Question of the Week: We've all got one - Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

+28 votes

We've all got one - Who's YOUR favorite ancestor and why?

in The Tree House by Deborah Collier G2G6 Mach 3 (38.1k points)
My favorite is my grandfather Charles Alonzo McKean because he was a third party aggressor for the USPS.

23 Answers

+17 votes

It would have to be Martin DuBois as a True Patriot, he served in the Revolutionary War, from New York at the age of 17 and helped earn our freedom. He also migrated with multiple generations following him to the Territory of Michigan, where I am from. All choices made by our ancestors make an impact on who we are. Martin's major life decisions were just that much more defining and impacted our nations history.

by Rod DuBois G2G6 Pilot (182k points)
I can only image the fear and anxiety that this 17 year old young man must have felt serving in the militia.  I hope at some time in his life, he was able to realized the positive impact that his service and life decisions created for future DuBois generations.
Thanks for your comment Deborah. Martin was quite proud of his service and contribution in the formation of the United States of America. He and Margaret had ten children. I think he would be amazed at the size of his family now and what the country looks like today. Cheers.
I don't know if I would say he is my favorite but I just found an indirect ancestor in the area I live now that I had no idea I ever had any relatives here who applied for a pension as serving in the Revolutionary War at 15 yrs. old, under and/or with his actual dad - his name was Richard Cavett; his dad was Moses and was supposed to be a captain under Col. Isaac Shelby and they were supposed to have fought in the battle at King's Mtn., but according to the Revolutionary records, his application for pension was rejected, so I'm not sure what to think. I've just learned as well that through him, however, I may actually be connected to someone I go to church with; except for marrying in, I'm one of the few who isn't, so I find that rather fascinating.
Couldn't imagine serving in a war at 15, even with Captain dad by my side. If someone were looking for a story to make a movie of, this site would be a perfect place to take notes.
agree as far as movie, but I think kids grew up a lot faster back then; don't think it was unusual to serve that young and in finally being able to read the actual application, at least online from fold3, but then strange, as soon as I did and closed it, it all disappeared and sent me to ancestry; anyway it said he served at Battle of Lookout Mtn., which I couldn't find a record of, and since this was all done here, the genealogy librarian said she'd never heard of it either and I really ought to be there tonight looking at all this, but...I'm not
+14 votes

Favourite can be for so many reasons. My pick would be a second great grandfather John Hickey/Jean Ethier, a working class Quebecois whose family moved to Oswego NY. He joined a whaler and then jumped ship in the Seychelles. But it was the process of uncovering all this that makes me so fond of him.

by Living Hampson G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
I am always in awe of those ancestors who leave their homes for brave new worlds without any idea of where they will eventually end up.
+13 votes

I have so many. I found one recently who is my present favourite: John Eldred (Eldred-587) (1552–1632) who was a merchant. He decided, with a few others, to make his fortune in trade, and went on a journey lasting five years, trading throughout the Middle East. When he returned, he was one of the wealthiest men in Britain. I like the way he took the risk to set his family up I like his get up and go, his sense of adventure and his gentle faith. On his memorial plaque is written:

The Holy Land so called I have seene, 

And in the Land of Babilon have beene, 

But in that Land where glorious Saints doe live 

My soul doth crave of Christ a roome to give.


by Susan Scarcella G2G6 Mach 7 (73.3k points)
What a neat memorial plaque!!
+13 votes

My favorite is my first cousin twice removed, Ort Bachelor.  At the age of 9, his father committed suicide in front of him, which he wrote about in the family genealogy.  Ort's handwriting is exquisite. Ort played flute for the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra and took many fascinating photographs of the city and his family.  His genealogical research is the only source we have for many Smith/Taylor names.  A mutual cousin has asked me more than once, "Did you know Ort?" because I speak of him with such affection. This month I found out that his father was also a musician, who was wounded at Gettysburg.  

by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (209k points)
I thinks it's truly wonderful how some of us manage to  discover new facts about our ancestors long after we've thought  that we know all there was to find out!
+17 votes

My favorite are these four, who had interesting careers and represented those who worked to protect, help, and serve others in various capacities. No wonder I wanted to join the military, I guess it was in my blood (or gene pool).  

1. SGM Augustus Barry

SGM Barry served in the American Civil War in the 16th U.S. Infantry for the Union Army. He received the "Medal of Honor" on February 28, 1870 for his actions in Tennessee and Georgia during the war.

2. Cornelius Bernard Barry M.D.  Cornelius was a Physician & Surgeon and like his brother William, he had a private practice. Dr Cornelius B. Barry passed away 23 Sept 1948 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Buried in Blackstone, MA.

3. JOHN Steward BARRY, He was the fourth and eighth governor of Michigan.  During his final term, a new state constitution was approved and the state deficit was addressed.

4. Bridget Catherine Barry known also as Mother Mary Gerald a "sister or catholic nun" Bridget entered the Dominican Order in 1912 and became "Sister" Mary Gerald Barry. Rev Mother Gerald was elected Mother General of the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1933. She served in this position for twenty-eight years. She was first president of Barry College in Miami Shores, Florida, United States.


by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
edited by Dorothy Barry
Oh My! I remember doing a report in my Michigan Junior High School about our governors and absolutely remember the name John S. Barry - my report was on McClelland his predecessor!
You have a great memory. I liked history but don't remember who we studied, had to be a governor of Connecticut though! We had two governors named "Lounsbury", and we lived on Lounsbury Ave in Norwalk.

I remember this because I wanted to write my history report on the husband of my 5xGr Aunt Marie - Jehu Hay, who was the last Lt. Governor of Detroit in 1784 - but I got McClelland instead :( I love Michigan history!

+11 votes

Mine is John Crockett Hudson, my 3rd great grandfather. When he was a POW at Camp Morton during the Civil War, he managed to make the newspaper.  Here's why:

Why the Rebels Wore Ragged Clothes

Published in the Confederate Veteran, written by Elder J.K. Womack.

The legislators of Indiana and Governor Morton, with their wives and daughters, went on a visit of inspection to the prisoners in Camp Morton in 1864. The Confederates were called out for dress parade and were made to look as well as possible. This distinguished body rode in fine carriages. One lady had her carriage stopped about ten feet from the line. Opening the side door of the carriage and pushing her head out, she asked:"Why do you Rebel soldiers dress so poorly?" Crockett Hudson, of Eagleville, Tenn., replied: "Gentlemen of the South have two suits-one that they wear among nice people and one that they wear when killing hogs, and that is the one in which we are dressed to-day." She ordered the carriage to move on. 

Source Citation: Womack, J.K. '''Why the Rebels Wore Ragged Clothes.''' Confederate Veteran (Nashville, Tennessee), 1893, V. 21 ed., Page 50.

by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 8 (87.8k points)
Wish I could vote for this one several times. I had way too many ancestors in these Yankee POW camps.
You must be so proud of this ancestor!!
I am!
+11 votes

Great question this week!

My favorite ancestor changes weekly, it seems, but I always come back to my paternal grandmother, Lillie (Courson) Fiscus, when someone asks who my favorite is. It's hard for me to find information about her because she died when my father was 12 years old. When she was young, she had rheumatic fever which caused heart damage and an early death from heart failure.

She gave birth to seven children and mothered six of them. The seventh, Carol Jean, died at birth. A year after that, Lillie's heart gave up. I remember my dad telling me that she spoke with each of her children from her hospital bed before she died, and most of what he remembers was her telling him to be a "good boy." As one would expect, that huge life event colored the rest of his life.

Lillie's two oldest children were daughters -- Wanda and Opal. Wanda died when I was only 5 years old, so I never knew her, but Aunt Opal was one of my favorite people. She had a dry wit and never took herself too seriously. I imagine a lot of who she was came from her mom.

Also, I found out as a teenager that I was born on Lillie's birthday, which makes me feel extra close to her. 

Another person who has been fascinating to research is my maternal great grandmother, Edla Uhlin. We didn't even know about her until just a few years ago. As an adult, she worked as a cook in the household of Erik Rosén and his wife in Söderhamn, Sweden. When she was 40 years old, she gave birth to my grandmother, Elisabeth Katrina, and her twin sister, Ingeborg Katrina. The father of these twins was her employer, Erik Rosén. We are slowly uncovering her story -- she never married, and she gave the girls up for adoption. Erik was divorced soon after the birth of the twins, and then he came to America. Edla stayed in Sweden and ultimately worked as a nurse's assistant. Magnus Sälgo has helped to find cousins in Sweden who knew Edla and her story, and by having her profile out here on WikiTree, I've been able to connect with a couple more cousins -- one living in S. Africa and another living in Sweden. 

Yesterday, I discovered a cousin who pulled me down the rabbit hole: Adam Fiscus. The write-up about him and his brothers in Owen County Cousins drew me in right away. He sounds just like my dad and his brothers -- he was self-educated, loved a good practical joke and music, and was well-respected as a leader in his community. Family gatherings with my Fiscus family are always something to look forward to!

Again, this was a great question, Deborah!! Thanks for giving me an opportunity to share my favorites. :-)

by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (430k points)
My favorite ancestor I guess would have to be Ezekiel Smith. He donated land in every place he lived. He help to build Sequin, Texas donated land there also. He was captured during a war. But didn't let it get him down even tho he was very sick. He wrote his wife everyday telling her he loved her n for her not to worry about him that he would come home alive.
Julie - how wonderful to be a descendant of these 2 incredible women!!
Ezekiel is my 4ggrandfather. Yes, he is a very interesting man - oldest man on te Mier Expedition.
+11 votes

My favorite ancestor this week would have to be  Bridget (McNamara) O'Leary.
Bridget immigrated from Ireland with her husband in the early 1860's, going first to New Zealand and Australia before heading to California. En route, the couple was shipwrecked off the coast of South America and were separated. Bridget survived for two weeks alone on a desert island, living off of wild birds and their eggs. Both she and her husband were finally rescued but thought the other was dead. Then, a few years later they ran into each other on the streets of San Francisco! Reunited, they started having children (6), traveled to the silver fields of Nevada and finally homesteaded in the Eel River Valley in far Northern California. Bridget lived to be 85 and in every sense was a true American pioneer.

by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (256k points)
Bart - what an amazing story!!
They should make a movie from this story, whilst reading it I saw in my mind old time actors.  I think it is beautiful, they must of been blest.
Fascinating! I want her as an ancestor, too! I notice that her obit makes no mention of her husband.  Any story there?
+8 votes
I loved them all but my favorite was my Grandpa Jim (James Thomas Derringer)
by Elizabeth Holliday G2G Crew (440 points)
Why, do tell..
+8 votes

My great-great-grandfather [] Charles Emanuel Stones is my favourite ancestor so far, because he has a kindly looking face, which looks like that of my dead brother Richard. And he fathered fifteen children with the same woman, his wife, Harriet Hall, in Cowick, Yorkshire, England.

by Albertus Robert Casimir Jung G2G6 (9.1k points)
edited by Albertus Robert Casimir Jung
Wow 15 children - He must of worked so very hard to provide for that family!
+9 votes

My favorite ancestor is James Hibbets of Monmouth County, New Jersey, because his story is so poignant.  His profile is here:

In February 1777 he was captured, along with half of his militia detachment, by a British raiding party from New York City.  He had a wife and six children.

The prisoners were taken to New York, where they were kept under terrible conditions.

A false report of his death made its way back to New Jersey, and his estate was settled in August 1777.  His "widow" remarried in October 1779.

James, alive but forgotten and still a prisoner, died in June 1780.



by Living Schmeeckle G2G6 Mach 9 (95.8k points)
John - what an immensely heartbreaking story. I'm so glad you've chosen him as your favorite!!
+7 votes

George Henry Bartlett   George Bartlett The man who wrote love letters to my grandmother. The man who traveled all over the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri just to do farm trades until he had traded farms enough to get farms for all his siblings and in-laws, and only then did he and my grandmother Sarah Ellen Haney marry. They were not spring chickens / nor young when they married, but the letters showed a depth of feeling and commitment worthy of a novel, and I felt lucky to read them over 70 years after he wrote them. He reportedly had a deep sense of honor and humor. 

by Sherry Bartlett G2G6 Mach 2 (28.2k points)
Oh Sherry - what a wonderful love story - I certainly think it is worthy of being seen on the big silver screen!!
+6 votes
Since I first saw pictures of my second great grandmother as a teenager at the turn-of-the-century, I was immediately drawn to her. Florence Ayling was a British Home Child and the daughter of the Romani who came to Canada as a young girl. She was the mother of five children, grandmother of even more and was, by all accounts, a lovely lady. As my own grandma told me, she was "everything anyone could ever ask for in a grandmother." From all the things I've learned about her since I saw those photographs - like how she used to sing in Albert Hall - I've decided that she is, by far, my favourite. If I could meet, I would (at the drop of a hat).
by Gillian Wagenaar G2G6 Mach 1 (18.7k points)
Reading this bio of your 2xGr Grandmother explains how unique she was in being able to overcome unfortunate and painful circumstances thrown onto her path to adulthood. Her strength of character is certainly an inspiration for all of us!
+6 votes

I'm still learning more about some of my earlier ancestors, but I think my favorite is Richard W. Cole (Cole-2640).  He moved his family from Alabama to Mississippi in the 1840's.  When the War came, he sent one son and two son-in-laws off to fight.  Two years later, he enlisted after having lost one son.  He was probably engaged in a couple of cavalry battles before being killed in action.  His final burial site was lost to posterity.  His other son would enlist and be captured.  Only the son who was under age did not serve.

by Steve Cole G2G6 Mach 1 (18.8k points)
Sorry for your family's loss of Richard W. Cole and his sons.  He is a powerful example of what our ancestors were willing to sacrifice for their beliefs!
+4 votes
Edward l Hawks, founded a town, became mayor, did his best to provide what the people in the town needed while raising a large family, as I am sure many people did the same, just that he is my ancestor, without him in the past I would not have the family I have now. He certainly instilled moral values into his family that has lasted generations to come.
by Cynthia Mangiafico G2G6 (6.1k points)
+3 votes
Very new to this site....right now my favorite is Cyprien he has a place in history that has let me access alot of information about my family tree.
by Dolores Lariviere G2G Rookie (290 points)
+3 votes
My favorite is Daniel Davis, my gg grandfather. He was born in Vermont and taught school for a while and then decided to try his hand in California in 1849. He traveled from Boston around Cape Horn up to California, not to dig for gold, but to sell goods. He stayed there for a while then returned to. Vermont and then on to Iowa. What has made him my favorite is the fact that he kept a meticulous diary during the trip and also while in California. He told where he was by the ℅-ordinates, and once in California told about the prices of things and of the people he met. He was an excellent writer and also wrote detailed letters to his sister, copies of transcriptions which I have. I can't tell you how many times I've read and re-read those letters. I would love to have known him.  In 2010 I, too, traveled around the Horn and was able to trace the same route that he took by mapping the ℅-ordinates.
by Doris Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (13.4k points)
+3 votes
My favorite ancestor in my line is Emiline Kirksey.  Her mother died when she was 13 and her father was at the time in Shelby County Penitentiary.  She went to live in her half sisters home but on the census she is listed as a servant.  Emiline had 4 children ( Marshall, Isaac, Albert and Eliza).  Judging by the appearances and stature of her children the probably each had different fathers. She never married.  she moved across the state of Tennessee to settle in the Yuma TN  area.   Isaac died young.  Marshall married and a lot of children and was Justice of the Peace in the area.  Eliza married a Cary and also did well.  Albert married and he and is wife died leaving 2 children. The 2 children were raised by Emiline..... one was called Dora ( her real name was Mary Agnes) and the other was Elbert Benjamin (called EB).

My favorite person though in all my trees, was actually my husbands great grandmother, MInnie ( Manya).  She lived in a small village ( then in Tsardom of Russia , now Romania) In 1905 her husband left her to go to work in America.  He set up a steamship account to start saving money to bring the rest of his family over to America.  In 1906 the Tsar decreed a Pogrom against the jews.  All their assets were siezed and their lives became forfeit. Jews were being  hunted and killed, pulled off trains or found hiding in haystacks.    Minne had 5 children the eldest at this time was 8 and the youngest was a toddler.  She set out by night ,with no money and only the clothes on her back , with the children  hiding along the way. She made her way by foot to Holland where the Jewish relief people helped her find shelter and then boarded a ship bound to America.  She traveled steerage   when her eldest daughter, Esther was a grandmother she recounted many times about hiding under houses and her mother trying to keep Tvir ( the baby) quiet to escape the patrols.  She also recounted her view coming into Ellis Island.  Rubin, the father met the family at the pier..
I admire her strength, courage and sheer determination to get her family to America.......with no money no other language but Yiddish hamperd by 5 small children.
by Erinne Kennedy-Dock G2G6 (7.4k points)
+4 votes
My 2Xgreat grandfather Ransom B. Myers (1843-1929). On July 1 1863 he was in 23rd NC Infantry  Regiment, Co. A.  Iverson Brigade at Gettysburg.  I can't imagine the "hell" he went through that day. He was wounded and taken POW.  My Mom said she remembered him from when she was a little girl in 1928. She said he drank a lot:-)  On the 1920 census his occupation was a mechanic.  I would have loved to have known him.
by Randy Williamson G2G4 (4.8k points)
+3 votes

My great-great grandfather, Dr. Christopher Martin Hughey, has my vote now.  He was born in Virginia and died in Santa Barbara County, California.  He was a practicing physician who taught his nephews how to be doctors.  He took in his deceased sister's children, Mary and Henry, as his foster children in the 1860s in Illinois.

He practiced in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, and California.  I've tracked his family cross-country by census reports in 1840, 1860, 1870, 1875, 1880, and 1900. 

by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)

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