Question of the Week: What is your most memorable genealogical discovery?

+25 votes
1,108 views

Did you find a notable in your branches? Have you discovered someone whose story surprised you? Were you inspired by any of your ancestors?

asked Apr 21 in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (188,050 points)

I found a grave in a church graveyard in a sleepy little village in Sussex England.  It was that of a New York couple who came to UK in about 1830 and stayed for the rest of their lives.  I contacted the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society to see if they knew who these people were, and it turned out that the man was a merchant in Liverpool.  They asked for some more details, and this started my interest in genealogical research. It still remains my most memorable discovery, not least for the NYG&Bs insistence on primary source data for almost every citation!

My grandfather, Edward Wojcicki,(Wojcicki-4), was as far back as I knew anything about, on my father's paternal line. Edward was an immigrant from Poland in about 1904.  I was finally able to locate a copy of his marriage record. It had his parent's names on that record. There was a lady who contacted me on Ancestry.com, wondering if our Wojcicki families could be related,,as her great grandmother, and my grandfather were from the same area in Poland. I decided to take an autosomal dna test, and asked her if she would too. We both took the test and matched! But how? Then, another young lady who had contacted her, because her family was also from the same area,also had taken the same test,and had been just sitting with no matches. She then,uploaded her test results to Family Tree DNA. She matched BOTH of us! To make a long story short, this young lady is very fluent in Polish,and was able to decypher many records online which I had obtained from another Polish man. As it turned out, the young lady and older lady both descended from sisters in the same family, and I descended from the sister's brother!!!! How's that for beating the odds? My grandfather was born in 1884, and we were able to get clear back to

1756, when his great great grandfather was born!
Ever since I started doing genealogy, my mother wanted me to help her and her sister work on their lines. I wanted to do Daddy's. And I knew that Mama (Davis-27777) and Aunt Elza would pick apart anything I found with a fine toothed comb. And I really didn't want to put myself into something like that. They had  already did it on my Jesters as it was. And most important, to me, when I'm on the right track, I have physical symptoms.

In the late 1990s, living in Texas, I was out of work and extremely depressed. Mama, living in small town in Calfornia, didn't have access to good libraries, would send me out on small quests to try to bring me out of that black hole. She had me relook at William Thornton-2828 in Randolph County, GA in 1850. She thought she had missed something and had it  wrong. She didn't.

 Find if there is was John Chesley Davis that Grampa's (Davis-27833) baby brother (Davis-44419) could have been named for. I spent 4 hours going thru some court records for John Chesley Davis who was too far distant to have been of any use in 1880s.

Just before Mama passed in 2014, I was looking at family on census records and saw John C. Geralds, who had married into the Thorntons, Thornton-2834.  And I recalled  the story Mama had told about naming my sister. Gramma Annie Thornton-2727 wanted her to be named after the Geralds. But I physically heard Mama say "but I named her Geraldine (Jester-203), isn't that good enough?" While J. C. Geralds' census record is flashing like a neon light. Mama was bedridden in the other room, asleep.

Another quest, during that dark time, Find Sallie Hogg. Not having enough money for the bus, up and back, and not wanting to walk the 3 miles to the library. I said i would try to find what I could on the internet. All Mama knew was she was supposed to be associated with the Thornton's but didn't know how.

Not really knowing how ancestry worked, (it was free in those days) I added what I knew in a search. William Thornton. That search brought up 1000s. So I refined it to GA. that only brought up 368 or so. I looked at every one of them. Too old, too young. Kids not right, wife not right, til near the end, I found two with wives name Elizabeth. I knew William's wife was Elizabeth (Stell-51). And I knew from seeing the marriage certificate that the name was St**ll or Sl**tt, but it was very foxed and degraded. But this record said Stell. My heart started palpitating. I'm reading the page and I see this record has her parents... my heart starts beating harder.  Her parents are listed. Thomas Stell-63 and Rebecca Cook-12347. Rebecca Cook?? WHO IS SHE? Then I looked again, because my heart is about to beat out of my chest. I was starting to think I was in real physical danger, the hard rapid beating, hyperventilating, sweating... and I saw Thomas had another wife. I click on it and SARAH HOGG-1092 appeared.   

This gedcom had Elizabeth's sister Julia Amanda also, but had them as daughters of Rebecca.

Being on dial up, I disconnected, leaving the monitor up and called Mama. I was crying hard. "MamaMamaMama, I found her!!" It took Mama several minutes to get me calmed down enough to tell her what happened.  Mama asked, "How do you know its her?" After what I had just went through??? "Its her Mama, Its her! I know its her!!"

Since that time I met with the Stells on genforum.com when it was active and told them how I descended. They admitted that they did not know which children belonged to which wife so they had put Sallie's girls under Rebecca.  A half cousin from Rebecca, sent me Thomas' will.

I then went to the Thornton group at genforum and started reading. I found one discussion that seemed to fit mine, and told them who I descended from. In this group were 4 descendants of Wiley Thornton and Elizabeth Johnston. One was descended from Elijah Thornton and Julia Amanda Stell. Over the years, we found someone descended from all the children who lived to have children,  of Wiley and Elizabeth.
My most remarkable find was to learn that, on the Irish-American side of my family, I was also descended from the English Yankee Noble family.  This allowed me to further trace roots to England and beyond, including descent from Charlemagne and El Cid.

The second most, many years ago, was to find a scholar at the U. of Wisconsin who was familiar w/Norwegian families and the village "bygdeboks" that recorded families' births, deaths, and other transactions going back often to the 16th century.  This has led to descent data from notable persons in Norwegian history, including kings.  There now exists in Madison WI the Vesterheim center to aid Norwegian genealogical research.
My great-grandfather was eight months old when his mother died, or at least that was the story as he knew it. As it turns out, his mother left his father and went on to have three daughters, two of whom became nuns and one who went on to have a descendant on ancestry.com. He was a Methodist minister; wouldn't he have been surprised to know he had two half-sisters who were nuns? Of course, there is much more to this story and by far it's one of the most memorable discoveries.
I was totally blindsided  to find why my paternal grandmother Emma 's birth family was torn apart. We knew her last name, Kleb, and birthdate and place, November 1888, Gasconade co, Missouri and that she had an older sister Rose. Emma and Rose were both adopted by different neighbors and grew up near each other. Grandma had said her mother hadn't been able to care for the girls after their father had been killed in an altercation. What really happened was worse in their tight knit community-he had committed suicide, and the source of this information was in an article in the German language  Hermann Volksblatt. Their mother had been awakened in the night by a gunshot. She walked into the field to find her husband Robert Kleb dead, the rifle by his head. In shock, she picked up the gun, went back to the house and waited until morning to contact her brother-in-law. A sheriff and 2-3 neighbors found the impression of the gun butt in the soft ground and determined that it was as Mrs Kleb had said even though there was talk about a violent argument the previous night between the deceased and his father. The Volksblatt mentions that the deceased had  2 children. Another article, again in German, stated that Herr Schindler and wife had been in the area and took the "unfortunate's " son back to Osage county to adopt him. Where was Grandma? Turned out that the death had occurred in June and the widow Maria Kleb was only 4 months pregnant with Grandma. Maybe her mother just couldn't handle the responsibilities of providing for these 3 little ones, all under 4. Grandmas and Rose's adoptive families moved to Lexington Missouri. Roberts sisters moved to Kansas and Indiana. The deceased's father appears to have been beaten in the argument that turned violent, dying a year later. Her birth mother tried to contact Grandma once but was blocked at the gate by her adoptive mother, never seen again. So much sadness. And still so many unanswered questions. It has taken awhile to regain my nerve to investigators further and I still want to find as many answers as I can.
Learning that my 29th great-granddad was William the Conqueror!
I can't decide which of these stories is the best, so I'll share both. The first is a discovery through WikiTree. I do most of my work on FamilySearch but I built a very simple tree here because it's easy to share the whole tree if someone asks. Out of the blue, I got an email asking about my great-great grandmother, Ary Loper (Loper-349) from someone who thought she was related. Yes, we are third cousins! Her grandfather moved to Texas, and they lost touch with the family here in Florida. We have exchanged photos and I hope someday we'll be able to meet.

The other discovery was via DNA on 23andMe. I had hit a kind of block on my maternal grandmother's pedigree. I found a marriage record for a couple that I thought were her grandparents, but I wasn't sure. Then I was looking into some of the DNA matches and noticed a familiar name, Elizabeth Arnett Reid. The bride on the marriage license had a sister of that name, and they were also in the same location - Conecuh County, Alabama - confirming that my suspicions were correct. I think that's the first time I spontaneously burst into tears over a genealogy discovery.
I cant decide which story to tell, there are two. For 40 years I thought my paternal name was Justice but with a letter from my mother found out my grandfather was illegitimate and my name should be Metcalf. He took his mother's name. I managed to trace the Metcalf name and found a Cherokee line.

I knew my father had been married previously before my mother and had a child. Then just a few years ago I found out he had been married numerous times, sometimes to more than one woman  at the same time. (3)!!!. I have talked to one half-sibling so far but have not found any more. I'm almost afraid to go looking. He lied about his age and birthplace many times to cover his tracks but I have his death certificate and SS#.
I have been able to find the ship that my ancestors came over on from Norway. It was a real find.
I recently discovered that 6th great-grandparents are the grandparents of General Sam Houston - which makes us 1st cousins 6x's removed.  Also, descended from the same line - my 7th great-grandparents are the 5th great-grandparents of actor Bill Paxton, making us 6th cousins 2x's removed.  I'm sure they would both be equally excited to find they are related to me haha ;)

55 Answers

+13 votes
 
Best answer

When I first started genealogy research, I knew I was related to my 5th ggrandfather--Orrin Porter Rockwell, but it was the later discovery of what this meant that blew me away.  He is was called the "Destroying Angel."  Both a friend to  Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, he was a devout and faithful member of the Mormon church .  But at the same time, he was a gunslinger.  He chased down outlaws (at times killing them).  He had some interesting sayings such as: “always shoot first . . . that way they know you’re armed”  and that he “never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.”   During a trial for the assassination attempt of Governor Boggs, he said in his defense:  “I’ve never shot at anybody.  If I shoot, they get shot.  He’s still alive, isn’t he?”

 

Multiple books and videos have been made about this controversial man.

Yep, that's my grand pappy!  And apparently he is so controversial that Family Search has finally closed his profile to Read Only!!

answered Apr 25 by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (246,230 points)
selected May 21 by Robin LaPlante
+22 votes
One story that just pulls at my heartstrings is the one about Anna Stenger who lived in the 1600s during the 30 Years War. She walked from Meisenthal to Strasbourg to buy bread for her children because the land they lived in had been laid waste by the war. She took her youngest son, Adam, with her because he had not been weaned yet. Upon her return she found that her daughter Anna had died of starvation and then the rest of the children, except for Adam, all died within the next few days. The children’s grave is still there in the woods and is marked by a wooden heart. I cried when I read that. I cried again when I typed the story for my family. This is the sort of event that makes family history meaningful. Not just names and dates but, what happened, why it did, and how our ancestors dealt with it. Even though she lived 400 years ago, I know that I would walk miles (well at least drive miles!) to get something for my children if it would make them well or happy.

see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stenger-199
answered Apr 21 by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (181,860 points)
That is just heartbreaking, Laura! Wow.
So tragic...whole lines died out..can not imagine how she had the calories to keep producing milk for Adam and that she was not killed on the way. Just WOW!
As a mom and a grandma it's stories like this that just break my heart and make me thankful I was born in this day and age... I cannot imagine the heartache that woman carried around... no one should have that much emotional pain.
+12 votes
Julie: I am inspired by all my early relatives,Think of it,no running water,No

Inside Toilet,Had milk for children,only if had a cow,No electric lights,

Had to raise all there food,No Doctors,no medicine.And mostly little hope.

They were tough tough people."And we complain,about taxes" I know of a

family that left Missouri by horse and wagon,Him, wife and 3 children,on way wife and one child died of disease,another fell off wagon and broke her leg.They finally made it 2 survived.In the other part of world was even

worse.
answered Apr 21 by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (577,260 points)
You're so right, Wayne! We can't even begin to imagine how are the lives of our ancestors were.

I've found at least one family who had 8-10 children, and only 1/2 of them survived to adulthood.
That is so common, Julie. One of the families I came across lost all their children. I came across a few families lately that the father died before the child was born. And when I study the Italian Cholera Epidemic of 1837 or the Great Famine in Ireland, there are so many heartbreaking stories.
+18 votes
This is on a different note, but it is the first story that comes to mind.

It concerns my maternal grandfather who died before I was born.  My mother died when I was an infant, so I knew very little about her father before I started researching a short time ago.  Only that he was born in Ontario, CA, he had a physician's practice near Detroit and how he died.  Though I did manage to find several records for him.

I came across this 1931 newspaper article from England (where my Kirkup's were from) that I just skimmed at first.  It appeared to be about a Dr. Norman Nelson Kirkup from Detroit (my grandfather).  He was charged and convicted of fraud, bigamy and intent to defraud.  I thought, do I have a "black Sheep" here?  As I read the article in it's entirety, I realized that it was about a man who had stolen my grandfather's identity.  The man had used Norman's credentials to obtain more than one position in a hospital.  He married a woman while using Norman's name when he already had a wife.  And he was charged with intent to defraud.

I assume Norman was aware of this when it happened.  I only hope he was as amused by the story as I was.

I included a mention of the incident in his bio. and linked to the news article from Findmypast.  I even found records for "Norman Kirkup" which were actually for the man who stole his identity.

Profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kirkup-41
answered Apr 21 by Mary Cole G2G6 Mach 8 (89,340 points)
Wow! Great story.
Wow, Mary, and I thought identify theft was a modern invention! ;-)
+13 votes
My great grandfather's (mother's grandfather) and great grandmother's story stung me. I researched and documented them and their children neatly and carefully before noticing a common thread that took my breath away. I should note first that those great grandparents married in 1889 when he was 21 and she was just 13. They had 9 children in all, starting in 1891 when she was 16. The last was stillborn on Oct 4, 1918 (some of you will note the significance of that year) when she was 42. The first thing that struck me was the death of my great grandmother just 18 days later (22 Oct). Then her eldest, a daughter aged 26 and the mother of 3 children, died two days later on 24 Oct. This was remarkable but unfortunately not the end: the next day their 6th child, a 12 year old also died. Finally, on Oct 28, just 3 weeks after his younger brother, the eighth child, a 5 year old boy died. My great grandfather lost his wife and 4 of his 9 children in the span of just 3 weeks to the 1918 influenza epidemic. He left behind his homestead in Michigan's thumb area and moved to the Upper Peninsula. He never remarried, and died in 1946 at the age of 78. They were married 28 years and are buried together with 3 of their children in a single plot; only the parents have headstones, and I"m working to mark the graves of the children as well.
answered Apr 21 by Michael Smith G2G Crew (680 points)
Oh my goodness, Michael. That is just heartbreaking.
+11 votes
The first mention of my great great grandmother in the newspapers (and she seems to feature a lot) is when she discovers a baby's body in Nelson Harbour in 1865. The mother of the child was charged with infanticide and my gg grandmother, who was only about 18 at the time and newly married, had to give evidence at the trial while about 4 months pregnant herself.
answered Apr 22 by Fiona Gilliver G2G6 Mach 2 (24,210 points)
Wow, Fiona! That's incredible!

All of these stories are amazing.
Even sadder.....The mother who disposed of the body was pregnant again at the time of the trial. She had the baby in jail, the baby died aged 5 days and was buried as there were no suspicious circumstances. Given the mother's past, the baby was exhumed for a.coroner's inquest.
+11 votes
I found a first cousin three times removed, Lutellus Joseph Boone, who was a New York Yankees baseball player from 1913 to 1916 and then finished his baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1918. He has a Wikipedia page and is a Notable because of that. His profile is Boone-2601 and that profile has a link to his Wikipedia page for those who may want to check that out.
answered Apr 22 by Dale Byers G2G6 Pilot (777,790 points)
+12 votes
Finding the Centanni family in New Orleans in 1986. When I married my husband, he told me he had no cousins. Little did he know, he had thousands, and hundreds of them live in or near New Orleans. He was stationed there for a military reserve two weeks duty training and I told him to look up Centanni in the phone book and call people. A college professor had told me in 1976 that she knew Centanni's in New Orleans. Well, we found 67 names in the phone book and he called around. He found Sam Centanni, the family partriarch and learned all about the family history there that stretched back 100 years. We were invited to the family reunions and have kept in touch with the Centanni family of New Orleans area ever since! I put together their family tree and now trace their ancestors in Alia and Valledolmo in Sicilia, Italia.
answered Apr 22 by Sharon Centanne G2G6 Pilot (117,940 points)
+9 votes
I was 10 years old and found out on my own I was 1\2 adopted my dad was not my dad. A few years ago I found out my mom was 1\2 adopted and the man I called grandpa was not my biological grandfather but blood or not he is my grandfather and all his family are my family but the good thing about that is his is my blood in someway or other it seams they all married someone from my grandma's line and his line. And the fact I' m of Royal blood on my biological father's side his brother took a DNA to find out if it was true he says it is and I' m searching still for my own peace of mind just to be 1,000% sure and the same goes for my mothers side about Royalty her uncle took a DNA test two he says the same.
answered Apr 23 by Anonymous Trueman G2G2 (2,950 points)
+7 votes
Just as I started research on my family tree--searching, learning names and adding sources, I found two separate families of my great, great grandparents living in the same small town in Grove, Davis County, Iowa. The 1860 Census lists one family on p. 168, household ID 1149, the other p. 169, household ID 1154.

By the time my great grandfather was born in each family (one in 1869, the other in 1870), their parents lived in different towns, miles apart in Missouri. The two families reconnected when my father married my mother, seventy years later.
answered Apr 24 by Jo McCaleb G2G4 (4,420 points)
+9 votes
There are numerous memorable discoveries that I can recall. Many of those involved finding the identity or personal details about an elusive ancestor. The one that sticks out at this moment happened last year, concerning my Fifth-great Grandfather, William Logan (Logan-684, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Logan-684)

My maternal grandfather had mistakenly thought our ancestor was General Benjamin Logan (Logan-156, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Logan-156) of Kentucky, who founded the fort of ''Logan's Station'' and fought on the Kentucky Frontier of Virginia and in the Northwest Territories. My first great discovery had been that our ancestor was actually the younger brother of General Benjamin Logan, William Logan, who had also served in the Revolutionary War in Virginia and the Kentucky Frontier. I only wish that I could have told my grandfather before he died. Little could I have imagined then that more family history awaited in the cold north.

I was visiting Valley Forge in Pennsylvania last summer, all by myself, with no one rushing me. I spent some considerable time in the museum there, exploring their exhibits and delving into their fascinating archives. I assumed that my family from the south could have no possible connection with Valley Forge. Then I happened to look at a list of ''Washington's Personal Guard'' on exhibit there. I was shocked to find the name of William Logan. That could not possibly be the same William Logan as my ancestor! What would a Virginia man be doing in Washington's Guard, hundreds of miles from Virginia, where I already knew he had served in the Revolutionary War? No, that could not be him in Washington's Personal Guard.

When I looked into this further, I was shocked to discover details I did not know. When General Washington first formed his Personal Guard, he wrote a letter requesting that it be comprised of soldiers from his home colony of Virginia. Furthermore, William Logan had been selected from Virginia. Moreover, after researching possible men named William Logan from Virginia, none of the other men by that name served in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. My ancestor had served in Virginia and the Kentucky frontier, but with no service record during the time he would have been in Washington's Guard. By process of elimination, dates, and locations, it soon became apparent to me that my ancestor did serve in General Washington's Personal Guard, something I had never expected to find.

William Logan died in 1796, six years before his famous elder brother, Benjamin. William had never commanded an army, like his elder brother, but he had served his both his fledging country, his frontier brothers, and his Commander in Chief with honor. My grandfather would have been amazed to learn that.
answered Apr 24 by Bill Vincent G2G6 Mach 3 (30,300 points)
edited Apr 24 by Bill Vincent
+13 votes
The most memorable discovery for me was finding out that my great-grand uncle is probably still alive. It's a big deal for my mom and me, because most of our family is not living. I just found out yesterday. I need to call the number and find out...
answered Apr 25 by anonymous
Please tell us how you fare.
Good news. We called the number and it was him. My mom and I talked to him for two hours. He was really nice, interesting to talk to, and he knew a lot.

Also, turns out his daughter has the genealogy bug too. He gave me her number so we could chat about it.
Oh Jourdi I am so happy for you. Hopefully you will get to visit and take photos. If your g g uncle has a photo box may I suggest that he labels each photo and get copies for yourself.  Congratulations on finding your family.
That's a heart-warming story Jourdi. As Rionne says, a visit would be amazing!
A visit would be amazing! He lives all the way in Californoa sobI don't know how soon, but I definitely want to do that. The funny thing is shortly after I find him, one of my cousins on his side found me and we talked on the phone.
+6 votes
About this time last year I was able to confirm from DNA and documentation that my 3rd great grandmother, Rebecca Shaw was related to the Bozarth and Borden families of New Jersey and Rhode Island. What made this exciting was that it added a whole new dimension to my tree. Before this my family history was fairly predictable, Maryland Catholics who settled in Kentucky and married cousins.  Now, I have a direct Protestant and Quaker line in my family from other New England states. It was a very welcome addition.  I was also connected to such people as Lizzie Borden, Sir Winston Churchill, and others from New England.
answered Apr 25 by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 2 (26,100 points)
edited Apr 25 by James Stratman
+8 votes
I recently discovered that I am related to Thomas Putnam of the Salem Witch Trials. He was my 11th Great Grandfather through my Great Grandmother Nellie Jane Ryder (Peck).
answered Apr 25 by Jack Thomas G2G Crew (660 points)
+10 votes
I've had at least two amazing finds in my research. First, I was just starting out in genealogy and was working on my biological lines and adoptive parents lines. I knew I had two older siblings and started searching and posting on websites, both genealogy and adoptive.  A year and a half later  I received an email that said, "I think you're looking for me, I'm your big sister" Sure enough it was.

Second find I was just getting started on findagrave to upload my both families tombstones as I found them I was photographing a cemetery when I found my adoptive moms 2x and 3x great grandparents, cemetery was only two miles from our house. She never knew they were buried that close.I
answered Apr 25 by Shelly Cherry G2G1 (1,220 points)
+5 votes
My most memorable genealogical discovery is one I have written about on my blog. I was looking for a clue about my 3xgt grandfather as he was not married to the mother of my 2xgt grandfather. The archive did not have any records to help with this but they did have a settlement examination for his mother.

This document initially appeared unremarkable as she didn't know her parish of settlement. However further study showed a second page. This second page revealed a story of bigamy and with what I later discovered I have the parents and grandparents of my 3xgt grandmother.
answered Apr 25 by Hilary Gadsby G2G5 (5,370 points)
+13 votes

This was taken moments after we found the grave of Nancy Staggs, my 4th great grandmother who died in 1849. Her husband Elijah was one of the first settlers near Terre Haute, Indiana in 1816. In this picture, I'm standing on top of his stone, which we discovered buried several inches down in the topsoil. Both of these ancestors have beautifully written obituaries. Their findagrave gave very specific GPS coordinates for their graves...in a heavily wooded area adjacent to a nature park. The local library had an index card taped in their book of historical cemeteries saying the burial location was confirmed in the 1980s.  My mom, sister, niece and I spent a couple hours in the woods on a beautiful May day searching for the site. We were exhausted (and covered in mud and bugs) and almost ready to give up when we finally found them. We pulled both stones from the mud, cleaned them off, and tidied up the area.They are the only two (with stones) buried here. They have an absolutely insane number of descendants. I'm hoping to work on their wikitree profiles soon.

answered Apr 25 by Jacob Goodman G2G1 (1,520 points)
edited May 1 by Jacob Goodman
What a precious moment!
+6 votes
That my Scottish Greatgrandfather ran away to join the navy. He didn't like it. Deserted and changed his last name to his grandmother's maiden name. What a time I had solving this mystery.
answered Apr 26 by Alice Edwards G2G Crew (380 points)
+5 votes
My most memorable is hard to choose.  There are so many finds.  My mothers biological father became apparent in my ancestry matches.  He's not the person on her birth certificate.  I helped an ancestry match who was adopted to figure out which Gosline moved to Washington State from New Brunswick Canada and were his family.  I found my paternal great grandmother was involved in a murder investigation.  The whole journey of my ancestry has been surprising!!! What will I find next????
answered Apr 26 by Barb Clifford
+6 votes
It had been handed down in nearly every branch of descendants of my 4th-great-grandparents Henry and Hannah (Bryan) McDaniel that Hannah was an aunt of President Lincoln. More than a few of my distant McDaniel cousins had vainly sought evidence for the tale when I ventured to a tiny historical society library not far from Harrisonburg, VA. My dear, now departed husband accompanied me, though books, libraries, history, and genealogy were nowhere on his list of interests. He patiently sat for three hours as I pored through folders of loose papers. I could barely contain myself when the deed I suddenly held in my hands revealed Hannah's relationship of granddaughter to "Virginia" John Lincoln, great-grandfather of the President. As it turned out, Hannah was not the President's aunt but his first cousin once removed. Further research and communication with then General Secretary of The Abraham Lincoln Institute confirmed the revelation, but no other genealogical discovery stands out in my memory with the same excitement as the discovery of that single deed.
answered Apr 26 by Loretta Layman G2G6 Mach 1 (12,740 points)
Finding my Black roots...PERIOD!

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