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Friday, May 23, 2014


A gorge near the town of Garmisch.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


The town of Garmisch below as seen from a restaurant.

Friday, May 9, 2014


A friend of mine, who's been living in Germany for the last 20 years or so, sent me this view from his hotel in Garmisch, Germany.  Wish I were there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Henry Smith (1760-1830)

"" is an amazing resource for researching one's genealogy.  Using this tool, I continue to find interesting items in my own.  Just today, I discovered a lineage I suspected but for which I had no direct proof.  You see, my DNA results indicate more of a German/Scandinavian background with the following breakdown:

Europe West        32%
Great Britain       25%
Scandinavia         19%
Irish                    16%

Compared to my mother's results (with 52% Great Britain), I show a lot of Continental Europe even though almost all of the surnames in my ancestry are British in origin.  Initially, I assumed this was from the fact that many British people are actually descendants of Germanic (Anglo/Saxon/Jute) invaders of the British Isles 1,500 years ago and the test was simply reflecting this.  Also, there is an element of Scandinavian mixed in especially if one's ancestors lived in the north and east of England and Scotland during the "Danelaw" when Viking invaders ruled those parts of Britain.  So, I thought I had it all figured out until my latest discovery.

Here is the lineage (beginning with my paternal grandfather) that led to the individual 'Henry Smith' in the subject line:

Vernal E. McCoy, son of
Laura B. Moore, daughter of
James H. Moore, s/o
Mary A. Maynard, d/o
Martha Smith, d/o
Henry Smith (1760-1830) and Mary Honaker (1768-1826)

Now, when I saw the name 'Honaker,' I immediately suspected it was of German origin and was correct in that assumption.  However, I was very surprised when I saw that Henry Smith was actually born in the Hesse state of Germany with the given name of "Heinrich Schmidt!"  So, he must have anglicized his name when he came to America.  This starts to make my DNA results a little clearer.

Some more interesting facts about Henry and his wife:

*It is thought Henry Smith fought in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Continental Army.  I was skeptical of this at first as Hessian mercenaries were actively recruited to serve the British army during the war.  However, he did receive land in Pike County, Kentucky and moved there with his wife from Virginia after the war.  It was common practice for the government to award land in this area to its veterans and so, maybe he did fight on the side of the revolutionaries.

*Mary Honaker's given name was Maria Honecker and her parents were Hans Jacob Honecker and Maria Goetz.  Her father actually came from Hinwil, Switzerland and I have to do more research for her mother although she has an obviously German name.

More to come later . . .

*Note--I am not claiming these ancestors at the moment as further research has thrown some doubt on them.  I'll continue to study this to either confirm or deny their relationship to me.

Baby Birds!

The mother bird is sad because her chicks flew away.  This nest was adjacent to my mother's house.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

William Dalton (1666-1722)

I will discuss this ancestor next as 'Dalton' is my mother's maiden name.  Some records list William Dalton as being born in the Virginia colony and others show him as being born in Yorkshire, England.  I believe both are incorrect for the following reasons.  First of all, William's father, Tyrell Dalton, was born, grew up, and died in Cambridgeshire, England.  As a matter of fact, his tomb is located in the St. Vigor's church, Fulbourn in the same shire (county).  Since Tyrell never actually traveled to America, it's obvious that his son would not have been born there.  As for Yorkshire as a possible birth site, this speculation probably comes from reading about the origins of the Dalton family as being in Yorkshire.  The inscription on Tyrell's tomb indicates this origin as well but also makes clear that Tyrell never lived there.

I speculate that William came to the Virginia colony in the late 1600s but there is no way to document this since many of those records were lost during the Civil War.  It would make even more sense if he arrived sometime after his father's death in 1682 since he would not have had immediate family ties to bind him to England.  Tyrell Dalton was a justice of the peace in Cambridgeshire and was important enough to have been interned in the local church.  Therefore, I guess that William had some means to support his venture to America.  FYI, below is a picture of the tomb (and inscription in Latin) for Tyrell Dalton.

*Note--This lineage will need further research to confirm.


More on John McCoy

I have just a few more observations about this ancestor.  First of all, I am certain he is, in fact, an ancestor of mine as his arrival in America and subsequent line is well documented.  His grandson, William McCoy (1750-1835), was a Revolutionary War veteran and eventually moved to Pike County, Kentucky where he was granted a parcel of land.  He is thought to be the ancestor of all 'McCoys' in Eastern Kentucky and was my 5th great-grandfather.  I grew up in Martin County, Kentucky a former territory of Pike County.

Another observation concerning John McCoy is that he was a 'Jacobite' and initially left Scotland because of a failed rebellion to reinstall King James II on the throne.  I am curious about this because the MacKay clan was notoriously anti-Jacobite so John must have gone against clan policy in supporting the former king.  So, did he leave Scotland for fear of retaliation from the current government or did he flee because of possible clan retribution?  I would love to know more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Genealogy Notes

I have become obsessed with my genealogy over the past few years and spend a lot of time researching it each week.  Although this is not a genealogy blog, I do want to put items of note on it as I discover them.  I thought one possibility might be putting the names (and whatever back story I might find) of the ancestors in each branch who actually crossed the pond.  After all, this would constitute amazing adventures which is, after all, the subject of this blog.  So, here goes.

I carry the surname of the first individual I will discuss.  His name was John McCoy (changed from MacKay) and he came to Maryland in approximately 1732 after spending roughly 15 years in Belfast.  He originally came from Sutherland County, Scotland in the north of the country.  I copied the following details from a site I found on the internet:

  • Name: John McCoy
  • Given Name: John
  • Surname: McCoy
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1690 in Sutherland Shire, Scotland
  • Death: 1762 in Washington Co., Maryland

  • Note: The McCoys were in Scotland until around 1700 a.d. at which time they migrated to Ireland. In the early 1700s, the McCoys started to migrate to America which was a British Colony. The earliest "known" McCoy is John, a Jacobite in Ireland. (It is believed his father was named Alexander) The Jacobites were loyal supporters of the Stuart King, James II. It is believed that John migrated to Ireland around 1716 after a failed rebellion in 1715 which was to return KingJames II to the English throne. John later migrated to America about 1732. Notes from McCoy History email, from Frank (bunkhouse...):  "John McCoy, son of Alexander McCoy, was born 1690 in Sutherland Shire,Scotland, and died 1762. He married unknown Martin. Migrated to Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. Worked as a mercenary for English Lord Berresford. In 1732 emigrated from Belfast, Ireland. In 1737, received "Neglect" land grant in Charles County, Maryland, 150 acretract. Located today outside of Funkstown, Washington County, Maryland. 1820 -built a stone house, Funkstown, Washington County, Maryland."

    John purchased land in Prince George's County, Maryland, called "Neglect" on 11/09/1742. This was a 50-acre plot. On 08/17/1747, he purchased land in Charles County, Maryland, which was referred to as "Slatford's Roost Extension." He bought "Neglect" (129 acres) in Queen Anne County, on 12/01/1748, and on 08/17/1747, he bought "Slatford's Roost Extension (54 acres) in Charles County. John's brothers, James and Daniel, may have come from Ireland with him. He died in Washington County, Maryland, in 1762.

    Father: Alexander McCoy b: Abt 1665 in Sutherland Shire, Scotland
    Mother: Francis Katharine (Catherine) Sutherland b: 15 Apr 1765 in Sutherland, Scotland

    Marriage 1 UNKNOWN Martin
    • Married:
    • Change Date: 24 Apr 2004
    1. Archibald McCoy b: 12 Jul 1732 in Washington Co. MD
    2. David McCoy
    3. William McCoy
    4. Joel McCoy
    5. John McCoy