Adding flesh to the stats


Some of the early settlers began to meet for worship services and formed the Cherokee Creek Meeting House. Although the exact date of organization is not known, some historians believe this Baptist church was started circa 1780 or earlier. The first recorded meeting took place April 2, 1783, when the Reverend William Murphy was installed as pastor. By September 4, 1783, the members of Cherokee Creek Meeting House had pledged that “we do not look upon ourselves (as) infallible (but) we still look to be further taught by the word and spirit of God. . .”

One of the many details I’m getting from my new network is that Rev.4-Great-Gramps was once just over my shoulder less that two hours from my back deck.  About 30 miles from my front deck toward Knoxville, he lived there with John, also a Reverend, and Rachel, my 3-Great-grandparents.  That’s a big town.  As I shade my eyes, I wonder what part of Knoxville, what neighborhood, what street.

Next spring, if I can wait that long, Nancy and I, with the Honeys, will pilgrimage to Jonesborough, TN, which was North Carolina before the borders were adjusted, to see the scenery the 4GG saw.  In the meantime, I really want to locate the spot in Knoxville.  Logically, the house wouldn’t be there unless …… ?  According to the recent material shared with me by my cousins on RootsWeb, he along with John and Rachel are buried in Barren Co., Ky, specifically somewhere around Bowling Green.

Having originated in Virginia before the Revolutionary War, having fought in said war, these people went on to pioneer Tennessee and Kentucky. I could be taking a few Saturday afternoon trips.  There goes the housework.  Again.


Not from around here

No body is — anywhere.  That was the one lesson that genealogy has taught me. Even our native Americans crossed on a land bridge from Asia.  And if civilization began at the Euphrates, so did the African continent originate other than.

Everyone is at some point interested in their ethnic background if only as an answer to a question in a casual conversation.  My maiden surname is Murphy therefore I am Irish.  Well, yes, some my ancestors lived in Ireland for a few centuries.  Before that, there are many possibilities.  In fact, my mother’s people came from Holland before it was The Netherlands.  So, I am a larger percentage Dutch, not Pennsylvania Dutch, but REALLY Dutch.   So, then I’m half Irish and half Dutch.  Not quite, says Dad.  Mom says her grandmother was an indentured servant from England who settled in Canada.  Is Canadian ethnic?  Dad’s paternal grandmother’s name was Nelson.  His mother’s heritage goes deep into England back to 1250 including 2 knights. So, I’m 1/4 English.  Not so fast. Scotland and Wales had a part.  In my clickings, I have uncovered (not literally) about 600 to 700 years worth of ancestors in England in more than one line.  And they bred like rabbits.  A click or two later, I’m looking at addresses in France, Spain, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Prussia, wherever Ivan the Great sat, Germany, and if the information is trustworthy, Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, and Israel.

So, I’m a mutt.  Exactly!!  We’re all mutts.  Viewing our ancestral lines from a very high ladder, they were nomads, albeit very slow nomads, and every time a descendant moves, we remain nomads.

Talk about diversity!  Apparently there aren’t too many customs I can’t celebrate or a costume I can’t wear.  That’s why I don’t get all mushy over the DAR, of which I could be a member at least twice over, or the Mayflower Society, all puffed up over the boat that was originally headed for Virginia where some of my people had already been for several years.  My lines include knights and kings, consorts, and at least one high sheriff around Robin Hood’s day. My list of famous cousins is not only impressive, it’s embarrassing.

It’s back to the internet to untangle the multiple lords and ladies in France aka 1000 AD.  (Rabbits, I tell you, rabbits — people most in need of cable).

The Mayflower

I have researched a line in the family that others have declared to be a line to Francis Cooke, a passenger on the Mayflower’s first voyage, a pilgrim who signed the compact, a man of stature who, with his son and others, braved the Atlantic to a new world in order to escape religious persecution.  I have pages of typewritten script detailing lineage and Revolutionary War records, and family stories of Valley Forge and settling the American wilderness.  I take the stories at face value but alas,

…..we are not descended from Francis Cooke, a Mayflower passenger.  And I don’t care.  In fact, in my rebellious Baby-Boomer American pride, I am proud to say I do not aspire to the snobbery of the Mayflower club.  And I’m just as American as they think they are.   One of our lines landed in Virginia before the Mayflower which headed for Virginia, got lost and landed in Mass…. Masses….. Plymouth.

Francis Cooke had a brother named Phillip.  He’s our ancestor.  Apparently, he and his line stuck around England during said persecution before emigrating around 1700 for whatever specific reason.  As for the rest of the Mayflower passengers, I have that list and can look up their lines to see if we are indeed descended from the Plymouth landing … but if we don’t,  pfffft.

During the investigation of that line, I did find out that we are cousins to Lord Bacon, Thomas Cromwell, and his great grand-nephew, Oliver Cromwell.  Neither is this a thing to be shouted pridefully from the housetops except to say we, in our decency as common and good, rose above their reputations.

As for Francis and Hester Cooke, bravo for their courage and bravery.  If one stops to think of it, eveyone else who boarded a rickety wooden ship to cross the Atlantic under those conditions, are also brave and courageous, not the first, not the last, not less than either.  However, the Mayflower should be singled out as one of the few that was headed for the soft climate of Virginia and got lost instead.

Just to the boat

I remember saying that years ago when a new friend offered to help me get started investigating the ancestors.  If I can just trace them to the immigrants, I’ll be thrilled.  The first thing I discovered was that the immigrants had parents too, as did those parents, and those and on back to Adam. If the next link from the last link can be found, I want to find it.

It’s like cleaning out one drawer, or eating just one potato chip.  I’m hooked.

A couple of months ago, I thought I had zeroed in on the line back to Thomas de Burton, born 1250 in England.  I looked at it again this weekend and discovered that 350 years later, the line written out and tucked in the family bible disagreed on who was Thomas IV’s daddy.  Until I high myself to Henrico County, Virginia and find the record, I don’t know if his birth is something that happens in the best of families or not. says his daddy is Richard, not Thomas III.  Either way, I am, and my children, and their children, are descended from at least two knights, a few esquires, and at least one lord, all in the same line.

Want to see the house these people gave up to come to the wilderness of Virginia in the early 1600s?  Longner Hall.

I .. want .. a .. time .. machine. 

I found Mary!!

I have been looking for this woman for 20 years, ever since Herb gave me the obit from an Orlando Brock, a man clearly too old, uh, maybe not tooooo old, but unlikely to have fathered Herb’s father, Wesley.  But nothing in the paperwork he gave me nor did his memories give Clue One about who was in between Herb’s father and Orlando.  Continue reading

Found more dead relatives!

Way, way back.  I’ve been going through the genealogy records again with renewed curiosity, less intensity.  It’s fun to know the details as if it’s a puzzle.  But, like anything else that requires time, it can’t turn into a distraction big enough to create distance from the main thing.  

The biggest breakthrough is the internet.  As more names are researched by others e.g. the Mormons and participants, the less travel is required, the fewer hours spent in old courthouse boxes, the smaller the phone bill and gas bill.

Sometimes people find me.  I received a comment on my post of mom’s mom’s father Dirk Hoornstra, the immigrant  from Holland.  Tom Hoornstra, a university professor in Holland apparently searched Dirk’s name and there I was.  The lineage backward in the Hoornstra line seems to have stopped in 1704, so Tom is spending more energy researching the decendents.

Just  a few evenings on the sofa with the laptop and I’ve filled in several generational gaps on both my side and Honey’s, and discovered parents who have parents who have parents, and so on.  My first goal years ago was to backtrack to the boat on each line.  This gets involved when you realise that you have 4 grandparents, 16 great grandparents, then you get to haul out your own calculator.  I’ve found out that once I find the boat people, I want to know more and more and more.  No, it’s not obsession yet, not as long as I am in my house, close to the kitchen and keep the main thing the main thing.

I did hit paydirt on one line through Dad’s mother’s father, James Preston Parrish.  I had found 3 pages taped together, tucked into the 300 year old Bible that had been carried through the wilderness of Tennessee and Kentucky, written by hand, bracketing ancestors back to 1100-something in England to a sherriff with no surname.  Also in that line were Burtons, two of whom were knighted, one of whom was given land.  Hmmmm. Land.  I wonder if I’m the last living descendent ……   That paper is filed somewhere out of reach of the sofa and kitchen.  I will have to find it.  sometime.  In the meantime, I found a name I’d been missing on my prior research and lo, at the bottom of the entry were the parents.  I clicked on one, more parents, then more and more and more. 

Finally at midnight, I reached back into time to Francis Burton of New Castle, York, London, England, born 1560 who married Katherine of St. Chad, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, born 1558.

Well.  Alrighty then.  When I have another chance, I’ll see if I can find someone in oh, say, Irleland, maybe?

What is the main thing?  The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  It’s not the dead relatives.