Saturday, February 23, 2019

US Presidents in the Family - Part Deux

All right, so as a follow up to my last post on connections to U.S. Presidents on my maternal side, here are U.S. Presidents specific to my Paternal side.

My paternal side has deep roots in the U.S. just like my maternal side, but instead of New England, it's British immigrants to what is now Virginia and Maryland.

9th US President - William Henry Harrison

Unfortunately, William, my 1st cousin 6x removed, died from pneumonia only 31 days into his term, this being the shortest any U.S. President served.  Stories say he died from getting sick after giving a very long inauguration speech in poor weather, but that's just a tall tale. He was, however, the first President to die in office so that freaked everyone out and they then had to make sure there were rules in place if that happened again.  William was the son of Benjamin Harrison V, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  It's strange to think back to my childhood school visits to Independence Hall in Philadelphia meant I was walking literally in Benjamin's same steps.  Maybe I would have paid more attention!!

23rd US President - Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin (yes SOOO many Benjamin Harrisons) is my 3rd cousin 4x removed. However, I am related to him twice, on both my maternal and paternal sides (on my maternal side, he's my 6th cousin 5x removed).  I have a soft spot for finding out how I'm related to someone multiple times, I just love it LOLOL!  Yeah, I pretty much am my own cousin.  AnyHOO, on my paternal side, our common ancestors are his grandfather, Benjamin HARRISON IV (above) and his wife Anne CARTER.  The Carter family is also among some of the first families to immigrate to Virginia.

39th US President - James Earl Carter Jr.

Jimmy Carter, who is the first president I was aware of existing as a child, is my 10th cousin 1x removed.  Our common ancestors are John CARTER and Bridget BENION, Londeners who were parents to  emigrants to Virginia in the 1600s.

Now, since doing this research, I've found that there's actually even more Presidents that I'm related to on both sides but I thought I'd focus on the closest relations.

As long as you can find that one ancestral line that hits a royal somewhere in Europe, you're pretty likely to find that you are related to all kinds of historically famous people.  It's been a really fun indulgence the last few weeks going over all these lines and it does suddenly bring history to life when you realize some name you read is actually a relation, no matter how distant!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

US Presidents in the Family

So I treated myself just after Christmas to a great book published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society: Ancestors of American Presidents, by Gary Boyd Roberts.

I knew there were a few presidents who were cousins, but I wasn't sure of exactly how and I really wanted to look at trustworthy research that I could then of course verify myself!

I looked first on my mother's side because my Dad already knew on his side of the family that he was cousins with the two HARRISON presidents, William Henry and his grandson, Benjamin.

My maternal MIX ancestry has some very deep New England roots, even one Mayflower ancestor so I knew that's where I would look for any lines that lead to Presidents and sure enough, we've got a grand total of FOUR, which is really cool.

13th US President - Millard Fillmore

Yep, lucky number 13 is my 5th cousin 5x removed.  Our common ancestors were Oliver PURCHASE and Thomasine HARRIS.  Oliver and Thomasine lived in Dorset, England, and it was some of their children who decided to journey to America in the 1600s. 

Millard Fillmore became president in 1850 because the sitting President Zachary Taylor died from cholera, and Millard was the Vice-President at the time.

18th US President - Ulysses S. Grant

Grant was my 6th cousin 5x removed.  Our common ancestors were William ROCKWELL and Susan CAPEN.  William and Susan emigrated from Dorset, England to Connecticut in the 1600s. 

I learned an interesting thing while finding out exactly who Ulysses S. Grant was - his birth name was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant, but due to an error on his West Point admission form, he was kind of "re-christianed" Ulysses S. Grant and apparently he stuck with it :-D He was twice elected President.

23rd US President - Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin is my 6th cousin 5x removed and his grandfather is my 4th cousin 7x removed. We are related on my maternal side through Benjamin's grandmother, Anna Tuthill SYMMES.  Through her our common ancestors are Francis CHICKERING and Anne FISKE of Suffolk, England.  Francis and Anna emigrated in the 1600s to Massachusetts. 

I was specific about Benjamin's grandmother because on my paternal side, we are related through Benjamin's Grandfather, who also just so happened to be a President (the 9th one), but more on him in my future paternal post!

30th US President - Calvin Coolidge, Jr

Calvin Coolidge is my 9th cousin 3x removed.  Our common ancestors were Bernard CAPEN and Joan PURCHASE.  Notice the last name of Capen, yes, Grant and Coolidge are related as well, they were 7th cousins, 2x removed.  And notice the last name of Purchase, he was cousins with Millard Fillmore too, 7th cousins, 3x removed. Interestingly, he also became president because he was Vice-President and the President died!  Warren G. Harding died from a heart attack.  Calvin stepped up and was then also elected President after that.

And there you have it!  It's interesting that all our connections go back to England and immigrants who came to New England in the 1600s.  Next up will be a review of Presidents on my paternal side.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Family in World War I

Today is Veteran's Day 2018 and that makes it 100 years since the end of World War I.  I thought I'd bring attention to relatives of mine that were part of WWI.

I don't happen to have any direct ancestors who were in the Great War, due to ages, deaths of my ancestors, so below are all relatives of some sort, not direct ancestors.  I've listed what branch of the armed forces they were in and any other notable information I might have.

I know there are more I haven't found yet, but this is who I have for now!  I also think it's important to note that of the 8 men listed here for my paternal side, 3 of them died from Influenza.  This was the Flu Pandemic of 1918 which unfortunately not many have a memory of as a warning for today. 

Maternal Side

My maternal 1st Cousin 4x removed Edward John KIRBY was a Private in the US Army. He began service on 07 Jun 1917 at the age of 20, he was born in the Finger Lakes area of New York.

My maternal 2nd cousin 3x removed Hiram N. MADIGAN was a Private in the US Army. He grew up on a farm in Ontario County, New York. Here is is mentioned in the 17 Aug 1917 Democrat and Chronicle out of Rochester, NY:

My maternal 3rd cousin 2x removed Clarence Vernon MIX was a Private in the US Army. Born in Kansas, his family moved to Idaho to farm, and he is the older brother of Paul, below.

My maternal 3rd cousin 2x removed Paul Irven MIX was a Private in the US Army. Born in Kansas, his family moved to Idaho to farm, and he is the younger brother of Clarence, above.

Paternal Side

My paternal Great Grand Uncle Anton Roman POKORNOSKI was a Private in the US Army, from 20 Dec 1917 through 20 Nov 1918. He was a farmer by trade, born in Minnesota.  He was 26 when he went to war.

My paternal Great Grand Uncle Michael N. PAWLAK was a Private in the US Army.  He never saw action overseas though, he died in Chicago of Influenza on 07 Oct 1918.  He was only 22 and had lived on a farm his whole live in Minnesota.

My paternal 1st cousin 2x removed Bernard C. HARRISON was in the US Army.

My paternal 1st cousin 3x removed Joseph LEWANDOSKI was a Private in the US Army.  He died in France on 28 Sep 1918 of Influenza.  He was only 24 and had lived on a farm in Minnesota his whole life.

My paternal 1st cousin 3x removed Thomas C. PAWLAK was a Fireman 3rd Class in the US Navy.  Born in Minnesota, he was in the Navy from 15 Dec 1917 through 17 Dec 1918; he was a 22 year old farmer, born in Minnesota.

My paternal 2nd cousin 2x removed Ellis Reuben HARRISON was in the US Army. He died of Influenza at Camp Meade in Maryland on 16 Aug 1918, he was 24 years old and had always lived in Maryland. Here he is listed on a Death List within a long article about the current state of the Flu epidemic in the 15 Oct 1918 Baltimore Sun:

My paternal 2nd cousin 2x removed Freddie Eugene HARRISON was in the US Army.

My paternal 2nd cousin 2x removed John William BURDETTE was in the US Army.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

DNA Cousins - Paternal Side

So as a follow up to my last post on maternal DNA cousins, here are my Paternal DNA cousins.  The purpose here was to look in my DNA matches within Ancestry to see how far back in my tree I can go with some cousin connections.  Ancestry shows if others show the same people in a tree as me, and we are matching some DNA.  That helps confirm that the tree may be correct (assuming there is documentation to back it up of course).


Robert CARTER, b. 1663 and Elizabeth LANDON, b. 1683

These two are my 7th great grandparents from Virginia.  It's very interesting to me that my maternal and paternal trees have absolutely NO intersection whatsoever.  My maternal side goes back to the Puritans who first came to New England and other immigrants who came in through New York and then moved to New York State and westwards.  My paternal side started with the immigrants who settled Virginia and included later immigrants who came in through the port of Baltimore.

Benjamin HARRISON IV, b. 1695 and Anne CARTER, b. 1696

Okay, so the son of Benjamin and Anne that is my direct ancestor, William, is not yet a proven son of these two, though it's generally accepted that he is.  But considering the VAST amount of Harrison cousins in my Ancestry account, he's definitely of that family line for sure, so it could really be true he is an undocumented son.  Without him, my 7th great grandparents above would not be true, but I'm listing them anyway at this point.  Hopefully it will be proven one day!

Nehemiah MOXLEY, b. 1738 and Elizabeth NORWOOD, b 1740

These two are my 6th great grandparents, they were in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  The Moxley family spread far and wide in Maryland.

Thomas LUCAS, b. 1733 and Mary CHAMBERLAINE

These two are my 5th great grandparents, they were located in Maryland.

William SHIPLEY, b. 1729 and Rebecca SELLMAN

These two are my 5th great grandpaents, they were also located in Maryland (seeing a pattern here?).  The Shipley family spread far and wide in Maryland just like the Moxley's, there are tons of them!

Anton POKORNOWSKI, b. 1813 and Marianna BUDZYNSKI, b. 1830

These two are my 3rd great grandparents, they both emigrated from Poland with their 7 children and settled in McLeod County, Minnesota. There they had 2 more children.  Oh, and Anton had a first wife in Poland and he had 8 kids with her, some of whom stayed in Poland, some of whom emigrated as well.  SO MANY CHILDREN!  This probably explains why I have a lot of DNA cousins in Ancestry with this line!

I'm really interested in how DNA is going to affect verification of family lines, it's certainly different from the old days!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

DNA Cousins - Maternal Side

Although I am pretty careful with my privacy on websites and all (yes, even facebook!), apparently I could not care less where my DNA goes, so I've sent it off  to multiple companies for analysis.  Alas, no stunning reveals like on the TV shows, turns out my ancestry is "European" which matches exactly what my genealogy research has shown all these years.

My parents also sent their DNA in to one of the companies and amazingly the results came back knowing they were my parents without me having to tell them!  I know it's science and all, but to me that was really really cool.  Also it was nice to know my parents were really my parents because hey, you never know, I could have just been blending in after being switched at birth.

Guess which one is me

So anyway, lately I've been paging through all my cousin DNA matches in Ancestry taking a look at the common ancestors for those who list family trees, and taking wild guesses for those who did it for the DNA results only and didn't list a tree.  Sometimes it's easy to figure out when you look at shared matches.

I was looking through them all because I wanted to see if DNA matches would help me with any "unproven" ancestor connections.

For instance, I have an ancestor was in the Revolutionary War and I wanted to submit the lineage to the Daughters of the American Revolution.  However, there is one Father-Son connection where apparently everyone (including professional genealogists) have assumed paternity because there is no actual written proof anywhere.  I was pretty bummed and then thought well what if they really aren't father and son and I've been researching the wrong ancestry all these DECADES!


I finally decided that the father "Collins Mix" really was likely the father of son "Jonathan Collins Mix", because come on, "Collins!"

Then I just submitted for another ancestor who was better documented.

Thanks Kinsey Harrison and all his kids!!!

Anyway, back to DNA - so I thought, can I prove to my own satisfaction looking at cousins in Ancestry that the Collins and his son were really connected?

So here is how far back I was able to find cousin-connections for some of my lines - this is really cool in my opinion!


Thomas MIX, b.1678 and Deborah ROYCE, b.1683:

These two are my 7th great grandparents from Wallingford, Connecticut, and I had multiple cousins in my matches that had these 2 as our common ancestors.  So that answers the question of whether Collins was the Dad of Jonathan.  Though I don't think the DAR is ready to accept this kind of proof in their applications quite yet.

Richard BOWEN, b.1662 and Patience PECK, b.1669:

Same generation as Thomas and Deborah above (7th great grandparents), but they lived in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Again, I had multiple cousins with these 2 as our common ancestors in our trees on Ancestry.

Paul TOMULE, b.abt.1721 and Maria Anna KLEIN, b.abt.1738:

These 2 are my 6th great grandparents, as far from New England as can be, they were born in the Alsace-Lorraine region, then migrated south to Austria-Hungary to an area which later became Romania, though they are ethnic Germans.  Did you get all that?

Joseph MARCHAL, b.1755 and Margaretha PIERRE, b.abt.1760:

These are my 5th great grandparents who were born in what is now the Lorraine region of France.  Like Paul and Maria Anna above, they migrated south to Austria-Hungary to an area which later became Romania.

Johan REISER, b.1795 and Katharina SCHREIBER, b.1795:

These are my 4th great grandparents, their ancestors also migrated south to the Austria-Hungary region which later became Romania. All these people in Hungary and Romania but no actual Hungarians and Romanians in my ancestry, their ethnicity was mostly German, Luxembourgian and Lorrainian.  I made the last one up.  But it sounds cool.  Lotharingen?  Alsatian-Lorrainian?

William JONES, b.1793 and Sylvia BAIRD, b.abt.1797:

These are my 4th great grandparents who were born in Connecticut, but migrated down to New York state, first to Orange County, then westward to Tioga County and nearabouts.  I made that last word up too, but I think it really works, I'm keeping it.

Thomas WEAVER and Almira FINNEY:

These are my 3rd great grandparents, both born in New York state, Thomas was born in Dutchess County and Almira was born in Otsego County.  I wish I knew more about them, right now they are a brick wall!

Alonzo CHESLEY, b.1839 and Laura KIRBY, b.1849:

These are my 3rd great grandparents and this is a special case and is certainly something that DNA could help with.  We have a family story that my 3rd Great Grandmother, Laura, had an affair with her brother-in-law, Alonzo and produced a daughter, my 2nd great grandmother.  For the first time just a few days ago, I noticed a cousin in my Ancestry DNA who is a descendant of Alonzo and his wife Sarah Kirby (Laura's older sister).  So this could be it - this could be the first chance at prove that the affair did happen.  This will definitely bear watching to see how this turns out - am I related enough to end up being related to both Alonzo and Sarah, or is it just Sarah showing up, we'll have to see!!