52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 11:
Family Finds Charter Oak

My Good Fortune

The prompt this week, Fortune, has led me to discover a major error in my research. I had planned to write about an ancestress who seemingly married away from the family fortune. However, as I began collecting the sources for this ancestress, I found strong contradictory evidence against her being my ancestress. What good fortune this prompt came along! It has led me to find this misinformation and correct the record. I hope others who used the same poor sources I did find this post and consider revising their family trees.

My Original Theory

I previously wrote about my Rogers ancestry for the prompt “12” in 2019. [1] I also wrote about my Byrd ancestry for the prompt “I’d Like to Meet” in 2019. [2] I believed these two lines came together when John Rogers, 1680-1768, married Mary Byrd, 1683-1748, in 1716. [3, 4]

John Rogers was a 3x great-grandson, and namesake, of John Rogers, the Martyr, 1506-1555. The Rogers were a family with strong, Protestant, religious views and certainly anti-royalist, anti-Catholic and probably anti-Church of England. Mary Byrd was the daughter of William Byrd, 1652-1704, of Westover, VA. A well known, wealthy planter in Colonial Virginia. He, and his wife, were also royalists and some of their descendants were Tories during the American Revolution. I could not understand what would cause Mary Byrd to marry into a family that seemed antithetical to her own. This is why I thought she made a good subject for this week’s prompt.

These are many of the surnames in my family tree

New Information

I had accepted Mary Byrd into my family tree through statements on old applications to the Sons of the American Revolution organization. These applications do not include primary sources. There are also lineage books that include statements connecting Mary Byrd to John Rogers. But, again, they do not include primary source records.

I have now discovered lineage books that specifically refute the claim of a marriage between the wealthy Byrd family and the religious Rogers family. The evidence is compelling, and makes more sense. These new sources indicate Mary Byrd married a man named Duke, not Rogers. This marriage is well documented in contemporary accounts of the Byrd family. [4, 5]

Bird comments
Bird comments
Rogers/Eastham children

Possible Explanation

It is possible the misinformation came about because John Rogers’ mother-in-law was named Mary Bird. Mary Bird, 1673-1756, married a man named George Eastham, 1663-1748, and their daughter Rachel, 1695-1765, married John Rogers in 1716.

Additionally, this resolves another question I had regarding the children of John Rogers. None were namesakes of the Byrd family. There was one son named Bird/Byrd, otherwise no one carried the names found among the Byrds: William, Evelyn, Ursula, Warham. Instead, they were names found in the Rogers and Bird families: John, Giles, George, Lucy, Mildred, Rachel. [6, 7]


I do feel fortunate to have found this contradictory evidence for the marriage of John Rogers to Mary Byrd. It felt out of place for these two families to form an alliance. Too much like the plot of a fictional romance story.

In recent weeks I have found another error in my research. Fortunately, it was a family I had not previously written about. It is all a lesson to continue looking at sources.


I previously wrote about the Byrd family for the 2019 prompt, “I’d Like to Meet.” This new discovery means I am no longer related to the person I’d like to meet. (The explorer Adm. Richard Byrd) Do I need to remove my post? No, I will write a new introductory paragraph to correct the record. The good news is, I now have a new surname to research: Bird, and a new explorer: George Rogers Clark.


  1. Blog post, Family Finds: 12; https://barblafara.com/john-rogers-12/
  2. Blog post, Family Finds: I’d Like to Meet; https://barblafara.com/admiral-byrd-id-like-to-meet/
  3. Profile of John Rogers, ‘Osborn‘ tree, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12582838940/facts
  4. The London Diary, 1717-1721, and Other Writings,” by William Byrd II (1674-1744), Edited by Louis B. Wright and Marion Tinling, New York: Oxford University Press, 1958. page 7; Access Online: https://archive.org/details/londondiary171710000byrd
  5. Online memorial for Mary Byrd Duke, Find a Grave; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/203171995/mary-duke
  6. Donald Robertson and his wife, Rachel Rogers, of King and Queen County, Virginia, their ancestry and posterity” by William Kyle Anderson, pub: Winn and Hammond, Detroit, MI, 1900, pages 209-212; Accessed Online: https://archive.org/details/donaldrobertsonh00ande/page/211/mode/1up
  7. Hoskins of Virginia and related families : Hundley, Ware, Roy, Garnett, Waring, Bird, Buckner, Dunbar, Trible, Booker, Aylett, Carter, Upshaw” by Warner, Charles Willard Hoskins; Tappahannock, Va.: Pub: unknown, 1971. pages 294-323


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Remember Me and I Will Live

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