52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 11 Recap

52ancestors-2015-11There was a lot of green in this week’s posts. That’s not surprising, considering the optional theme was “Luck of the Irish.”

Some of the many posts that stood out to me this week include: Cheryl Biermann Hartley of My Search for the Past wrote about the lucky McGaughey family Bible. Patricia Rohn of Shaking the Tree wrote about her great-grand uncle Amandus Logue who worked on construction of the Panama Canal. (Cool name and a cool photo!) Melissa Wiseheart of A Wise Heart’s Journey wrote about Zerilda Eleanora Rakestraw Springer, who she calls “almost a ghost.”

Another post that I’d like to highlight is by Roberta Estes of DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Roberta said that doing the 52 Ancestors challenge got her to thinking about how her research has progressed over the years… and how she has 11 things she’d do differently.

My contribution this week was James Orr, one of my many ancestors with rather fuzzy Irish origins. No Famine immigrants for me — my Irish were already in North America by 1800, which makes it a bit challenging. (As if Irish research weren’t already challenging enough!) Ironically, within just a few hours of posting that, Ann Lamb left a comment with clues on where I might be able to find him. Thank you, Ann! It goes to show that writing about your ancestors really can help your research.


Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 12 (Mar 19 – 25) – Same
  • Week 13 (Mar 26 – Apr 1) – Different
  • April themes

53 thoughts on “52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 11 Recap

  1. Site Admin

    Not long into my genealogy research, I debunked the family lore that my grandmother’s side of the family was of Irish descent. Nope. Not at all. In fact, I’ve gone back an average 8-9 generations on both sides of my tree and cannot find ONE direct Irish immigrant! So, for this week’s theme I went with a collateral relation: the wife of my 2nd great grand-uncle, PHEBE MONAGHAN (1832-1908) — she came to the U.S. at age 10 with her father and siblings in 1842. Apparently, she brought Irish tragedy with her. https://rememberal.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/endurance-irish-immigrant-phebe-monaghan-irvine-1832-1908/

  2. melissawiseheart

    I took the theme of Luck of the Irish in a different way. I wrote about an ancestor who was particularly unlucky. Or, you could say that I’m the lucky one for finding what I have about her. My great great grandmother, Ella, died at the age of 26 and there are almost no official documents for her. I struggled in my research until recently. My grandfather died last fall, which has prompted us to go through everything at his house and a trunk in his bedroom yielded several letters that had been written to Ella, and one that was written by her.

    RAKESTRAW Springer, Zerilda Eleanora

    Thanks for the shout out, Amy!

  3. Elizabeth Wilson Ballard

    I wouldn’t have believed I had Irish ancestors until some years ago when I was told one surname by my aunt. More digging uncovered at least that she was born in Ireland, as were her parents and grandparents. This is a brief write-up of some facts without any research over the ocean

    The family came to America in 1849-1850 and settled in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey.

    COTTER and SHANAHAN – Kiss Me, I’m 1/16th Irish!

  4. labwriter

    James Baxter Sr., 1769-1828, my 4x great grandfather. My Irish ancestor has been difficult for me to research–an immigrant in about 1785, probably from County Tyrone, settled in Pennsylvania, one of the literally thousands of Irish (or “Scotch-Irish Seceders”) who settled there before 1800. He seems to have left no record of himself in Pennsylvania before he moved on to Ohio and then Indiana. One complicating factor are the D.A.R. applications which show him to be James Baxter, from Pennsylvania, who fought in the Revolutionary War. I spent countless hours researching and debunking that one. Ach!


  5. pen4hire


    This week I trace the immigration of my German iron-worker ancestors during the Palatine Immigration in “How German Johann Wilhelm became American William Butts.”

    Found some surprises–like the “Old Man’s Company” from Berks County, Pennsylvania during the American Revolution. German men over 40 recruited by a 90-year-old with an 84-year-old musician.


  6. Patti Di Loreto

    Luck of the SCOTS-Irish (a/k/a “Ulster-Scots”): Pictures, books, quotes, articles & general info about the descendants of those SCOTS who settled in Ireland and Ulster and later came to America’s shores – commonly known in America as “Scots or Scotch-Irish.” “Scotch-Irish” was the common term early on and many family papers, old books, etc. refer to them as such and many families still prefer to use it as well. Nowadays, “Scots-Irish” has become more in vogue, but really, “Ulster-Scot” would be the best term to use for these folks, as all too often, people latch on to the “Irish” part and miss out on their true heritage with this group, which is SCOTTISH! My 52 Ancestors Pinterest Board address here:


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  8. Wanda

    I struggled with this week’s post about my own mother, mostly because there are several periods of time in her childhood and adolescence that I haven’t found records for. Part of it, of course, is that her early years were difficult–both her parents died before she was 18. I’ve finally realized that none of these profiles can be considered perfect or complete. That said, I’m equally frustrated and optimistic–frustrated about the information that is lost to time and optimistic about record sources and techniques I haven’t yet discovered. Thus I hope, one day, to fill in the blank spots in my mother’s story.

    Irene Agnes Armbrust (1929-2000)


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