practice blanks were of koa wood, an exotic variety from Hawaii.

Skip mailed a ring to a recipient who lives in Hawaii. When he opened the package, he discovered that the ring had separated from the titanium core, en route. They couldn’t figure out what caused the separation; could it have been the temperature changes, something to do with the glue he used (thick super glue), or another reason? We will analyze further after the next lot ships.

One of the koa wood rings

koa ring on mandrel

12 Children

Like lots of fellow genealogy addicts, I had a hard time coming up with some content for Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors topic for this week, which is “12.”

I want to include an image for these blurbs I’ve been writing, which can be posted in a blog or another social media outlet, such as Ms. Crow’s Generations Cafe Facebook Page. I like this forum because the entries are all nicely organized by each week’s topic, and you can look at other posts. But I didn’t realize that finding a photo of 12 related people was going to be a wild goose chase. On the up side, I do have lots of documented ancestors who had 10 or more children. I can write about a couple of them:

My 7th great grandparents were John Justus “Yost” Henkel and Maria Magdalena Eschmann. Yost came from Germany and met his wife in the Mennonite community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Their first eleven children were born at Bucks County, PA, but the twelfth child, Isaac Henkel, was born at Dutchman’s Creek, Rowan County, NC in 1754. Yost and many of his family members settled in Augusta County, VA. He served in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War.

Each of their 8 daughters and 4 sons lived to adulthood and produced numerous children of their own. One daughter is documented as having borne 16 children. One son, Jacob, had seven sons, of which five went on to become Lutheran ministers.

The Henckel Genealogy 1500-1960 by WS & MW Junkin

Thus far, I haven’t felt a very strong connection to these ancestors because they’re relatively distant. But reading about them and putting together a little summary helps me realize they are a part of me and my heritage. I’d like to encourage you to dip into the #52Ancestors phenom and give it a try!

LARGE Family Origins

Per Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors prompts, this week’s topic is “large family.”

My ancestor, Henry Bland, born in 1770, can be described as a man with a big family. He had 12 children with his first wife, and 12 more with his second wife.

Henry’s father, Thomas, is the subject of much speculation among our relatives. He appeared in Colonial Virginia and settled in what is today Pendleton County (West Virginia). Although there were other Blands who figured prominently as landowners, merchants, and statesmen in early Virginia, we have no records of our progenitor being related to them. In fact, the descendants of our ancestor have very different DNA groups than the descendants of several other Virginia Blands!

Some of the children of Henry Bland, from the family Bible

This page is from my mom’s book Thomas Bland of Pendleton County.

Bland history

Irish Obligations

Once when I was getting divorced, I was presented with the question of whether I wanted to keep my married name, or go with some other legal name. I thought it might be great to adopt my grandmother’s maiden name, Daugherty. I could definitely get a brand new start, no one would recognize the baggage I had with a former name, and everyone would know right away, I had Irish ancestry.

“No, you can’t just take on a new name you’ve never had before,” sneered my lawyer, who was of Italian ancestry by way of New York, and was obviously no fun at all. “If you want to change your name to something new, that’s a different case and comes with a separate fee.”

OK, so that was the end of that idea.

But with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, and with the recent wave of genealogy workshops having washed over us, I can see that I haven’t gotten very far in researching my Irish roots. The Daughertys, the Hopkins,’ the Gordons, the McAlisters and McBees, Baxters, Loves, and Phares all came over to the Colonial U.S. but I don’t know very much about where they came from and why they wanted to leave Ireland. It’s time to get to work on them.

Cricut shamrock Iron-on

At the recent conference we attended, we found quite a few classes with Irish, Scottish, and British research suggestions, to call out just a few. We also went to a very good German research workshop, and I can’t wait to try out some of the sources from that, too.

Conference swag bag

The keynote speaker, and presenter for several of the classes, was Donna Moughty, a genealogist who specializes in Irish research. I’m happy that it seems to be the right time, the right area, and the right whiz-bang of attention delivered, to help me focus on this area of family history. Meanwhile, there’s a holiday coming up…

St Patrick’s Day iron-ons: shamrock unicorn and truck

Bachelor Uncle

This week’s theme or prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series, is “Bachelor Uncle.”

Probably, I can find someone to fit this prompt in just about every generation in my pedigree. But the one who makes the most sense is my own uncle Laurence. I didn’t know him very well. My dad moved away from his family when he grew up, and I only visited them a handful of times in my entire life. Maybe it had something to do with what my aunt called “the L— [our surname] curse.”

“What is the L— curse?” I asked her.

“Not being able to get along with anyone,” she said.

She wrote this little memoir about her brother Laurence:

Laurence, God rest his soul, was a very likeable guy. Its to bad his first and only marriage failed within a couple of years. He was still adored by his in-laws and they remembered him till his last days. I use to antagonize him when we were little kids. He never called me by my name. When he wanted me, he would open and shut his dresser drawers knowing I would come in to see what he was doing. If he didn’t want me in his room, he would try to drag me out. I would grab hold of his bed and he would pull the bed and me to the door. I always was one foot ahead of him when he chased me through the house. I would slam the bathroom door in his face and lock it. He had a temper when he was little. I remember hitting him in the face with a snowball once. He about killed me.

While my dad left town after his service in the military, Lawrence stayed around and got a job at the same paint and body shop where their father worked. Dad stayed in the army until he retired, but Laurence served in the Navy only until WW2 was over. He was also an Arthur Murray dance instructor, I heard. He continued to live at home with his mother and sister until he died of leukemia, just shy of age 60. My aunt said,

In later years we became close after his stroke and cancer. He died to young. I’m glad I was there for him.

Young Laurence
Young Laurence

Old Laurence

Using current technology to create 19th Century crafts