52 Ancestors Week 1: First

+42 votes

Ready for another year of the 52 Ancestors challenge?

First off, a BIG, BIG thank you to Robynne Lozier for not only bringing the idea to do this challenge in 2018 but also for keeping it going the whole year so people could participate. She did such a great job and participants seemed to enjoy it so we've decided to continue it in 2019!

This will work the same as last year. Each week there will be a prompt for which you'll find an ancestor or relative who matches that prompt and post about them in that week's thread. For examples, check out last year's challenge. See more details for 2019 here and check out the new sister challenge: 52 Photos.

Ready for the week one prompt?

It's ... FIRST.  

Maybe the first born in a family? Or the first one in the family to graduate from college? The first to move to a new country? Or the first to have a business? The first black sheep you found?

Share below!

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
edited by Chris Whitten
If you participated in last year and fell behind a lot because of real life roared it ugly head can you pick up with that and finish that and get a badge for last year and also start with this year and get a badge for this year. Will we get a badge for this year if we do all 52 weeks for the year.
Hi Linda, you'll have to ask Robynne about last year's challenge as she ran that one.
That’s a good question Linda. I don’t even remember how many I missed. Yikes. I better double up or even triple up on my weeks.
In response to Linda's original question, I am sorry, but the judges decision is final. Any new prompts being added to the 2018 challenge that are dated in January 2019 will NOT be counted.

The deadline was 31 December 2018 and that was announced right at the beginning and several times during the year. If you were unable to complete the challenge within that time, then you were unable to complete the challenge.

2018 is the 'first' year I was able to find the names of my birth parents, hoping that the names on my original BC are correct.

I know I am not the 'first' child of my birth mother based on the original birth certificate, but maybe I am the first to search for her and my siblings. Thanks for organizing the threads so I can follow others through the year, this will push me to be more active in my research.

Thank you, Robynne, for your persistence in this project.smiley

Thank you to Robynne for her leadership on this last year! Here is a new help page with more details on the new challenge, and one for the new photo sharing challenge inspired by it:

Regarding the badges, we're doing them a bit differently now. It's up to Robynne to decide who earned the "52 IN 52" badges for last year. But if you participated last year and want to continue participating, you could still earn the 52 in 52 badge, and/or the easier-to-obtain 13 in 13 and 26 in 26 badges. The way we are doing them now, they just have to be 13, 26, or 52 consecutive weeks. They don't have to match the calendar year. Therefore, if you started in, say, March 2018, you can earn the 52 in 52 badge in February 2019 if you haven't missed any weeks.

It is said that my 4th Great Grandmother, Matilda Van Bibber Estill, Van Bibber-141, was the first white child born in Missouri.  She was the great-granddaughter of Daniel Boone and her family moved from Kentuck to Missouri with the Boone contingent.
I found the "first" (and hoping the last!) bow in my family tree. Jonathan Day [Day-1391] and Elizabeth Adams [Adams-30911] are the parents of Jonathan Day [Day-9037] and David Day [Day-1382] who are both my 4th great-grandparents.

Jonathan Jefferson had Clarissa Ann Victoria Day who had Henry Clay King (my great-grandfather).

David had Bythral Day who had Ethel Corrine Day (my great-grandmother) who married the above Henry Clay King.

106 Answers

+22 votes

I've managed to put three new surnames in Wikitree - the first Valjato, the first Parschen, the first Harrisville.

So far as I can determine, all the Valjato's in the US are close relatives, descended from, or married to a descendant of, my maternal great-grandfather Marko Valjato, who may be the first Valjato to immigrate to the US, at any rate the first (and only one) to have a family.

by Sue Rattray G2G2 (2.7k points)
Now that's cool! Three firsts!
+19 votes

I’m going to stop over thinking it and go with Mary Maria (Hazelwood) Campbell. There are actually two firsts associated with her. The obvious one is that she died on January 1st 1911. The second is that she is apart of the first set marriage to successive siblings I ever found in my family. She was the younger sister to my 4th Greatgrandmother, Elizabeth, both marrying James Madison Campbell.

by Amanda Frank G2G6 Mach 5 (51.1k points)
Cool choice Amanda! I'm glad you are participating!
+18 votes

This year I'm going to participate...My 2-G Grandfather Griffith Kermode was the first of the family to depart the Isle of Man and head for Colorado. He settled in the small town of Walden in what is now located in Jackson County which is just south of Laramie, Wyoming.  He was a rancher until he moved to Long Beach, Mississippi.

by Dean Anderson G2G6 Pilot (424k points)
A rolling stone gathers no moss, right? An interesting first.
I'm related to a family who were in Walden for awhile - the Colehours.
I will ask my parents next time I talk with them if they know the name. Do you know what years they lived there?
Pip, yes he is definitely an interesting individual. I'm still trying to find out more information about him all the time.
+10 votes
Not a big deal...but last year it was "in" 52 weeks, this year it's "for" 52 weeks. Put it in my blog and it keeps screaming at me. And just double checked my email from Amy for this year and it's still "in" not "for".
by T Counce G2G6 Mach 6 (63.2k points)
+20 votes

Benjamin W. Fuller was my first (adult) Fuller ancestor to settle in Michigan, where our family has lived since to this day. Benjamin came to southeast Michigan from western New York State in the mid-to-late 1850's. He came with his three children from his late wife, his second wife, and their son. They had two more children after settling in Michigan. He was a farmer - his farm was only a few miles south of the town where I grew up. I haven't been able to go see it since I found out - but I probably will next summer.

by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 7 (79.1k points)
If you do get to go, Thomas, we'll want a report!
+19 votes

I think part of the reason I didn't keep up as well last year as I planned was I started off too big, so this year I've scaled it back a bit, in hopes that it will jumpstart me into doing better this year.

For my "First" I decided to go with a family member that was born on the first day of the Year.  I went with my 6th Great Aunt, Thankful Wheeler. This is also the first profile that I completed from scratch (after adopting a while back), though I didn't mention that in the blog, which is also posted on Facebook.

by T Counce G2G6 Mach 6 (63.2k points)

I forgot, my blog also auto posts on my Twitter Account 

Well done with Thankful's profile, TC!
+19 votes

About 20 years ago, when I started researching my ancestors, the first branch I focused on was the Perkins family. The first Revolutionary War patriot I found in that line was Capt. Joshua Perkins, whose wife, Hannah (Sampson) Perkins, was the first Mayflower descendant I discovered. These Perkins connections piqued my interest in expanding my family tree and I've been building it ever since. My interest in the Perkins family never waned ... my first project of 2019 is working as co-coordinator of the Perkins One Name Study.

by Traci Thiessen G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Traci Thiessen
Great firsts, Traci!
+19 votes

I have at least three firsts that I would like to present:

  1. Edward Fuller of the Mayflower as the head of that branch of my family as the first of his name in this country.
  2. Henry Rowley of Plymouth of whom I've done extensive work on his descendants, as the first of his name in this country.
  3. And the one I'm most proud of, my grandmother, Estelle MacDonald Flamer---MacDonald-8005, who was one of the first professional graduated nurses, at least in our family. She was a Maggie from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, set up by Carnegie Mellon in honor of his mother, she served in the Army in World War I thru the 1918 flu epidemic, went on to graduate work in Philadelphia, and then supported her family with her skills through the depression after she married. Three of her eight granddaughters followed her into nursing careers. With all that I believe she was the first in our family to graduate from a college. While her children didn't follow her in educational degrees, they believed in lifetime education. And of her ten grandchildren, of my knowledge, one has a PhD, three Masters degrees, and at least six have Bachelor degrees.
by Judy Bramlage G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
edited by Judy Bramlage
Judy, this is a wonderful first, you grandmother.
+19 votes
My first black sheep is my great-grandfather, Alexander Keay. An immigrant from Scotland, Alexander was the treasurer of the city of Everett Washington in 1911. While his wife was back east attending her mother's funeral, Alexander absconded with $18,000 in city funds (worth about $450,000 today). Abandoning his wife and children, he disappeared, never to be seen again. WT member Vic Watt created the profile of Alexander and I have added to it over time.

Alexander Keay profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Keay-31
by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (252k points)
Well done with that profile, Bart.
Thanks Pip!
+19 votes

I've been waiting months for the year to start so that I could join the new year fresh!

My ancestor 1st is William (Claiton) Clayton, (1632-1691).  He is a few firsts for me:

* First ancestor that I've found (to date) that was in government.  William served in the Pennsylvania government when it was first established as a proprietorship by William Penn.  He was on the Pennsylvania Provincial Council and also served as a judge.
* He is the first (and only) ancestor that I've found (so far) who was imprisoned for his religious beliefs.  William was a Quaker and was locked up in jail because of his beliefs.
* He is the first ancestor who I did "real" research on; I spent considerable time researching him and disproving many widely circulated but erroneous histories about him.  His profile is the first that I wrote up in a very thorough way.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
A very well done profile, SJ!
+17 votes

My grandmother, Esther Lien, was the first member of the family to leave the midwest. She had an independent spirit and took the civil service exam qualifying her for a position at the State Department in Washington DC.

Esther Lien

by Shanna Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (54.5k points)
Really great photos on Esther's profile, Shanna.
+17 votes

I will participant again this year

My younger get sister Hazel (Langridge-122) is the first on two counts she was the first in our branch of the family born abroad in Ceylon now Sri Lanka.

She was the first to graduate at degree level. Beat me by a year.

Appreciate the opportunity to complete last year's challenge. smiley 8 weeks outstanding I think.

by Janet Wild G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
edited by Janet Wild
Wow, awesome! You are pretty close!
+15 votes

When I went to look for an ancestor for my FIRST, it's was like Deja Vu for me as I placed the 2018 52 Ancestors category on him exactly a year ago!  He was my Alsatian 4th great- grandfather born on 1 Jan 1749. 

He died 2 months before his youngest son, who was my 3rd great-grandfather, was born. I never found his cause of death but I can still develop his biography a bit.


by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (820k points)
Cool first, Maggie :)
+15 votes

The first ancestor brick wall I broke through was Elijah Embree Smith https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Smith-145856  I did this in about 1990 while using Interlibrary Loan at UCLA and microfilm at the Los Angeles Family History Center.  Elijah opened for me a door to a world of Quaker records and is today a major link to the connections on the World Tree.

by Margaret Summitt G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
edited by Margaret Summitt
Ah, yes, microfilm. Those were the days.
+14 votes

2018 is the 'first' year I was able to find the names of my birth parents, hoping that the names on my original BC are correct.

I know I am not the 'first' child of my birth mother based on the original birth certificate, but maybe I am the first to search for her and my siblings. Thanks for organizing the threads so I can follow others through the year, this will push me to be more active in my research.

by Barbara Buckley G2G Crew (930 points)
That's great, Barbara. Best of luck in your searching!
I like to see adoptees successful in their research. One of my cousins became curious about his sister who he had told had been adopted "out" so he searched for her until he found her. She is now a part of our family.
+13 votes

My husbands father William Franklin Halpin 1928 - 2008 was the first paid/career firefighter for the York City Fire and Rescue Department in the Halpin Family. All four of his son's followed in his footsteps. The local York Sunday Newspaper used this photo for a Father's Day edition one year in early 2000 or 2001

Father's Day photo: William F Halpin and his four sons all share being firefighters

The sons all have big shoes to fill and "Bill Halpin" was well known within the community and a well loved brother within the fire department.

by Louann Halpin G2G6 Mach 6 (62.2k points)
A cool story, Louise. I've seen families so things like this. (Not like mine who were all farmers, generation after generation, sons like their fathers.
+12 votes
My first was linking my paternal grandmother, who was born in New York, and her mother, my great-grandmother, born in England, via DNA to my second-cousin in England. My great-grandmother immigrated to America with her sister in 1906, and I found those records - but much was a mystery, until I found death records, and then, DNA matched my great-grandmother's British family.

by Sheri Taylor G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
Yes! DNA for the win.
+13 votes
I'd like to participate in 52 Ancestors this year.

My first is Shaules-27.  Louis Napoleon Shaules was the first Shaules born in the United States who survived to adulthood. He was my husband's great-uncle.  The family emigrated to Detroit, MI from Canada.
by Robin Shaules G2G6 Pilot (890k points)
Good choice, Robin!
Thank you, Eowyn.
+13 votes

For my "first" I picked the first non-living family member I discovered on my biological father's side of the family - his mother - my grandmother, Estella. I was able to find her thanks to a DNA match with my aunt! She knew just enough little tidbits of family history that I was able to get a birth certificate for Estella.  I need to add it to her profile. I don't know much about her but I do know she existed and because of her I exist so I'm grateful for her! 

by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
Now who is being sweet about their family? :oP
+8 votes

I will do this all year and also catchup from Week 10 of last year also. My first will be that my mom's mom and dad are first cousins with the same last name. That threw my aunt's computer crazy when she was alive and first started doing the Leonard Family Tree on the computer. They are Summers Lyle Leonard https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Leonard-5596 and Myra Clemetine "Belle" Leonard https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Leonard-5581. My grandmother live in Mobile, Alabama. That is why I picked them was because the were first cousins with the same last name.

by Anonymous Barnett G2G6 Pilot (465k points)
Hi Linda, it's really not necessary to catch up from last year. If you go check out the help page you'll see that you can just keep counting from now to get the 13 in 13, 26 in 26 and 52 in 52 badges. Please stick with this year's challenge. Thanks!

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