I was born in San Antonio, Texas on February 5, 1954, the son of Donald Whiddon Howard and Dorothy Amelia Lopez. We were a very typical nuclear family of 4 children with a mom and dad that stayed together until my mom died in the mid 90s.
My father was a computer programmer for the Air Force, so we moved a bit. From San Antonio, to Dayton, Ohio. Then, back to San Antonio. Then, back to the Dayton area - where I graduated from Park Hills High School in Fairborn, Ohio in 1972.
My college years were spent mostly at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas as a music major - although I went to Morehead State University for 3 semesters as well. I was interested in jazz, so both schools were ideal. I was also interested in commercial music, and quickly became busy playing in local cover bands during college and afterwards.
In the 80s, I became interested country music, playing in local groups mostly, but was eventually hired as pianist for internationally known entertainer, Reba McIntire. I would spend four years traveling the USA and abroad in her touring band, before changing careers.
In the mid 90s, upon starting a family, I began a teaching career in Robertson County, TN . 20 years later, and after my daughter graduated High School, I decided to retire as a public school music teacher and teach private piano, which I am still currently doing.
I am happily married to Nita Brown Howard, and my daughters and grandchildren live nearby. My father is 92 years old and in remarkably good health of body and mind. Life has been good to me, and I am thankful to God for that.
My mother got me started in the study of family history in the early 1990s. She worked on my ancestors, while I worked on my daughter's mother's. It was a special hobby that we shared together, until she suddenly died in 1995.
At my father's 90th birthday in November of 2017, we learned that he had been given a DNA test as a gift. My wife had been adopted, which inspired her to learn more about her roots.
Soon after, she was tested at Ancestry.com. Since then, we found the identities of both parents, 3 living sisters whom we are now close with, and many cousins - some whom we have become close with.
The process of finding the many cousins to prove her parentage was so interesting, that I had my own DNA tested. Now, being semi-retired, I am a half-time piano teacher and half-time genealogist!
My 9th great-grandfather is Matthew Howard Sr. "The Immigrant" (1609-1659). Several noted books have been written about Matthew, stating that he was a descendant of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk. This has since been deemed unprovable, although there remain other theories. At least two of his sons used the royal Norfolk Howard crest on wax seals for legal documents. Matthew is part of the Maryland Project.
I have been tested at FTDNA for my Ydna (through 111 markers + Big Y test) and place in lineage 14 of the Howard Project at FTDNA, which primarily consists of members with genealogies leading to Matthew Howard (1609).
In January of 2016, I started a Facebook family group for immediate family. In August of 2018, I changed the name to Howard and Allied Families, and began to add cousins from all sides of my tree, near and distant.
Since then, it has grown from a few kinfolk to over 400 members, and is growing steadily. One of the interesting aspects is that there are 3 different lines of Howards that have joined:
The intriguing thing about this is that several of these Howards, from other ancestral Howard lines are getting legitimate 6+ matches on gedmatch.com, including some matches on Ancestry.com.
Further study has showed that most of these DNA matches (not from my direct Matthew Howard line) are from the Samuel Howard line. Samuel married Chloe Osborne. Chloe's mother was Elizabeth Howard, thought by many to be a great-grandaughter of Matthew Howard. If you go to Chloe Osborne's Wiktree page, you will find notes about the uncertainty of her parentage. But I think that these DNA matches in my group, and many more like them, on Ancestry.com give credence.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.