in 52 Weeks
I’d Like to Meet…
Richard E. Byrd, 1888–1957
I’d like to meet nearly all the ancestors on my family tree, what genealogist wouldn’t? But, if I must pick, I will go with a person who is not a direct ancestor, but a distant cousin. Meet Richard E. Byrd, my sixth cousin, 3 times removed. Byrd’s direct, paternal fifth great grandfather is our common ancestor. William Byrd (1652-1704), the immigrant, of Westover, VA is my eighth great grandfather on my maternal grandfather’s maternal branch. Got that? see below for how we relate.
Adventurer and Author
Richard E. Byrd was a famous aviator, in 1929 he flew to the South Pole and back in a small plane. This was just one of his aviation feats, but it is the one that touched me. When I was in the third grade at Indianapolis Public School #53 we read from Byrd’s book, “Little America”. The book primarily covered his first expedition in the Antarctic when he prepared for and flew to the South Pole and back from his base camp, Little America. The story really caught my imagination and all I wanted to do was go to Antarctica. Byrd’s description was transporting. Beyond wanting to go to Antarctica, the story inspired a desire for travel and adventure. It may be one of the few reading assignments from grade school that I still remember. Imagine the thrill I felt when I discovered I am related to one of my childhood heroes! This is why I would like to meet Admiral Byrd, to tell him his words and actions influenced a 9 year old for the rest of her life.
Did I eventually go to Antarctica? Yes! I wrote a travelogue about my trip at the time, it’s still online. http://www.lafara.com/antarctica/
I will never be the adventurer that Admiral Byrd was, but I do like to travel, visit historical sites and, of course, see the places my ancestors lived.
Common Ancestor: Col. William Byrd I (1652 – 1704)
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 4: I’d Like to Meet…
Richard E. Byrd, my sixth cousin, 3 times removed, was a famous aviator, in 1929 he flew to the South Pole. His story inspired me when I was young.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 8: Family Photo
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one in particular I found very informative.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 11: Large Family
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 16: Out of Place
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.