Name’s the Same ~ 52 Ancestors #10

This prompt just so happened to fit into a blog I had already decided to write, so this one was really exciting. I have been noticing for a few years that when I am researching that I tend to find someone with a last name that I am sure is in one of my lines. So I will then go to my default tree, my paternal side, and do a search for that name. When I find it, I am usually disappointed because this information doesn’t match any of my ancestors.

I have had the thought in the back of my mind for a long time about taking some time and comparing the last names of my ancestors between my paternal and maternal sides. I have put it off because of the numbers of ancestors that would be. Just on one side I could have as many as 2048 9x great grandparents and on both sides there could be 4098. Yes, I know that the chances of having all 4098 9x great grandparents found and documented are slim. Even if I had ¼ of them, that is still 1024 ancestors. It would become a daunting task.

Another hindrance to completing this task was the common names I find in my lines. One’s like Smith, Brown, Johnson, Jones, and the like. So what did I do? I decided I would pull up both trees, side by side, and compare some of the uncommon surnames in them. I also pulled up my notes to see which ancestor information I had previously investigated that turned out to not be mine. What an eye-opener. Here are a few:

1a) Hughes/Hayes: John Graves my 6th Great Grandfather was born in 1680 in Essex County, Virginia and died in 1747 in the same county.
1b) Smith/McGowan: John Graves my 10th Great Grandfather was born in 1589 in Nezeing, Essex County, England and died in 1644 in Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

2a) Hughes/Hayes: John Jordan my 7th Great Grandfather was born in Isle of Wright, Virginia and died on April 23, 1726, in Chowan County, North Carolina.
2b) Smith/McGowan: Colonel George Jordan my 7th Great Grandfather was born in 1653 in Surry County, Virginia and died in 1718 in the same county.

3a) Hughes/Hayes: Mary Towneley my 10th Great Grandmother was born on May 13, 1614, in England and died on August 11, 1662, at Warner Hall, Gloucester County, Virginia.
3b) Smith/McGowan: Alice Towneley my 9th Great Grandmother was born in 1675 in Gloucester County, Virginia, and died on January 1, 1710, in Middlesex County, Virginia.

4a) Hughes/Hayes: Carl Lee Hughes my 2nd cousin was born on January 6, 1914, in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri and died in 1989 in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri. He married Sarah Catherine Page my 1st cousin born on September 10, 1910, in Page City, Lafayette County, Missouri and died on May 10, 1993, In Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri.
4b) Smith/McGowan: Sarah Catherine Page my 1st cousin was born on September 10, 1910, in Page City, Lafayette County, Missouri and died on May 10, 1993, In Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri. She married Carl Lee Hughes my 2nd cousin born on January 6, 1914, in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri and died in 1989 in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri.

As you can see from the first ancestors they had the exact same name. Numbers 2 and 3 had an unusual surname with different given names. The last one shows how one cousin from my paternal side married a cousin from my maternal side.

I also went through a few names on my “could be related” list and discovered that several of them did fit into one of the trees, my maternal side.

“Names the Same” is truly the right name for this blog!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Freaky Friday’s ~ The Name Game

freaky-friday-logoHave you ever come upon an ancestor whose last name is slightly different from their parents? Names like “John/Johnson, Anders/Anderson or perhaps, Issac/Isaacson”? Cultures that traditionally used patronymic family names gave the child the father’s first name then added the word son to it. In Norway, each son of Anders was an “Andersen” and every daughter was an “Andersdatter”.

The first known Patronymic naming of a child was in 1612. It became a very popular custom for those who had ventured to the New World. Many of the immigrants came seeking a new life or a new start so with that came a new variation of their name. I have one such ancestor name, John Dods. He was born in Great Neck, Yorkshire, England in 1571. He arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 and married a woman named Jane shortly after that. When they began to have children (I only have proof of 2 sons) the boys were named Jesse and Benjamin Dodson.

Following this principle, I started doing some research into other cultures naming traditions. Basically, I was hoping to find any information about one of my brick wall ancestors, Jane Virtchworth. There is absolutely no documentation to be found for her. The source of Jane’s name appears to be a private letter written more than 100 years ago which stated, “Benjamin Goodin came from Wales and settled in Baltimore, Md ca 1750. He was m in Va in 1762 to Jane Virtchworth. He d. aged 101”. This information comes from “Descendants of James (Timothy) McClintock and Some Related Families…” by A. Louise (McClintock) Shelton, published in 1985. See footnote on page 19 for more details regarding the source of this letter. So during my research, I came across the following information:

Among the Welsh, every male child of David would be an “ap David” and everyWalesMap daughter a, “virtch David”. Using this information we could assume that Jane Virtchworth was really Jane virtch Worth. Her father’s first name was “Worth” and his family name — a patronymic — would have been “ap [what ever his father’s first name was]”. So my next step will be to search records in the Culpeper County, VA, and the Maryland area sometime between 1750 and 1762 to see if there may be an immigrant who arrived from Wales and has the first name of Worth with a daughter named Jane. This will be a tedious task and there is no guarantee that this method will work. However, I believe it would be worth a try.

I wonder how many other “Freaky” ways of attempting to tear down brick walls there are?


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Freaky Friday’s ~ It’s Not Unusual

freakyfridayI have previously written about my children’s’ unusual names. They have used the fact that I did this to proclaim that I had been a hippy. However, I had a good explanation as to why they were named what they were. My oldest son I named after my maternal Grandparent, the only one I had met, John Pleasant Smith. He had been named after his father, Pleasant m, so I wanted to keep it in the family. Growing up we called my son “Pleasant”. My next child, another son. I named Starr Douglas, The Douglas was for my dad. Because my older son’s name was unusual, I wanted this sons’ name to be also. When I was 8 months pregnant I saw a Senator on TV who was named Starr. I thought that sounded good. My last child, a daughter, I named Jerusha Jane, The Jane was a family name passed down through many generations. The name Jerusha came from a character Julie Andrews played in the movie Hawaii. It just fits with the name Jane!

I started thinking about all the unusual names I have found on both sides of my family tree. Some of them were obviously pasted down while others were a complete mystery. I would love to know where the person who named them got it from. So the following are a few of the odd ones I have found and a few thoughts as to where they came from.

I have discovered odd names dating back to the beginnings of our country. Most notable are some of the names that were given by my 10th Great Grandfather, Elder William Brewster who came over on the Mayflower. Since he was a religious man and spiritual leader, I assume some of the names reflected his circumstances at the time of the child’s birth.  For instance, his daughter Love was born in 1595. She was the first Patience 2daughter born so I think maybe as a father he was expressing his “Love” for finally having one. His second daughter, Patience was born in 1600. I believe he named her this because the family was having to develop “Patience” because of waiting for the right time to run from the persecution from King James 1 because they had turned their backs on the King’s religion. The third daughter was named Fear and she was born in 1603. They must have lived with a lot of “Fear” during this time as many protestants were being killed for their faith. His last son was born in 1605 and he was named Wrestling. Perhaps William was “Wrestling” with his faith as they prepared to make their escape to Leyden, Holland?

SteadfastNext up is the children of my 11th Great Grandfather, Thomas Starr. His first son, born in 1589 was named Comfort. Maybe it was a prophetic naming since he did give “Comfort” to others by becoming a Doctor of Medicine. Thomas and his wife Susan had 13 children. Only 3 of them had “normal” names. Listed in order of birth is Comfort, Moregift, Mercy, Judith, Joyful, Beloved, Constant, Truth-Shall-Prevail, Steadfast, Suretrust, William, Nostrength and Jehosephat. With these names, your guess is as good as mine!

On my maternal side of the family, I am descended from a long line of the surname offountain Page. Some of the more unusual names were Fountain, Granville, Axcell, Marble, Mann, Tayloe (no it is not a typo!), and the only female of the bunch, my Great Aunt Dytha. Maybe they were all named after a place their parents had visited?

I just think some of these names could be considered “freaky”. What is even freakier is this list of names is just a very small portion of the unusual names I find in my family. What are some of the unique or strange names you have found in your lineage?


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.




Genealogy Oddities

question markI always find it fascinating how as we travel back in time through our Family’s history we can find so many things that seem “odd”. Odd things that happened, odd relationships and somethings that are just plain odd. I have come across a lot of really odd things through my lines. The oddest thing I found just this week.


In the past, I discovered that my Dad’s family and my Mother’s family have been crossingMayflower paths since at least the 1600s.  Two of my 10 times Great Grandfathers came over on the Mayflower together. William Brewster (Dad’s side) was the spiritual leader of the Pilgrims. William White, (Mother’s side) was the father of the first child born in this community. His youngest son, Peregrine was born aboard the Mayflower while docked in the harbor. Also, William White was one of the first to die during the first hard winter. His wife Susanna then married Edward Winslow the newly elected Governor of the Colony.

jamestownAnother odd thing I had discovered was my 9 times Great Grandfather, Captain William Powell (Dad’s side) arrived in America on the Third Supply mission of nine ships, which brought additional settlers and some supplies to the surviving colonists at Jamestown Virginia in 1609. My 9 times Great Grandfather Thomas Garnet (Mother’s side) accompanied William as his indentured servant. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies came under indentures. Indenture lasted usually between 3-10 years. They were basically slaves and were treated as such. Powell was killed by Indians in 1622. Thomas worked off his indenture by 1619 and went on to marry, have children and become an upstanding member of the Colony.

Now to the oddest thing I have discovered. First a little explanation. When I had my oldest son, I made the decision to name him after the only Grandparent I ever met. My Mother’s father John Pleasant. We called him Pleasant until he was 16 years old. At this age, he wanted to be called J.P. When I was about 8 months pregnant with my next son I didn’t have a name picked out. I knew I wanted to have his name include my Dad’s name, Douglas, I just didn’t want it to be his first name. Because my oldest son’s name was unique I wanted this little boy to have a unique name also. So, I chose Starr as his first name. I had my daughter’s name picked out since I was 12 years old. The tradition in our family was my middle name was Jane, my Mother’s middle name was Jane and the tradition went back several generations. Therefore, any daughter I had should also have this middle name. I heard the name Jerusha in the movie “Hawaii” and decided Jerusha Jane sounded good.

My children always give the excuse that I was a “hippie” (I was not!) and that is why their names were so strange. This was the easiest explanation they could come up with. During my research, I discovered that my 7 times Great Grandfather Thomas Starr and his wife Mary Morgan had a daughter and named her Jerusha. Jerusha Starr! Now they can tell everyone they are named after their 8 times Great Aunt!!!

What are some of the “odd” things you discovered in your family tree?



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.