Echo of the Past documents my journey in rediscovering my roots after my last computer was destroyed and I lost the 10,000 names on my family tree.

I'm an ethnic mutt. My background is varied and the world is small; it's likely that my research will help somebody, somewhere, so please feel free to use me as a source if need be.

Feedback is more than welcome, and I read any and all comments I get. I'm also up for trading links. If you're interested, email me at: PrettySiren@gmail.com with "link request" as the subject line. (Genealogy and history sites/blogs only please.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So, it's taken me so long to update, because I've sprained my wrist and it's hard to type. But, I plan on doing an update on my Eckles side of the family. I recently became acquainted with my third cousin on the Eckles side and he had some interesting info, such as facts about their military service, to share. I plan on linking his Civil War site in the post, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Ancestor Articals (and some useful general history articles)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've written many articles on my ancestors, historical cousin, and just really on history in general. I've done my research and I've made sure my articles are as historically accurate as possible. Hopefully, my articles will be of some interest to some of you who want to learn more about the people behind the names.

I also wrote some general historical articles that might shed some light into the way our ancestors lived for some people.

*Note: the direct links to the articles are highlighted in red. Simply click, and you will be taken to the correct page.

Ancestor Articles:

1. History and origins of Christianity (For those of you who are able to trace your genealogy back to the Biblical patriarchs. It's a rather general article, but some interesting tidbits as well.)

2. Biography: Queen Christina, King of Sweden (King Christina was modern Europe's first and only female king. She never had any children, but many people alive today are related to her through shared ancestors (which makes her the cousin of many modern people, such as myself).

3. Biography: Philippa of Hainault, Queen Consort of Edward III

4. Biography: Queen Margaret of Scotland (I'm a direct descendant of St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland. She was canonized in the 1200's and a truly inspirational woman.)

5. Biography: Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette's direct line of descent has died out, however I and many others alive are her cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.)

6. Biography: Matilda of Boulogne

7. Biography: Blanche of Castile (She was the Queen Consort of her husband and later Dowager Queen and Queen Regent for her son, Louis.)

8. Biography: Mary of Burgundy (Though, personally, I refer to her as Marie de Bourgogne, as that's what she would've been called in her native tongue. Very tragic figure, you lived a short life.)

Historical Articles:

1. The first people of the world (This article takes us back in time spanning from the first bipedal hominids to walk the Earth to the first great city states in ancient times.)

2. What race were the ancient Egyptians? (Where they black? Were they white? Were they from Mars? [Joking on that last one] This article answers the age old question: what race were they?)

3. What is the Stone of Destiny? (This article is definitely a read for anyone who's descended from the Biblical patriarchs, ancient Irish kings, Scottish royalty, or English royalty. It's about the Stone of Destiny, or the Stone of Scone. In its lifetime, the stone was said to have been Jacob's pillow stone in the Bible. It was taken to Ireland and was the Blarney stone. The stone was split and half was given to the King of Scotland. Scottish monarchs were crowned atop it until the English captured it. Scottish college students stole it in the 50's and returned it to Scotland and -- I'll just let you read about it in the article. One thing's for certain though -- that stone's had a helluva rockin' -- pun intended -- life.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Link and Success

New Link

As you can see, if you scroll down to my links, I've added a new link: Elegant Survival. The site is owned and operated by M-J de Mesterton, and its tag-line "Stylish Living on a Shoestring" says it all. I would definitely recommend it to ladies (and gentlemen) of all ages who are interested in refinement.


It took a little a lot of digging, but I've found the first name of Isom Wakefield Sparks's wife (who I mentioned in my previous post). Her name is Amy E. Yocum, my great-great grandmother. I don't know much about her, other than her mother (or was it her grandmother?) lived to be 110. I'm still doing some research on that line, but I've always suspected the "E." in her middle name stood for Elizabeth. She descends from German Catholics whose surname was originally Joachim (it was changed in the early 1800's). I'm not Catholic, so I don't know for sure, but it seems that a lot of the Catholic women in my family tree bear the middle name Elizabeth. But that could just be a stereotypical assumption on my part. (Any one have any ideas?)

One thing I do know about Amy E. Yocum is that she is descendant from a woman named Anna Merkel (I remember this off the top of my head). Through Anna Merkel, I'm the 7th cousin, twice removed, of Laura Bush. (I'm related to her husband three different ways on another side of my family -- but that's a different story.)

So yeah. I've definitely got some more research to do on this line. I've done it before, so it should be difficult now. Right?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tada! Family Tree -- Activated

Alright, so I took the lazy option, screen capped it, and then blacked out the names of living relatives. All of my editing looks craptastic, please forgive me for that. But I typed an explanation at the top of what you're exactly seeing, for those who aren't familiar with FamilySearch.org's family tree software.

Family Tree

As you can see, it only goes to the fifth generation. When I talk about certain ancestors on this blog, I might make screen captures of their family tree, so you can see how they're interrelated, etc.

The reason the parents of Paul Jones Campbell and Dorothy Keith are blank is because we know nothing about them. They are my maternal grandfather's parents and our family hasn't spoken to him in almost forty years. If you have any information on the parents of Paul Jones Campbell and Dorothy Keith, I would highly appreciate it.

The only info I have on Paul Jones Campbell is that he was born in 1894, possibly in one of the Carolinas. He died in Alabama (in or near Scotsboro) in the late 70's. Dorothy Keith was born c. 1905. She died at the age of 29, sometime in the 1930's when my grandfather was very young. My grandfather's stepmother claimed that Dorothy Keith was "of the Boston Keiths".

I'm still looking for the first name of Isom (Isum) Spark's wife. I had it on my old computer, so I'm confident, with digging, I'll be able to find it again; however, I know she was a Yocum (and that the family name was originally Joachim before her birth).

EDIT: Because of the layout of this blog, you have to click the photo to see the whole thing, as it's cut off on the blog.

Family Tree

Sooo, I've gotten some feedback and many people are interested in seeing my family tree. Right now, I've got over 1,000 names on there, so I obviously can't post the whole thing. But I'm working on that.

I can either draw it out poorly with my electronic drawing tablet or I can somehow finagle some screen captures that come off as sensible (blacking out the names of living relatives, of course).

But yes. I just wanted to let those who are reading know that I am working on the family tree issue and I should have it resolved soon enough.

Until then,
Stay tuned!

P.S. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ancestor Articles

I've written articles on a few ancestors. If you'd like further information about the people behind the names, hopefully my articles will be a great starting point.

Articles on Henry VIII:

The Cruelty of Henry VIII

Biography: Henry VIII

Lady Margaret Beaufort:

Biography: Lady Margaret Beaufort

Anne of Brittany:

Biography: Anne of Brittany

More article postings will follow in due course.

Until then, adieu.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thoughts About The Kingdom of Heaven (Movie)

I watched Kingdom of Heaven today. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend it. I expected the movie to be overly preachy and pointlessly violent. However, I was surprised to find that there was an overwhelming message of peace throughout.

What many people may not realize is that the characters in the movie were actually (loosely) based on real people -- people who have many descendants alive today.

Since this is a genealogy blog, I'll focus on my own relatives.

The King of Jerusalem in the movie was Baldwin IV. He was the son of the half-brother of my ancestor Geoffrey Plantagenet, duc de Normandy. That being the case, King Baldwin IV is my 1st cousin, 28 times removed.

Much of the movie was romanticized; though he was a leper, Baldwin IV never wore a mask. However, I was proud, in a way, of the scene right after he died, when Sibylla removed his mask, because it showed his true face, the face that many lepers possess if they don't have access to modern leprosy antibiotics. And when they showed his face, it was clear that the movie-makers intended the moment to be beautiful, instead of frightening. I found that very touching. Sibylla was looking at her brother's face for the first time in many years. Rather than being disgusted or frightened, she looked down on him in sisterly love and sorrow for the fact that he had been cut down in his prime, due to a terrible disease.

Another aspect of the movie I enjoyed was that even though it was, again, romanticized, parts of it also rang very true -- especially at the beginning when they were in France. Today, what happened to the body of Balian's first wife would be appalling, but back then, suicide was considered a major crime against God. Still, it was unnerving to think about.

On another point about Balian: he wasn't a very young man (like Orlando Bloom, who played him in the movie) when he went to Jerusalem. He was in his forties, which might be considered young today; back then, however, it was considered to be getting on up there in years. Furthermore, it's never been proven that he and Sibylla were in love. Balian actually married Maria Comnena who was Sibylla's stepmother. That made Balian the step-father to Sibylla's younger half-sister, Isabella, who would go on to be Queen of Jerusalem after Sibylla.

Sibylla, on the other hand, married Guy de Lusignan AFTER she was crowned Queen.

By-and-large, it was the lives of Balian and Sibylla who were most heavily fictionalized.

All-in-all, though, I thought the acting was great. Orlando Bloom's performances was kinda blah, though.

How am I related to the kings of Jerusalem? Through the Warrens, of course, which you can read more about here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Alley Family

Many Americans alive today, such as the actress Kirstie Alley, can trace their Alley line back to a man named John Alley. I'm one of those Americans.

John Alley was born around 1460 in Great Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Very little is known about John. He's the oldest verifiable person in that line (though there are two candidates that could potentially be his father: John de la'Lee -- various spellings -- of Brittany and, in my opinion, the more likely Willelmus Alley of Great Wycombe). Some sources suggest that John, like his son William, was a mayor of Great Wycombe, which might have been so. Still, I haven't yet independently verified the assertion.

In the 1480's, John married a woman called Agnes (last name unknown). John was believed to have died after August 11, 1506 in Chipping, Bucks, England. There was a will floating about of John's; I saw it a long time ago. When I find it again, I'll post a copy; wills provide amazingly accurate information about a family, because it comes from their own mouths.

My descent from John Alley is as follows:

John Alley m. Agnes

Mayor William Alley (b. c. 1487; d. aft 1550)

Bishop William Alley of Exeter (b. 1510; d. April 15, 1570) m. Sybil Bodleigh (b. 1515)

Archdeacon Roger Alley of Cornwall, Vicar of Pyeworthy (b. 1535, Devonshire; d. 1610)

Jerome Alley (b. 1560, Devonshire; d. 1635, England)

Thomas Alley (b. November 27 1581, Oxford; d. 1656, Oxford)

William Alley (b. 1605, Oxford; d. aft 1632, Salem, Massachusetts)

Henry Alley (b. 1630, Oxford; d. c. 1690, Haverhill, Massachusetts)

Abraham Alley (b. c. 1670, Virginia) m. Winnifred James (b. 1670, England)

Abraham Alley (b. c. 1690, Prince William, Virginia; d. 1760, Brunswick, Virginia) m. Mary

Drury Alley Sr. (b. July 1, 1724; d. 1797) m. Winnifred Alley (his sister)

Shadrick Alley (b. May 1, 1751, Iredell, North Carolina; d. March 1835, Iredell) m. Mary Price (b. 1754)

Howell Lafayette Alley (b. June 26, 1779, North Carolina; d. Aug, 1864, Iredell) m. Ann Turbyfill -- alternate spellings: Turbeville, Turbyville -- (b. c. 1781)

Hamblin Alexander Alley (b. 1799, North Carolina; d. June 1, 1879, Mississippi) m. Martha Ann Turbyfill, relative of his mother (b. 1813, North Carolina)

Miles Glenn Alley (b. December 1841, Tennessee; d. 1929, Texas) m. Canarisa "Caney" Louisa Bell (b. June 8, 1848; d. December 6, 1932, Dyer, Gibson, Tennessee)

Mary Agnes Alley (b. December, 1882, Tennessee; d. November 14, 1949, Dyer) m. Bobby Happle Ramsey (b. August 14, 1879, Tennessee; November 4, 1945, Dyer)

Glenn Newton Ramsey (b. July, 1908, Dyer; d. 1998, Florence) m. Ida Ellen Renaud-Cole (b. 1916; d. October 19, 1972, Florence, Alabama)

Glenn and Ida are my great-grandparents on my mother's side.

As I said in an earlier post, I plan on doing updates on my Scottish heritage. I'm still adding names, links, etc. right now, so I wanna get to a stopping place before I post it here.

Until then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Tudors and The Bells: Is it Fair to Take Liberties with Historical People's Lives for the Sake of Entertainment?

Has anyone ever watched The Tudors? 'Cause I have been lately. And I got to say, the show, entertainment-wise, is phenomenal. As for the historical accuracy, some things are very spot-on, such as their portrayal of Sir Thomas More in the early part of the first season. I can't testify to later portrayals of his character, as that's as far as I've gotten in the series. But the rest? Some inaccurate stuff is bothering me, such as the melding of Margaret and Mary Tudor (called Margaret on the show, the king's sister).

This annoys me greatly, because I'm a direct descendant of Margaret Tudor. She and Mary were separate people and it was Mary who married Brandon, not Margaret. And Mary wasn't the queen of Portugal, but the queen of France. (She was married to Francis' father, Louis. Margaret, in fact, was married to the Scottish king.) Furthermore, Margaret/Mary didn't kill her husband.

I understand that for the sake of entertainment, it's almost completely impossible not to take some liberties. But at what price? Is it fair to slander someone who's too dead to defend themselves?

Take my relation, John Bell, for instance. In the movie, An American Haunting, he's portrayed as an incestuous daughter-raper. If he was a daughter-raper, I would know about it, being a rather close relation. To go further still, his wife Lucy, in the extend/unrated version (whatever, I'm not sure, so don't quote me -- it could've been in the main film shown in theaters, but I don't remember it) is shown to have killed him. This did not happen. No one knows exactly what killed him, but I'm certain it wasn't his wife. There was a lot of interest in the Bells at the time. If she had done it, she would've been caught and prosecuted.

Again, is it fair to label John Bell a daughter-raper and Lucy Bell a murderess when they, like Margaret Tudor, are too dead to defend themselves? Those who think it's fine to do so would probably use the argument that it's all in good fun, for entertainment purposes, but what's the price? After all, these people have real, living relatives and descendants. Is it fair to tarnish our family -- my family -- like this? Remember: the majority of people watching this show and this movie thoroughly think that what they are watching are accurate portrayals of what really happened. Is it fair to purport ridiculous things for the sake of good viewing?

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely enjoy The Tudors and An American Haunting. I think the storytelling, acting, and direction is phenomenal. I enjoy it even more when I remember it's all in good fun. But still, there's always that nagging voice in the back of my mind that can't help but be offended when faced with made-up events that put my relatives in a less-than-stellar light.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


My research is going well. I've passed the 1,000 mark on names added to my family tree. (The exact number at this precise moment is 1,123.)

And that's why I've been so silent so long (well, that and work). But I plan on making a big update soon about my Scottish lineage. I descend from a lot of prominent families of old Scotland (such as the Stuarts/Stewarts, Douglases, Wallaces, Lindsays, Campbells, MacDonalds, etc).

I'm really interested in connecting with distant Scottish cousins both here (America) and abroad (like the old country itself). So, if you're Scottish and think we might be related, let me know!

Until then, adieu.

Monday, July 6, 2009

From Wales to Switzerland : the Robert/Roberts Family

More accurately, this entry would be titled "From Wales to Switzerland to South Carolina to Alabama..." but I thought that was too long.

I hit a breakthrough in tracing my Roberts side of the family only to hit another roadblock: William Robert.

William Robert was born in 1598 in Aberyswith, Wales. And that's all I have to go on. I don't know who his wife was or where he did, though I do know the name of his son, Daniel, whom I descend from. More research on William is definitely needed.

From Wales to Switzerland

Something peculiar happened during the lifetime of Daniel Robert: he moved from Wales to Switzerland. Without knowing in full the specifics, I can make some educated guesses as to why. (After all, back then, most British peoples immigrated to the various colonies of Great Britain -- not foreign countries.)

Daniel was born around 1630 in Aberyswith. By the time he died, which was after 1656, he was living in St. Imier, Switzerland.

From Switzerland to South Carolina

His descendants, who bare French names, were alleged to be associated with the Huguenot Movement.

William Robert was born during the latter part of the French Wars of Religion. While he was born in Wales, and I have no knowledge of him or his family being French prior to his son leaving for the continent, he definitely lived in a time were Britain was going through its own religious upheaval. He would've been a young man during Henry VIII's initial breaking with the Roman Church. Not to mention, Calvinism and Lutheranism had already been going on long before that, and they were punishable under English Law at the time. So, perhaps the Robert family of Wales had Protestant sympathies before Henry declared himself head of the Church of England.

Daniel married a woman named Marie Hugent. I've been able to find nothing about her, save for her name, but geography suggests that she was Swiss; if she wasn't Swiss, etymology suggests she was French.

Daniel's son and grandson were both named Pierre. Senior was born in St. Imier, where Daniel died. Junior was born in Basel, Switzerland. Both men died in a place referred to as French Santee, Charleston, South Carolina. Huguenots fled to the Carolinas often, so this further implies that they were Huguenots or had sympathy for them.

Pierre Jr's son was named Jacques de Bordeaux Robert; Jacques was born in French Santee on April 3, 1711, and died there on November 11, 1774. His middle name (which means "of Bordeaux" -- a city in France) is interesting. It was also the middle name of his mother, Judith de Bordeaux Videaul (Videau per some sources). I have Judith's family traced back a good bit and I can't find any reason why her middle name would be de Bordeaux. Her family mainly comes from Normandy (though her grandfather is from Picardy); Bordeaux is in Aquitaine. That leads me to believe that someone in her family, perhaps further down the line than I've traced thus far, must've been from Bordeaux. And since I have all of her grandparents and one set of great-grandparents traced back, whoever bore that name (or came from there) must've been important enough for them to remember.

Jacques' son was named James Roberts and that's where the surname acquired the S at the end, possibly to Anglicize it. (After all, during the time in which they lived, the German Zeh because See and the German Joachim became Yocum.)

From South Carolina to Alabama

Stephen had a daughter when he was fifty years old. Her name was Milla J. Roberts and she was born on August 29, 1804. Here's the rub: Stephen died in Barnwell, South Carolina in November of 1823 while Milla was born, lived, and died in Marion County, Alabama. I have to wonder why Stephen died in South Carolina. Was he just visiting? Did he move back there from Alabama after his daughter was married off? Or did he never live with his daughter at all? I can't be sure, because I know nothing of Milla's mother other than that her name was Sarah Grimes and she was almost as old as Stephen.

My Descent From Milla:

Milla J. Roberts m. George R. Tucker
James Rains Tucker m. Emmaline Berryhill
Josiah Newton Tucker m. Amanda "Mandy" M. Reese
Geneva Irene Eldora Tucker m. William Henry McDonald
George Washington McDonald m. Alma Wyers and produced my grandma

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Ancestors Become Mythical: Separating Myth from Reality

When you read the title of this post (if you did), you might not have realized I was being serious: but I was.

Many people who've traced their genealogy back to ancient times run into this problem. Particularly if you're of royal European descent. Usually, it happens in Norse traditions: a legendary (or partially legendary) king is descended from a god. Some sources actually allege that Dan I of Denmark was, in reality, the source of the Odin/Woden/Votan legends.

While I think the chronology is a little off there, in terms of realism (and also negates the fact that Odin comes from an ancient Indo-Europeaon source, predating Dan I), it's the perfect example of ancestry diverging into the realm of mythology.

Another example is the ancient Irish kings. Most Irish people (like myself) can legitimately trace our lineage back to these ancient men. However, when you do further research, the ancestors of the Irish kings come from Egypt, descending from a woman called Princess Scota, who was the daughter of the Pharaoh. Scota being the progenitor of the Irish nation, is, however, far more believable than saying we are actually descended from gods like Odin or Zeus since it could be argued the Scota was actually a real, historical person.

One of the strangest things I've noticed in genealogy is the purposeful desire of genealogists to trace their genealogy back to mythical people and gods. I noticed an example of this when I was doing research last night.

It's commonly accepted that many of the Biblical patriarchs were real people; in fact, religion aside, I believe there's enough archaeological evidence to prove they were. And, naturally, there are people who trace their descent to the Biblical patriarchs. Whether they really can with validity or whether the connections are based upon ancient fabrications or legends isn't the issue. The issue that I found last night was these people's need and desire to take that a step further -- a strange step further.

I came across many articles likening the ancient Biblical patriarchs to ancient gods or legendary figures in other cultures and religons. To my best understanding, it's because whoever wrote these articles believes in the church-accepted timeline of the planet Earth. And that's fine -- that's their belief. But, however, to say that the legend of Saturn/Kronos comes from the Biblical Jacob is stretching it; after all, archeological and linquisitic evidence proves that the legends of Kronos predate Jacob's time.

Furthermore, similar articles liken Jacob's son, Judah, to Zeus and claim that the etymology for Judah and Zeus is one and the same. However, this isn't true. Judah comes from the Hebrew word "Yehudah" which means "praised"; Zeus, on the other hand, comes from the Proto-Indo-European "Dieus" which was, naturally, the Proto-Indo-European god of the sky. Dieus gave rise to Zeus, Jupiter/Iupiter (from the epithet dyeu-patar, meaning "father Dieus/Zeus"), and the Vedic Dyaus Pita. All of these are sky gods and in no way related to Judah. Also, the root Dieus predates the name Yehudah by thousands of years.

I know that it's human nature to connect reality to our own beliefs, but when do we take it too far?

So, my questions are:

1. Do you add people to your family tree knowing that they are only legendary or mythical?


2. Do you think it discredits genealogy to add mythical people to genealogical databases?

Please, discuss. I would love to hear other people's views on this!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unexpected Find: Regicide, Again

As previously posted, I lost every bit of my extensive family tree when my last computer completely died/exploded. So, this blog is sort of chronicling my rediscovery, as it were, finding people I've found years ago all over again. And you know what? I'm just as delighted as I was back in the day.

But, imagine my surprise when I come across a new find! Today, I was able to trace my Whaley line backwards and I found a surprising connection, historically speaking: they're Cromwells.

The Whaleys

Richard Whaley (born c. 1569) married Frances Cromwell (born August 5, 1675) around 1609. Together, they had seven children; I descend through them form their son, Major General Edward Whaley, the regicide.

The Regicide

Of course, when I saw sources affixing "regicide" to his name, I immediately knew he signed King Charles' execution warrant, given the time he was born. (Further research verified this.) However, I found it strange that my 10th great-grandfather would be signing the death warrant of my 13th great-uncle. It's not the first incident though. It was merely history repeating itself, in a way. In the previous century, Elizabeth I, my 1st cousin, 15 times removed, signed the death warrant of Charles's grandmother, Queen Mary of Scotland; Mary was my great-grandma's (and great-grandpa's -- but that's another story) great-great-great-great-grandma (plus several other greats, but I'm simplifying).

In genealogy, I find events go in circles: circumstances, birth dates, death dates. I was born on July 28. Many of my relatives were either born that day or died that day, which brings me to...

The Cromwells

As I said, Edward Whaley married Frances Cromwell. Her great-grandmother was Thomas Cromwell's sister. Thomas Cromwell was, incidentally, executed on my birthday on the orders of my my great-great-great (plus like twelve other greats) uncle, King Henry VIII (I descend from Margaret Tudor).

Interestingly, Edward Whaley was a prominent member of Oliver Cromwell's inner circle: he was also something like his third cousin (by marriage), twice removed.



Edward's descendants married into a line of family always listed as "Crapper" in genealogy databases. By modern standards, and possibly old standards as well, that is a rather unfortunat-sounding last name (no offense to any Crappers out there!). However, Edward lists the surname as "Cropper" in his will; Cropper seems to be a more likely name. Especially when you take into account the fact that the name "Crapper" can't hardly be traced back.


Again, families go in circles. Especially in England. Yes, if you can trace yourself back to Tudor England, you're everyone's cousin. It should be noted that Thomas Cromwell's grandmother was a close cousin of Henry VIII. And thus, the circle just really never, ever ends.

And that's all I have to say on the matter tonight, but it's definitely something to think about -- I think.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ancestor Spotlight: Matilda of Flanders

Quick Facts

Name: Matilda of Flanders

Lifetime: 1031-November 2, 1083

Height: 4'2" (127cm)

Interesting Fact: England's shortest queen ever.

Spouse: William the Conqueror

Anecdote: Thought she was too highly born to marry William, who was of less than reputable birth. So, he smacked her around a bit until she agreed to marry him.

How she's related to me: She's my 30th great-grandma (meaning she's my great grandma, thirty generations back). Her descendants married into the de Warrenes, whom I mentioned in my previous post.

Mary Warren, my closest ancestor bearing the Warren name, married Thomas Burgess in Orange County Virginia in 1735. My descent from them is as follows:

Mary Warren m. Thomas Burgess
Nancy Burgess m. William Stuart
Agnes Stuart m. Henry Burch
Agnes Jane Burch m. John Newton Bell
Canarisa "Caney" Louisa Bell m. Miles Glenn Alley
Mary Agnes Alley m. Bobby Happle Ramsey
Glenn Newton Ramsey m. Ida Ellen Renaud-Cole and produced my grandmother

What's interesting is: the females in my family have all been short and I have to wonder if it has anything to do with Matilda of Flanders' genes. After all, at 5'5" (165cm) I'm the tallest female of the bunch on that side (my mom's side). Granted, my dad is also a descendant of William and Matilda (but that's a different story).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Warren-Plantagenet Connection

Warren is a common surname throughout most English speaking countries. And, as a surname, we think of it as English, because it is. In its current form, the name Warren was first used in England. However, it's initial origins are different: it's a Norman name.

Behind the Name's surname site states that Warren is derived from "warrene" which is Normah French for "enclosure"; the word has Germanic origins because -- well -- the Normans were originally Norse...hence their name (Normans = Norsemen).

Through my research into my own past, I've discovered the name to have two meanings. Firstly, the one Behind the Name Gave. The second is also of Norman origin; however, it's slightly different. One of my Warren branches descends from a man named Guillaume de Varrene, Earl of Surrey. La Varrene is a place in France; I wonder if it, too, means "enclosure".

The other branch of my Warren family members descends from Hamelin Plantagenet de Warrene, Earl of Surrey. Hamelin was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Comte d'Anjou et Maine. Hamelin's grandfather was King Fulk V of Jerusalem, Comte d'Anjou.

So, how do the two lines meet? They meet with the marriage of Guillame's great-granddaughter, Isabel de Warrene, and Hamelin's grandson, William de Warrene, Earl of Surrey.

Currently, I'm working on how to establish a connection between King Fulk V and Guillame. Guillame was forty years older than Fulk; I wonder if he was an uncle, great-uncle, or some other male relative, since the name de Warrene is found in both lines.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Beginner's Guide to Tracing Genealogy: First Steps and Tips for Interviewing Relatives about Genealogy

Okay, so one of the most difficult questions any new genealogist asks themselves is: how do I get started.

I wrote two articles at Quazen to address the matter.

The first is called A Beginner's Guide to Tracing Genealogy: First Steps. As the title suggests, I address the very first steps any new genealogist needs to take to discover their roots. Applying those steps is KEY to getting started.

The second is called Tips for Interviewing Relatives About Genealogy and is a little bit more advanced than the first. Again, the title is self-descriptive, but I wrote it with very simple tips in mind -- things that have helped me out in interviewing OTHER people's families in my genealogical quests.

So yeah, if you're confused, take a look: hopefully I was able to shed a light on some things. And, as always, if you have any questions, comments are more than welcome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

John Alley's Father

As I mentioned in the welcome post, I've had to redo my family tree (which was comprised of decades of work from my family and distant cousins -- as well as the extensive work I did myself). I've got several branches back and then I've hit the brick walls I'd previously hit all those years ago.

The Alley Family

I wanted to link their website here, but I can't find it for the life of me. *sighs*

Anyway, everyone who's an Alley knows that our common ancestor is John Alley.

John Alley was born in 1460, most likely in Buckinghamshire, England. He married a woman named Agnes and had three children, from what I remember. The only child of his I have listed for John and Agnes is my ancestor William Alley, who was Mayor of Great Wycombe (or Wickham or Wicomb or any other alternate spelling).

John Alley's death is always listed as "after August 11 1506", which means that he was mentioned in an official document (or something of that nature) -- probably his own will -- on that date. What's known about his death is that he was buried in the churchyard of the Chapel of Our Blessed Lady Wicomb.

Who's John's Daddy?

What's interesting about John is that he's the deadend of the Alley line: no one knows for sure who his father is. Through my research, I've come up with two likely candidates who were both born roughly thirty years before John.

The first was Willelmus Alley. Sources are divided as to whether this man was born in Bucks or Brittany France. But if he was born in Bucks, that would make him extremely likely to be John Alley's father or some other close male relative, at least.

Then there is John d'Alee or John de L'Aly -- or any number of variant/similar spellings. He was also born in the 1430's and he was born in Brittany, France. What makes him likely is that it seems that his surname would be the continental original spelling of Alley. Another thing that's obvious is: his name is John. Medieval people often named their children after themselves.

The Daddy Question

So who's the father? That's what I want to know, because if we knew for certain, we could finally trace the Alley line prior to the 1400's.

What I'm looking for right now is details about the early Alleys. Any definitive evidence or even clues would be a major help in tracing them back further. I really think we can solve who the father is if we all put our heads together.

Are you an Alley?

If you have an Alley in your family tree and you're not sure whether or not you're descended from my line of Alleys, let me know and we can see if we find any common names between your line and mine. I'm a pretty recent Alley descendant. My great-greatgrandma's maiden name was Alley, so I'm fairly confident we can find a connection.

Oh, and by the way: Most Alleys are cousins to the actress Kirstie Alley. She's my 7th cousin, once removed -- some people are related even closer. Kirstie's genealogy can be found on the Alley homepage. If anyone finds it, definitely link me!

Welcome to Echo of the Past

Welcome to Echo of the Past!

I have been an amateur genealogist for over a decade now, having researched my genealogy since I was eight years old. I'm twenty now, and in the past twelve years, I've built on my relatives' genealogical databases and family trees and have, at one time, had a family tree comprising more than ten thousand individuals.

Sadly, my old computer crashed and I lost everything. So, this blog will chronicle my journey as I rediscover my roots from scratch. I'll write about my own research and what I find on my family as well as general tiptorials and things to do to get started. In other words, this is going to be an all-encompassing genealogy blog, full of history and struggle.

I tend to be pretty in-depth about my research. As any genealogist knows, we're all pretty much related, so please feel free to use my blog as a source for your own research. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me.

If you think we might be related, please let me know and we can include each other on our family trees!

I foresee this is going to be a fun adventure; much like the phoenix rising out of the ashes, I plan to have my family tree database back up to ten thousand names before two years are out.