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My mom's side of the family has been super easy to trace, mainly because I have great aunts that did a ton of work, and we have some famous ancestors. My dad's side is much harder. My grandma was adopted so that's a dead end. My grandfather side dead ends after they came from Ireland end the late 1800s.

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  • Joan of Snarc

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crazyforkate

Personally, I love finding all of the "bad" ancestors. My personal favorite is a great-great grandmother who was called as a witness in a divorce case because the wife claimed my g-g-grandmother seduced her husband (who was 25 years younger than my g-g-grandmother). G-g-grandma was a cougar!!

Haha, me too. It's so much fun to look up the scoundrels. I had this one great-uncle who went off to WWII, leaving behind a wife and a bunch of kids, where he promptly found a Scottish lady he liked better. The war ended, the troops went home, and he went up to Scotland with his new girlfriend, sending his wife a "kthxbai" letter. His two brothers were horrified that he would dishonour the family like that and showed up in Scotland without warning. Great-uncle was marched home in disgrace and returned to his wife.

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tabitha2

the geneology on my mothers mother's side has been exhaustively researched and put on the web

http://tex-family.com/

they were some of the earliest polish settler in texas and wrote diaries of the journey and left letters and old photos. we are going to what you might say is the 'family seat' in april for a polish heritage dinner. generations buried the little country cemetery.

mothers fathers people were also polish but a different breed...cold, isolated, not interested in preserving anything of the past. they settled on a rural Utica farm and never left. i know the immigration story of my paternal great grand parents from ancestry. com and other web resources but my grandfather was a horny old goat who ran off with a teenage neighbor when mom was twelve and forced my grandmother and her kids fleeing out of new York state back to texas on a bus to live in abject poverty and never contacted them again. i called the extended family -mothers cousins, surviving aunts, etc. their response to family history questions ''is we don't know anything. sorry.'' ...no one even has a damn old photo to send :roll: and when my uncle went to see his father, he was told by the old mans caretaker-my g fathers son from one of his marriages-my uncle would be shot if he came over.

my dad was the product of a drunken back seat romp in the and given up for adoption. biological grand mother called or was called once and sent a photo but for reasons I don't know no follow up happened

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Most of my family is from southwest VA too. I wonder if we're related? I spend a lot of time working on records from Wise, Scott, Lee, Washington, Smyth and Russell counties.

We may very well be! I have family down in Tazewell and across the WV border in Mercer Co.

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Wildflower and Joan, I have Virginia roots too, but a bit further up I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley. My 7th great-grandfather, Valentine Sevier, founded the town of New Market

New Market is actually one of my favorite places to shop for antiques!

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Joan of Snarc
Joan of Snarc, I think it's interesting that you might be part Melungeon.

I've done a little genealogy, but haven't pursued it much in the last few years. One my mother's side we are mostly English and German as far as I know. One of our ancestors was the brother of Daniel Boone.

My dad always thought her was part Irish. He's not, but a lawyer from Maryland wrote him in the early 70s saying that he traced the family to England. They emigrated to Maryland and eventually dispersed north into Pennslyvania, south to Savannah, and west. The western branch of the family settled in Harper's Ferry and then moved on into Kentucky. My dad had always wondered if he were descended from General John Sevier on his mother's side of the family. When I first started climbing the family tree, it took about 15 minutes to discover he was descended from John Sevier, the first Governor of Tennessee, only Governor of the Lost State of Franklin who represents Tennessee in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. Going a little further back on the family tree, the Sevier family were Huguenots and were originally Basque who'd been counsellors to the King of Navarre. (Navarra is a Basque province which straddles the border between Spain and France.) When the last Navarrese king, Henri I, became King Henri IV of France, some of the Xaviers became Seviers and moved to Paris. Eventually they left France for London and then to America. I think that John Sevier's mother was a Quaker preacher so we have Quakers on both sides of the family. We also have Native American ancestry on my dad's side although I am not sure which side of his ancestry or which Native American tribe. It was probably Shawnee, but I'm not sure because there were no tribes with permanent residence in Kentucky.

Wildflower and Joan, I have Virginia roots too, but a bit further up I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley. My 7th great-grandfather, Valentine Sevier, founded the town of New Market

Yeah for somebody commenting on Melungeons; I knew there had to be somebody here who had heard of them.

I am familiar with 'ole John Sevier (knew he was Huguenot, but I didn't know that the Seviers were Basque; that's interesting.) I have an ancestor, John Clarkston/Clarkson, who was the first (and only?) man executed in the State of Franklin, under Sevier's watch. He was accused, tried, convicted and hung all in one day in 1787. The reasons why are unclear. One story says he was a political enemy of Sevier and was hanged on trumped-up charges. Another says he killed his son-law-because the son-in-law was beating his daughter. It's stories like this that really make you wish you could find out the truth -- but it's so difficult. Supposedly, John Sevier did like to dispose of his enemies quickly, though!

Sevier was also a Rev. War general, right? And served with the Overmountain Men at King's Mountain, I believe. My ancestors were there as privates, not generals. If you've got a famous person in your lineage, it makes it so much easier to find stuff out.

On a related note, that show "Who Do You Think You Are?" pisses me off because everything's just laid out for these famous people to go all these places and find out all this incredible information. They don't do shit but get on a plane and it's all done for them. Meanwhile, some of us are toiling away for years against neverending brick walls.

:violin:

I did laugh when Rob Lowe was so excited about his Rev. War ancestor only to find out it was a Hessian soldier fighting against George Washington. That was so funny.

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Does anyone have any tips for tracing non-English ancestry? I have a pretty easy time tracing that because the records are all there, but for my Italian, Austrian, and Russian side, I just have no idea. Also, any tips for tracing illegitimate children's parentage? The supposed noble who knocked up one of my ancestors apparently moved to Australia, or was sent there by his parents or something. Oh, and the ancestor that got knocked up was a maid in their house or something, and I'm told she wasn't very bright. That's all I know.

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PennySycamore

The Xavier/Seviers became Huguenot when Henry III and his mother Jeanne d'Albret did. Henry III of Navarre became Henry IV of France, the first Bourbon king. Of course Henry III renounced Protestantism in order to ascend the French throne. He did issue the Edict of Nantes in 1598 guaranteeing Huguenots some privileges while maintaining that Catholicism was still the state religion. I'll have to look up if the revocation of the Edict of Nantes jives with when my ancestors fled Paris for London. I think it does, but I'm not sure.

I haven't been to King's Mountain much to my chagrin as so close that I really don't have much excuse.

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TennesseeWaltz

My great aunt spent a few years researching our family history. The only thing I know about her results is that we're Melungeons! Everyone I have ever told has given me a WTF look and asked me to explain. Until the recent DNA study, that took a lot longer. LOL

We're part of the same group that the researchers studied. My great-grandmother was a Rogers from Hawkins County. Her mother was a Jenkins. I have to say, I was giddy when the topic came up here!

I really need to get copies of my aunt's research.

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Joan of Snarc

Yeah fer a melungeon! I'd be interested to see some of your names when you get a copy of your aunt's research.

:)

Hopefully I'll get my ancestry DNA results back soon. Can't wait to see how much of a Neanderthal I am.

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auntsally28

Been working on my family history for a few years now. Based in UK, but weirdly Mum's side of the family went to New England in the 1870's from Wales and then came back about 10 years later. Still trying to figure that one out!

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Been working on my family history for a few years now. Based in UK, but weirdly Mum's side of the family went to New England in the 1870's from Wales and then came back about 10 years later. Still trying to figure that one out!

1870s was a depression in the US and there was a lot of labor unrest. Wikipedia mentions an immigration decline in the north-eastern US (which includes New England). The UK was relatively immune to this depression. That might be why; they were unemployed and moved back home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Depre ... ted_States (UK is the section just above.)

The 1870s was also a time of increasing nativism and xenophobia in the US. Maybe your ancestors got confused with being Irish!

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Bethella

1870s was a depression in the US and there was a lot of labor unrest. Wikipedia mentions an immigration decline in the north-eastern US (which includes New England). The UK was relatively immune to this depression. That might be why; they were unemployed and moved back home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Depre ... ted_States (UK is the section just above.)

The 1870s was also a time of increasing nativism and xenophobia in the US. Maybe your ancestors got confused with being Irish!

A surprising number of immigrants went back to their native countries for various reasons (like Angela's Ashes). Here's an interesting article on the subject. genealogy.com/96_donna.html

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GeoBQn

Are there any good sources on Russian military history? I've been told that my great-great-grandfather was a body guard for the czar. He was called "the only Jew in the Czar's army" and people thought it was unusual that a Jew attained a high enough rank in the army to be a bodyguard. The most I could find was an article saying that after Jews were declared full citizens of Russia, Jewish leaders advocated army service as a way of displaying pride in their citizenship.

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Are there any good sources on Russian military history? I've been told that my great-great-grandfather was a body guard for the czar. He was called "the only Jew in the Czar's army" and people thought it was unusual that a Jew attained a high enough rank in the army to be a bodyguard. The most I could find was an article saying that after Jews were declared full citizens of Russia, Jewish leaders advocated army service as a way of displaying pride in their citizenship.

Hey, one of my ancestors was supposed to be a guard for the Czar, too. I can't remember if it was a great-etc. grandfather, or a great-etc. uncle.

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cindyluvs24

I had an ancestor or two that left Russia to avoid conscription into the Czar's army. I had a g-g-grandmother who worked for "the grafina" (countess). Nobody knows which countess but apparently, this g-g-grandmother always considered herself to be a bit of royalty herself by extension. And because she spoke French and German, not Yiddish. My grandmother once was shopping for new wallpaper and shades. The salesman kept motioning for her to wait, he was busy following another elderly woman around the store, taking notes etc. The salesman whispered to Grandma "See that lady? She's related to the Baroness Buxhoveden" (Empress Alexandra's BFF) So grandma strides over, introduces herself and tells her that her grandmother was seamstress to the grafina so she would appreciate being waited on. Now grandma's gone and the family is dying to know - who the heck was the grafina? Of course, once the pogroms got going, knowledge of French and connections to minor nobility didn't amount to much. She did manage to find work in the sweatshops, though.

The family's best "God Bless America" story: My mother's paternal grandmother. An orphan, illiterate, sent to the US as a kind of mail order bride. (no dowry, no luck) Gets married, husband owns a bodega-type of store. She works in the store 18 hours a day, husband spent most of the day in the back playing pinochle with his buddies. Yet, her son became a doctor and her daughter graduated college in 1925 and became a teacher. They finally taught her how to write her name and read a little when she was older because she wanted to become a citizen and vote. She thought America was a miraculous place because, not only were schools free including college but even girls could go. Take that fundies!

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PennySycamore

I talked to my sister today and she's reminded me to check my text messages. It turns out that one of her neighbors is a distant relative; she's a descendent of John Sevier's son Valentine. This women showed my sister some things that had been passed down to her from the Sevier family. She has a dining table that will seat 12, a china cabinet and some china from France. These things are from the time when John Sevier was governor of Tennessee. I don't think our side of the family has a thing of John Sevier's. My sister had sent me pictures of the antiques. They were quite lovely.

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Shamrock

If anyone wants a hand working out where abouts in ireland their ancestors are from or just a hand with irish records in general leave me a message and I will do my best to help :)

I would *greatly* appreciate help, if you could. I've hit a wall with my 5th great grandparents. My 4th great grandmother's (Annabella Gibboney) death certificate states that her parents were John Gibboney from Ireland and Christian Scott from Scotland. They would have been born in the early 1800s. As far as i know they had 2 other children besides Annabella: William born in 1829 and Mary born around 1831. Annabella was born in 1840 in County Tyrone. According to the 1900 us census, Annabella immigrated in 1855. William also immigrated. Mary stayed in Ireland and married John Paisley Sr. in 1851 in Pomeroy, Tyrone. I have transcripts of letters from Annabella and her husband from the Civil War that state that Mary & John were living about 4 miles from Donoughmore in 1864.

If you can help in any way, that would be great!

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Shamrock

Wildflower and Joan, I have Virginia roots too, but a bit further up I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley. My 7th great-grandfather, Valentine Sevier, founded the town of New Market

That's funny, i used to live there!

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Shamrock

We may very well be! I have family down in Tazewell and across the WV border in Mercer Co.

A lot of my dads family are/were from there! My dad actually just moved back to Mercer Co. a couple years ago.

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psycho-hope

I would *greatly* appreciate help, if you could. I've hit a wall with my 5th great grandparents. My 4th great grandmother's (Annabella Gibboney) death certificate states that her parents were John Gibboney from Ireland and Christian Scott from Scotland. They would have been born in the early 1800s. As far as i know they had 2 other children besides Annabella: William born in 1829 and Mary born around 1831. Annabella was born in 1840 in County Tyrone. According to the 1900 us census, Annabella immigrated in 1855. William also immigrated. Mary stayed in Ireland and married John Paisley Sr. in 1851 in Pomeroy, Tyrone. I have transcripts of letters from Annabella and her husband from the Civil War that state that Mary & John were living about 4 miles from Donoughmore in 1864.

If you can help in any way, that would be great!

Hi shamrock, unfortunatly your 5th great grandparents were born well before offical records began in ireland ( around 1864), it may be possible to confirm that mary was one of their children by searching to parish records to see if her fathers name is recorded in the parish records, do you know if they were catholic or protestant?

If John and Christian where married in Scotland it may be possible to check exactly when and where they were married, if not unless you know where in ireland John was from it will probably be impossible to track them, however there is a history of people from the northern counties in Ireland ( donegal, derry, antrim, down) leaving to go to scotland usually around glasgow and edinburgh for work and people from scotland going to those counties to seek work.

Ill have a look online and see what i can dig up and let you know what i find, im hoping to go to the national archives in dublin in the next few weeks and will try and see if i can track down annabella and john's marriage., feel free to pm me with any other information you have.

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Shamrock

Hi shamrock, unfortunatly your 5th great grandparents were born well before offical records began in ireland ( around 1864), it may be possible to confirm that mary was one of their children by searching to parish records to see if her fathers name is recorded in the parish records, do you know if they were catholic or protestant?

If John and Christian where married in Scotland it may be possible to check exactly when and where they were married, if not unless you know where in ireland John was from it will probably be impossible to track them, however there is a history of people from the northern counties in Ireland ( donegal, derry, antrim, down) leaving to go to scotland usually around glasgow and edinburgh for work and people from scotland going to those counties to seek work.

Ill have a look online and see what i can dig up and let you know what i find, im hoping to go to the national archives in dublin in the next few weeks and will try and see if i can track down annabella and john's marriage., feel free to pm me with any other information you have.

Thanks so much! I believe they were protestant, but i'm not sure.

Unfortunately, i haven't found any more info on John & Christian. It is quite possible that Mary and her husband also immigrated at a later date since their children all died in the US. I'm going to see if i can find a death certificate for her or immigration records.

I will definitely pm you if i find out anything.

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  • 4 weeks later...
danvillebelle

Hey guys - I've been lurking at FJ for a couple of years but I finally joined last week. I'm a genealogy geek. :D

I got really into it a few years back when my aunt sold my grandmother's house and gave me all the old photos and genealogy papers. I joined Ancestry and dug deep and found all kinds of cool stuff. The furthest back I can go reliably (thanks to others' work on Ancestry) is 1500's for one grandmother's branch and 1400's for my dad's branch. I know the most about my maternal grandfather's branch; the first one came to Philadelphia from Wales in 1689. He was a Quaker and had been thrown in jail for it in Wales.

Through one great-grandmother's branch, I am related to the first folks who settled central KY with Daniel Boone and Co. in the late 1700's (hence my username, they settled the area that is now Danville, KY). Another ancestor in the same area helped found the first Methodist church west of the Alleghenies. I have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War on both sides. My Union Veteran's wife was buried with him in Arlington Cemetery and supposedly was one of the first women to be allowed to do that.

Most depressing find: two great-great grandfathers owned slaves. They were wealthy farmers in Kentucky and it was the 1850's, and that's just what was done, but it still irks me.

Coolest item I actually own: letters home from a Confederate ancestor, written in 1864. They are incredibly poignant; he begs family to send him boots because he has no proper shoes and the only ones to be had cost $200 Confederate dollars, he talks wistfully about being able to visit with his sisters, and he valiantly keeps saying that he thinks they will be victorious if they just keep pressing on.

ETA: I also have a Confederate $20 bill.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Joan of Snarc

I'd be interested in reading a transcript of your confederate ancestor's letters, if you feel like typing it in. If it's too much, maybe just give some more details or highlights, if you have time.

I was reading some death certificates online last night and on one 12-year-old girl's death certificate, the doctor wrote, "Patient was a dirt eater." It didn't say what the actual cause of death was.

I remember reading in some of the pregnancy books that pregnant women can get a compulsion to eat dirt, particularly if they are missing some nutrient from their diet, but I had never heard of it in children and I've never seen it on a death certificate before. I suppose mental illness could have also caused her to eat dirt.

Also, I've now found three ancestors in Alabama who died of pellagra in the early part of the 20th century. It's pretty awful. I had never heard of it before doing genealogy; it's basically dying of malnutrition -- too much cornmeal and not enough meat, I guess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellagra

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Bethella
I'd be interested in reading a transcript of your confederate ancestor's letters, if you feel like typing it in. If it's too much, maybe just give some more details or highlights, if you have time.

I was reading some death certificates online last night and on one 12-year-old girl's death certificate, the doctor wrote, "Patient was a dirt eater." It didn't say what the actual cause of death was.

I remember reading in some of the pregnancy books that pregnant women can get a compulsion to eat dirt, particularly if they are missing some nutrient from their diet, but I had never heard of it in children and I've never seen it on a death certificate before. I suppose mental illness could have also caused her to eat dirt.

Also, I've now found three ancestors in Alabama who died of pellagra in the early part of the 20th century. It's pretty awful. I had never heard of it before doing genealogy; it's basically dying of malnutrition -- too much cornmeal and not enough meat, I guess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellagra

Eating dirt (or other non-nutritive items) is called Pica. There are different causes including cultural tradition, acquired taste or a neurological mechanism such as an iron deficiency, or chemical imbalance. Pica has been linked to mental disorders and they often have psychotic comorbidity. Stressors such as maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, poverty, and a disorganized family structure are strongly linked to pica. It could have been the cause of death either due to malnutrition or an intestinal blockage.

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