On “Sabbatical”

You may have noticed that my activity on The Genealogist’s Craft has come to a standstill in recent weeks.  That’s because I am busy with a new project.  I am a retired psychology professor, and recently signed a contract to write a new psychology textbook.

The writing process is proving intense, and I expect to be tied up for some time.  Rest assured that it’s my intention to come back to genealogy when I can. In the meantime please consider me on “sabbatical” — a professor who’s still hanging around somewhere, but engaged in productive scholarship and not performing his usual duties.

In the meantime my genealogical publications continue to be available.  They include the following.  Please click this link to access additional information on each.

The Capstone

The most up-to-date information is contained in the capstone publication The Omnibus Ancestry: 619 Documented American and European Lines (2017).  It provides corrections, thorough summaries, and most importantly, extensions of the ancestral lines contained in most of the other works.  Many new ancestral lines are provided.

The Newer Works

These books contain much more detailed information than The Omnibus, and were published at various times during the decade prior to it.

The Origins and Descendants of James Bole of Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania.  This is a new replacement of an older treatment of my paternal family, containing entirely reworked information on the family’s origins.

The Ancestors and Descendants of Pearcy and Ann (Swanzy) Boyle (Bole, Boles) of Co. Monaghan, Ireland.  While this family proved not to be ancestral to me, it is one I learned a great deal about over the years.  I felt that a book would be helpful to its many descendants.

Bowers Russell Ancestry.  With the additional families of Albert, Bollin, Brown, Conradi, Dorn, Ermentraudt, Fischer, Fosselman, Friedli, Hain, Haug, Hieronymus, Hoffman, Irion, King, Knopf, Lindeman, McQueen, Pfister, Probst, Rimpler, Saltzgeber, Schäffer, Stevenson, Taylor, Vigelius, and Yerian.

Snyder-Harbour Ancestry.  With the additional families of Almot, Amis, Ashton, Ballow, Banister, Bellew, Belson, Binford, Brasseur, Bromley, Burkhart, Cary, Chappell, Clenche, Creeting, Crew, Dameron, Davis, Ellyson, Ferris, Foulshurst, Gatley, Gerard, Hobson, Hough, Jordan, Martz, Milner, Mosby, Nave, Packwood, Parker, Pleasants, Putrasse, Ripley, Savage, Smith, Snider, Snowe, Spence, Stanley, Taylor, Thomas, Trafford, Wagner, and Woodson.

Speece-Robinson Ancestry. With the additional families of Addams, Altruth, Auliffe, Bailey, Brown, Cole, Conklin, Cunningham, Dick, Dobbs, Doors, Flexney, Gobels, Hinds, McIntire, op den Graeff, Pletges, Princehouse, Rossiter, Tarpley, Tomey, and Williams.  And Addenda on the Adams, Bachiler, Dungan, Holbrook, Large, Latham, Swift, Weaver, and Wing Families.

Stayman-McCrosky Ancestry.  With the additional families of Baer, Bär, Bare, Barber, Bartram, Bear, Cartlidge, Clark, Faris, Herr, Hochstrasser, Keller, Kendig, McCoskery, Meilin, Mylin, Nussler, Oberholtzer, Stake, Steman, Stoneman, Tidmarsh, Tobler, Witmer, and Wright.

Withers-Davis Ancestry.  With the additional families of Abraham, Babb, Bachiler, Chandler, Collet, David, Davies, Hollingsworth, Hussey, Jefferis, Lewis, Martin, May, Nash, Nowell, Perkins, Powell, Ree, Roberts, Sloper, Tarrant, Wise, Wood, and Woolaston. Also numerous Welsh families ancestral to William, David, and Ralph Lewis, and John Bevan, plus their royal descents.

The Archives

 These likewise provide detailed information, and were published in the period 1986 – 1994.

Barth-Hickey Ancestry.  With the additional familes of Bodine, Bowman, Brown, Brownlee, Burnett, Crocheron, Drury, Finch, French, Greiner, Gullett, Heisdorfer, Housh, Langham, Malmberg, Martin, McClain, McMurtrie, Millard, Mills, Phillips, Reynolds, Robinson, Rung, Russell, Shercliffe, Sinnott, Spinke, Swanson, Wilson, and Wolcott.

Some Earlier Americans: Boles-Linton Ancestors.  Includes the additional families of Barrier, Chapman, Craig, Dickson, Dixon, Gill, Lazear, Marcey, Massey, McFadden, Modrell, Painter, Richards, and Riddle.

The Bower-Bowers Descendants of Johann Jacob Bauer.  Over 2000 names, with descendants in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and 20 other states. Ten generations from about 1725.

Ellis Ancestors: Some Immigrants, Colonists, and Pioneers.  Includes the additional families of Adams, Bateman, Beall, Boles, Bowers, Cadwalader, Claggett, Downing, Foster, Gerrard, Haskins, Holman, Hoult, Jolliffe, Millard, Morgan, Pack, Prickett, Rigglesworth, Sharp, Shercliffe / Shircliffe, Slack, Slye, Spinke, Springer, Thompson, Veatch / Veitch, and Wheeler.

 Foster Ancestors: Some Europeans, Immigrants, Colonists, and Pioneers. Includes the additional families of Ackerly, Adams, Anton, Apleby, Arrants, Atwood, auf dem Berge, Baeumer, Bassett, Bayard, Beer, Bohun, Boles, Bowers, Burghill, Busch, Buster, Coons / Kuntze, de la Bouchele, Dickenson, Dilthey, Drake, Dresler, Dungan, Eger, Fick, Fishback, Flender, Friesenhagen, Gruebner, Hager, Hanback, Hellings, Holbrook, Holtzclaw, Kierstede, Latham, Latsch, Lee, Lueck, Mauldin, Moore, Muenker, Mus, Nanton, Niess, Noeh, Oliver, Patt, Phillips, Price, Roelofs, Sadler, Sai, Schneider, Scholt, Sel, Smith, Solbach, Steiger, Stuell, Stuyvesant, Thompson, Utterback / Otterbach, von Hupstorf, vor der Hardt, vor der Meinhardt, Walker, Weaver, Woods, Wysham, Young / Jung, and Zeyne.


19. Four Pilgrim Ancestors: Life, Death, and Thanksgiving for the Howland-Tilley Family at Plymouth

First Thanksgiving

A  favorite post from 2015. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Genealogist's Craft

For the ancestry of the Howland, Tilley and Dickinson families, see The Omnibus Ancestry, available for download through Lulu. For a dramatization of the events described here, see Saints & Strangers, a National Geographic mini-series debuting on November 22nd, 2015. Vere Tindale plays John Howland, and Jessica Sutton plays Lizzie (Elizabeth) Tilley.

On 11 November 1620, the Mayflower anchored off Cape Cod of what is now Massachusetts, carrying 101 passengers. That very day 41 of the men signed the Mayflower Compact, agreeing both to combine into “a civil body politic” to enact laws for the general good, and to obey those laws [2]. It has been called the first written constitution in the world [3].

Among the signers were John Howland and John Tilley [2]. John Howland came as the servant of John Carver, who was shortly to become the first Governor of Plymouth Colony [3]. The…

View original post 1,411 more words

23. First Fruits of the Ancestry.com Irish Catholic Parish Records Release

A couple of weeks I ago I noted on my Bolesbooks Facebook site that Ancestry.com has released a vast collection of Irish parish records. As reported by the Associated Press:

BOSTON (AP) — Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, genealogical research website Ancestry.com is making 10 million Catholic parish records from Ireland — some dating to 1655 — available online…

The goldmine of information… includes baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records from more than 1,000 parishes in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland….

It would be hard to overstate the potential importance of this collection to genealogical research involving Irish Catholics. Prior to the release, it was necessary to determine – or in many cases, guess – the parish from which an ancestor might have come, followed either by renting microfilm (if available) or by actually visiting record repositories in Ireland.

But unfortunately, for many an Irish ancestor not only the parish but even the county of origin is unknown. In such cases there has been no practical hope of locating the relevant records. Having a searchable database of the records should allow a major leap forward.

But how useful is the collection really? A first glance suggests it is quite useful indeed.

Patrick and James Hickey, of Decatur, Macon county, Illinois

One of my family’s mysteries most resistant to solution is the origin of my wife’s ancestor Patrick Hickey (1828?-1902), and his presumed brother James (1829?-1907), both of Decatur, Macon county, Illinois. While an abundance of records establish that the pair came from Ireland, and that they married the Irish-born sisters Catherine and Anastacia Sinnott [1,5], no reliable record of their exact origin has been found this side of the Atlantic.

Family legends have proved contradictory, with a granddaughter of Patrick having claimed that the family was from co. Wexford [2], while the wife of one of his grandsons stated that Patrick was from co. Cork [1,5]. Both locations are problematic, Wexford because Hickey is not a common name in the county and because there may have been some confusion with the Wexford origin of Patrick’s wife; and Cork because the grandson’s wife later denied having made the statement! [1,5]

One origin-related fact has seemed fairly clear, however. In the 1900 census of Macon county, Illinois, Patrick was stated to have immigrated in 1849. If so, then he was probably the Patrick Hickey who arrived at New York on 28 June 1849 on the ship Guy-Mannering, from Liverpool, England [1,5]. At the time Liverpool was the intermediate destination of most Irish immigrants to America. Furthermore, Patrick’s arrival was shortly preceded (2 May 1849) by that of a James Hickey, who may have been his brother. James’ ship was the Silas-Grimshaw, likewise from Liverpool and arriving at New York [1,5].

The stated ages of both men were roughly in accordance with other records. At arrival Patrick was stated to be age 22 (b. 1826/7), and James age 20 (b. 1828/9) [1,5]. Neither is a perfect match, however. If Patrick was age 22 on 28 June 1849, he was born between 29 June 1826 and 28 June 1827. But in the 1900 census, his birth month was stated as March 1828. James’ circumstances were similar, as he was stated to be age 40 on 22 July 1870, at the time of the 1870 census of Decatur, Macon county. Thus he was born between 23 July 1829 and 22 July 1830 according to the census, and between 3 May 1828 and 2 May 1829 according to the arrival record [1,5].

Records of age are notoriously unreliable, however. The real problem was that no corresponding Irish records had been found.

Convergence Between Patrick and James

As I pointed out in a recent post (21. The Power of Convergence, Part 2: O Brother, Where Art Thou?), the use of converging records involving brothers affords a major way of extending ancestral lines across the Atlantic. The recent release of Irish Catholic records by Ancestry.com was well suited to a search for records pertaining to Patrick and James Hickey, both of whom were Catholic [5].


St. Michael's Church, Tipperary
St. Michael’s Church, Tipperary Town, Built 1859

It did not take long to find a match. As extracted from church records [3]:

Patricius [Patrick] Hickey, bap. 17 Mar 1827 in Tipperary, co. Tipperary, son of Joanne [John] and Maria [Mary] Gleeson [no sponsors shown]

James Hicky, bap. 9 Nov 1828 in Tipperary, co. Tipperary, son of John Hicky and Mary Leeson [sic], [sponsors] Joe Nacholson and Mary (C?)—

Also recorded was the marriage of their parents [3]:

12 Aug 1828 — Marriage of John Hickey and Mary Gleeson, witnessed by Thos Morany and (Mary?) Doherty, “Gratis”

Thus the couple had their first child, and conceived their second, prior to their marriage. It can only be a matter of speculation that the priest had volunteered to perform the marriage “Gratis” (free of charge) to end what he regarded as living in sin [4].

A Close Enough Match?

 The correspondence between “Patricius” and James Hickey of Tipperary to Patrick and James Hickey of Decatur appears close enough to support the conclusion of a probable match. In both cases, Patrick was the elder brother, and the baptismal dates closely match the inferred birth dates of the 1849 immigrants. However, the birth dates of the immigrants are not perfect matches to those inferred for the Decatur residents.

Although Tipperary Catholic marriage records appear available (thus containing the record of the John Hickey – Mary Gleeson marriage), neither Patrick or James seem to have been married there. That is consistent with immigration. There is also the fact that no other Patrick-James pairing emerges from the parish records that provides nearly as good a match to the Decatur men.

Yet for now, I feel this remains a probable and not quite proven match. For one thing, Catholic burial records appear not to be available yet, at least not from Tipperary. Finding an Irish burial record for either man would be highly problematic, while failing to find any such record would lend an incremental amount of confidence to the match.

Although it may be wishful thinking, finding any kind of record suggesting that one or both of the Decatur men was from co. Tipperary would certainly lend considerably greater confidence in the match. After all the family legends, though problematic, stated that Patrick came from counties Wexford or Cork. As for the failure of other Patrick-James matches to appear in the parish records, there is simply no good reason to believe that Irish Catholic baptismal records are 100% comprehensive.

The bottom line is that the Ancestry.com records release allows just what it should allow: A search of Irish Catholic records with the aim of uncovering evidence pertaining to the likely origins of families. That the evidence may not always be conclusive is simply the normal state of genealogy.

As always, patient application of the genealogist’s craft is required to locate and combine records meeting a reasonable standard of proof. The Ancestry.com database, available in many public libraries, is certainly a good start.


[1] Boles, D.B. (2016). The Omnibus Ancestry: 589 Documented American and European Lines, 2nd edition. Available for download through Lulu.

[2] Muleady, A.F. (ca 1964). Muleady Family Record. Typescript, copy in my possession.

[3] Ancestry.com. Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.

[4] An account written in 1877 indicated that there were three fees associated with Irish weddings: Typically 5 shillings for a certificate allowing the groom to contract marriage with any woman who was free of impediments; 7 shillings sixpence for the license to marry; and an unspecified marriage fee to the priest performing the marriage (information retrieved from http://cbladey.com/wedding/Iwed.html, 2016). It is easy to understand that these could have posed substantial hurdles to an impoverished couple.

[5] Boles, D.B. (1993). Barth-Hickey Ancestry. Troy, NY: Private print. Available for purchase at Bolesbooks.

Picture attribution:

© Copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License

22. New Release! The Omnibus Ancestry, 2nd Edition

Omnibus graphic.final

Now available for download: The Omnibus Ancestry: 589 Documented American and European Lines, by David B. Boles. As indicated on the Lulu website:

366 pages. This recently released 2nd edition extends many ancestral lines, adds about 50 new lines, and corrects errors in the 1st edition.  The book covers 589 family lines, principally but not limited to the colonial and post-colonial United States, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. The great majority of the ancestral lines in the previous works on the Author’s Spotlight page are covered in handy, condensed, corrected, and referenced form. Extensive notes are used to explain the logic behind conclusions and to provide suggestions for further research.

Covering such a large geographical area and span of time (from the present back to about 1350), I anticipate that the work will be of interest to a wide range of genealogical researchers with American or European ancestors. Using a condensed format, paired with extensive notes, I have endeavored to provide new, diverse, and unique information and insights not only to casual family readers, but to genealogical novices and experts alike. Over 60 years of family history findings are represented, the product of two generations of research using a large array of genealogical techniques.

An index of the families covered appears below.

Why a 2nd Edition?

There are many, many changes to the material covered in the 1st edition. The approximately 50 new lines are the proverbial tip of the iceberg. On publication of the 1st edition, I undertook a year-long line-by-line review, rechecking accuracy, and scouring a variety of new sources for information to extend the lines or add to them. Many extensions and corrections were made. In a handful of cases old lines were dropped when they were found to be unsupported or contradicted by sound evidence. The resulting 2nd edition is more complete, more accurate, and (I think) more interesting than ever.

What is Meant by “Documented Lines”?

Every genealogist has experienced the frustration of dealing with unsourced or poorly-sourced family lines. Many prove to be mutually contradictory and rife with error. Instead I have provided a reference or references for virtually every statement in the book. If nothing else, I hope that the extensive referencing alone makes the book a worthwhile download, as it should save the reader a great deal of time and effort in locating sources.

In the very few cases where I believe a statement is correct but have no reference, I acknowledge “Reference unknown” or the equivalent. These are always limited to minor biographical details; unknown sources are never accepted as support for intergenerational connections.

Will You Agree With Every Conclusion?

Of course I’d like to think so, but I know that experienced researchers like to reach their own conclusions after a balanced weighing of the evidence. I certainly do. That’s why I have endeavored to provide explanations for every point I think might provoke controversy. These are again contained in the notes following an ancestral line. As a reader you of course have complete freedom to accept or reject the arguments.

I’d like to carry this one step further by asking that you contact me if you want to discuss an issue. No one has all the information possessed by researchers at large, and I would like to learn what you have found as well. Contact information is given in the introduction to the book, or you can post a comment to this blog.

Why a 1350 Cutoff?

Like the 1st edition, the 2nd edition cuts off beyond about the year 1350. I adopted this date because it seems to provide the best balance between coverage of essential material and bloat. The cutoff allows for the inclusion of about 20 ancestral generations.

However, that does not mean the ancestry ends there. Far from it. Most known lines of that antiquity are either royal or noble in nature, or trace to royal or noble ancestry within a few additional generations. Fortunately these generations have been widely published and need not be repeated in my book. Instead, in the notes I provide easy-to-obtain references should you want to trace further.

In effect, the cutoff has allowed me to focus my expertise on solving the problems that are the hardest — but also the most rewarding.

A Final Word

In 2010 I found myself the author or coauthor of 14 books of an ancestral or genealogical nature, tracing hundreds of family lines. How could I make this work accessible to a broad audience?

The answer was a single volume, the first edition of the Omnibus, condensing all of the previous work into an easy-to-follow line-by-line format. A considerable amount of new material was added, to the extent that an estimated 40% of the ancestral lines did not appear in the previous publications.

I consider The Omnibus Ancestry the capstone of my genealogical career. The present edition, like the first, is intended to inform you of “the state of the art” while providing a blueprint for future research. Each of the 589 lines is an open invitation to build further. I hope some of you will join me in the labor. But even if you don’t, please enjoy its fruits.

The Omnibus Ancestry may be ordered from Lulu. You can access it either at the book page itself, or through the Author Spotlight page, which shows all of my Lulu genealogical publications.  Just click on one of the two links for a preview and more!

The Lines

Abercrombie Line

Abercromby Line

Abernethy Line

Abraham Line

Ackerly Line

Addams Line

Almot Line

Altrate Line

Amyas Line

Andreas Line

Andrews Line

Arrants Line

Ashton Line

Assiter Line

Atwood Line

Auliffe Line

Austin Line

Babb Line

Bachiler Line

Baer Line

Bailey Line

Ballow Line

Banister Line

Barber (James) Line

Barber (William) Line

Barnes Line

Barrier Line

Barth Line

Bartram Line

Basset (Thomas of Miscin) Line

Basset (Thomas of Saint Hilari) Line

Bateman Line

Beaton (David) Line

Beaton (John) Line

Beauchamp Line

Beaufort Line

Beaumont Line

Becx Line

Beer Line

Belson Line

Bergen Line

Bidel Line

Binford Line

Blaugdone Line

Bleijck Line

Bodine Line

Boles Line

Bollin Line

Borthwick Line

Bos Line

Boswell Line

Boteler Line

Botreaux Line

Bourgogne Line

Bowers Line

Bowman Line

Boyd Line

Bradshagh Line

Brasseur Line

Brereton Line

Brock Line

Bromflete Line

Brown (James) Line

Brown (Richard) Line

Brown (Thomas) Line

Brownlee Line

Brusyard Line

Buchanan Line

Burckhart Line

Burnett Line

Busch Line

Buster Line

Button Line

Cadwalader Line

Calder Line

Campbell (Archibald of Argyll) Line

Campbell (Archibald of Auchinbreck) Line

Campbell (Archibald of Cawdor) Line

Campbell (Duncan) Line

Carnegie Line

Cartlidge Line

Cary Line

Chandler Line

Chapman Line

Chappell Line

Cheyne Line

Chichele Line

Chicheley Line

Chisholm Line

Clark Line

Clench Line

Clifford Line

Coles Line

Colfer Line

Collet Line

Colville Line

Conklin Line

Conradi Line

Cool Line

Coons Line

Cowdray Line

Cradoc Line

Cranstoun Line

Crew Line

Crichton Line

Crocheron Line

Cunningham Line

Dacre Line

Dafydd (ap Hywel) Line

Dafydd (ap Rees) Line

Dameron Line

David (ap Hopkin) Line

David (ap Llewelyn) Line

David (ap Morgan) Line

David (ap Walhin) Line

David (John) Line

Davis (Nathaniel) Line

Davis (William) Line

Dennis Line

Denniston Line

Dick Line

Dickison Line

Dietz Line

Domville Line

Dorn Line

Douglas (Archibald) Line

Douglas (George) Line

Douglas (Henry) Line

Douglas (James) Line

Douglas (William of Drumlanrig) Line

Douglas (William of Nithsdale) Line

Downing Line

Drake Line

Dresler Line

Drummond Line

Drury Line

Duddingston Line

Dunbar Line

Dundas Line

Dungan (Jeremiah) Line

Dungan (William) Line

Ecklin Line

Edmonstone Line

Eger Line

Ellis (Ellis) Line

Ellis (Jesse) Line

Ellyson Line

Emerson Line

Erb Line

Ermentraudt Line

Erskine Line

Evan (ap Evan) Line

Evan (ap Griffith) Line

Evan (ap Llewelyn) Line

Evan (ap Madoc) Line

Evan (Gitto) Line

Evans Line

Everingham Line

Faris Line

Ferris Line

Finch Line

Fischbach Line

Fischer Line

Fishback Line

FitzHugh Line

Fleming (Christopher) Line

Flender (Henchen) Line

Flender (Henrich) Line

Flexney Line

Forbes Line

Ford Line

Fosselman Line

Foster Line

Foulshurst Line

Fowler Line

Friedli Line

Friesenhagen Line

Gainsford Line

Gaisenhofer Line

Gam Line

Gamage Line

Gattley Line

Gerard Line

Gill Line

Glen Line

Glencarnie Line

Gobels Line

Goeller Line

Goode Line

Gordon (Adam) Line

Gordon (Alexander of Huntly) Line

Gordon (Alexander of Lochinvar) Line

Gosnold Line

Goushill Line

Graham (David) Line

Graham (Patrick) Line

Graham (William) Line

Grant Line

Gray Line

Greiner (Jacob) Line

Greiner (Nicolaus) Line

Grey Line

Griffith Line

Grim Line

Groh Line

Gruffudd Line

Guelders Line

Gullett Line

Guthrie Line

Gwilim Line

Gwilym (ap Jenkin) Line

Gwilym (ap Philip) Line

Hager Line

Hallyn Line

Halyburton (James) Line

Halyburton (Patrick) Line

Hamilton Line

Hanback Line

Harbour Line

Harpway Line

Harrington Line

Haug Line

Havard (Jenkin) Line

Havard (William) Line

Hawxhurst Line

Hay (Thomas) Line

Hay (William) Line

Hayden Line

Heimbach (Johannes) Line

Heimbach (Philipp) Line

Heisdorfer Line

Hellings Line

Hendrickse Line

Henry Line

Hepburn Line

Herbert Line

Herr Line

Herries Line

Hickey Line

Hieronymus Line

Hobson Line

Hochstrasser Line

Hoffman Line

Holbrook Line

Holland (Albrecht) Line

Holland (Edmund) Line

Hollingsworth Line

Holman Line

Holtzclaw Line

Home Line

Houghton Line

Hoult Line

Housh Line

Howel (ab Evan) Line

Howel (ap David) Line

Howland Line

Hoyt Line

Hulse Line

Hungerford Line

Hurst Line

Hussey Line

Hywel Line

Ieuan (ap Gruffudd) Line

Ieuan (ap Gwilym) Line

Ieuan (ap Jenkin) Line

Innes Line

Jacobsdochter Line

Jefferis Line

John (ab Ieuan) Line

John (ap Jeffrey) Line

John (ap Morgan) Line

Jenkin Line

Jolliffe Line

Jordan (Robert) Line

Jordan (Thomas) Line

Jost (Christoph) Line

Jost (Conrad) Line

Jung Line

Kammer Line

Keith (Alexander) Line

Keith (William) Line

Keller Line

Kemeys Line

Kennedy Line

Kleve Line

Knoertzer Line

Knolles Line

Knopf Line

Kunz Line

Kyne Line

Lamont Line

Lang Line

Large Line

Latham Line

Latsch Line

Lauder Line

Lazear Line

Lennox Line

Leslie Line

Lewis (Evan of Cardigan) Line

Lewis (Evan of Chester) Line

Lieveling Line

Lindeman Line

Lindsay (Alexander) Line

Lindsay (James) Line

Linton Line

Livingston Line

Livingstone Line

Llewelyn Line

Llywelyn (ap Gwilym) Line

Llywelyn (ap Morgan) Line

Llywelyn (ap Phillip) Line

Loetscher Line

Lovell Line

Lubbertsen Line

Lueck Line

MacDonald (Allan) Line

MacDonald (Donald) Line

MacDonald (John) Line

Mackenzie Line

Mackintosh Line

MacLeod Line

Madog Line

Maelog Line

Mainwaring Line

Malmberg Line

Mansel Line

Marcey Line

Marcross Line

Marshe Line

Martin (James) Line

Martin (Llewellyn) Line

Martin (Richard) Line

Martin (Thomas) Line

Martz Line

Massey Line

Maule Line

Maxwell (Herbert) Line

Maxwell (Robert) Line

May Line

McClain Line

McCrosky Line

McFadden Line

McIntire Line

McMurtrie Line

McMyrtre Line

McQueen Line

Melford Line

Melville Line

Mercer Line

Meyrick Line

Michell Line

Milner Line

Minnes Line

Modrell Line

Moncreiffe line

Montgomerie Line

Monypenny Line

Morgan (ap David) Line

Morgan (ap David Powell) Line

Morgan (ap Hugyn) Line

Morgan (ap Jenkin) Line

Morgan (ap John) Line

Morgan (ap Trahaearn) Line

Mortimer (Edmund) Line

Mosby Line

Munford Line

Murray Line

Mylin Line

Nash Line

Naunton Line

Nave Line

Need Line

Nerbel Line

Neville Line

Nevyus Line

Newell Line

Nohr Line

Nowell Line

Oberholtzer Line

Ogilvy (Alexander of Findlater) Line

Ogilvy (David) Line

Ogilvy (James) Line

Ogilvy (Patrick) Line

Oldcastle Line

Oliphant Line

Oliver Line

op den Graeff Line

Otterbach Line

Owain (ap Gruffudd) Line

Owain (ap Marchudd) Line

Owen Line

Packwood Line

Painter Line

Parish Line

Parker Line

Parsons Line

Payne Line

Percy Line

Perkins Line

Peverell Line

Pfister Line

Phillips Line

Plantagenet Line

Pleasants Line

Pletges Line

Plummer Line

Polhemius Line

Powell Line

Price (John) Line

Price (Thomas) Line

Prichard Line

Prickett Line

Pride Line

Princehouse Line

Probst Line

Rapelje Line

Raquet Line

Rattray Line

Ree Line

Reimbach Line

Rhys (ap Hywel) Line

Rhys (ap Robert) Line

Richard Line

Ries Line

Rimpler Line

Ripley Line

Roadshaw Line

Roberts (John) Line

Roberts (Morris) Line

Roberts (Thomas) Line

Robinson (Melvin) Line

Robinson (Rossiter) Line

Rodburgh Line

Rollo Line

Ros Line

Rose Line

Rossiter Line

Roth Line

Rudolph Line

Rung Line

Russell (Richard) Line

Russell (Solomon) Line

Russell (Thomas) Line

Ruthven Line

Rythe Line

Saint John (Edward) Line

Saint John (John) Line

Saltzgeber Line

Savage Line

Schaeffer Line

Schaff Line

Schäffer Line

Schantzenbach Line

Schatto Line

Schenck Line

Schneider Line

Scholt Line

Scott Line

Scrymgeour Line

Scudamore Line

Sebring Line

Sel Line

Seton Line

Shaw Line

Sheppard Line

Shircliffe Line

Sibbald Line

Sidney Line

Sinclair (Henry) Line

Sinclair (John) Line

Sinclair (William of Hermantoun) Line

Sinnott Line

Slack Line

Sloper (Thomas) Line

Sloper (William) Line

Slye Line

Smith (Jeremiah) Line

Smith (John) Line

Smith (Richard) Line

Smith (William) Line

Snowe Line

Snyder Line

Speece Line

Springer Line

Stafford Line

Stake Line

Stammler Line

Stanley (Thomas) Line

Stanley (William) Line

Stayman Line

Steiger Line

Step Line

Stephens Line

Stevenson Line

Stewart (David) Line

Stewart (James) Line

Stewart (John of Atholl) Line

Stewart (John of Blackhall) Line

Stewart (John of Lorn) Line

Stewart (King James) Line

Stewart (Robert of Albany) Line

Stewart (Robert of Durisdeer) Line

Stewart (Walter) Line

St. Lo Line

Strangeways Line

Ströhlin Line

Stuart Line

Stuell Line

Sutherland (Alexander) Line

Sutherland (William) Line

Swanson Line

Swift Line

Swynnerton Line

Tarbell Line

Tarrant Line

Taylor (John) Line

Taylor (Robert) Line

Taylor (Thomas) Line

Teichmann Line

Thomas (ap Evan) Line

Thomas (ap Gronwy) Line

Thomas (ap Gruffudd) Line

Thomas (ap Gwilim) Line

Thomas (ap Gwilim David) Line

Thomas (ap Hywel) Line

Thomas (ap Llywelyn) Line

Thomas (ap Morgan) Line

Thomas (Charles) Line

Thompson Line

Tichborne Line

Tidmarsh Line

Thurlow Line

Tilley Line

Tomey Line

Touchet Line

Townsend Line

Trafford Line

Trice Line

Trico Line

Trotter Line

Turberville Line

Valoniis Line

Van Fisphe Line

Van Kouwenhoven Line

Van Voorhees Line

Vaughan (Hopkin) Line

Vaughan (Roger) Line

Vaughan (Thomas) Line

Vaughan (William) Line

Veatch Line

Venables (Hugh) Line

Venables (William) Line

Vernon Line

Vigelius Line

Von Arkel Line

Vor der Hardt (Hen) Line

Vor der Hardt (Henchen) Line

Wagner Line

Walcott Line

Wandesford Line

Wardlaw Line

Warren Line

Wassermann Line

Watts Line

Weaver Line

Weber Line

Weigenthall Line

Wells Line

Welsh Line

Wemyss Line

Weston Line

Wheeler Line

White Line

Whitney Line

William (ap John) Line

William (ap Rhys) Line

William (ap Thomas) Line

Wilson Line

Wing Line

Withers Line

Witmer Line

Wood Line

Woodson Line

Woolaston Line

Wright Line

Yate Line

Yerian Line

Youngs Line




21. The Power of Convergence, Part 2: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In a previous blog entry, 17. The Power of Convergence, Part 1: Francis Drake, I described the use of the web to find a reference imperfectly cited to me about 45 years previously. Entering three names said to appear in the record, I quickly located the reference using Google Search, and found that it was available in free, downloadable form. That in turn allowed me to dispell the myth that my ancestor Francis Drake, of New Hampshire and New Jersey, was originally of West Meath, Ireland.

Thus the convergent power of the web, something unimagined 45 years ago, provided information that significantly impacted on a genealogical conclusion. Each of the three names entered alone produced thousands of hits — to be specific, about 695,000 for Francis Drake, 63,400 for Thomas Temple, and 231,000 for Richard Saunders — but when entered simultaneously, convergence was found on one unique source that matched information I had been given decades earlier. Using it, I was able to draw a negative conclusion about the origin of my ancestor .

But what about more positive instances? Can convergence be used to support, not just dispel relationships? In my experience the answer is yes — especially if you start with a known “starter” relationship.

“Starter” Relationships

A “starter” relationship is between two people, known to be of the same family, each connected to a number of possibly associated records. Looking for overlap among the possible associations is what allows for convergence. For example if a possible origin (among several) of one person matches a possible origin (among several) of a related person, there is a fair chance that the match indicates their common origin.

Brotherly love

In my experience the starter relationship is usually between brothers. This is probably due to the fact that brothers usually have the same surname, while married sisters, or a married sister and a brother, typically do not. Therefore brothers tend to be known to a greater extent than other sibling pairs.

To illustrate the power of convergence in such situations, I briefly present two case studies involving brothers.

The Slack Brothers

In tracing my Slack ancestors, attention quickly settled on two contemporaries who settled in Mason county, Kentucky, about the same time prior to 1800. One, John Slack, seemed most likely to be our ancestor, but for a time we could not rule out the other, Jacob Slack. I wrote about this problem in my very first blog entry (1. John Slack of Mason County, Kentucky: Poverty and a Glittering Past), and there is no point in rehashing it here. For present purposes it is enough to state that we believed the two men to be brothers. How could this fact be used to determine their origin?

Census records in this case proved to provide the initial point of convergence. By examining the 1790 census nationwide, using the web resource Ancestry.com, it was found that a John Slack and a Jacob Slack both appeared as heads of household in the 1790 census of Harford county, Maryland. With research attention turned to Maryland, I quickly located an 1816 deed by which Jacob Slack of Mason county, Kentucky, sold a share of land in Harford county. There could be no doubt: The intermediate place of origin of the two brothers was Harford county.

But where were they from before that? Web searches turned up the next point of convergence. John and Jacob Sleght, sons of Hendrick Sleght, were baptized respectively in May 1746 and July 1757 in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, dates initially found on the web but later confirmed in printed church records. A number of other circumstances matched as well — among them, evidence from Kentucky and Maryland that John was significantly older than Jacob, and a gravestone in Kentucky giving an age for Jacob that was closely consistent with the baptismal record.

This discovery made it possible not just to identify the father of the brothers, but to add multiple ancestral lines tracing back in some cases many generations. It was a major windfall discovery.

While there were a number of facts possibly associated with John, and a number possibly associated with Jacob, it was the convergence of information across both that allowed the discovery of their origin. To fully appreciate the importance of that, consider what would have happened had I known only of John Slack. I would have found multiple possible places of origin in census and tax records, and would have been at a loss when attempting to identify which pertained. It was the known “starter” relationship of John to Jacob that solved the problem.

The Altrate (Altred) Brothers

My ancestor Christopher Altrate (Altred; Alteriedt) arrived at Philadelphia in 1749, and was in Frederick county, Virginia, by 1760. He resided in Winchester, and there became one of the founders of the town’s Evangelical Lutheran church. In his will, made in 1765, he referred to property that would come to him in Youghstousen, Germany. Christopher had an apparent brother named Michael Altred, who had been fined in 1761 in Frederick county for being absent from a muster, and who stood security for Christopher’s widow when she administered his estate.

The name of the German location proved problematic, because there is no Youghtstousen in Germany. A query directed to a genealogy forum elicited the same response from two native German speakers: In their opinion the location was probably Jagsthausen, in Württemberg.

Convergence in this case came from the ongoing indexing of German birth and christening records by the LDS Church. A record for Christoph Alteried showed a birth date of 16 Apr 1724, as recorded in the Evangelisch church, Ruchsen, Baden. That of his brother Georg Michael Alteriedt occurred on 5 Oct 1725, recorded in the same church. Both were sons of Johann Friederich Alteried by his wife Maria Agnes. Then came the best part, the discovery that Jagsthausen is only 6.5 road miles from Ruchsen [1]. The deal was sealed.

Again, the case illustrates the use of web-based information to provide convergence between brothers in a known starter relationship, this time using the online FamilySearch facility of the LDS Church (familysearch.org). Discovering the parents made it possible to trace a number of further generations in multiple family lines.

Other Brothers

A number of other examples could be described. They include the Barber family of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and co. York, England; the Bowers (Bauer) family of Berks county, Pennsylvania, Frederick co, Virginia, and Baden, Germany; and the Mosby family of Charles City county, Virginia, and co. Norfolk, England.   For full descriptions and references, and the ancestries of these families as well as those of the Slack and Altrate families, see The Omnibus Ancestry, available for download at Lulu.com.

In all of these cases, it was knowledge that two men were brothers that allowed the convergent power of the web to identify their common origin.


Keep in mind that merely finding the names of two brothers in earlier records at the same location is often insufficient to establish that the records concern those brothers. To take an extreme example, starting with the names of two brothers named John and James Smith would likely turn up hundreds of possible convergences, only one of which may be the proverbial needle in the haystack.

It’s only in the instance of rare names (first and/or last) that names alone might lead one to assume identity. The Altrates/Altreds are possibly a case in point, as the surname is rare, especially when appearing with the given names Christopher and Michael.

Nevertheless in all the cases cited, additional information was available that supported identity. The Altrates/Altreds were thought to have a property interest in Jagsthausen, only a few miles from the convergent location of Ruchsen. The Slack brothers, while having a moderately uncommon surname, were chiefly identified as the sons of Hendrick through their age spread and a close correspondence in birth and christening dates, along with other considerations that were described in the original blog entry.

Thus when applying a starter relationship to look for convergence on a common location, all known facts should be exploited to either confirm or disconfirm the convergence. In this regard the enterprise is similar to other applications of the genealogist’s craft.


[1] The sharp-eyed reader will have noticed that Ruchsen is in Baden while Jagsthausen is in Württemberg. Until 1846 Ruchsen was an exclave of Baden, being completely surrounded by Württemberg. In that year territories were exchanged that gave it land access to the rest of Baden. However, a border remained between Ruchsen and Jagsthausen (information retrieved from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruchsen, 2016).

Picture attribution: Owner Jen’s Art & Soul, Brotherly Love, retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/frazzledjen/177002473. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


20. Happy New Year, Whenever That Is

2015-6 logo

To end the year, here are some genealogical brain teasers. Please think of an answer for each of the following questions:

  1. When did the the year not start on January 1st?
  2. When did a month only have 7 days?
  3. When could “7ber” be used as an abbreviation for September?

The answers? It turns out these are trick questions, as the answer is the same in all three cases: From the year 1155 to 1752 — but only in England and (in the later part of that period) the rest of the British Empire [1]. For those of us tracing ancestry in the United States, and backwards in many cases to England, Ireland, or Wales, the calendar can play some elvish tricks leading up to January 1st and beyond.

The New Year

Remembering that we are considering the British Empire, within that long 600 year period the year was considered to start on the day of the church celebration of Jesus’ Incarnation. That fell on March 25th.

Contrary to what you may have learned in grade school, switching the year’s beginning from March 25th to January 1st had little to do with the Roman miscorrection of day length in the Julian calendar. That 11 minute per year miscorrection led to the astronomical calendar gradually drifting from the legal calendar, a discrepancy that by 1752 had grown to 11 days. However, when the discrepancy was corrected by abandoning the faulty Julian calendar for the more accurate Gregorian calendar in 1752, it was simultaneously decided to adopt January 1st as New Year’s Day.

Why January 1st? That was New Year’s in the Roman calendar. The change in 1752 took us back to the very origins of our calendar.

A Short March?

The second question in the list above is actually doubly tricky, because it involves two different ways to view the month of March in the Julian calendar. On the one hand, before 1752 there was only one March in the calendar, a month like ours of 31 days. But on the other hand, when the New Year started on March 25th, the period of March 25th through the 31st fell in a different year than the days before it. In that sense, March had only 7 days — in the new year. Of course, the new year got the remaining days back, but at the end rather than the beginning of the year!

Genealogical Confusion

To say that this situation leads to confusion in genealogical circles would be an understatement. If a writer states a date such as “1 March 1750”, what year is meant? Is it the year that in the old calendar had January, February, and most of March in 1750, but the rest of the months in 1751? Or has the writer mentally converted the date to the modern January-December yearly calendar, so that the date actually fell in 1749 in the old calendar? A brain itch to be sure.

To avoid this problem, “double dating” has been widely adopted. If the date is from the calendar being used at the time, the 1 March 1750 date becomes 1 Mar 1750/1. Otherwise it becomes 1 March 1749/50. Double dating should not be considered a complication as genealogical novices often think, but rather a clarification. Without it there may be no way to know which of two years is meant.

When dealing with primary records, there is much less confusion because the date is stated in terms of the calendar being used at the time. Thus in a church christening record, for example, 1 March 1750 means March in the old year. Nevertheless, in our era it is best practice to state such a date using double dating, becoming in this case 1 March 1750/1.

7ber, or September To You

Once when consulting eastern Pennsylvania Quaker records, I ran across a month stated as “7ber”. It didn’t take too long to realize what was meant. Because March was the 1st month of the year (even though the year didn’t get going until the 25th), the 7th month was 6 months after that, or September.

In fact it is quite common to find numbered months in primary records. Thus, for example, the 6th day of the 4rd month of the year 1730 is actually 6 June 1730. When confronted by a numbered month before 1753, the general solution is to add two to it, then convert from that number to the name of the month.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere

So much for the British Empire, but what about elsewhere? One immediate complication traces to the fact that Scotland did not become part of the British Empire until 1603. As an independent country, it made the switch from a March to a January New Year much earlier, in 1600 to be exact. This discrepancy with England remained in force until the calendar was unified in 1752 [1]. So even for those of exclusively British ancestry, there is the possibility of confusion when crossing the Scottish border. As an imaginary example, consider the befuddlement of a poor genealogist discovering that an ancestor died on 12 February 1690 in Allanton, Scotland, only to be buried 10 miles away in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, 3 days later on 15 February 1689!

In other countries the confusion can be even greater. Even leaving aside periods during which the New Year began on something other than January 1st or March 25th (e.g., September 1st in Russia, or dates tied either to Easter or the autumn equinox in France), the shift to a January 1st New Year happened in different years in different countries. It occurred in 1544 in Germany, 1559 in Sweden, 1576 in Holland, and as late as 1918 in Turkey [1].

Honor the Goal

 The goal in all of this is to state dates in a way that allows the construction of a coherent, properly ordered sequence of events in our ancestors’ lives. By consistently using an unambiguous dating system, apparent contradictions can be avoided that might otherwise prompt false conclusions. In this regard, double dating is an essential tool of the genealogist’s craft.


[1] Information retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar (2015).

Picture Attribution:

Adaptation of “Logo of the 205/2016 Public Domain Day in Poland” by Cienkamila, retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_DDP_2016.svg (2015), used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

√ Please consider following this site!

If you have enjoyed the articles on this site, please consider following it.  Many more articles are planned, and they may involve your ancestors!

There are two ways to follow, through WordPress or through Facebook.  Here’s how to do it through WordPress.  If you are already a member of WordPress, you should press the Follow button at the top left of the page.  If not, you should see a Follow button at the bottom right, and pressing it will allow you to enter an email address.

Or you may follow through Facebook.  The WordPress posts are forwarded to the Bolesbooks Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/booksBoles.  All you need to do is access that page and Like it.

Thanks much — it’s always gratifying to have a following!