Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- What was the Biggest Surprise you Found About an Ancestor?

It's Saturday Night, 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

1)  The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.  

2)  Please answer the question - "What was the biggest surprise you found about an ancestor?" 

3)  Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post  your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

My response:

My biggest surprise doing research on my ancestors was that Devier James Smith (1839-1894) was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith in about 1840 in Jefferson County, New York.

I initially found this out when I Googled Devier Smith's names as "Smith Devier" in 2007 using a "last name first" search.  I was surprised to see the following on the web site: 

NAME = SMITH, Devier J. [changed from] LAMPHIERDevier
COUNTY = Dodge
DATE = 1866/Mar/21 

I went to the Wisconsin State Historical Society in 2011 and found the Wisconsin State Senate act that change his name, but there was other supporting information.  

Then I found his adoptive father's will from 1865 - it says, in part:

"Third. I hereby give, devise and bequeath unto
Devere J. Lamphear, Commonly called Devere J. 
Smith, my adopted son, all the rest and residue 
of my real and personal property of every name
and nature whatsoever, except the above named

That cinched the deal - it is obvious that Devier J. Lamphier was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith as a child.  When Ranslow Smtih wrote his will in 1865, he had not changed his name yet, and did so soon after his adoptive father's will was written.

I had been researching the ancestry of his parents, and had found a significant Hudson River Valley Dutch ancestry for Mary Bell; I had to excise that part of my ancestry and try to find a Lamphier/Lamphear/Lanphere/Lanfear ancestry for Devier.  I'm still looking!


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Linda Stufflebean said...

My biggest surprise was definitely finding out that my maternal grandmother's grandmother's line (my 2x great grandmother)is a Mayflower line. My grandmother didn't live long enough to know of my discovery, but she would have loved knowing that and, as I noted when I first wrote this post, it only took me 36 years to find it.

Also, Randy, as you know, this makes us Soule cousins. :)

Janice M. Sellers said...

My biggest surprise was learning about my great-grandmother's late-in-life illegitimate child

Seeds to Tree said...

Mine was a gr-uncle, a Civil War veteran, who moved from Illinois to Texas (why?), committed a crime and died in prison. Here is the three posts I wrote about this story.

Fax said...

My biggest shock was learning that my dad's father was not biological. When we did not match his cousins, I first had to find out which of us did not descend from the carefully researched tree I had constructed. It was easy to find matches for them, so that left my dad's father (or perhaps both parents) as the unknown entity. It was a while before I was able to prove that his mother was genetically correct. Then the story began to unfold but with no sound evidence other than logic and my imagination.

Dad's parents were married ten years before he was born, an only child. None of his father's brothers except the youngest had children of their own. Maybe all had suffered mumps at a vulnerable age and were rendered sterile? Dad's mother was savvy. She had been raised by her grandmother who was a mid-wife in Oregon. I believe she concluded that, after ten years of a barren marriage, she would have to have an affair if she wanted any children. And so she did. Now, based primarily on DNA, place and opportunity, I've narrowed down the prospects to two men who share grandparents. One is slightly more probable than the other, and I may never know for certain since the more likely one was a bachelor who disappeared the year my dad was born. The one hope I have is to find a DNA match to either prospect's mother's line.

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Here is mine for this week -
My great grand father's brother shot his wife and then himself.

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Doris, that is a fascinating story! I hope you are able to finish piecing together the pieces.

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Randy - best of luck in your search. I would think that Lamphier would be easier to trace than Smith though so I bet you crack the case.

Nancy Ward Remling said...

Here is mine.

I too have a murder, suicide in the family.