Surname Saturday - Whitney

I've recently been trying to expand my family research into the Whitney line, which is on the paternal side of my family tree. I wish I'd focused on this line sooner, because it's taken me quite far back into my family history and I've found some very interesting new ancestors. So, I decided I'd throw a spotlight on the Whitney name for this weeks' Surname Saturday.

The surname of Whitney was originally a place name. The family takes its name from Whitney parish located in County Hereford (Herefordshire) in England. It's located on the extreme western border adjoining Wales and the river Wye travels through it. The name Whitney may also be derived from the Anglo-Saxon hwit, meaning white, and ey, meaning water. Before surnames, early landowners of Whitney were Eustace, or Baldwin, or Robert de Whitney--de meaning of. It was often spelled Wytteneye. Over the course of a few centuries, however, the de was dropped and an h was added and the most common spelling became Whitney. The name can be traced back to the year 1086 to one Eustace of Whitney.

The Whitney family has a strong history in England. One Sir Robert Whitney was knighted before Queen Mary after her coronation in 1553. Sir Eustace de Whitney was knighted by Edward I in 1306. Sir Robert Whitney was knight marshal in the court of Richard the II. His son Robert was granted Clifford Castle by Henry IV. And there were two Whitney ancestors who descended from William the Conqueror. Not to mention my 14th great grandfather, Robert Whitney (there were a lot of Roberts!), who was nominated Knight of the Bath by Henry VIII at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1531.

That's a lot of cool English history right there. But I'm going to focus on the first Whitney in my family tree to reach America, which was my paternal 10th great grandfather, John Whitney. It's fascinating to me that someone with such strong ties to England and a remarkable lineage decided to make his way to America so long ago.

John Whitney Watertown Massachusetts 1635 - Ancestry Chick

Kephart Postcard 1907

Every once in awhile, I poke around on Ebay, just on the off chance I'll find something up for sale related to one of my ancestors. One regular 'alert' I've set up there is for the town of Wellston, Oklahoma. I have so many ancestors from there, so I like to be aware of any finds from that town that might be relevant to my genealogical research. 

I get hits fairly regularly on 'Wellston,' but up until a few months ago, nothing has proved too useful. But when I got this particular alert, I knew I'd found something awesome. It's related to my maternal great grandfather, John Arthur Kephart. In his younger years, Grandpa Kephart had been a photographer. He even had a studio between 1908-1916, though he'd been taking photos before that, and I'm sure afterward as well. I posted about this once, including a photo of his photo gallery that was in Wellston. The photo had been found by a woman named Carol, who worked at the Lincoln County Historical Society in Chandler, OK. She sent me a copy and I was thrilled to get it. Prior to that, I'd found advertisements for Grandpa Kephart's photography in old newspapers, and even some photos he'd taken that appeared in the newspaper.

Well, the alert I got from Ebay was for a photo postcard from Wellston, Oklahoma. And not only did it have Wellston on it, it also had the name Kephart on the top left of it. Photographers would frequently add their names to the photos they took in that way, to identify themselves as the photographer. 

John Arthur Kephart Photo Postcard 1907 - Ancestry Chick

The postcard left the Post Office in Guthrie, OK, headed to Miss Edna Meyer in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, from one R. E. Davis. The image shows East Main Street in Wellston. 

This may be the only postcard or actual photo I ever find that was taken by John Arthur Kephart, so I will treasure it. But I'll stay on the hunt for more mementos of his photography past. 

Wednesday's Child - Faye and Brucke Kephart

For this week's Wednesday's Child feature, I'm spotlighting two of the Kephart kin in my family. My maternal great aunt, Lorena Faye (Kephart) Woolard; and one of her brothers, my great uncle, Edgar Bruce Kephart. Faye is on the left in the photo, and Bruce is on the right. 

Lorena Faye and Edgar Bruce Kephart - Ancestry Chick

Aunt Faye was born September 30, 1921 in Wellston, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. She was the fourth child and second daughter born to John Arthur Kephart and Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart. Faye married Henry Earl Woolard on June 29, 1945. Since she lived in Oklahoma, I didn't get to see Aunt Faye very often as I was growing up. But I do have a couple of nice memories of her at some family gatherings from my childhood. Aunt Faye passed away on February 16, 1995.

Uncle Bruce was born pm February 15, 1924, also in Wellston. He was the 8th child and fifth son of John and Della Kephart. He married Helen Lenore Gardner on February 5, 1945. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with my Uncle Bruce as I was growing up. I have many wonderful memories of summer visits at his home in California, fishing, and helping him work on his home that he built in Northern California. Bruce passed away on November 10, 1994. I miss him dearly.

I think this is the only photo I have of Faye and Bruce as young children, and the quality isn't the best. I edited it a bit to get rid of some of the blemishes. But I still love this photo of the two of them, and I'm glad to be able to share it with you.

Wednesday's Child - Ruby Christina Kephart

I've pretty much gone by the name, 'Tina' my whole life. But my given name is Christina, and I was named after one of my maternal great aunts, Ruby Christina Kephart. So, I thought I'd make Aunt Ruby the spotlight of this week's Wednesday's Child feature. 

Ruby Christina Kephart - Ancestry Chick

Ruby Christina Kephart was born September 29, 1909 in Wellston, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of John Arthur Kephart and Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart, and she was the first born of 11 children born to my great grandparents. She also happened to share the share the same birthday (though 18 years apart) with my grandmother, Della Maxine Kephart. 

You have to admit, she was such an adorable baby! She was quite pretty as she grew older as well. Just look at her, wearing perfectly awesome bows in her hair--long before someone named 'Jo-Jo' got famous doing it. ;) 

Ruby Christina Kephart - Ancestry Chick

I didn't get to see my Aunt Ruby much when I was growing up, since we lived in different states. But I always loved the fact that I was someone's namesake. I thought she had to be very special for my mom to have named me after her. Whenever I did see her, she was always very kind and sweet to me. And the cool part is, my sister named her first daughter Christina as well, so really, we are both namesakes of my great Aunt Ruby! I am so thankful I have these photos of her, and glad to be able to share them as this week's Wednesday's Child.

Grandma Kephart's Tin Box

I think it's time for another addition to my Tuesday Treasures feature here at Ancestry Chick. I wasn't sure what family heirloom I should pick this week, but I finally settled on this simple little tin box that belonged to my maternal great grandmother, Della Mae (Swinford) Kephart.

Grandma Kephart's Tin Box - Ancestry Chick

My mom gave me this little tin candy box a few years before she passed away. She had gotten into the habit of bringing me family things when she would come and visit from Texas. She always told me she had some new goodies for me, and she gave them to me because she knew how much these kinds of things mean to me. Mom and I both spent many years doing genealogy, and also just treasuring family things that had sentimental value. So, anytime she would bring me something, I was more than thrilled to get it.

Surname Saturday - Crain

This week's Surname Saturday post is highlighting the Crain surname from my family tree. According to the House of Names website, "an ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Crain. It is a name for a person whose was tall, and had long legs. This nickname derived from the Old English words cranuc, and cornuc, which mean crane."  They also say that the name, Crain was first found in Suffolk, England, before it made its way to Scotland. I've also read that variants of the name Crain can be found in Ireland.

In my family tree, working my way from me backwards, the first instance of the name Crain is my paternal 2nd great grandmother, Mary Ellen Crain. Mary Ellen was born October 24, 1867 in Illinois.

Mary Ellen Crain and Aaron Bigham - Surname Saturday
Mary Ellen Crain was the daughter of John Hatch Crain (1840-1911) and Nancy Jane Simmons (1844-1915). They moved from Illinois to Kansas within a few years of Mary Ellen's birth. 

Mary Ellen married Aaron Bigham in Labette County, Kansas on May 25, 1884. Mary Ellen was just sixteen years old at the time. They had eight children together, including my great grandfather, Turence Stanley Bigham. Mary Ellen (Crain) Bigham died November 25, 1959 in Labette County, Kansas, where she had lived for most of her life. 

So far, I have the Crains traced back to the 18th Century in my tree. There is more than one line of Crains in my tree too, so some connections are a bit tangled or confusing. Crain is also sometimes spelled Crane, so that only adds to the confusion. There are Crains in my tree that reach back to Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. I have lots more research to do on the Crains and Cranes in my family tree! Hopefully I'll get all the roots untangled at some point.


Is This Andrew Jackson Winders

Following up on my previous post about my 3rd great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Winders, I want to share some photos that I received over the summer. Before I do that, let me give you some background information on how I acquired them.

I received a message through my Ancestry account from a very kind lady named Carlene, who works at the Elkhart County Genealogical Society in Indiana. She told me that they had a box of items (letters, photos, research, dog tags, etc.) relating to the Winders family. Since I have many Winders ancestors, I asked for the name of the owner of the dog tags, and it was Charles Garrison Winders. Immediately I knew the name. Charles was my 1st cousin, 3x removed. Our shared ancestor is Andrew Jackson Winders--my 3rd great grandfather, and Charles' grandfather! So, Carlene had this box of Winders items that she wanted to send to family of the Winders. I explained my connection, and she sent me that wonderful box of genealogical treasures. 

I'm hoping to share several of those treasures over time on the blog. There were many photos of Charles, his father, and their family, along with lots of wonderful research by Charles' daughter. It's been so wonderful to have it all. I've gone through most of it, but hope to dig deeper into the research there once I'm on my summer break again. But for now, I want share two photos that were in that box.

The first photo is of a man and woman and is one of very few photos that has no information written on it. I'm not even sure of when it was taken, but from the looks of the woman's dress, I'd guess early 1900's. 

Andrew Jackson Winders - Ancestry Chick