Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Two Degrees of Separation

Over at Genea-Musings, Randy Seaver's inspiration for this week's fun came from the recent news that President John Tyler, who was born 222 years ago, has two living grandchildren.

This week's mission:
1) Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born? 

2) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.

Here's what I found.
  • I knew my great-grandmother, Emma Jane Owens Taylor (1882-1968). She knew her father, Madison Crawford Owens, who was born in 1836. I discovered through this exercise that she probably never knew any of her grandparents. Her paternal grandfather died after 1880 but I don't have an exact date so can't say with any certainty that he lived until she was born in 1882. 
  • I knew my great-grandmother, Lucinda Howard Hopkins (1867-1957). She knew her father, John Covey Howard, who was born in 1806. She also surely knew her maternal grandparents, Littleton Morris and Martha Mark, who were both born about 1802 making them just a few years older than her father. Littleton and Martha lived in Harlan County, Kentucky where Lucinda was born and grew up. I don't have an exact date of death for either of them but from census records I know they were both alive in 1870 (when Lucinda was three years old) and Littleon was still living in 1880. 
  • I knew my great-grandfather, John Cook Taylor (1863-1953). Unlike my two great-grandmothers mentioned above, I don't remember him but we lived in the same town from the time I was six months old until he died just before I turned two. Anyway, John surely knew his paternal grandfather, William Taylor, who was born between 1798-1805 (he wasn't very consistent with his age so hard to pin it down any closer). They both lived in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, in the same area of the county. John was a teenager or young adult by the time William died between 1880-1886. 
  • I knew my paternal grandfather, John William McCauley (1875-1959). All four of his grandparents lived in the same area where he grew up along the Alabama/Georgia line in Randolph County, Alabama and Heard County, Georgia so he surely knew them all. The oldest was William Washington Lanier, born in 1813. It's also very likely, that he met one of his great-grandparents. His great-grandmother, Anna Finney Gamble, was born about 1799 and lived just a few miles from Will's parents around the time he was born. Will was almost two years old when she died. 
So. in two steps, I can connect to someone born in 1799, maybe even 1798 (if William Taylor was born that early).


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