in 52 Weeks
The Search Continues
I am branching out the search for my unknown 4th great-grandparents and am attempting to use DNA. As a result, my family tree is also branching out! Identifying common ancestors between myself and my DNA matches requires adding MANY people to my tree. One concern I have with this is causing anyone else to take my testing of relationships as proof for their own trees. So, I have started a private tree for DNA research purposes and am adding to my public tree, Osborn on Ancestry.com, as I find sourced proof of relationships. I am currently focusing on finding the parents of my 3rd great-grandfather George Koontz, ca. 1810-185x, who lived his adult life in Knox County, TN. 
George Koontz, ca. 1810-185x
I have previously written about George Koontz for a 2020 prompt. Nearly Forgotten.  George is a brick wall for me, I do not know who his parents were. Identifying George’s parents will probably allow me to follow his line back to an immigrant. Here is what I do know, from solid sources, about George Koontz.
Perhaps the best sourced record I have for George Koontz is his marriage record to my 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah Sally Ezell. The couple received a license to marry on 25 February 1837 in Knox County, TN.  The marriage was performed the next day by Michael Smith, J.P. For Knox County.  Both records spell George’s surname as ‘Koons’.
I have discovered a Knox County tax roll entry for a man named George Koonts. I cannot be certain this is my 3rd great-grandfather, but it is likely since the year is close to the marriage records. In 1836, George is listed as a poll tax but owns no land.  Also, there is an 1830 US census record for a George Coons in Knox County.  Again, I cannot be certain this is my ancestor, but the date and place is suggestive. The record indicates there is one male 20-30 and one female 20-30. If this is my ancestor, then who is the woman? A marriage previous to Sally Ezell? Or a sister?
I do not have many records for George Koontz. I have more for his wife, children and in-laws. For example, I find Sally Ezell’s father, Solomon (1797-?) in the 1840 census in Knox County with a large household of children and young adults.  The ages align in such a way that I have presumed them to be Sally’s parents, Sally and her two sons, plus Sally’s two brother’s and their (future) wives. In the 1860 US census, there is a record for Sally and her 5 children, all living in Anderson County, and all using the surname Koontz.  Sally’s youngest son, Henry, is 9 according to the 1860 census. And, Sally marries a man named Cooper in 1862.  Therefore, I presume George Koontz died sometime between 1851 and 1861.
In the blog post Nearly Forgotten  I wrote that I have many matches among descendants of my 2nd great-grandfather, James Koontz, and his siblings. Unfortunately, none of these matches have been able to discover George Koontz’s parents. One approach I took was to find men named Koontz, born about 1780, and living in, or around, southeastern Tennessee. I filled out family trees for these men, as best I could from the few records for the period and place. To no avail. Then, last September, I read a blog post by Jim Bartlett for his blog Segment-ology.  Jim suggests using the AncestryDNA product called ThruLines. He describes letting the product do the work of finding the missing ancestor. So, I did and it came up with a man named Michael Koontz, and his wife Mary, who lived in Davidson County, North Carolina between 1777 and 1834. [11, 12] This couple had a son named George (1806-1889), but this George is fairly well documented as marrying a woman named Leonard in 1830 and living in North Carolina. Not MY George…
Koontz DNA Matches
ThruLines returned 2 matches with Michael and Mary Koontz in their trees. But, unexpectedly, these two matches have in common with me one of my half-first cousins, and several of my 4th cousins, who do not share the Koontz lineage with me. No doubt, they simply connect elsewhere, but these two are strong matches at 40+cM’s. There are another 13 matches in ThruLines for the parents of Michael Koontz, Jacob and Dorothea Koontz, my possible 5th great-grandparents from York County, PA. These 13 do not match any of my known Koontz third cousins, but AncestryDNA only shows shared matches above 20cM’s, for both parties, so this is to be expected at the fifth and sixth cousin level. I also used the AncestryDNA search feature to find matches who include Koontz AND Davidson County or Koontz AND York County. The results were MANY more matches, it will take a good deal of time to sort through them all and determine if Michael and Mary and/or Jacob and Dorothea are my missing Koontz 4th or 5th great-grandparents. Branching out, indeed!
The ThruLines data is inclusive, but it seems like a good lead. Although the online trees indicate Michael Koontz’s (1777-1834) son named George is not MY George, I know enough about trees on Ancestry to know a mistake can be repeated by many. It’s possible another George Koontz, with similar vitals, was living in Davidson County in the early 19th century and has mistakenly been attributed to the family I share so MANY descendants with. Also, I am hoping AncestryDNA will expand their definition of “shared matches” to include 5th cousins. It would also be great if they included more chromosome data to aid in triangulation. Other sites have these capabilities, but they do not have as many participants with populated family trees. Sigh…
- Profile of George Koontz, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12585375147/facts
- Blog post, Family Finds: Nearly Forgotten; https://barblafara.com/nearly-forgotten/
- Entry for George Koons, Marriage record; Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002; Accessed online: Ancestry.com; County: Knox; 1837-1840 Marriage Bonds; page 200 of 1639
- Entry for George Koons, Marriage record; Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002; Accessed online: Ancestry.com; County: Knox; 1793-1956 Marriages; page 107-853
- Entry for George Koonts, Tax record for 1836; Early Tax Lists of Tennessee. Microfilm, 12 rolls. The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee, page 276; Accessed online, Ancestry.com; County: Knox; Year: 1836, Page: 55 of 82.
- Entry for George Coons, US Federal Census record; Year: 1830; Census Place: Knox, Tennessee; Series: M19; Roll: 178; Page: 377; Family History Library Film: 0024536; Accessed online, Ancestry.com; Township: Not Stated; page: 112 of 151; Line: 2
- Entry for Solomon Ezell, US Federal Census record; Year: 1840; Census Place: Knox, Tennessee; Roll: 527; Page: 26; Family History Library Film: 0024547; Accessed online, Ancestry.com; Township: Not Stated; page: 57 of 159; Line: 12
- Entry for Sarah Koontz, US Federal Census record; Year: 1860; Census Place: Anderson, Tennessee; Roll: M653_1239; Page: 69; Family History Library Film: 805239 ; Accessed online, Ancestry.com; Township: Not Stated; page: 138 of 165; Line: 5
- Entry for Sary Coonse, Marriage record; Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002; Accessed online: Ancestry.com; County: Anderson; 1838 Sep-1858 Sep: Marriages 3; page 107-650
- Blog post, Segment-ology; : Do You Have a Suspicious Branch in Your Tree?; https://segmentology.org/2021/09/28/961/
- Profile of Michael Koontz, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581745864/facts
- Profile of Mary Hage, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27581745901/facts
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 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
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 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.
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.
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.
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.