RECENT UPDATES - An ongoing log of updates to my genealogy research. See tabs at bottom of page for links to earlier updates.
July 26, 2019: I continue to slog away adding distant cousins identified through DNA matches using Ancestry's ThruLines. This utility continues to improve it what it offers and its accuracy. I urge you to try it if you haven't so far.
May 19, 2019: [My apologies for a recent spate of typos. I broke my arm back at the end of March and have been typing mostly one-handed.] I completed the addition of all of the DNA matches to me shown on Ancestry’s ThruLines to the 4th cousin level. Several of these turned out to be false – as best as I was able to reconstruct the lineages, but most proved correct. Now I have started the same process for matches to my wife, Ellen Downing (MEEK) VAUT.
April 23, 2019: It seems that Ancestry continues to develop its ThruLines DNA matching tool. I continue to explore the DNA matches for my sample and to update my database to add these individuals when I am able to satisfactorily establish our family ties. This is leading to frequent updates to my database and to this web site.
March 15, 2019: Over the past two weeks I have been building into my database the lineages of the people that Ancestry has identified as matching mine and through their ThruLines tool have indicated that the relationship behind the match is a share descedancy between us from Elijah Josiah ROBERTS and his two wives. So far, I have managed to link 20 individuals with positive DNA matches to Elijah (and thus to myself). Update March 18, 2019: I completed adding all of the DNA matches that Ancestry identified as being linked to Elijah Josiah ROBERTS and am now working on tthe DNA matches to people with linkages to Elizabeth Ann BROACH, the mother of Elijah's wife, Luticia France HIGGINBOTHAM.
March 6, 2019: Thanks to Ancestry.com’s new ThruLines DNA matching tool, I have now roughtly 30 DNA matches that confirm the parents of my great grandfather John Henry ROBERTS to have been Elijah Josiah and Luticia France (HIGGINBOTHAM) ROBERTS. Working with the husband of a cousin, we had been able to identify this couple as possible parents, given the dates and location, but could find no documentary evidence. The large number of DNA matches with known descendants of the families of both Elijah and Luticia seems to confirm our speculation. I have added a note on this to the page for John Henry Roberts. (Updated March 8) An important caveat: In attempting to identify an ancestor in the ROBERT tree (Amanda J. ROBERTS, dau. of Elijah Josiah) and to build the relationships that Ancestry ThruLines had identified, I discovered that there were two Amandas of the same age, both born in TX at the same time. Furthmore, it turned out that their fathers were 1st cousins. Thus, the DNA matches that Ancestry reported for me with descendants of Amanda, may be correct, but the proposed linkages established by ThruLines may be wrong.
February 24, 2019: I have completed my refview of the two important books by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis: 1.  Tidewater Virginia Families: and 2.  Tidewater Virginia Families: Generations Beyond, (searchable versions are available at Ancestry.com). It is rare that a researcher spends years researching a group of families and then ten years later published major revisions and updates of that research. The two books need to be used simultaneously. Davis  is the basic work; Davis  provides addition or corrections to the work presented in the 1989 book. For me, these books helped me update my CHILES, CHEADLE, HARRIS and TERRELL families, as well as a number of collateral lines.
February 22, 2019: Based on the research of Davis, I have delete the mariage of Walter Charles Jr. to Mary/Margaret Littlepage.
February 17, 2019: Probably the most important change I have recently made has been to the line of Walter CHILES Sr.of Jamestown, VA. Based on research that I only recently dicovered, presented in Tidewater Virginia Families: Generations Beyond, by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis (searchable versions are available at Ancestry.com), I learned that research in England has disproved the lineage that I had earlier accepted, starting with the parents of Walter. I have made the most critical surgery (deleted the old, mistaken ancestors and adding the new, but I am awaiting a copy of the original research so that I can see what led to Ms. Davis's conclusions, Further updates will follow when I have that.
January 22, 2019: I just recently discovered the two volumes Tidewater Virginia Families and Tidewater Virginia Families: Generations Beyond, by Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis (searchable versions are available at Ancestry.com). Research presented in these two volumes have helped me flesh out three of my early families: CHEADLE, CHILES and TERRELL. Davis has updated research on the origins of the 17th century CHILES family which I will be reviewing over the next several weeks and which may result in some major changes to my ancestry for that family.
November 28, 2018: I have made some major improvements to my TERRELL/TERRILL family lines, including the known lineage back to 16th century Berkshire, England. Some of my most important information came from the hard work of the Terrell Society of America (http://www.terrellsociety.com/), based on the research of O. F. Brown  and others from the Tyrrell Family History Society of England (https://www.tyrrell-fhs.org/). This research has disproved the long held belief that the immigrant TERRELL/TERRILL family of Virginia were descended from the British TYRRELL family of Thornton Manor as first argued by Joseph Henry Tyrrell (1910) in his The Tyrrells or Terrells of America. Detailed references are cited here, starting with Robert and Agnes TYRROLD of Hagbourne, Berkshire, the earliest proven progenitors of the Virginia immigrants (see http://www.acvancestors.com/g2/p2957.htm#i88685).
November 8, 2018: Every now and then I notice that I have a lot of seemingly unrelated people who have the same surname. In a few rare cases, I come across research material that helps me begin to make sense of this and find family links between many of the people. This was the case last year when I was digging into my wife’s Chester Co., PA Quaker family roots and I was able to knit several large family dynasties together thanks to extensive documentation from Quaker Monthly Meeting archives. Now I’m working on my TERRELL connections. In looking at the 20 or so apparently unrelated TERRELL individuals that I had in my database, I started digging into the family. Then I came across Celeste Jane Terrell Barnhill‘s Richmond, William and Timothy Terrell: Colonial Virginians (The Mitchel Co., Greenfield, NJ, 1934). My 5th great grandmother, Mary TERRELL (who m. Joshua Hudson, Sr.) and I had a Susan TERRELL who married Joshua’s grandson, Reuben Banks HUDSON. Thanks to the Barnhill book and the research clues it lead me to, I have tentatively linked Susan to the same TERRELL family as Mary, with Mary as Susan’s grant aunt: as both women married to HUDSON men, it also turns out that Mary is the great-grandmother of Susan’s husband, Ruben. The husband and wife, Ruben and Susan (TERRELL) HUDSON turn out to be 2nd cousins (once removed) to each other.
September 23, 2018: For several weeks, I have been slowly cleaning up my database. This has mostly been to improve formatting on this website, but has also included correcting a number of mistakes and small errors.
August 27 , 2018: I have started working on the family of Andrew and Catherine (STURT AIKEN) ALEXANDER, who immigrated from Ireland ca 1740 and settled in Augusta Co., VA.
23 June 2018: Recent additions to my family tree include developments in my CROW and HUMPHREY/HUMPHREYS/HUMPHRIES/HUMPHRY family lines. I have found contemporary records of multiple spellings of the various HUMPHREYS family names (with and without the “s”), demonstrating that, as with many (if not most) U. S. family names, the finally agreed spellings probably didn’t become standardized until the second half of the 19th century. In several cases, I have hypothesized parents for individuals, based on circumstantial evidence, but without absolute proof. These include Sarah Rawley HUMPHREYS (1798-aft 1844) and Elizabeth GRAY (c1827 – unk). In these cases, I have tried to lay out a clear presentation of the evidence that I have so far found to support my hypothesis. As always, I am eager to hear from those who agree or disagree with my hypotheses and/or provide alternative evidence.
28 May 2018: Thanks to leads from DNA matches that were recently made on Ancestry.com, I have now been able to confirm two separate lines of descent from Joshua and Elizabeth (RUSH) HUDSON, through two of their grandsons. One descent is on my mother's side and the other is on my father's side (making my parents 6th counsins!). This is the second time (in a decade) that DNA analysis has helped me confirm a genealogy link. (The first was identifying the parents of my mother's grandfather, John Henry ROBERTS, as discussed in my April 6, 2018 update.) With the HUDSON line, mine and my mother's DNA samples both matched six others with common descents from Joshua and Elizabeth. Through their work, I was able to nail down the missing details of my two HUDSON family lines and to find that they connected in the early 1700's. (Generations 1, 2, 9 and 10, which are underlined, appear in both descents.)
6 April 2018: Several years ago, I made a breakthrough in finding the parents of my maternal great grandfatehr, John Henry Roberts. While I had narrowed the search significantly through research, it was DNA that finally confirmed that the ROBERTS family line that I thought most likely his, was in fact the correct family. Lately, I have returned to my work on that ROBERTS line and added a number of additional lines back from it to early colonial times, including at least one new Gateway Ancestor (Elizabeth BUTLER/BOTELER CLAIBOURNE) with royal ancestry.
19 February 2018: I have expanded my work on the MURPHY and TODD lines and added a number of individuals in these families. So far, I have found no link between my TODD family line and the family line of Mary (ODD) LINCOLN, the wife of President. Abraham Lincoln. Her TODD family seems to have descended from Irish roots. My own TODD family seems to have been of English origin.
6 February 2018: I have more or less completed the update of the descendants of John Paul VOGT/Vaught, though some loose ends remain. Lately, I have been working on the MCCOY family line and have corrected some errors I had made earlier in mis-attributed children, census records, etc. This family Was heavily settled in Arkansas in the 1900's.
15 January 2018: Over the past several months, I have added hundreds of members of the VAUGHT family line - descendants of John Paul VOGT/VAUGHT. Most of these lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, descending from the three sons of John Paul in VA and migrating on to TN, KY, AL, MS, GA, MO, OK, and TX. I have able to expand the work of Helen Spurlin and Mickey Martin and the Vaught Family Lineage research group (published in the early 1990's) principally by adding material from federal censuses and marriage information.
See other tabs for 2016 and 2017 Updates