Thursday, March 22, 2018

Genealogy Place Names - F

F is for . . .

A note to my family: This works out rather neatly. Our ancestor from Fécamp leads to my mother. Our ancestor from Fyndern leads to my father.  One is royal the other comes from a line of knights and ladies and then Quakers.  One is from France and the beaches of Normandy, and the other from a tiny place in Derbyshire, England.  Click on the links for more detail. Don’t be dismayed by different spellings – they abound and are further confused by the use of Latin. Until the majority of people could read spelling remained very fluid
Once again, this is a blog of mostly links like the one immediately below that has photos, maps, and a fascinating history on the origin of Fécamp. Be sure to follow the links.
Robert Antoine Pinchon, Le port de Fécamp, oil on canvas, Wikipedia
Our ancestor: Gunnora Harldsdottir deCrepon 936-1031, 28th great grandmother

Part 2
Fyndern, Derbyshire, England
George Fyndern  1470-1540 is my 16th great grandfather.
This family comes down through our Quaker lines to my father’s family. Findern/Fyndern is a small village that grew up around the Fyndern manor house.
The village of Fyndern and our Fyndern family have an interesting history. See what’s up in the following link. The Findern Flower was brought back to the village in England from the Crusades.
The Findern Flower, Narcissus Poeticus Flore Pleno
The Fyndern Flower   By John Hawkins - Findern Historical Society - Take by Findern resident. Wikipedia Commons
Here’s a BBC page on a FyndernHistory Walk – helping you imagine being there! 
I hope you’ve enjoyed our visit to a couple of small villages in France and England. The lands of our forefathers.  A challenge to my blog readers – look-up an area your ancestors hailed from and learn its history. It could be 2 generations back in Ohio or 10 generations back in Italy, but wherever it is you will be fascinated with what you find!  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Genealogy Place Names - E

With the letter ‘E’ we visit Scotland and Iceland. This is an interesting pairing as our Viking ancestors who settled in Iceland came from the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. 

E is for . . .
Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, Scotland and the Montgomery family.

John Alexander de Montgomery 1338-1401
My 18th great grandfather
Check out the notes near the bottom of this page on on John de Montgomerie (Montgomery). There is a ton of information. 

Photo from

Montgomery Street

Montgomery Street was once known as South Street and commemorates the Montgomeries, the Earls of Eglinton and later Earls of Winton who owned Eaglesham Estate for seven centuries. - Wikipedia

Montgomery Moto: Watch Well and Tartan (lowland)

Part 2

Eyiafiord, Iceland

 The last place name of ‘E’s is in Iceland. This is serendipitous as recently some of our family filled their days with wonder on a vacation to Iceland. There weren’t enough days on their vacation to travel to northern Iceland – so let’s take a look. (See blue area on map.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Genealogy Place Names - D


A word about Wikipedia (it is free and needs our support – please donate any time and especially when they are having a fund raiser!) – these alphabetical reports to my family on the locations of our ancestors are best described in words, maps, and pictures using this great resource. These alphabetical reports are a bit skeletal and need to be fleshed out by following the links provided.  I am learning a lot about the lands of our forefather and mothers and how their lives may have been shaped by these distinctive places.

Dacre, Cumberland, England (this small village is now in the Lake District National Park),_Cumbria  Open this link to see a very interesting history of Dacre.  This link let’s you easily see where Dacre is located. 

The ancestor:  Sir Randolph de Dacre  1240-1286 – this is my 20th great grandfather and when the line reaches America it is one of our strong, Quaker lines.   This link shows that our ancestor, Sir Randolph, was the Sheriff of Cumberland and York.

Photo Dacre Castle by Jim Barton, Wikipedia

"D" part 2

Dyfed, Wales

Ancestor:  Gwenllian verch Gwyn 977-1069 tree said she was born in Dyvet and I see her father is Lord Dyvet. I could not find a mention of “Dyvet” online when looking for that location. Aha! I found it with the spelling “Dyfed” This is the place!

She is my 26th great grandmother and this is our first look at Wales.  If you look at her husband’s family you will see the early Tewdwr (or Tudor) that eventually produces the kings and queens of England.  Here is a link to the county in Wales. This county wasn’t created until the 1200s but it shows a map and location.  The place names would have been there in the 900s. It says she was born in Llechwed Ucha, Dyfed, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Each county is divided into ‘hundreds’ (or 100 acres). Llechwed Ucha would be one of these Hundreds, Dyfed is the village (or castle with village).

This line goes back one more generation to her father, Gwyn ap Rhytherich, Lord of Dyvet (Dyfed). In the Welch naming tradition ‘ap Rhytherch’ would mean that he is the son of Rhytherch.  His daughter’s name is “Gwenllian verch”  the word verch indicates 'daughter'. This line, like the de Dacre family, comes down through our Quakers and to my father.

Looking in the history of ‘Dyfed’ this is an interesting article of the  ‘whoa variety’ of historical (or fictional) tales about Irish settling in this region of Wales.  This article talks of Viking invasion at the time our ancestors were living there.  In the article you’ll see a lot of difficult names – Welch is a very different language. The article mentions Cadell ap Rhodri. He is my 29th GG.  But, whereas, Gwyn and Gwenllian and Randolph are from my father’s family. Cadell and his kin are from my mother’s family. It happens that their families are in the same areas over and over – no wonder they were attracted to each other and married.  

Post-Roman Welsh petty kingdoms. Dyfed is the promontory on the southwestern coast. The modern Anglo-Welsh border is also shown.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Genealogy Place Names - C

C is for Cadbury, England and Cysoing, France

This report on the letter “C” of place names in our family starts with a mistake. Although mistakes that are found on are frustrating it demonstrates why I consider the website and it’s wonderful tree a worksheet in progress and not a family tree cast in stone. I started off with Cadbury – a great name with a sweet connotation – all those wonderful Cadbury Easter eggs. Then, as you will see, I find that someone has placed a wrong child in a family and it is not our line at all! And, to top that off Cadbury eggs come from London, not Cadbury!  If you are an Anglophile you will enjoy these Wikipedia articles of this area rich in history. The article on Wynebald de Ballon (not out family) is a good example of an early Norman Lord.  It is part 2 of this alphabetic report that holds a treasure – a truly great man. Be sure to read about Ebergard “Evrard’ di Friuli I and the fabulous wine making area that was part of his domain. 
Cadbury, Somerset, England 
(Yes, those wonderful Cadbury eggs come from England and were founded by John Cadbury, but they are headquartered in London.)
How romantic – Cadbury Castle and the area seem to be Camelot! (Control – click on links)
Mabilia de Ballon  1125-1156 
The Normans (French) were conquerors of England in and around 1066 a great deal of English land was granted by William the Conqueror to the Norman lords. Wynebald de Ballon was one of those lords.  He took over North Cadbury Manor in Somerset between 1086 and 1092. It apparently was his primary residence although he had multiple land holdings. The manor then passed to his daughter Mabilia’s husband, Henry de Newmarch. Certainly in a perfect world she would have inherited her father’s estates but by English law she could not.

It is with this alphabetic exercise and Mabilia of Cadbury that I’ve uncovered a mistake in the family tree. Someone placed a cuckoo in her nest – a child that was clearly not hers and he was our ancestor.  I’ve had to disconnect our family from this Cadbury family – they are not our great grandparents. We did have many who were Norman lords, so I will keep Cadbury here as an example of the Normans who represent a great deal of our family in France.
Above is a later version of the birthplace of the Wynebald de Ballon and his brothers.  This is Donjon de Ballon, know as the Gateway to Maine 12 miles north of Le Mans, capital of the ancient province of Maine. (The modern region of Pays-de-la-Loire in France. ) The area was conquered by William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror) in 1066 before his invasion of England. The de Ballon brothers must have joined William at this time but it is not known if they fought in the Battle of Hastings. [The Battle of Hastings was a huge turning point for France and England, so check it out on Wikipedia!]

Part 2

Cysoing, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France 

Ebergard “Evrard’ di Friuli I, ‘Saint’ Margrave of Friuli  820-866
Our 32nd (34, 35) Great Grandfather - Can you imagine – we have a ‘Saint’ as an ancestor. Well, we have several. This is one I’d like to travel back in time to meet. He is also called ‘Margrave’ which most often meant Military Governor. 

This is a famous wine making area. See below:
This is the link to follow to learn about the life of Eberhard and his connection to Cysoing. This was one of the great men of his time and for the ages. If you read only one article in this post  – read the article on the Find A Grave site. It is excellent.
A link to Eberhard’s wife – a Princess.
Cysoing – Chateau de l’Abbaye – photo by Musette Thierry
Once again a big thank you for the wonderful information from Wikipedia. Please support them financially as you can.
Also, a special thank you to Find A Grave, now owned by, for the great entry for Ebergard “Evrard’ di Friuli I.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Genealogy Place Names - B

In my last blog post ‘Genealogy Place Names – 'A' I introduced a project for my family that looks at the places where our ancestor’s lived. Where they lived is important as it helped shape who they were. I started with Aachen, a German city that contains Charlemagne’s glorious cathedral. Aachen was the primary residence of Charlemagne, and we are Charlemagne’s children. By now he has millions of descendants and we stand among them – which means that area of hot springs and easy access to Belgium and The Netherlands is part of our bones. Each alphabetic report draws from the first and last place names of that letter. The second place for ‘A’ is Ayrshire, Scotland.  
Now in this post we will look at the ‘B’s.  These are random picks on my part and what came up was Babenberg Castle and the area that became Bamberg, Germany. Then at the end of the ‘B’s I found that city with the ever shifting name: Byzantium, Turkey – or, if you will, “Istanbul, not Constantinople”.   
A word about multiple generations.  Heinrich Franconia, Margrave of Austrasia is listed as my 30th great grandfather. That’s ridiculously far back. He, no doubt, has millions (literally) of descendants.  Are we special because this is our dear 30th great grandpapa? Well, we have to take all of this with a grain of salt. Our ancestor chart blooms exponentially to a point, but cousins marry and that pyramid shaped chart turns into a diamond. I get it, but I’m not very good at explaining it. Here is a link to an article that will keep us humble.

From now through to the letter Z I’ll post the alphabet reports I’ve done for my family. I hope my blog readers will find these places interesting and will be inspired to study up on their ancestors’ homes.
Badenberg Castle

B is for Badenburg and Byzantium
Badenburg Castle, Holzkirchen, Bavaria, Germany

Heinrich ‘Henry’ Franconia, Margrave of Austrasia  abt 820 – 886 AD
30th Great Grandfather – (my mother's line)

Keep in mind that although this was the Badenburg dynasty the city and castle eventually became Bamberg, Germany
Henry of Franconia

Henry (died 886), possibly a son or grandson of Count Poppo of Grapfeld, was one of the first Babenbergs, was the most important East Frankish general during the reign of Charles the Fat. He was variously titled Count or Margrave of Saxony and Duke of Franconia.

Henry was the ancestral lord of a castle, Babenberg, on the River Main, around which the later city of Bamberg was built. He enjoyed the favor of Charles the Fat and was his right-hand man in Germany during his reign. He led a surprise strike on a force of Vikings prior to the Siege of Asselt, but it was unsuccessful. When, in 885, Charles summoned Hugh, Duke of Alsace, and Godfrey, Duke of Frisia, to a court at Lobith, it was Henry who arrested them and had Godfrey executed and Hugh imprisoned on Charles' orders.

In 884, when Charles succeeded to the throne of West Francia, he sent Henry there to lead the March of Neustria against the Vikings. In 886, he was sent to aid the besieged of Paris. He did not stay long but returned later that year with Charles. However, Henry died in a skirmish with the Vikings while en route.

As you can see this is just a teaser for Henry’s very eventful life. He died in the field and his death is described by his men.

Wiki article on Badenburg Dynasty:

"B" part 2

Byzantium, Turkey

Euphrosyne of Kiev 1130-1186  (related to me; my husband, Jim; and my step-father – making us all cousins)
She is my 24th great grandmother - (mt mother's line)

Byzantium is how it came up on the place report but that isn’t exactly accurate. By the time Euphrosyne came along it was called Constantinople, and of course it is now Istanbul.  Whoa, this is exciting stuff – see below.

From Wikipedia”
Euphrosyne of Kiev (also Euphrosine of Novgorod;[1] c. 1130 – c. 1193) was Queen consort of Hungary.)

Euphrosyne was the first daughter of Grand Prince Mstislav I of Kiev and his second wife, Ljubava Saviditsch. In 1146, at the age of 16, Euphrosyne married King Géza II of Hungary.
During her husband's reign Euphrosyne did not intervene in the politics of the kingdom, but after his death on May 31, 1162, her influence strengthened over their son, King Stephen III. The young king had to struggle against his uncles Ladislaus and Stephen to save his throne, and Euphrosyne took an active part in the struggles. She persuaded King Vladislaus II of Bohemia to give military assistance to her son against the invasion of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos.

Euphrosyne's favorite son was the youngest, Duke Géza of Hungary. When King Stephen III died on March 4, 1172, she was planning to ensure his succession against her older son, Béla, who had been living in the court of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. However, Béla came back, and he was crowned on January 13, 1173, although the Archbishop Lukács of Esztergom denied his coronation. Shortly after, King Béla III arrested his brother, which increased the tension between Euphrosyne and her son. Duke Géza soon managed to escape, probably with Euphrosyne's help, but in 1177 he was again arrested.

In 1186, Euphrosyne tried to release her younger son again, but she failed. King Béla III ordered the arrest of Euphrosyne and kept her confined in the fortress of Barancs (Serbian: Braničevo). Shortly after, Euphrosyne was set free, but she was obliged to leave the kingdom for Constantinople. From Constantinople she moved to Jerusalem where she lived as a nun in the convent of the Hospitallers [That’s the Knights Templar, right?], and then in the Basilian monastery of Saint Sabbas.

I’m pretty stoked that this fierce woman is on our tree!
Pictured here: Euphrosyne's Grandfather Valdimir II Monomakh of Keiv  - isn't he a good looking fellow.

Credit: Most of the above information comes from Wikipedia.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Genealogy Place Names - A

Silly me I thought it would be a good idea to create a ‘Place Usage Report’ in Family Tree Maker. I didn’t limit the report to direct line ancestors and what I ended up with was 4,434 pages of places mentioned in that huge tree. What to do with that massive document? Since the report is alphabetical I decided to go at it one letter at a time.

I want to share information with my family on, not only, our ancestors but the places where they lived – feeling that those places helped to shape their lives. With hundreds of choices among the ‘As’ how do I choose? I decided to keep it simple. I picked the town (or place – it could be a castle, county, etc.) that came first in the ‘As’ with a direct line ancestor. Then I picked the last place with an ‘A’.
This is how that turned out (my first random choice landed a big fish!):

Aachen, North Rhine, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany (AKA – Aix-la-Chapelle) and dear Grandpapa Charlemagne. 
Aachen Cathedral with Palatine Chapel

According to Wikipedia – “Charlemagne spent most winters in Aachen between 792 and his death in 814.”  This makes me want to stop there on my next trip to Europe – the last time I was in Germany was when I was 4, so I’d say it’s about time for another visit.
Check out the links with a ‘control/click’. 

Part 2
Ayrshire, Scotland 
Eglinton Castle, Ayrshire
John Beatty 1672-1720 and Lady Margaret Montgomery 1436-1461

John and Margaret lived in Ayrshire in different centuries – but one represents my mother’s family the other represents my father’s family; which means my parents' ancestors lived in the same small county centuries before they met and married. 
John Beatty arrived in New York in 1691 and almost immediately married Susannah Asfordby, who had arrived with her parents from England in 1674 at the age of five. He just as quickly became a prominent resident of Ulster County, New York and the village of Marbletown. Some sources say he was born in Ireland and others say Ayrshire, Scotland. I somehow hear him with a Scottish brogue. These days it is a ferry boat ride from Ayrshire to Northern Ireland so he may have lived in Aryshire and disembarked for America from Ireland. Hm, I may need a trip to Ayrshire to get to the bottom of this puzzle.
Lady Margaret Montgomery had 18 hints awaiting and her father 23 on the tree. More questions than answers here but then that is part of the hunt. Right?  I can already see the value in the exercise. I’m learning more than my children, no doubt! I wonder what ‘B’ has in store? Please check out this link to Ayrshire:

Photos:  Aachen Cathedral with Palatine Chapel, Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikipedia Commons
Eglinton castle ruins, Eglinton Country Park, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, Scotland. A view from the old stables/offices side.
Rosser1954 at English Wikipedia

Monday, April 3, 2017

Nature or Nurture

 A ship like the Gellert with interiors showing 1st, 2nd, and steerage accommodations. The Gellert is the ship taken to America from Hamburg, Germany by the Timmerman family 30 Oct 1888.
(Photos courtesy of

I’ve been playing with the idea of blogging about what I remember and how I feel; or more specifically, moving beyond the cold facts to a blend of subjective and objective genealogy. It will be my memories of the family added to the more objective facts presented on This genealogy website gives us encouragement in offering a ‘Lifestory’ feature that gives a head-start in bringing our ancestors to life on the page. This Lifestory can be edited, rearranged, and enhanced by personal memories and I've mostly ignored it. Now I hope to put this wonderful feature to use. 
A caveat – my tree is far from perfect. It is a worksheet, a fluid work in progress. Where I’ve done the field work I’m pretty certain it is correct. I’m a big fan of and other genealogical websites and all the documentation they have available – but computerized mistakes have a way of spreading like weeds and becoming part of the genealogical landscape. I’m open to suggestions, corrections, and ideas and in the end I have to go where my gut leads. Will my ramblings be of interest to blog readers or genealogist? That remains . . . as they say.
Yesterday I started with a look at my ex-husband’s family. They are, obviously, not related to me but they are related to three of my children.  Since they are my ex’s family deep emotions are stirred while looking at their tree. It is a large eastern Nebraska family. My children’s great grandfather was an immigrant from Holstein, Germany. He arrived with his parents at age 10 in 1888. Their great grandmother was also from Germany and was born at sea – arriving with her family in 1882. Just think of her mother – leaving her home to travel to a foreign land at the end of her pregnancy and delivering that baby while on the ocean! These families didn’t stop on the east coast, they made their way to Nebraska where there were German speaking farming communities and social clubs that helped them feel at home. These families worked hard to learn English and fit into the American culture, but they were welcomed here in their native tongue. When I went to college in Nebraska I found there was still a fondness for polka – although two world wars had pretty much killed the German language in America.
But wait, my ex-husband’s maternal family is not only NOT related to me! They are genetically not related to him and therefore not related to my children. He was adopted. Do I spend time pursuing a step or adopted family? I knew these people, most not well, but others who have affected my ex, my self, and my children by their love and life experience. Their very existence and life stories were woven into the fabric of our lives. Blended families are a frequent fact these days and how much time you may wish to spend on researching their roots really depends on what significance they hold in your lives. 
As I come back to my genealogy and start with fresh eyes, I can see that my mother-in-law and her family touched my life beginning at age 18 and my life would never be the same. God’s little elves, weaving together the strands of my life at a mad speed, picked up those threads before I could take a breath and the Timmerman, Able, and Steinhauer families were a part of my life’s tapestry.
Tell me, please. Do you research step and adopted families as part of your line?