Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Don.

Don Howard became a WikiTreer in April 2019.  He loves finding new cousins and is active as a Sourcerer and in our Germany and Notables projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Howard, Dorsey, Goodnight, Loving, Turnbough, Dugger, Lopez, and Ranalli.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Maryland (Colonial times), Deep South, Kentucky, Missouri, Nuevo Leon (Mexico) and Abruzzo, Italy.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

In the early 1990s, genealogy became a special hobby that I shared with my mother. She worked on her side and my father’s side;  I worked on my daughter’s mother’s side. That was in the days of having to go to libraries, and searching through microfilm. And studying paperwork. Living in Nashville, TN, I spent a lot of time in the state museum there.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is Matthew Howard (1609-1659), my 9th great-grandfather. He is my direct male-to-male immigrant ancestor. Matthew and his sons have been written about by the well-known authors, J.D. Warfield, and Harry Newman. In those books, he was said to have been descended from the English Norfolk dukes. That claim has since been refuted, and his parentage is now considered unknown. I do find it interesting that some of his sons used wax seals that portrayed the Royal Norfolk Howard crest.

Regardless of Matthew Howard’s parentage, he and his sons were among the most prominent of the founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland; an interesting family with noted friends and neighbors. I have had my Y-DNA tested to be sure about my lineage, and have been placed in the Matthew group, at FTDNA’s Howard Project.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

Finding proof that my 3rd great-grandfather, Henry Howard, was the father of my 4th great-grandfather, John Beale Howard Jr. was difficult, as the son had moved from Kentucky to Missouri. Census reports didn’t give children’s names during the times that I needed. Eventually, I found the son in the father’s will that was indexed with a misspelling, and hard to find. Also, my DNA matches all point to both families.

My most frustrating ongoing brick wall is my wife’s great-grandparents, whose children immigrated to America from Italy. There are few indexed Italian sources for the names that I need. Italian handwritten cursive records are problematic. And her DNA matches stop at 2nd cousins, and start again with 4th cousins or higher.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Johann Sebastian Bach, of course! I am a retired touring musician and public school teacher. Currently, I teach piano part-time. On my father’s side, I have quite a bit of German. Goodnight (Gutknecht), Young (Jung), Turnbeaugh, and more.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Just music; classical and jazz. And family (my descendants).

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined WikiTree on April 1, 2019. Just over a year ago. Lately, I spend a lot of my time checking my email activity feed for possible cousins (by using the relationship finder, and checking gedmatch kits). I have a Facebook group, Howard And Allied Families, with over 400 kinfolk from all sides of my tree. Several members have been found on WikiTree. Also, I participate in the Clean-A-Thons.  I enjoy the group activities, and plan to get involved in more of them.

What brought you to WikiTree?

A DNA 9th cousin match (found on Ancestry.com) told me about WikiTree. His name is James Stratman (Stratman-17), a good genealogist. And now, a special friend.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like WikiTree because high standards of sourcing is promoted, and there are a lot of group activities.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

It would be nice if there was something quick you could do about a profile that is flawed, and the manager is unable to be contacted. Also, something to do about profiles that are orphaned, horribly flawed, unconnected, and abandoned.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy?

WikiTree has helped me become more disciplined about having proper sources.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Check the Style rules, and study them really good. Don’t be afraid to ask others. Go slow and sure. Don’t leave so many unfinished profiles, that you can’t remember them all.

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  3 Responses to “Meet our Members: Don Howard”

  1. We have the same 12th Great Grandfather, cousin Donald.

    John White
    Born before 1503 in Timsbury, Hampshire, Englandmap
    ANCESTORS ancestors
    Son of Marcus White and Margaret White [uncertain]
    Brother of Thomas White D.C.L. [half]
    Husband of Mildred (Weston) White — married 1549 in Timsbury, Hamps, Hampshire, Englandmap
    DESCENDANTS descendants
    Father of Alice (White) Cannon, Cicily (White) Graditch, John White, Avis (White) Sumers, Walter White and Ellen White
    Died 1 Feb 1580 in Leckford, Timsbury, Hampshire, Englandmap

  2. Morning, Donald! I believe we may be Howard cousins. My second gr grandmother Florence Howard was “First person of royal descent to marry into Spiers Family. Descended from Lord Edward George Fitzalan Howard, first Lord Howard of Glossop, second son of 13th Duke of Norfolk, Henry Charles Howard,” quoted from a family letter and I believe in the . She was the seventh cousin to Frances Dora Smith (Bowes Lyon) – the line to Queen Elizabeth.

    In another family source, it is reported that in 1916, Richmond, VA, her first cousin, Sir Esme Howard, visited her.

    There is a book entitled “Descendants of Henry Spiers, Pioneer Scotsman, Prince George County, VA” by Mary Spiers Kennette that has Florence’s line in it.

    Note from my maternal grandmother, Florence Norris – My grandmother’s grandfather was the second son of Lord Howard of England. In his teens he worked his way to America as an indentured servant to a wealthy man. Then was freed upon arrival to America. Grandma used to write to and receive letters from Queen Elizabeth!

    My husband and I took a European tour last year and almost made it to Queen Elizabeth’s birthday bash! Oh well, the flag was up at the castle which meant she was there the day we got there.

    I have inherited my Grandma Florence Norris’ duties as the family genealogist. Still have lots of work to do!

    If you have questions, just let me know. Have Fun!
    Barbara W. Millner

  3. Thanks Frank. We very well could be cousins. There are good sources going to my ancestor, Cicily Graditch. Shoot me an email, sometime.

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