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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Henry Smith (1760-1830)

"Ancestry.com" 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.

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