Saturday, September 3, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Surprising Discovery

  It's Saturday Night - 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) What genealogical discovery surprised you? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]

2)  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook Status post or note.

Here's mine:

In 2010, I was trying to obtain more information about my second great-grandfather, Devier J. Smith (1839-1894), born in New York, lived in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska, and died in Kansas.  You know - the snake oil salesman, land developer and speculator, horse broker, inventor, and livery man.  I thought his parents were Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith.  That's what the census records and the family Bible said.

I didn't have much luck Googling "Devier * Smith" so I tried "Smith Devier."  Whoa, where did that entry come from - it was a reference to an 1866 name change bill in the Wisconsin Senate.  He had his name changed from Devier Lamphier to Devier J. Smith.  Lanphear?  Or Lanfear, or Lamphere, or Lanphear?  The name change act included this paragraph:

"Section 1.  The name of Devier Lamphier is hereby changed to Devier J. Smith and the said Devier Lamphier is hereby declared to be the adopted child and legal heir of Ranslow Smith of Dodge County."

Well - that was a surprise.  The other surprise is the statement that Devier J. (Lamphier) Smith is the adopted son of Ranslow Smith of Dodge County, Wisconsin.  I eventually found the will of Ranslow Smith, written in 1866 in Wisconsin, but proved in 1873 in Missouri. Ranslow Smith wrote his will in 1866, [2] and referred to Devier as "...Devere J. Lamphear, Commonly called Devere J. Smith, my adopted son."

The result of finding these two records was that I had to disconnect Devier from his adoptive parents and try to find his biological parents.  Mary Bell had an impressive Hudson River Dutch ancestry which I lost.  Ranslow Smith had a mysterious Smith ancestry, and resided in Henderson, Jefferson county, New York from the early 1800s to the early 1840s when he moved his family to Dodge County, Wisconsin.

There are Lanfear families in the early 1800's in Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York.  Isaac and Rosina (Laun) Lanfear had at least 10 children between 1807 and 1828, and 8 of them were female.  It is likely that one of those girls had baby Devier out of wedlock.  I have several DNA matches to persons that descended from these Lanfear children, but I don't know which Lanfear child of Isaac's is Devier's parent, and I don't know the name of the other biological parent of Devier.  I'm still working on this genealogical puzzle.

I published Devier's genealogy sketch in 2014 - see

This was my surprising genealogical discovery - my 2nd great-grandfather Devier J. Lamphier Smith was adopted by Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith.  


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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GeneGinny said...

Couldn't resist this one, Randy. Here's my surprising discovery:

ByAPearl said...

Here is mine:

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Here's mine:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's my very recent surprise discovery:

Lacie Madison said...

Here's my surprising discovery: My post.