There are hundreds of lineage societies in America. I used to be familiar with many of them because back in my day we had the Hereditary Society Blue Book. Now it’s outdated now and apparently out of print. I’d bet if it ever comes back it will be just a web page somewhere.

I was pretty sure I’d never join a lineage society myself. My strong suit is being irreverent. I’ve always thought lineage societies are somewhat odd. What’s the point, really? Am I somehow more a descendant of my ancestors if I have a piece of paper? Am I less a descendant if I don’t have someone else’s certification? Or is the point that I’m supposed to be smug that I’m a descendant and you’re not? So, ha.

In the end I did join, though. And I joined Sons of American Revolution (SAR), which is about as conventional as you can get. Along with Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Mayflower Descendants it’s one of Big Three that people use to define themselves as American Blue Bloods.

This could become one of those long, shaggy dog stories if I’m not careful. The short version is that my mom wanted to join DAR. She was already a member of Daughters of Utah Pioneers. I thought it might be easiest to follow the same line, particularly since I’d get a boost from Mormon records. And, if I joined SAR myself that might give me a head start on Mom’s DAR application. So I joined a lineage society, despite having thought probably I never would.

But here’s the thing. In those fleeting moments when I did think I would join a lineage society, my thought was that it would be Boonesborough. How could anything be cooler or more American than that? And, if we’re talking exclusivity here, there were far fewer pioneers with Daniel Boone at Boonesborough than there were soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

So now that my mom’s DAR application has been accepted, and that application ended up being through our Boonesborough line rather than through our Mormon line anyway, I’m thinking Boonesborough is the next logical step on what has accidentally become my lineage society journey.

More Information

Daughters of the American Revolution

My mother and sister Laura have had their applications approved to join Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). They’ll be sworn in on April 6th. This has been in process for quite a while now. We have a couple dozen ancestors they could have used, but they’ve held out for James Kenney, a horse breeder in Kentucky.

Lots of reasons. First, he’s in our direct female line, which gives him a special place in all our hearts.

Second, his breeding operation at Stonerside Farm stayed in the family for many generations. It’s now part of the holdings of the ruler of Dubai. (Yes, really.) The last horse breeder in our direct line (although not at Stonerside) was my mom’s grandfather, Wilford Luce.

And third, he and his family were pioneer settlers with Daniel Boone at Boonesborough (Kentucky), which means the DAR applications clear the way for all of us to join the Boonesborough Society. (Probably, I’m the only one who will.)

One of my grandmother’s cousins was a member of DAR on this line, but it needed some work to bring it up to modern standards.

My cousin Mark and I joined Sons of the American Revolution last year but we did it on a different line—Capt. Andrew Grant. This line also has special meaning for us. It’s essentially our Mormon line. Andrew Grant’s daughter Ruth (Grant) Luce was an early Mormon convert. She was a pioneer of Nauvoo (Illinois), then came across the plains in 1848 when she was 73 to become a pioneer also of Salt Lake City City (Utah) and Ogden (Utah).


Galway tartan

The Kenneys are a Scotch-Irish family. They came to America in the early 1700s, settled first in Pennsylvania, then moved south to Virginia before moving west. Capt. James and Margaret (Frame) Kenney were early settlers at Daniel Boone’s settlement in Boonesborough, Kentucky. The Kenney farm, Stonerside Farm in Bourbon County, is still an operating horse farm of 1,500 acres, now owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The Kenney Cemetery is on land that formerly belonged to the farm.

This family of Kenneys does not seem to be Scottish, although the surname Kenney is a common form of the Scottish names MacKenna, MacKenzie, and MacKinnon. The yDNA signature of James Barnett Kenney’s descendants does not match any McKennas, MacKenzies, or MacKinnons.

Instead, the Kenneys seem to have been an Irish family. DNA testing on the descendants of James Barnett Kenney shows they belongs to Haplogroup I-L1498 (Isles B), also designated I2a1a2a1a (2020). This DNA signature matches the Keaveneys, an Irish family in Galway. “Kinney & Variations y-DNA Results Page”, revised March 20, 2012, retrieved Nov. 28, 2020; “Kinney” project at FamilyTreeDNA, retrieved Nov. 28, 2020.

The surname Keaveney is an anglicized form of Ó Géibheannaigh, which means “descendant of Geibheannach.” The O Geibheannaigh sept came from County Galway. It was a branch of the Uí Maine (Hymany), said to be descended from Geibhennach (“captive”), son of Aedh, Chief of Hymany. Geibhennach was slain in battle in 971 at Keshcorran, County Sligo. Wikipedia: Keaveney, retrieved Nov. 28, 2020.

Lineal Genealogy

  1. James Kenney (c1700-?); married Mary Barnett (1710-?), daughter of John and Jennett (Power) Barnett,
  2. (Sgt.) James Barnett Kenney (c1726-1786), of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; married Ann Cramer (c1729-c1763), daughter of John Hendrick Cramer. He served in the American Revolution.
  3. (Capt.) James Kenney (1752-1814), of Stonerside Farm, North Middletown, Kentucky; married (1) Mary “Polly” Frame (1742-1796), daughter of John and Margaret (…) Frame. He served as a Private in the American Revolution, and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Germantown in 1778. After the war, he obtained a land grant in Kentucky, and was one of the early settlers at Boonesborough. He was a Captain in the local militia.
  4. Mary (Polly) Kenney (1779-after 1850); married William Hildreth (c1776-1816), of Bourbon Co., Kentucky. She told her children that she remembered riding in front of her father on horseback when the family moved from Virginia to Kentucky. After her husband’s death in 1816, she became one of the pioneers of Vermilion Co., Illinois.
  5. Angeline Hildreth (1806-1860); married (2) John Mallory (c1793-before 1880), of Champaign, Illinois. She and her first husband George Howe were pioneers in Vermilion Co., Illinois. When her husband was killed in the Black Hawk War in 1835, she took her three small children back to her mother’s home in Kentucky. In 1838 she returned to Illinois, settling first in Vermilion Co., where she married John Mallory. She died in 1860 while the family was in the process of moving to Iowa.


Revised Dec. 17, 2020.