Charles H Lowery #52 Ancestors

Charles Henry Lowery

Charles H Lowery

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is about my great-grandfather Charles Henry Lowery. Charles is the son of my Civil War veteran George Washington Lowery and Barbara Ann Lowe. Charles was born 2 Sept 1872, in Sandusky County, Ohio. He married Sudie Louisa Barron on 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

Charles and Sudie had ten children. My grandfather Basil was their third child.

Charles worked on the railroad which caused the family to move from Henry County, Ohio to Allen County, Ohio and finally Lenawee County, Michigan. By the time the family moved to Michigan a couple of the older children had married. My grandfather Basil was one of them. He didn’t make the move to Michigan and stayed in Allen County, Ohio with his young family.

(You might be interested in a quick look back at wife Sudie’s #52 Ancestors post. It tells a tale about Charles and their family life!)

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles was my mother’s paternal grandfather. She would remember how her grandfather Charles boasted of his Ohio grandchildren whenever they made the trip to Michigan for a visit. He’d buy them penny candy and it would be waiting their arrival in a brown paper bag. My mom remembered him fondly.

I know my family attended Lowery family reunions in Michigan way back when. I wish I had been there. I’d love to know all of those stories today.

Charles passed away 13 Mar 1946 in Washtenew County, MI. He was 73 years old.

Sudie Louisa Barron #52 Ancestors

Sudie Louisa Barron

Sudie Louisa Barron

This is my great-grandmother, Sudie Louisa Barron. She was born 11 Jan 1874 in Marion Twp., Henry County, Ohio. Her parents were Rachel Golden (Golding) and Thomas Barron. Sudie was the second youngest of nine children. I’ve found her referred to as Susan in censuses but she’s always Sudie in our handwritten family histories.

She married Charles Henry Lowery 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother. The only story I have ever been told about Sudie is one of decisiveness, she was a strong-minded woman.

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles worked for the railroad, which brought Sudie, Charles and their eight children to Allen County, Ohio. They lived there long enough to have a couple more children and two of the older children married. My grandfather Basil being one of them.

As it happened, Charles’ railroad work took him to Michigan. Sudie stayed in Ohio with the children and Charles would send money back to her. As time went on Charles’ visits as well as the paychecks decreased.

Sudie heard rumors of Charles and some carrying-on in Michigan and decided to pack up the children and head north. I guess Charles was more than a little surprised to see Sudie and their passel of children on his boarding house porch when he came home from work that day. I can only imagine their conversation that evening.

Yep, she was a decisive strong-minded woman. I’ll bet Charles thought so too that day!

She died 19 Mar 1943 in Adrain, Lenawee County, MI. She was 69 years old.

Margaret Junkins is Not Getting the Love #52Ancestors

Margaret Junkins Holmes

Margaret Junkins Holmes

Yeah that’s my first thought about my chosen ancestor for this week’s #52 Ancestors. I’m staying with honoring my female ancestors during March’s Women’s History Month theme and chose my 3x great grandmother Margaret Junkins (Jenkins) to write about this week.

What I know about Margaret will keep this a short post. She was born 25 October 1810 to Joseph Junkins (Jenkins) and Elizabeth Walker somewhere in Pennsylvania. She was almost 20 when she married William Holmes 2 September 1830 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. In a county biography about her husband William, I’ve found that her father was a farmer and the family moved to Ohio when she was six years old. (1)

Margaret and William were a prolific couple with nine children. My 2x great grandmother Rebecca Holmes was their second child. Now this mammoth group of people were the folks I referred to last week that caravaned from Tuscarawas County to Allen County, Ohio in the early 1860s. In fact that county biography says about William (and family), “In 1862, he was in Allen County, where he remained until 1874, when he came to this county and settled on Section 7, Liberty Township,” Hardin County, Ohio. Continue reading

What’s DNA got to do with it? Or how I found James Downing!

Question Mark

Photo Credit: hisks from Stock.xchng

Let me tell you a little DNA story. My genea-buddy sister took the opportunity and submitted a DNA sample through Ancestry. Given that we share the same parents I look at her test as nearly being my own.

Once the results came back they weren’t surprising and didn’t differ from what we have already documented in our family tree. We are 99% European.

Then to break that down further:
Great Britain 32%
Europe West 20%
Ireland 19%
Italy/Greece 12% (I was mildly surprised this % was that high)
Scandinavia 9%

Trace Regions – The % was so small it’s possible it showed up by chance
Iberian Peninsula 4%
Europe East 3%
West Asia 1%

As I said there really weren’t any surprises here. I will say it did answer conclusively that we do not have Native American ancestry. Like everyone else we had a couple of those stories passed down through the generations about a great great grandmother who was Native American. So this cleared that up but overall nothing of great note. You know that’s pretty much how I looked at DNA testing. So you get the results. Cool. Now what?

James Downing

Stark County Cemetery
Photo Credit: Rick Platt

Well let me tell you now what. My sister gets a few messages from people on Ancestry regarding possible matches. The matches meant we shared surnames and some DNA with these folks. There was the possibility we could be 5th to 8th cousins. One person my sister communicated with is Rick. He happens to be the author of the blog Ohio Ancestors.

After a few emails back and forth it turns out Rick’s 5x great grandfather and my (our) 5x great grandfather were brothers. In fact Rick had recently written a blog post about a cemetery visit where he found my 5x great grandfather James Downing’s headstone. Holy Moly! You can read Rick’s post about it here.

James Downing Headstone

James Downing Headstone
Photo Credit: Rick Platt

If that isn’t enough Rick did a little research and found more photos of James Downing and his wife Sarah Laughlin in a 1972 application for the First Families of Ohio adding all the pics to Find-A-Grave. Wow!

I’ve done very little research on the Downing surname but this certainly catches my interest and fires me up. This man has a story in fact he fought in the American Revolution. There is some research to be done here and it’s sure worth a summer road trip!

You know the chances of finding Rick, his blog, these Downing photos without the DNA test are pretty slim. Just think this additional info came from a little swab of saliva. Hmmm . . . maybe I’m not giving DNA enough respect . . . .

If you happen to have a James Downing or Sara Laughlin Downing in your family tree I’d love to hear from you. Please let me know in the comments.

Also I’m interested in your story about finding a cousin or any family history through DNA testing. Please tell me how it came about in the comments. I’d love to hear your story!

Yeah She Had Moxie #52Ancestors

Rebecca Holmes Williams and Family

Rebecca Holmes Williams and Family

Since March is Women’s History Month and I lucked into writing about a female ancestor last week I’m going to continue through the month honoring my female ancestors. This week I want to tell you about another of my great great grandmothers Rebecca Holmes.

Rebecca Holmes is a direct branch on my maternal side. She’s my mother’s, mother’s, mother’s, mother and in my mind she is a symbol of strength. Let me tell you why.

Rebecca was born 14 August 1833 to Margaret Junkins and William Holmes in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She grew up in eastern Ohio and married Isaac Williams in 1853 when she was 20 years old.

Fast forward a couple years to 1860, Rebecca is the mother of two girls, her third child, a son lives only ten months. Add to that Rebecca’s fourth child another son lives just nine months before passing away. Rebecca has a fifth child yet another baby boy and is pregnant again when the family decides to move from Tuscarawas County to Allen County, Ohio. It’s not just this small family that makes the move. There is a passel of people that make this journey.

Rebecca Holmes Williams

Rebecca Holmes Williams

Along with Rebecca and Isaac on this migration are her parents, eight siblings many with families and her grandparents. Also included in the move are several of Isaac’s brothers and their families. It had to have been an event to remember with the number of people involved.

Finally in Allen and neighboring Harding County the families settle down. Most continue farming. It’s at this point I realize that Rebecca would have moved across the state knowing she’d never visit the final resting place of her two sons again. Buried in a small church cemetery in Tuscarawas County I can only imagine her final farewell and heavy heart. Continue reading