Surnames, and a Little Math
Building a family tree leads to discovering surnames well beyond those of parents and grandparents. Each generation represents 2X surnames where X represents the number of generations removed. For example, 3rd great-grandparents are 5 generations removed and represent 32 surnames, typically. I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!
So Many Same Names
I am fortunate enough to be able to trace my ancestry on several lines back 10 generations, and in some cases beyond, representing hundreds of surnames.  If I find a name in common with a friend such as Smith, Jones, Miller, etc., it is just too popular of a name to try and find a common ancestor. The more unusual a surname, the better for researching. Last year I wrote about discovering an 8th great grandparent named Byrd, and I was able to trace my connection through him to a childhood hero, Adm. Richard Byrd.  (NOTE: I have since writing this post discovered that my ancestors name was Bird NOT Byrd. And, the connection to Adm. Byrd does NOT exist.)
Skaggs, a Same Name Success
To date, I have not made a connection between an ancestor-surname and a current friend with the same name. But, I have found a connection to a friend by spotting a same surname in their family tree.
While looking over a family tree developed by a longtime friends’ mother, I spotted a surname that is also in my tree, Skaggs. We soon discovered we share 7th great-grandparents, James and Rachel Moredock Skaggs. I often tell my friends that “we are all related.” It’s fun to have proof of that by finding the same name in our lineages.
Common Ancestor: James Skaggs (1700-1790), 7th great-grandfather
- Osborne family tree, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/13493206/family?cfpid=-60123689
- Admiral Byrd post, https://barblafara.com/admiral-byrd-id-like-to-meet/
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.