25 Random Things, Genealogy Edition

I actually started this post awhile ago and then forgot it until I saw that Greta had done the same sort of post. Jennifer over at Jennifer's Genealogy Blog came up with the great idea to do a genealogy version of the popular Facebook meme "25 Random Things About Me." I love the concept so I'm going to try my hand at it as well.

1) For all the colonial connections I have I only have ONE confirmed Revolutionary War soldier ancestor. Everyone else was either Loyalist or Quaker (and therefore pacifists) at the time of the war. Interestingly enough, my only Revolutionary War ancestor's wife was also a noted patriot during the war and helped the American troops at Sugar House prison. The couple was Col. Isaac Mott and Anne Coles Mott. Anne's contribution to the American cause resulted in her being awarded a tablecloth by American officers and it supposedly has remained in the family, though it never went to my branch.

2) I have no roots from the "deep" south. The only branch of my tree (the Wellons) with any kind of southern roots came to Virginia from Wales and England in the 1700s (or earlier). They then went to Pulaski County, Kentucky around 1800 and left for Iowa fifty years later.

3) My paternal family tree has, for the most part, been in the US only a short time with most of his branches coming during the early part of the 20th century/later part of the 19th. On the opposite side of the spectrum is my maternal family tree who for the majority has been in the US since the 1600s. Her most recent branch to the US arrived about 1850.

4) Colorado must have had a big impact on my Webb family because once they arrived they named all the children after geographical landmarks there. The family settled in the Durango area in the 1870s and the naming trend started when they arrived when Andrew Webb's daughter, Lilly Timberline was born and named after the Colorado "timber line" where she was born. Andrew's daughter (and my ancestor) named her first daughter Hermosa Florida Wellons after two area rivers. Andrew's son also followed suit and named his daughter Minnie Animas Webb after the town where the family lived.

5) My great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Gertude Mott Healey was supposedly the first baby born in Benicia, California. Since she was born in 1852 and Benicia was founded in 1847 I think this is pretty unlikely, but since I've never found proof for or against this family legend I can't completely shoot it down.

6) My great x4 grandfather, Heman Doyle was the first District Attorney of Douglas County, Nevada and was also a prominent early judge, lawyer and justice of the peace in Placer, San Joaquin, and El Dorado County, California as well as Carson and Douglas County, Nevada. Before his move west to California/Nevada in 1850 he was a lawyer in Rochester, Monroe, New York.

7) If I wanted to, I could join both DAR and the United Empire Loyalists. My DAR connection is from #1 above while my UELAC connection is through my Beam line who left New Jersey for Ontario following the war. The British government awarded them land for their loyalty during the war and Beamsville was founded and named for them.

8) My vonAllmen (and Steiner) ancestors came to Olney, Illinois in the 1840s from the ancestral homeland of the canton Bern in Switzerland. When Christian vonAllmen and his family came they, unlike other branches of their family, dropped the von. They moved to Evansville around 1860 where Christian, and later his sons, had a broom-making business. Christian's daughter, Susanna, was my great-great-grandmother.

9) My only Dutch and French ancestors helped settled New York. The Egbertse and Harmen famililes helped establish Lange Eylant (Long Island) and Staten Island while my French Huguenot Letelier family ended up in early Brooklyn.

10) My Stokes and Croad branches (on my father's side) worked in the Welsh coal mines in the late 1800s. Both families came from southern England to work in the mines around Cardiff for years.

11) My great x2 grandmother, Susanna vonAllmen Berger's niece was killed during the Evansville race riot of 1903.

12) My great x3 grandmother Susanna Tizzard Croad's niece Martha Tizzard Courtney worked as a maid for the Bischoffsheim family in London in the late 1870s/early 1880s. The Bischoffsheims were a wealthy and well connected family of financiers and philanthropists at the time. The Bischoffsheim home where Martha worked is currently the site of the Middle Eastern embassies in London.

13) My great-grandfather, Joseph James Allen worked as a telephone linesman in Michigan before WWI. He was also in the Michigan National Guard before enlisting in 1917. While at war he was badly gased which led to deteriorating health and eventual paralysis before his death in the 1940s when he was only in his fifties. For his service during the war he was awarded various citations and received a letter from the President though I have never seen the documents.

14) Following the death of my ancestor, Sarah Hudson Wellons, her husband and my ancestor, John Chapple Wellons remarried Elizabeth Weaver in 1865 in Indianola, Iowa. In 1880 Elizabeth's daughter from a previous marriage had a baby out of wedlock. Elizabeth killed her new illegitimate granddaughter with the help of the baby's mother and Elizabeth's other daughter from another marriage. After the baby's mother died, Elizabeth and her surviving daughter were arrested for infanticide. Suffice to say, John Chapple Wellons divorced Elizabeth and moved several towns away. The whole grisly story can be read here.

15) The town where my great-grandmother, Georgia Wellons Berger and several of her siblings were born burned down in 1902. Klamathon was a booming lumber town on the California/Oregon border when it caught fire and went out in "a blaze of glory." Unfortunately, when Klamathon went up in smoke so to did Georgia's birth record.

16) My great-great-grandfather, John W. Berger was the son of German immigrants. When he became a Methodist minister he joined the German Evangelical Association, an offshoot of the Methodist church that went around to German speaking communities in the Midwest and preached in German. In the 1870s he even went to Germany (Prussia then) and did missionary work there for several years.

17) My great-grandmother was seven at the time of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. She was visiting relatives across the Bay at the time but her father was still in the city. Everyone in her family survived but they didn't know for several days if her father was alive or not. He managed to save my great-grandmother's doll but everything else that they owned was destroyed by the quake.

18) I have MANY, many Quakers in my tree, including my ancestor John Shinn who was a distiller and was kicked out of the church for making moonshine.

19)My ancestors Isaac Thomas Mott and Mary Johanna Rose lived in Mazatlan, Mexico from the 1830s to the 1850s. He worked for the American Consulate and Pacific Steamship Co. before being ruined by the Mexican-American War after which time the family settled in the Bay Area of California.

20) John W. Berger is the only direct ancestor I have that fought in the Civil War, he served as a Union Chaplin.

21) Gideon Gottlieb Berger, the son of #20 above, was also a military Chaplin and served at the Presidio during WWI. His son, my great uncle, was also a military Chaplin and a commander in the US Navy. He is currently the Chaplin of the famous USS Hornet.

22)My great-great-grandfather, John Grant Allen, worked as a warden at Michigan State Prison in Jackson for years, before then he dabbled in everything from farming to being a fireman.

23)My great-great-grandfather, George Washington Wellons was a gardener and farmer in Yreka and a staunch Socialist (unlike everyone else in my tree, including his own family).

24) An ancestor of mine, Moses Jackman, was abducted by Indians as a young boy in 1757. He was later sold to French fur trappers before finally being rescued and returned to his family in 1761 at the close of the French and Indian War.

25) My great-grandparents came from Italy to the US in 1920. Though they were from Vieste, which is on the Adriatic, their port of departure was Naples. They traveled on the Madonna and arrived at Ellis Island before settling in Warren, Trumbull, Ohio with relatives. It was there, in Ohio, that they had my grandmother, though most of her siblings were born in Italy. Even though they lived in America the rest of their lives, over fifty years, neither really ever learned more than a few words of English.


  1. Loved this, and 3 things in particular:

    - Naming of children for Colorado landmarks (!)
    - There are so many connections with historical events.
    - How our family trees are sometimes reverse mirrors: I have a few Quakers, you have a lot; you have a few Southern connections, I have a lot.


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