Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Out on a limb in the family tree

I have listed as one of my interests as genealogy. Indeed, I am interested in my family heritage. I have a problem getting past both sets of immediate great-grandparents.

My great grandfather was reportedly William Walter Martin of Greenville, Alabama. He married Minnie Gray. I can trace Minnie back to the immigrant in the early 1700's with some certainty. However, William is a dead end. His gravestone, pictured below, lists him only as W.W. Martin. Cemetary records have his name as "William Waller Martin" though my family insists that my dad, Henry Walter Martin, and his late sister Willie Glynn were named after their grand father. There were Wallers in Greenville, so there MAY be a connection there.

However, the best information I have is that William may have come in an orphan train with his grandmother. He may not even have been a "Martin"! To complicate matters, his brother-in-law was George Walter Martin who married Jessie Gray. Stories that William was a twin have surfaced, though George's dates don't match exactly.

Interestingly, my grandmother Martin was a Smith, and it is through her I can trace my heritage all the way back to the Scotish kings that preceded the Stuarts (James VI of Scotland became James I of England) I am descended from James III of Scotland. About two thirds of the American presidents are descended in some way from this same line!

However, I share an American ancestor with the present President (and, of course, his father). I am a twelth cousin to George Walker Bush. We both descend from Richard Swain, who immigrated to America in the early 1600's -- to the NORTH (Mass., not Virginia) :-(

The presidents line, through Richard's daughter Grace:

Richard SWAIN > Grace > Mary BOULTER > James PRESCOTT > Elisha > James > Lucy > Samuel P. Phillips FAY > Samuel H. > Harriet > Samuel P. BUSH > Prescott S. > GERORGE H.W. BUSH > GEORGE W. BUSH

My line is through Richard's son John:

Richard SWAIN > John > Steven > Elizabeth > Samuel SPRUILL > John > Mary > Elizabeth PHELPS > Enoch S. JONES > Martha > Mary J. DAVIS > Ola J. SMITH > Henry W. MARTIN > JAMES H. MARTIN

From what I have seen, the above is most likely true. I do not have the verification that the Lucy Prescott listed above was the mother of S.P.P. Faye. But the dates are close and so was the area in which they lived. With common names like Martin, Smith, Davis, and Jones, it is a wonder that one could get close to such a ten to twelve generation line! But I am more sure that MY line goes back to Swain than I am of the Bush line! I will get the documentation for anyone who is interested.

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