I Was Led to Genealogy

I’ve never been quite sure whether I started doing genealogy in 1967 or 1968. What I remember is that it was an article in Reader’s Digest. It was at my aunt’s house in Heber City, Utah. I spent summers with them, so it had to be summer, probably before Labor Day when I usually went home to go back to school1. I waited until my parents came to get me, then asked my mom a zillion questions.

I found out that my ancestors “came West with Brigham Young”; that my mother’s grandfather was a wealthy rancher near Big Piney, Wyoming; and that I would need to talk to my grandmother’s cousin James Marker to get more detailed information. Twenty years earlier, James Marker had come to see Grandma, looking for the Luce family bible, which had unaccountably disappeared. (Until cousin Karen Luce found it in the barn, years later–2019 I think–with the genealogy pages ripped out.)

I also found out about my (step) dad’s family. His direct male ancestors were barons in England. One ancestor was a friend and Masonic brother of George Washington and a General in the American Revolution. And that’s why the lamp on my nightstand was George Washington praying before the Battle of Valley Forge.2

I was about 11 or so. My mom helped me write letters to the Mormon church in Salt Lake City, and to various relatives. Within a month or two I was ordering blank forms from Everton Publishers in Salt Lake because our local bookstore didn’t carry them. I had become a genealogist.

I often think back to that article. I could look it up easily enough, but somehow there’s never time. A time or two I’ve even been in the reference rooms at Salt Lake Public Library, New York Public Library, and Denver Public Library where they have Readers’ Guide to Periodic Literature, and remembered I want to check this. But, no. Not today. Too busy. Eventually, I even forgot the name of the index.

In our new electronic age, I’ve sent a couple emails to Readers Digest asking them to help me find the article. They never can. My requests get snarled in bureaucracy. They’ve love to help, they say, so they’re referring me to the right department, but somehow the right department needs some time to look, but the actual work of looking never quite happens.

This morning I decided to take the bull by the horns. I went to the online reference desk (“Ask Us”) at Denver Public Library. They knew the name of the periodicals index right away. I knew they would. And, they gave me a link to the online database. How cool is that? When I was a kid, we had to use the actual books and check the volume for each year.

Now I have my answer.

The article that got me started in genealogy is John J. Stewart. “Try climbing your family tree.” Reader’s Digest. Vol. 91(September 1967), 103-107.

Even better, I now know exactly how long I’ve been doing genealogy: 53 years.

Now. For my next project, I’m going to get a copy or reprint of the article.

  1. I think my parents actually came to to Heber each year for the local festival–rodeo and carnival–then took me home right after. I could have sworn it was Strawberry Days, but a quick search shows Strawberry Days were down in Pleasant Grove American Fork, and were held in June. And I do remember that. So, the one in Heber must’ve been called something else. Edit: The one in Heber was just Wasatch County Fair. (Thanks, Laura.)
  2. Don’t hold me to any of this. This is what I heard at the time. It’s not exactly what I discovered later.


I’ve been thinking. I’ve changed my mind. It can’t have been 1967. It has to have been 1968. So, 52 years. First, it seems unlikely I would have seen a September article during my summer visits to Heber. The timing is just too close. The fair was always early August and I was home generally by mid-August. Second, the bookstore that didn’t have genealogy forms was on Main Street in Grand Junction. We didn’t move to Grand Junction until March 1968. My parents bought the house there in June 1968, while I was in Heber for the summer. They had already been there a month or two when I came home that summer. Third and finally, I don’t remember the magazine being new. I remember it as something I rummaged from the magazine rack. So. 1968 it is. Probably August.

Rev. Mar. 26, 2021

Catoneras, An Indian Princess

One of my ancestors on my dad’s side was an Indian princess.

Well, sort of. If you know me I know that I’m a rigorist in these matters. There are no Indian princesses because the “Indians” didn’t have royal families. And, the vast majority of these claims are hokum anyway.

But Catoneras is one of those rare exceptions.

Jan Cornelissen Van Tassel and his sons attested in New York colonial documents that Jan’s mother Catoneras was from Eader’s (Eaton’s) Neck Beach near Huntington, Suffolk County, Long Island. A petition dated 1705 says, “his mother Catoneras a native Indian of the Island of Nassauw who in her life time was Seized of a certain Tract or parcell of land lying and being on the Island aforesaid, now in the County of Suffolk neer the Town of Huntingdon called by the natives Anendeiack in English Eader Neck Beach and so allong the Sound four miles or thereabouts untile the fresh Pond called by the natives Assawanama where a Creeck runns into the Sound and from the Sound running into the woods six miles.”

This describes land probably occupied by the Matinecocks, now called Crab Meadow. The Matinecocks inhabited Flushing, North Hempstead, the northern part of Oyster Bay and Huntingdon, and the western part of Smithtown, while the Montauketts were mainly in Southampton township. The English were purchasing land from the Matinecocks and Montauketts in the mid-1600s. New Haven Governor Theophilus Eaton purchased Eaton’s Neck from the Indians in 1646. The Van Tassels apparently claimed that Chief Wyandanch of the Montauketts had unlawfully sold the land, and they wanted the land back. This might have been what lead earlier researchers to conclude Catoneras was a daughter of Wyandanch. As a further complication, some researchers have been led astray by the word “seized” in the 1705 Van Tassel petition, incorrectly assuming the land was taken from Cateronas. In fact, this legal phrasing means Cateronas was the lawful possessor of the land.

Daniel Van Tassel’s 1942 Van Tassel genealogy says Catoneras was “the daughter of the sachem or Chief Wyandance, of the Montauk Tribe, who then lived on, and claimed ownership to that portion of Long Island, situated along the north shore or Sound about Eaton’s Neck in Suffolk County.” [Daniel Van Tassel (1942).] However, there is no contemporary evidence connecting Catoneras to Wyandanch, and it appears that Wyandanch was born too late to have been Catoneras’ father. Daniel Van Tassel himself backed off the Wyandanch theory in the 1951 edition of his book. Instead, he said Cornelis Van Tassel “married an Indian girl named Catoneras, the daughter of the Sachem or chief of a tribe of Indians which then lived on, and claimed ownership to that portion of Long Island, situated along the north shore, or sound, about Eaton’s Neck in Suffolk County.” (Daniel Van Tassel (1951)).

Cateronas was born about 1603, her “husband” Cornelius was born about 1600, and they were “married” about 1621. Therefore, it would have been impossible for Wyandanch, who was born about 1620, to have been Catoneras’ father. Some researchers have attempted to salvage the connection with Wyandanch by suggesting that Catoneras was his sister, or daughter of his brother Poggaticutt.

Nevertheless, if Catoneras’ ancestry can be reconstructed, she was probably connected to the Matineocks. Her children can have claimed Eaton’s Neck only if she had been daughter of a Matinecock chief, who under English notions would have been the owner. Further, she is likely to have been the only child with surviving issue. Mike Smith has suggested that Cateronas was daughter of Asharoken. It has also been suggested that Asharoken was a son of Tackapousha, which would mean Catoneras was the neice of Oppasum and Wenox.

Here’s another article on the same subject, but slightly different conclusions about Catoneras’ relationships: that she might have been Tackapousha’s sister and Opsam’s aunt.

Until more evidence emerges there’s no point stressing about precise relationships. The experts seem to have identified the correct family, and in the end there’s no doubt about the point that makes Catoneras stand out–she is an Indian ancestor of a (now) White family.

Petition, 1685

Thomas Dongan Province of Ne[w York]

The humble petition of Cornelissen Showeth:

That your petitioner is a native of this Province, his father a Christian, his mother an Indian of Long Island. “That he hath married a Christian in this Province, and by her hath nine children now living. “And whereas the Indians, his kindred, are willing to divide, set out and allot that share of land, which according to their wisdom is his right, and inheritance at a certain place called Tersarge, being to the eastward of the town of Huntington, on the north side of Long Island, which for the better support of himself and his family he is intended to cultivate and improve. He therefore humbly prays that your Honorable will be pleased to order him a warrant for the same, upon which he may obtain a patent or grant and confirmation from your Honorable, under his Majesty, for the same. And your petitioner will ever pray etc.

Upon the right side of the paper is written:
[illegible]…did come to N. York
John Cornelissen

Left side of the paper is written:

Deed of Sale 1685

[p. 104] This indenture made the Tenth Day of October Anno Dom one thousand six hundred and Eighty five and in the first Year of the Reigne ofour now Soveraigne Lord James the Second by the Grace of God of England Scottland France and Ireland King Defender of the faith?Ye? Betweene Opsam Venox and John Cornelison Flushing in Queens County Esqs of the One Part xxxand John Palmer of the City of New Yorke Esq John Royse of the same Place Mercant–and Richard Cornhill of Flushing I Queens County Esp of the other Part and Whereas the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill have obtained Lycence from the Honorable Collonell Thomas Dongan Governor of this Province baring Date the five and twentieth Day of June Last Past to Purchase a Certaine Tract or Parcell of Land in the Couty of Suffolk on Long Island lying between Huntington and Nissiquake Land and Comonly Knowne by the name of Crab Meadow or Katomomeck Land, as by the said Lycence may move at Large Appeare Now this Indenture Wittnesseth that the said Opsam, Wenox and John Cornelison – for and I Consideration of the Sume of Twenty one Pounds Tenn Shillings Lawfull Mony of this Province to them

[p. 105] at and before the Ensealing and Delivery of these Presents by the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill well and Truly Paid the Receipt whereof they the said Opsam, Wenox and John Cornelison Doe hereby Accknowledge and themselves to be therewith fully Sattisfied Contented and Paid and thereof and of every Part and Parcell thereof Doe Clearely Accquitt Exonerate and Discharge the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill their Exec’rs and Adm’rs forever by the Preesents have given granted Allienated Bargained Sold ?Enscoffe? and Confirme unto the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill theire Heires and Assignes forever all that before recited Parcell of Land Lying and being on Long Island to the Eastward of Huntington Comonly Called or Knowne by the name of Crab Meadow and by the Indians Called Katawomeck bounded on the West by a Certaine Cove Leading to Huntington Mill and from the Head of the said Cove Running South to the Highway which Leadeth to Southampton and soe and from thence northward all along the said hollow alng the Highways side to a Place Called Whittmores Hollow as the Hollow runneth to a Place Called the Fresh Pond and from thence Westward as the Sound runneth to the Westermost Point of Land which maketh the Cove aforesaid and so up the said Cove to the Head thereof where it first began with all and Singular its Rights Members and Appurtenances together with all and all manner of Messuages Pastures feedings Meadows Marshes Woods Underwoods Ways Fences Lakes Ponds Creecks Beach or Beaches Rivers Brooks Hunting Hawking Fishing and Fowling and Appurtenances whatsoever to the said Peece or Parcell of Land and Premisses or to any Part or

[p. 106] Parcell thereof belonging or in any wise Appertaining and the Reversion and Revercons Remainder and Remainders of all and Singular the beforemenconed Premisses and Alsoe all the Estate Right Title Interest Possession Property Claime and Demand of them the said Opsam, Wenox and John Cornelison in or to the same or any Part or Parcell thereof. To have and to hold the said Tract or Parcell of Land and all and Singular other the Premissses hereby Granted Bargained and Sold with theire and every of theire Rights Members and Appurtenances whatsoever unto the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill their Heyres and Assignes to the only Proper use and behoofe of them the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill theire Heyres and Assignes forever and the said Opsam Wenox and John Cornelison for themselves their Heires and Successors Doe Covenant Promise Grant and Agree to and with the said John Palmer John royse and Richard Cornhill their Heires and Assignes and every of them by these Presents in manner and forme following that is to say that they the said Opsam Wenox and John Cornelison at the timeof the Ensealing and Delivery of these Presents have full Power Good Right and Lawfull Authority to Grant Bargaine Sell and Convey all and Singular the before hereby Granted or Menconed to be Granted Premisses with theire and every of theire Appurtenances unto the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill theire Heires and Assignes in manner and forme aforesaid and that they the said John Palmer John Royse Richard Cornhill theire Heyres and Assignes and every of them shall or may by Verture or force of these Presents from time to time and at all times forever hereafter Lawfully Peacebly and Quietttly have hold use Occupy Possesse and Enjoye the said Peace or Parcell of Land and all and Singular the Before Granted Premisses with theire and every of theire

[p. 107] Rights Members and Appertunances to theire and every of theire owne Proper use and behoofe forever without any Lawfull Lett Suite Trouble Denyall Interuption Evicion or Disturbance of them the said Opsam Wenox and John Cornelison theire Heyres Successors or Assignes or of any ther Person or Persons whatsoever Lawfully Claimeing by from or under them or any of them or by their or any of theire meanes Act Consent Title Interest Privity or Procurement And that the said Opsam Wenox and John Cornelison and every of them for themselves theire Heries Successors and Assignes the said Peece or Parcell of Land and all and Singular other the Premisses before Granted Bargained and Sold with the Appurtenances unto the said John Palmer John Royse and Richard Cornhill their Heires and Assignes forever Efend by these Presents In Wittnesse whereof the said Opsam Wenox and John Cornelison have hereunto affixed theire Hands and Seales the Day and Yeare aforesaid……

The marke of Opsam
The marke of Wenox

Memorandum that on the Tenth day of October Anno: Dm 1685 the within named Opsam and Wenox Appeared before the Councill and their Accknowledged to have Received full Sattisfaccon for theire two third Partes of the Land and Premisses within menconed

John Spragge

P. 1-8 Sealed and Delivered
by the within named Opsam and Wenox
in the Presence of
Fredryck Flypson
S.V. Cort Landt
Geo Farewell
The marke of
Tack Pousha
The marke of
Lowee Sonne of
the within Menconed Wenox
The marke of Rappa Pany

Petition, 30 July 1705

To his Excellency Howard Niscomb —- Cornbury Capn Gent & Govr in chief in and over her Majesties Provinces of New York & New Jersey and Vice Admiral of the Same in Council—–

The humble petition of Cornelis Van Texel, Jacob van Texel, Jan Van Texel, William Van Texel, sons of Jan Cornelissen Van Texel, late deceased, and Hendrick Lent, husband of Catharine, one of the daughters of said John; Barent De Witt, husband of Sarah, another daughter of said John, and Peter Storm, husband of Margaret also a daughter of said John:

Humbly showeth that whereas your petitioner’s father as heir to his mother, Catoneras, a native Indian of the Island Nassamo, who in her lifetime was seized of a certain tract or parcel of land, lying and being in the Island aforesaid, now in the county of Suffolk, next the town of Huntington, called by the natives, Anendesack, in English, Eader’s Neck beach, and so along the Sound four miles or thereabouts until the Fresh Pond, called by the natives, Assawanama, where a creek runs into the Sound, and from the Sound running in to the woods six miles or thereabouts.

And your Petitioners, being all Christians, and professing the Holy Protestant religion, and knowing that the Heathen never were disturbed in the possession of their lands of inheritance in the Government, your petitioner,as Christians, also would very willingly hold the same by his Majesty’s Letters Patent under the seal of this Province.

Yor Petrs therefore humbly Pray yor Excellency to grant them a Patent of the Land aforesaid accordingly And Yor Petrs in Duty bound shall Ever pray

Cornelis Van Texel
the mark of Jacob van Texell
Jan Van Texel
Willem Van Texel
the mark of Hendrick Lent
Barent De Wit
the mark of Peter Storm

(Land Records: 30 July 1705; 4:56).

Petition, 15 May 1713

To his Excellency Robert Hunter Esqr Capn Gentl Govr in Chief in and over her Ma’ties Provinces of New York and New Jersey and the Territories depending thereon in —- America and Vice Admiral of the same and the Honble Council of the Province of New York The humble Petition of Cornelis Van Texell, Jacob Van Texell, Jan Van Texell, William Van Texell, Catarin Lent, Barent DeWit and Pieter Storm all Children and Coheirs of Jan Cornelis van Texell late deceased

Most humbly Sheweth

That yor petitionrs said fathers Mother was an Indian native Sachem in this Province called Catoneras, on the Island of Nassau, then called Long Island; and her relations being owners of sundry large tracts of land on the said Island, did give unto the said Catoneras, the Petitioner’s grandmother, in part of her father’s inheritance a certain tract of land called Crop Meadow, scituate on the Island aforesaid in Suffolk County, running along the Sound four miles and six miles into the woods or thereabouts.

And yor said Petitionrs being all Christians, and members of the Protestant Church, and being willing to enjoy their inheritance by Patent under the Crown, as all other his Majesty’s subjects of this Province do enjoy and hold their lands.

They therefore do most humbly pray that they may have a Warrant to the Surveyor General of this Province to lay out the said Tract of Land for yor ——- Petitionrs & that upon the return —— thereof they may have a Patent and the great Seale of this Province under moderate quitrent as to yor Excy and yor honors shall seem meet.

New York 15th May 1713

And afd Petrs in duty bound shall Ever Pray etc

Cornelis Van Texel
Jacob Van Texel
Johannis Van Texel

Farson History

Here’s a brief article about the history of the Eden Valley.

“The majority of the settlers came into the Valley in 1907 when a large scale irrigation project under the provision of the Carey Act funded by John M. Farson, Sons and Company came to the area. The Carey Act allowed each settler to the area 160 acres at fifty cents an acre of land and thirty dollars per acre for water rights.”

My grandparents Harry Swanstrom and Vivian (Luce) Swanstrom moved there about 1934, I think. They were living in Daniel, Wyoming when my grandmother’s second baby was stillborn in 1934, then living in Farson when my mother was born in 1936.

Harke Luce

Recapping: Harke Luse was named on a list of men able to bear arms at Scituate, Massachusetts in 1643 (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England (1857), 191). Beyond this nothing is known. Everything else stated in various sources in speculative.

Charles Banks’ Theory

Banks speculated the name “Harke” might have been a copyist’s error for “Darke”; that he might have been an otherwise undocumented son of Abraham Luce and Cicely (Darke) Luce, of Horton, Gloucestershire; and that he might have been the father of immigrant Henry Luce who appeared in Scituate 20 years later.

The Internet has confidently mangled Banks’ theory in various ways. It’s worth looking at what he actually said.

“The name of Luce in this country is confined exclusively to the descendants of Henry Luce of Tisbury and with one exception, no other person of the name Luce settled in New England prior of 1750. That exception exists in the person of one “Harke” Luce who was a resident of Scituate in 1643, twenty years before the appearance of our Henry Luce in the same town. This singular baptismal name of “Harke”, which the author now believes to have been a copyist’s error for a similar name, has proven to be a clue to an English family of the name of Luce living in the west of England in 1600 near the border of Wales. The name of “Harke” Luce appears but once in the records of Scituate in a list of those able to bear arms in 1643, and an examination of thousands of English documents fails to disclose it, or one near enough like it to be mistaken for it except Harker or Hawke. In the county of England the family name of Luce has been found, namely: Gloucestershire, which borders on Wales and whose chief city Bristol, the great seaport from which so many emigrants sailed for the future homes in New England. [*”The author during recent visits to England found Luce families in Cornwall, Devon and Kent, all of them having Henry as a Christian name. Scituate, Mass. was largely settled by emigrants from Kent and in the parish of Lyminge that county is recorded in 1616 the marriage of a Henry Luce. It is here note as a reference for future investigators, but the family in Gloucestershire seems to offer the more probable solution.] A family of Luce lived in the parish of Horton, county of Gloucester, as early as 1550 and they are found there and in a number of surrounding parishes for a century and a half afterwards. Of this Horton family one Abraham Luce married 8 Oct. 1604 Cicely Darke, and this name is believe by the author to be the name originally copied in the Scituate records as “Harke”, and Darke Luce of 1643 is offered as the possible progenitor [emphasis added] of Henry Luce of the same town in 1666. If not, he was a probable near relative who influenced the migration of Henry Luce and all the surrounding circumstances make this the nearest probable origin of the Vineyard family in the matter of their English home. It should be stated, however, that Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce had no child named Darke and the name of Darke does not occur on the parish records of Horton. The similarity of the names, Harke and Darke, is too great to be ignored when combined with the rare name of Luce, and while other researches so far made have failed to uncover a Henry Luce in the parish of Horton, the adjoining parishes still unsearched may reveal the lost record of his baptism.” (Charles E. Banks, History of Martha’s Vineyard (1925, reprinted 1966), 3:247-48.)

To summarize: Banks noticed another Luce, a man named Harke Luce, in Scituate, Massachusetts (1643) a generation before Henry Luce appeared there (1666). This is the only mention of Harke and the first mention of Henry. Banks’ speculated Henry might have been a son of Harke, then further speculated that Harke might have been a previously unknown Darke Luce, hypothetical son of Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce, of Horton. Banks believed his theory was strengthened, first by a family tradition that immigrant Henry Luce came from Wales, and Gloucestershire is on the Welsh border; and secondly by the rarity of the surname Luce and the coincidence of the names Darke and Harke appearing in connection with the name Luce.

The down side of his theory, as Banks readily admits, is that there is no proof of any person named Darke Luce. Nevertheless, a Darke Luce could have been born at Horton in the period 1624-1653, for which there are no records. Harke Luce had to be at least 16 in 1643 to be able to bear arms, That would place his birth in or before 1627. Therefore, if there was a Darke Luce and if he was born in Horton, we would put his birth between 1624 and 1627. No other dating will work.

Banks’ theories have been treated in different ways by Internet genealogists. Immigrant Henry Luce is usually presented as a son of Israel Luce, as if that were proven fact.

In support of this identification, Henry named his second son Israel, and had two grandsons named Israel. However, these children might derive their names from Israel Peakes, half-brother of Henry’s wife. The case for Henry’s birth at Horton is supported by Banks’ theory that Arthur Bevan, who settled at West Tisbury in 1677, and was Henry’s neighbor there, came from Yate, four miles from Horton. However, this identification rests reciprocally on Henry being from Horton.

Leslie Pine, a noted English genealogist, has said in a letter to the author he believes Henry Luce probably came from the same family as the Luces of Pucklechurch.

Harke Luce is pushed to the side, when he is presented at all. WikiTree, for example, assigns Harke a birthdate about 1628 in Horton and a death date of 1718, despite the absence of supporting evidence. The birthdate seems calculated to modify Banks’ theory by making Harke a grandson rather than son of Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce (married 1604), and an older brother rather than father of Henry Luce the immigrant. This strategy allows Henry to be son of an Israel Luce, as in a family tradition cited by Banks (Banks, 3:246).

Geni.com also puts Harke’s birth about 1628 in Horton but more accurately places his death as “after 1643”. His profile there has a curator note that Harke’s parents are unknown, while simultaneously linking him as a son of Israel Luce and Israel’s speculative wife Remember Munson. Caveat emptor.

Caroline Lewis Kardell’s Theory

Caroline Lewis Kardell, sometime Historian General of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, had a different idea. She thought Harke Luce was probably an otherwise unknown Archelaus Lewis (Caroline Lewis Kardell, letter to Mrs. James E. McCourt, reproduced in Martha E. McCourt and Thomas Luce, The American Descendants of Henry Luce (1991), 10A).

Quoting: “As for the name Harke Luce at Scituate, Harke is almost certainly a nickname for Archelaus. Because of the aspirated “H” as pronounced in some parts of England, Earle became Hearle, Archelaus became Harkelas, Hercules, etc. I believe that “Hare Luce” was Archelaus Luis. John Lewis (Luis) of Dartmouth and Rochester named his eldest son Archelaus. John was a descendant of George Lewis of Scituate and Barnstable. This particular line from George were all sea-farers. I think George of Scituate has a brother Harke (Archelaus) who was a mariner and came over to Scituate as Captain or crewman on one of the early ships. Scituate records gave George Lewis two full shares. All of the other settlers received one full share. Perhaps George received a second share to hold for his brother “Harke” or “Arck”. Because he was a mariner, he may never have returned from a voyage and so, [sic] disappears from the records. . . .

“My suspicions regarding the name Luce are two-fold. First, it is so uncommon a name that it is almost certainly not the original surname, but a variant. For instance, the name Bigelow is only traced to one immigrant to Watertown, MA. The name does not exist in England or anywhere else in that form, except for the descendants of the Watertown man. It was Baguley, etc, [sic] in England, but ended up as Bigelow here. Secondly, the name Lewis was written (and pronounced) in several ways in the early records. Two men named Lewis, George and his brother John, certainly were at Scituate and probably a third brother Harke or Archelaus was there for a very short period. I believe your Henry was perhaps a nephew or cousin of the early Lewis, Luis, Lews family of Scituate and Barnstable. It is worth investigating, anyway.”

Summarizing: Kardell’s idea was that Harke Luce was a brother of George and John Lewis, and Henry Luce the immigrant a nephew or cousin.

Kardell doesn’t make it explicit, but George Lewis’ double share would not have been for himself and brother John. John Lewis received his own share, a single share.

In support of Kardell’s theory, Banks himself notes Scituate “was largely settled by emigrants from Kent” (see above; Banks, 3:347n.). Further, the same list that contains the name Harke Luse also contains the name John Lewes. George Lewes’ name also appears on a 1643 list of men able to bear arms, but at Barnstable rather than Scituate.

Thomas Luce, of Charleston

It might be worth mentioning, if only in passing, another theory regarding the parents of immigrant Henry Luce commonly found–he was a merchant and farmer born 1630 in Gloucester to Thomas Luce (1600-1670?) and Sally Monson. This information comes in part from Wilford Litchfield but no proof is offered. Litchfield says Remember Litchfield married about 1670 “Henry Luce (sometimes Lucy), who may have been a son of Thomas Luce of Charleston” (Wilford J. Litchfield, The Litchfield Family in America 1630-1900 (1901), 34).

Savage, citing Farmer, names a Thomas Luce at Charleston, whose son Samuel was born in 1644 (James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (1861), 3:127). Banks says, “It is probable that this was Lewis” (Banks (1911), 2:55n.2). Banks seems to dismiss this clue only because he building a case for Henry’s relationship with Harke Luse. The possibility of a connection with Thomas Luce should be examined more closely.


The Internet has widely adopted the theories of Charles Banks, modified a bit, and ignored those of Caroline Kardell, probably because Banks’ theories were published and have been therefore more accessible. However, there is no obvious reason to choose one theory over the other.

It should be noted the Luce yDNA Project at Family Tree DNA takes the official position that the ancestry of immigrant Henry Luce is unknown. One day DNA might help us choose. The male-line descendants will ultimately match a Luce or Lewis family in England, and we’ll have our bearings.

More Gunns

I’ve written about the Gunns before: Recovering the Gunn Lineage (Jan. 31, 2019), so we already know I’m an admirer of Alastair Gunn and his work putting the Gunn lineage on a firmer footing. I still haven’t done the work of cleaning up my own notes. Some day. Soon. I promise.

I saw recently on the Facebook page for Clan Gunn that Alastair Gunn has published The real history of (Clan) Gunn. It’s an abridged version — 59 pages, a very quick read — of his earlier The Gunns: History, Myths and Genealogy. I didn’t know about that one either, until now.

Summary: “Gunns are the original, non-related inhabitants of northern mainland Scotland.  They have no Orkney islands origin. Gunns are not a Clan as they had no founding father and nor did they have historic Chiefs. The first Gunn known was Coroner Gunn of Caithness (often wrongly called Crowner Gunn) who died around 1450. His eldest son started the MacHamish Gunns of Killernan line which still exists today and whose line is explored in detail in this book.

I love this stuff. Any time someone does the work to firm up the facts, they have my heart.

So, I grabbed the chance to ask Mr. Gunn how his theory makes the Gunns any different from other Celtic tribes that coalesced around a chiefly family. In other words, why aren’t the MacHamish Gunns just as chiefly as any other Highland family? If the Gunns are, as he argues, the unrelated “people of the country”, doesn’t that mean they the old tribe gathered around and adopting the surname of a leading family?

I’m broadly interested in the various ideas of this subject. I’m often asked to give my opinion about why this family or that doesn’t match the yDNA signature of the clan whose name they bear. It’s a difficult question to answer, not because the answer is unclear, but because the answer contradicts beloved myths. The question is frequently a prelude to a complicated and highly speculative DNA scenario.

The answer I would give, nearly always, is that clans were “artificial” groups. More like our modern notion of tribes than like families. But God help anyone who uses the word artificial in a context where it can be misinterpreted to mean fake. So, mostly I waffle.

Alastair Gunn responded to my question by writing a new piece on his blog, “DNA testing and Scottish families / Clans.‘Clan Gunn’ history or, more accurately, Gunn history <https://clangunn1.blogspot.com/>. Nov. 20, 2020.

The meat of his answer is this. “[T]he majority of people who lived in a Clan area – or drifted into such an area – simply accepted the Clan name for convenience. This is different for the Gunns who had their surname applied to them by outsiders.

I like that answer. It’s a subtle distinction, and no doubt he will elaborate in future posts, but for now it’s short and easy to understand.

Naming Conventions

One of the canards of genealogy is that professional genealogists always prefer the earliest recorded name. The idea is that name is the most authentic.

More or less true, but not quite, not always.

William Shakespeare, for example. You think you know his name? His baptismal record, the earliest in a scant collection, calls him Gulielmus — Latin for William.

Wait! Do I have to change my database so that my tenuous connection to England’s most famous playwright shows him as Gulielmus Shakespeare?

No, what’s happening here is a very basic confusion. Prosopographers already know there is a difference between having a database identifier, which can be a name, and recording all the name variations a person used in their lifetime.

In short, genealogists haven’t kept up with best academic practices. Many are still mired in the amateur practices of the 18th and 19th centuries. Time to catch up.

Almost Métis

I used to think my dad’s ancestors were Métis. They’re not, but I ended up with a seemingly permanent interest.

The Métis are a Canadian group, a mixture of Anglos and Indians from the area between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Not all mixed-race people in Canada are Métis, just the ones where the men in the founding group were employees of the Hudson Bay Company.

One of those men was John Hourie (1779-1857). He came to Hudson’s Bay in 1800 from South Ronaldsay, one of the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. About 1809 he married Margaret Bird, a Shoshone (“Snake”) woman. She was adopted daughter of James Curtis Bird.

Howery is not a very common surname. When I was maybe 13 or so and just getting started with genealogy, I knew almost nothing about my father or his family. I eventually eked out the information that his grandfather was Elmer Phillip Howery, who everyone agreed was born in England. (Recently it’s occurred to me that probably I was not hearing the difference between English and Anglo that would have been significant for my mother and some of the others I was talking to.)

I wrote confidently to Somerset House, the English vital records place. Nothing. No record, they said. In fact they had no records of any Howerys. That’s just England, though. Since it was obvious Howery is a British name (so naive back then!), I started thinking Howery is probably a Scottish name. Maybe Irish.

In those pre-Internet days each little nugget of information was a treasure. My access to information was essentially just the local library and quarterly issues of The Genealogical Helper.

I could also order Family Group Sheets from the LDS Genealogical Library in Salt Lake, but I had to be pretty focused. I needed to have name, date, and place. It’s hard to finesse a form when you don’t have much real information. There was no Family Group Sheet for Elmer Phillip Howery, so I was out of luck.

Lucky me. I found Black’s Surnames of Scotland (1946). Yep, there’s an entry for Hourie. I wasn’t finding anything remotely similar anywhere else in Europe, so I was sure this was going to be my family.

One of my strategies back then was to use phone books to find addresses of people who had the surnames I was looking for. The Grand Junction Public Library didn’t have a large collection but they did have some. I would also call directory assistance and do a little fishing for names and addresses. My allowance at that age wasn’t so high I could afford a lot of stamps, so I had to be cagey, looking for the best opportunities. Then too, most people never wrote back, even though I learned to type on my mother’s fancy Olivetti, she taught me to use business format, and I enclosed stamped return envelopes.

With my Howery search I eventually connected with Ian Howrie in Dallas, Texas. He told me, in one paragraph, the story of his ancestors John Hourie and Margaret Bird from Red River, Canada. I was sure that was my connection. The other people I talked to mostly agreed.

I think it was probably several years before I made contact with Pat Sorenson in Yuba City, California. That was through one of her ads in The Genealogical Helper. She couldn’t help with my line, not directly, but she offered the very firm advice that my line probably belonged to the large clan of Midwest Howerys and Howreys descended from Jacob Howry of Howrytown, Virginia, and he in turn from (she thought) the Mennonite Hauris and Howrys from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Pat turned out to be right. I gave up my Métis ancestry, almost without noticing. Too bad. I think my dad would have liked that line to pan out. Many years later when I wanted Ian Howrie to do a DNA test for the Hauri DNA Project, I couldn’t find him again. The whole Métis piece just receded into the distance, although I think there might be distant cousins here and there who still think we’re descended from John Hourie and Margaret, his Shoshone wife.

More Information

  • John Hourie“, Red River Ancestry <www.redriverancestry.ca>, Dec. 5, 2016, retrieved Aug. 23, 2020.

Anglo-Saxon Genealogies

Germanic pre-Christian ideas of ancestry wouldn’t necessarily be totally intuitive to a modern person looking back.


This is a favorite topic of mine. I rarely pass up a chance to point out others who agree with me. Here, Simon Roper.

The old, poetic genealogies handed down by our remote ancestors “were probably not completely reflective of genetic relationships in the same way as our modern idea of a family tree would be, so a lot of them seem to go back to a god like Woden, although post-Christianization the royal family trees were retroactively so that the god was somewhere in the middle of the tree rather than at the base. And in fact these genealogies seem to have reflected socio-political associations a bit more than they represented actual, real genetic descent as we would see it.

So, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that probably people coming from elsewhere and integrating into the local society could possibly be accommodated into that genealogy without actually having been a known blood relation of anybody in the group.

It’s clear that not being of genetically Anglo-Saxon ancestry did not preclude a person becoming a very active member of society with a lot of responsibility. So identity was rooted in descent but that descent was not necessarily strictly generation to generation genetic descent; that’s a very modern way of viewing it.

It’s broader than that, even. As an example well-known to historians, the genealogy of the Wessex kings descended from Cerdic seems to have been grafted on to the older and more prestigious genealogy of the kings of Bernica (Kenneth Sisam, “Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies”, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 39, pp. 287–348 (1953)).

These can be difficult concepts if you’re not used to them. I’m reminded of an old professor of mine who used to say, “Objectivity is nothing more than consensual subjectivity.” Powerful stuff. Think about that for a minute.

When we know there might be something to see, it’s not hard to find ways in our own culture where people see genealogical and cultural identity in different ways.

At a different point in this presentation Roper says, “Think of how many different ways people view their identity today – I know people who consider themselves British but have two natively Japanese parents, and people who consider themselves French despite not having had a French ancestor in more than a hundred years. Neither of these is an invalid way of viewing identity, but it goes to show that we cannot agree on what constitutes cultural heritage and identity nowadays. . . .

Our ancestors thought genealogy should reflect cultural relationships. We think genealogy is only true if it represents biological facts. We’re not talking across the generations about similar but different things. We can’t use their information for our purposes.

Eden Bar

Here’s a very short video of the exterior of the Eden Bar in Farson, Wyoming.

I must have driven by it a million times as a kid and a dozen times as an adult. It never stood out for me. I wouldn’t have thought I ever noticed it. I wouldn’t have thought of it without some kind of prompt. I never lived in Farson-Eden as an adult.

But as soon as I saw the video I knew exactly where and what it was.

I’m linking it here purely for nostalgia.

Farson Dig 1940

I don’t think I knew the Eden Point was named after Eden, Wyoming. I wondered, of course. My mom knew, though. Of course she did. She grew up at Farson.

Here’s a video clip from a 1940/41 archaeological dig at Farson. The Pennsylvania Museum (University of Pennsylvania) conducted the dig at a site they named the Finley Site.

The Finley Site is an old paleo-Indian bison kill site, where arrowheads had been found on the surface. The site dates from ~9 thousand years ago. It’s now associated with the Cody Cultural Complex, Archaeologists found a type of point that had been found elsewhere, but never before in situ. They named that style “Eden Point“. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010, long after we all moved away.

There’s also a “related” site, the Farson-Eden Site. It was an American Indian camp site with 12 lodges and large collection of antelope bones. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.

Most of the video from the Finley Site is field footage, no sound on any of it. I’m focused on the two little local history pieces. The video shows a road sign at 03:33 and a brief shot of Farson Mercantile at 11:53. That sign was just across Highway 191 from the store.

The shot list for the video shows:

  • Fieldwork, dusting of samples. Linton Satterthwaite and Edgar B. Howard.
  • The arrow points from a buffalo kill site, known as Eden Points.
  • Mrs Charles Bache also assisting
  • Sifting artifacts from dirt
  • Surveying landscape
  • Directional Sign with arrows: Eden Rock Springs, Pinedale, Jackson, Yellowstone. Mrs. Bache pointing to Rock Springs.
  • Seated near the buffalo bones
  • Hammering in a post for a shelter
  • Sun/shade shelter next to buffalo bones find.
  • Survey of the land
  • Sifting materials Gathering materials in a tarp
  • Breaking clods. General field activities.
  • Picking up one of the points, extreme close up
  • A visit to town, likely Farson.

I think I would change that last line to “A visit to the Farson Mercantile.” I wrote to them about. We’ll see what they say.

  • Penn Museum, Digging at Farson, Wyoming, YouTube.com, Dec. 5, 2012, retrieved Aug. 16, 2020. “Partially edited footage of the Finley Expedition; Farson Wyoming, Film made possibly by Charles Bache.” Another copy of the video is hosted at Pennsylvania Museum.