Thursday, January 27, 2011

On This Day: January 27

In 1602/03, my maternal 8th great-grandfather John Holman, was born in Swyre, Dorsetshire, England. He emigrated to America about 1635 and died in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts between 10 June 1652 (the date of his will) and 18 March 1652/53 (the date his will was proved). [Source: Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1630, Volumes I-III (N.p.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society 2010), II: 974.]

In 1748, my maternal 5th great-grandparents Caleb Leonard and Jemima Minthorn were married in Morristown, Middlesex County, New Jersey. [Source: Ancestry, "History of the First Presbyterian Church, Morristown, N.J.," database and images, Ancestry ( : accessed 20 Jan 2011); entry for marriage of Caleb Leonard and Jemima Minthorn.] Caleb and Jemima had nine children: Caleb, Jr., Isaac, Silas, Rhoda (my 4th great-grandmother), Abner, William, Jemima, Sarah, and Hannah.

In 1816, my paternal 2nd great-grandmother Sarah A. (Parker) Forshee was born, probably in Tennessee. She died in Washington County, Missouri, on 26 March 1896. [Source:, digital images ( : accessed 10 Mar 2010), entry for Sarah Belle Parker Forshee, Find A Grave Memorial# 5269008.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On This Day: January 26

In 1878, my maternal grandmother Myrtle Arminta (Snider) Yawman was born in Ohio. She died 20 June 1958 in Clarkston, Asotin County, Washington. [Source: Yawman, Myrtle A., death certificate (Washington State Department of Health, State File No. 10617).] I only have a couple pictures of Grandma Yawman. This one of me with her was taken in December 1957:

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh Dear....My Son is My Cousin

One of the curiosities of genealogy is that, as you go back in time, the world population decreases even as the number of your own ancestors increases. For example,  you have
  • 2 grandparents
  • 4 great-grandparents
  • 8 2nd-great-grandparents
  • 16 3rd-great-grandparents
  • 32 4th-great-grandparents
and so on with each generation adding twice as many ancestors as the prior generation. At some point, you will have more ancestors than are represented in the entire world population!

A recent article in Family Tree Magazine discussed this phenomena called "pedigree collapse." It happens to the best of us.

Here's a video from YouTube which presents a hypothetical (and hilarious!) example:

Now that you've wiped the tears of laughter from your eyes, let's look at the only example I've found in our family tree (so far....I'm sure there are more).

My son's father is a descendant of Abraham and Mary Eaton through their son William; I am a descendant of the same couple through their son Absolem. As a result, my ex-husband is my fifth cousin, making my son my fifth cousin once removed, and my grandchildren my fifth cousins twice removed! Freaky!

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Friday, January 21, 2011

On This Day: January 21

In 1583, my maternal 9th great-grandfather Henry Adams was born. He died 8 August 1646. [Source: Joiner, Rev. Darrell and Sallyann (, Cary Family History.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On This Day: January 20

In 1781, my maternal 4th great-grandparents Thomas Cook and Ann Clayton were married in Rowan County, North Carolina. [Brent H. Holcomb, Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina 1753-1868 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001), 83.]

Thomas and Ann had eleven children: Elizabeth, Mary, John, Anne, Martha, Lucy, Thomas, William, Allen, Richard, and Amelia (from whom I descend). In his will dated 25 March 1819, Thomas listed his children from this, his first marriage. Here is a copy of that portion of his will:

[Source:  Wilkes County, North Carolina, Wills, 3:195-198, Thomas Cook; Family History Library microfilm 393,950, Salt Lake City, Utah.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

On This Day: January 19

In 1648, my maternal 7th great-grandfather Francis Cary was born in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He died in 1718. [Seth C. Cary, John Cary the Plymouth Pilgrim (Boston, Massachusetts: Seth C. Cary, 1911), 64.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On This Day: January 15

In 1586/87, my maternal 9th great-grandmother Isabella Chilton was born, probably in England. (Source: Joiner, Rev. Darrell and Sallyann (, Cary Family History.) Isabella was the daughter of James Chilton who came to America on the Mayflower.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On This Day: January 11

On this day, in 1785, my paternal 4th great-grandparents Sidney James Reeves and Elizabeth Wells were married in Guilford County, North Carolina. (Source: "North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004," online database, Ancestry ( : accessed 16 Jan 2010), entry for marriage of Sidney James Reeves and Elizabeth Wells.)

Seven known children were born to this union: Sarah (my ancestor), Malachi, Mary, Wells, Jesse, Nathaniel, and Henry,

In 1793, my paternal 3rd great-grandfather Absolem Eaton was born in Rowan County, North Carolina. He died 20 November 1859. [Source: Big River Cemetery, Washington Co., MO, transcription (]  Absolem’s wife was Sarah Reeves, mentioned in the paragraph above.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On This Day: January 9

In 1833, my maternal 2nd great-grandmother Rhoda Cary was born in Pharisburg, Union County, Ohio. [Source: Joiner, Rev. Darrell and Sallyann (, Cary Family History.]

I don’t know when or where Rhoda died; I have heard that she had been institutionalized but can find no records.  She likely died between 1870 (when she was enumerated on the Union County, Ohio, census with her husband Joseph Franklin) and November 1, 1877 (when Joseph Franklin married Emily Benton).

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On This Day: January 6

My maternal 3rd great-grandfather, Jurry (George) Hendrik Sitterly, the son of Johannes Sitterly and Catherine Sittel, was christened in Albany County, New York, in 1779. (Source: New York Births and Baptisms, Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, Item 4534.)

He died in October 1859 in Ramsey County, Minnesota; cause of death was listed as old age. [Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., "Federal Mortality Census Schedules, 1850-1880 (formerly in the custody of the Daughters of the American Revolution), and Related Indexes, 1850-1880," online database and images, Ancestry ( : accessed 29 Mar 2010), entry for George Sitterly.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On This Day: January 5

In 1871, my maternal great-grandparents David A. Snider and Ruth Franklin were married in Union County, Ohio. Here is a copy of their marriage record:

(Source: Union County, Ohio, Marriage Records, Certificate 4852, Snider-Franklin, 1871; Probate Court Office, Marysville.)

David and Ruth had eleven children: Lawrence, Omer(?), Otis, Myrtle (my grandmother), Byron, Wilbur, Ernest, Nettie, William, Lester, and Roy.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Monday, January 3, 2011

On This Day: January 3

My parents, Jasper Jackson Spurlock and Beaulah Belle Yawman, were married in Yuma County, Arizona. I think. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not yet have a copy of their marriage certificate. Lots of excuses for that, but no good reason….

Family tradition is that my parents were concerned that family back in Texas would think it inappropriate that they married so soon after the death of Dad’s first wife, Mattie Lee (McBride) Spurlock on 4 December 1952.  In her scrapbook, my grandmother, Mamie Olive (Martindale) Spurlock, recorded their marriage as 3 March 1953.

From his first marriage, my dad had a daughter–Jane. My mother had three children–daughter Deanna and sons Arny and Tony. I was the first child born to their union and my sister Jennifer was born four years after me.

The earliest picture of my parents that has been scanned is this one taken in Tijuana in 1954 (left to right: Dad, me, Mom (in front), Dale Chaney, Jane Spurlock Chaney, Gary Hutchcraft, and Deanna Sherrell Hutchcraft:

© 2011 Denise Spurlock