Putting the Picture Together

choosing the rigth piece. decision concept
As I said in  an earlier post, eight days ago I received the results of my DNA test and got a long list divided into potential 1st + 2nd cousins, 3rd to 4th cousins, and 4-6th cousins. I was invited to give ancestry.com a try —a “14 Day Free Trial” to be exact . So you can guess where I’ve been this past week. 🙂
Cluttered desk
I already had a stack of data loosely gathered.
Through Ancestry.com I can now access the family trees of near & far kin. From other Falconer descendants I’ve learned my great-grandfather’s parents, John & Jemimah Falconer were both born in Scotland (she in Inverness) and met and married in Pennsylvania before moving to Minnesota.

Ancestry also has an extensive collection of census records, govt & church birth, marriage & death registrations that often verify — but sometimes raise gnarls in the branches. According to our family’s oral history, gr-gr-grandfather John Turner was born in County Fernanagh, Ireland in 1810 and came to Canada in 1828 and married Alice Doyle, “from an old Irish family. However, when I found the marriage registration of his son William to Alice Watchorn — my great-grandparents— it says John was born in Canada and his wife Elizabeth in England. More stats show 35 years between John’s oldest (1830) and youngest child (1865); Annie obviously died and he remarried Elizabeth, but who was she?

Ancestors.Mark Martins
Mark Martins, Pixabay

Altogether, the stats, info, records, and scraps of family stories have the appearance of a huge schmozzle of names and dates to be sorted and pieced together.

And, because I enjoy jigsaw puzzles and scrap-quilt piecing, I hope to assemble the families into in some sensible order. If you don’t see any blog posts from me for a few weeks, this is likely what I’ll be doing.

Ancestors.Mark Martin.jpg
Mark Martins, Pixabay

 

 

 

 

Relatively Speaking

Good morning everyone.

In our patch of the province we have a lovely morning with brown lawns crisp and frosted; skies are clear with no sign of the rain/snow we were supposed to get. Rain and/or snow were in the forecast last weekend and clouds have rolled over, but the precipitation fell elsewhere, leaving us dry as dust and still praying. Not quite this bad, though.

Courage.Sergey Klimkin

This spring reminds me of 1976 when there was no snow all winter; in February the dust was blowing in the streets where we lived. Not a sign of rain until the end of April. Good thing we did have snow this winter and there was some runoff, or the sloughs would be completely dry. Yesterday I saw a really sad sight: two mallards waddling along beside a tiny strip of ditch water — what’s left of the slough that was almost over the road two years ago. Where will they find a place to nest, and swim, and drink?

Enough of weather woes. I’ve said how our children gave us DNA test kits for our birthday and we sent off our samples a few weeks ago. Bob hasn’t got his results yet, but mine are in — and I now have a list of 1000 long-lost cousins who’ve also done the test. I told friends yesterday that I now have a thousand people to ask “How are we related?” 🙂

What came as a real surprise is the 9% Swedish and Norwegian. I had no clue! The other 91% is, quite predictably, British Isles.

Some names I expected:
On Mom’s side I find Harmon, Falconer, Working, and Smith.
On Dad’s side there are a few Vances, Turners, a Smith, an Allen, a Watchorn, an Alexander.
But most of the names I see, I have no clue where they fit.
The first person on the list was my cousin Laurie in Alberta. We match quite well because her grandma married her first cousin, so Laurie has double Turner genes. I also see mom’s first cousin’s daughter and mom’s sister’s grandson.

I also found a Falconer second cousin living in California and contacted her. Hopefully she’s interested in exchanging info. As you can see, my interest in genealogy has been revived. For what it’s worth. Names on a list don’t say much about the people, and you can’t help but wonder about their lives.

More Branches on the Family Tree

Our daughter and son-in-law have gotten interested in Ancestry.com, which revives my interest in my family. I googled my Mom’s grandfather, Leith Lyall Falconer and happened to find a record of his marriage. then my daughter did a census search and came up with more information.

So if there are any other Falconer or Harmon descendants out there doing research on this family, I’ll post this bit of information I’ve discovered:

Minnesota Census, May 1875, shows the family of John Falconer and his wife Jemimah, both born in Scotland:

John………………age 47
Jemimah…………age 45
Children:
Mary………………..16
Alexander…………..14
Catherine……………12
John B………………10
W.W. ……………….. 6
Leith Lyall………….. 2

Leith Lyall married Rebecca Working in 1893
Children:
Agnes Pearl………. Mar 12, 1897
Thelma Lenora…..   ? , 1899

Harmon connection:

James Welcome Harmon was born in Elk River, Minnesota, married Mary Wilson, and homesteaded at St Brieux, Saskatchewan.

Agnes married Jesse Lyn Harmon, son James W Harmon
Children: Glen, Aleitha, Olive, Jesse Jr.

Agnes died in 1950

Thelma married his brother Floyd on Oct 18, 1918
Children:
Rebecca, Louise Agnes, James, Ruby, Leith

Thelma died of cancer in 1937

Louise Agnes was my mother; she married Allen Vance in June 1951

The Scottish Lowlands

Fandango’s one-word challenge for today: GUEST
As my response I’ll tell you about a travel book I once read:

My Heart’s in the Lowlands – Ten days in Bonny Scotland
© 2007 by Liz Curtis Higgs, published by WaterBrook Press.

“Let’s go, shall we? Just the two of us?”

With this opening, Liz invites the reader to be her guest and travelling companion on a jaunt through the Scottish lowlands. This is the place Liz loves to visit, the setting for her novels.

Through her vivid descriptions, she allows us to experience the sights, the cuisine and the ambiance of Dumfries and Galloway. She tells of castle ruins, ancient churches, Bobby Burns’ favorite haunts,  local attractions, bed & breakfast accommodations, shops and customs.

Liz has written a number of historical romances set in the southwestern part of Scotland and has made a number of trips to the region in the course of researching her stories. This makes her a great tour guide; you’ll enjoy the role of  a good friend as she chauffeurs you around and explains the history behind the places you’re seeing.

I enjoyed this book very much when I read it the first time but when I discovered later that my Vance ancestors came from Galloway, the travelogue took on a whole new meaning for me. I’d love to visit the area from which my great-great grandfather, the widower Joseph Vance, set off to seek his fortune in the new world.

He left Scotland around 1835, traveling with his young son and his three brothers. En route to their future home in Ontario these four brothers passed through New York, where Joseph won the hand of Miss Sarah Allen, daughter of Samuel Allen, originally from Vermont. Joseph & Sarah settled in Oxford County and produced a family of six boys and one girl, Sarah Jane. My great-grandfather, Samuel was one of the youngest.

As I read Liz’s book, I realized what a contrast the tall maple forests of southern Ontario would have been from the windswept moors the Vances left. What brave souls they were!

Even if you have no family tree roots in this area, do take the tour with her if you can get your hands on a copy of her book. She’s such a pleasant travelling companion; I’m sure you’ll find it a pleasure to be her guest for a few hours of reading enjoyment.