52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 13:
Family Finds Charter Oak

Musical Surnames

I wrote about surnames for the week 6 prompt last year, Same Name. [1] I wrote then that I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. But, I also enjoy spotting a surname of a noted personality. For this weeks prompt I thought about the surnames on my tree that are shared with notable musicians.


A few years ago while researching my maternal grandfather’s maternal ancestry I noticed his 8th (my 10th) great grandfather had the surname Copeland. John Copeland, 1612-1682, immigrated from England as a head-right in 1651 and settled in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. [2] Eventually, John Copeland’s descendants moved westward and were among the early settlers in eastern Tennessee where my grandfather was born. I wondered if John Copeland was the ancestor of the composer of Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland. The short answer is ‘No‘. Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn in 1900 and was of Lithuanian-Jewish ancestry. Also, I discovered the title for his famous composition was penned after the score was written. He was inspired by the story of American pioneers, not Appalachia. [3]

These are many of the surnames in my family tree
Smokey Mtn Pasture


John Copeland’s daughter Sarah, 1657-1725, married Daniel Sandborn, 1663-1711, in 1683. [4, 5, 6] The Sandborn’s were Quakers and attended the Chuckatuck Meeting, now located in Suffolk County, Virginia. [7] I wondered if these Sandborn’s were the ancestors of the well know saxophonist David Sanborn, 1945-living. I enjoy David Sanborn’s blend of jazz and blues, he is a prolific musician and has made both solo and group recordings. However, he is a very private person and I have not been able to discover if he is connected to the Sandborn’s in my family tree. [8]


My Skaggs ancestry, which is also my maternal grandfathers, was documented in my post Same Name. [1] While doing that research, I wondered if there was a connection to blue grass music legend Ricky Skaggs. This time, the short answer is ‘Yes‘. [9] Ricky is an amazing musician and plays multiple stringed instruments. Although, he is best known for playing the mandolin. Ricky is my 8th cousin, once removed. Our common ancestors are James Skaggs, Sr., 1700-1790, and Rachel Moredock, 1700-1789. The Skaggs’ lived in the New River Gorge area in Virginia, very removed from large settlements. This area is now part of West Virginia, it is roughly 80 miles southeast of Charleston, WV. The colonial-era Skaggs family were known as long hunters. The men spent months away from their families hunting game for meat and hides. [10, 11, 12]


Common Ancestor: James Skaggs (1700-1790), 7th great-grandfather

  1. Gourdhead Skaggs (1728-1829)
  2. Zachariah Skaggs (1748-1818)
  3. Peter Skaggs (1765-1841)
  4. John Skaggs (1796-1857)
  5. Martin Skaggs (1837-1921)
  6. William Skaggs (1855-1929)
  7. Cornelius Skaggs (1882-1968)
  8. John Skaggs (1901-1969)
  9. Hobert Skaggs – My 8th cousin
  10. Ricky Skaggs – 8th cousin, 1x removed
  1. Longman Skaggs (1734-1816)
  2. Eli Skaggs (1770-1833)
  3. Susannah Skaggs (1800-1878)
  4. Calvin Major (1819-1898)
  5. Mary E Major (1842 – 1907)
  6. Pauline Eliza Koontz (1874 – 1952)
  7. Major Graves Dyer (1901 – 1973)
  8. My Mother
  9. Barb LaFara


Occasionally I do discover a notable person who shares a common ancestor with me. In this case a musician. It’s fun to ponder the surnames in my family tree. And, I often wonder if friends, or even acquaintances, are somehow connected.


When I was a kid, we watched a musical television program called “The King Family Show”. The show was based around a big-band era musical group, The King Sisters. My maternal grandmother’s surname was King. Now, King is a fairly common surname, so I did not presume the popular musical group would be connected to my King family. But, while writing this post I decided to check out the singing family’s genealogy. It turns out their surname is NOT King, it’s Driggs. The patriarch of the family had the middle name King. I presume the singers thought having a stage name was a good choice. [13]


  1. Blog post, Family Finds: Same Name; https://barblafara.com/same-name
  2. Profile of John Copeland, ‘Osborn’ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12582541766/facts
  3. Entry for Aaron Copland, Wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Copland
  4. Profile of Sarah Copeland, ‘Osborn’ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12582528631/facts
  5. Profile of Daniel Sandborn, ‘Osborn’ tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12582528422/facts
  6. Entry for Sarah Sandbourne, Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  7. Entry for Sanburn, Chuckatuck Monthly Meeting; Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy Vol. VI, page 36; U.S., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I–VI, 1607-1943 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Hinshaw, William Wade, et al., compilers. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1936–1950. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991–1994.
  8. Entry for David Sanborn, Wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Sanborn
  9. Entry for Ricky Skaggs, Wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Skaggs
  10. Blog Post, Manx Family History: James and Rachel Skaggs; https://www.manxfamilyhistory.com/long-hunters.html
  11. Entry for Longhunter, Wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longhunter
  12. “Daniel Boone” by Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913 Publisher D. Appleton & Co., 1902, pages 91-95. Access online: https://archive.org/details/danielboone00thwaiala
  13. Entry for The King Sisters, Wikipedia.org; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King_Sisters


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Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

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.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

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.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

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.

Do You See A Resemblance?

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.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

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.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

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.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

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

Laferre to LaFara: 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.

Luella Pressell: Surprise!

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.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

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.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

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.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: 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.

In The Paper

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.

Genealogy Brick Walls

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.

Catherine Landon: 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.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

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.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!