Uncle Russ, the Poet

Kees

Lisa Emmett recently contacted me about my Uncle Russ. She read my post about him – “In Memoriam – Russell Erwin Kees (1927-2016)” – and wondered if my uncle was the author of a poem she had.

Apparently, her mother died last year and as she was going through her mother’s things, she found a poem in a jewelry box by Russell E. Kees. As we compared notes, we learned that both her mother, the former Rosella VanderKlok, and my Uncle Russ were born in 1927, so they were contemporaries. Additionally, Rosella grew up and lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, until the 1950s. My uncle lived in Grand Rapids from about 1937 to about 1944. So they were in the same place at the same time. So, there is no doubt in my mind that the poem, “To Rosa” is a poem from my uncle to a young woman, written sometime from when they were teens, probably 16 or 17 years old.

Photo of Russell Kees in army uniform
Russell Kees c. 1952

Rosella VanderKlok

TO ROSIE

“Rosa” by Russell E. Kees

I’ll admit I’m rather slow,
When it comes to words of grace,
So I’ll tell it to you in a poem,
Rather than face to face.

I realize we’ve barely met,
Except for a week or two,
But I think that the time is coming close,
To speak of my love for you.

No don’t get red and blush and fret,
‘Cause it happens every day,
Boy meets girl, and falls in love,
That’s why I feel this way.

I may joke like I did last night,
About things we were going to do,
But deep inside, I keep the hope,
That someday they might come true.

I was happy to see you wear my ring,
And although I have no right,
To lie here in bed and think of you,
As mine for a single night.

I’ve tried for an hour to write a poem,
Explaining just how I feel,
But after I’ve read it, (and I’m glad that I said it)
I feel like a lowdown feel.

So here is the poem I said I would write,
God help me for being blunt,
But truth is stranger than fiction, you know,
And the true is, this poem’s NO stunt.

May God give me the courage to look you in the eye again
after you’ve read this!!!!!!

THE WORST THING I’VE EVER WRITTEN
(But the Truest)

                           by Russell E. Kees

Russell and Rosa must have had a very special relationship for Rosa to have kept the poem for nearly 75 years. The poem also provides insight into Russell, whose youth experiences have always been a mystery to me.  My thanks to Lisa for sharing this glimpse into their teenage lives.

Ancestry’s ThruLines

General Genealogy
DNA, Brown Line
By Don Taylor

I was recently asked what I thought about Ancestry’s new ThruLinestm feature, how much did I use it and what do I accept from it. In using autosomal DNA results, it is always good to have a very wide tree. The wider your tree is, the more cousins you have identified, the more likely you will be able to determine the relationship between you and a DNA match.

So, I decided to look at the matches that reach my great-grandparents, Arthur and Mary (Manning) Brown. They had 12 children, 11 of whom reached adulthood, so I figured there would be many cousins there.

ThruLines for Arthur Durwood Brown (Partial)

I tend to analyze each person left to right, so I started with a 2nd cousin, descended from Victoria Brown.

ThruLines – Victoria Brown Segment
  1. Look at the centimorgan (cM) match amount. In this first case, the individual and I share 134 cM across nine segments. Our trees suggest we are 2nd The Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4 at DNAPainter.com https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcmv4 indicates that 2nd cousins should share between 46 and 515 cm of genetic material. So, our match is within the expected range.
  2. Does the other person’s tree match yours? In this case, we have all of the same data for her grandmother. In order to accept a ThruLinestm display, both 1 and 2 must pass.
  3. Do the other descendant entries make sense? In this case, the cousin’s father is still living (and thus redacted). I had the same person with no discrepancies in data. Therefore, I am sure of the match. I did contact the individual to learn of her first name and then entered her into my tree in the right place.
ThruLines – Edward Brown Segment

The next cousin to analyze is a descendant of Edward Lewis Brown. This cousin and I share 144 cM over seven segments, well within the expected range for 2nd cousins, once removed.

According to ThruLines, this match a great-granddaughter of Edward through her mother and her grandmother both of which have private entries.  My records indicate that Edward had ten children, seven of whom were girls. I also don’t have information on any of the granddaughters of Edward. As such, I can’t place this individual on the tree at all. I then contacted the cousin and asked her about her connection to Edward Brown. Her mother and her grandmother’s name if possible.  Once I receive that information, if her grandmother matches one of my known children of Edward Brown, I will accept her and her mother’s names from her tree.

ThruLines Arthur Brown Segment

Cousin number 3 was somewhat expected. The amount of DNA, 98 cM, fit expectations for 2nd cousins once removed. I had identical information for her grandfather and her great grandfather. Looking at my data, I had four potential women (all living) who could be the mother of this cousin. I contacted her and asked which of the sisters was her mother. She replied, and I placed her onto my tree.

I followed a similar process for all of the other cousins that ThruLinestm provided connections to.

As you can see, my process it to:

  1. Confirm the shared DNA amount matches expectations for the relationship.
  2. Confirm the cousin’s descendants from the common ancestor and a known child of the common ancestor.
  3. Analyze the remaining path to the cousin, assuring things make sense.

Then, I accept the individual’s tree as “tentative” from the grandchild of the common ancestor to the cousin.

I like ThruLinestm, but only for widening my tree to include individuals that are descendants of a known family unit.


Note: I do not even consider anything in the individual’s tree before our common ancestor.

Two New Fourth Greats – McAllister and Bell

Darling-McAllister-Bell

It is always a good day when you receive an envelope with new information. A few weeks ago, I ordered a copy of a marriage register entry for my wife’s third-great-grandparents on her Darling-McAllister line. I had found them in the GRO (General Register Office) index, which indicated her third-greats were married in October, November, or December in 1845.  I was pretty sure that the registry entry would provide an exact date and might provide other bits of information. And sure enough, it did. Although many other records are available electronically, the marriage records from the 1840s are still “they’ll send you a copy via mail.”

Marriage Registry Entry – Joseph McAlister and Hannah Bell – Married 8 November 1845 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England

After a number of weeks, the registry entry arrived, and I learned that Joseph McAllister and Hannah Bell were married on the “Eighth of November 1845.” There were married in the Register’s Office with William Scott and Arin Bell as witnesses. I’ll bet Arin Bell was probably related to Hannah. The registry entry shows Joseph was a “Mariner” (I knew he was a sailor before). But most interesting I learned that Joseph’s father was Peter McAlister, a miller, and Hannah’s father was Jonathan Bell, also a mariner.

The registry document provided the exact date for the marriage of her 3rd-great-grandparents and the names for two of my wife’s 4th-great grandparents, Peter McAllister and Johnathan Bell. Definitely a good day (And clues for further research.)

Surname Saturday – Beardsley

Darling Line
By Don Taylor

Name Origin

According to Forebears, the surname “Beardsley” is a derivation of “Bardsley,” which was derived from being from a place, ‘of Bardsley.’ Bardsley is a parish between Ashton and Oldham, near Manchester. The American Bardsleys, and all the North English Bardsleys, and perhaps all the Beardsleys, hail from the Lancashire parish[i].

Ancestry suggests the name may be based upon an unidentified place, possibly in Nottinghamshire, where the surname is particularly common[ii].

Of course, I need to see things in order to understand the relationships of locations in England. Using Google Maps, I learned that Forebears puts the Beardsleys up near Manchester and Ancestry suggests a location 60 miles southeast of Manchester.  Oddly enouth, my Beardsley are from Ilkeston and Stratford-upon-Avon (50 and 90 miles from Manchester).

Locations of Beardsleys based on Forebears and Ancestry are in Gray and the locations of my wife’s Beardsley ancestors births. 

It seems odd to me that William and his son were born so far apart. It makes me wonder if my data regarding their birthplaces is incorrect.  Additionally, I’m relying mostly upon the research of others for those specific locations (sources I’ve found only say they were born in England). In any event, I haven’t had a chance to research these individuals in depth yet. However, the Interregnum may explain the relocation.

Geographical

Worldwide there are approximately 12,390 people who bear the Beardsley surname.

It is most prevalent in the United State where over three-quarters of the people with the Beardsley surname live. Little Montserrat (a small island in the Lesser Antilles has the highest density of Beardsleys with 1 in 1,220 people having the surname.

Earliest Beardsley Ancestors

My wife’s ninth-great-grandfather, William Beardsley was born about 1604 in Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England. I, of course, like to imagine that young William Beardsley was named for William Shakespheare, a contemporary of the town of Stratford on Avon. Likewise, little William was about 12-years-old when Shakespeare died, so I speculate that William had seen, or at least knew of Shakespeare. William moved to Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England sometime before 1630 where he married Marie Harvie.

There, he had a son, Joseph Beardsley, who was born in Ilkeston, Darbyshire, England in 1635.

It was sometime before 1665 that William, Marie, and Joseph located to the Colonies and settled in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Flag of the United Kingdom
Immigrant Ancestor

The Interregnum of England took place from 1649 to 1660. (The between the execution of Charles I and the arrival of Charles II and the start of the Restoration[iii]. It was the time of Oliver Cromwell. More research is needed to know if they arrived in the Colonies before during, or after the Interregnum. In any event, it was a time of great upheaval in England and that chaos might have been the cause for leaving England for the new world.

So, both William and Joseph were immigrant ancestors from England.

Joseph married Abigail Phebe Dayton in Connecticut in 1665. They had a daughter, Hannah Beardsley, who is my wife’s seventh-great-grandmother.

My wife’s direct Beardsley ancestors:

  • Grandfather: Robert Harry Darling (1905-1969)
  • Great-grandfather: Rufus Harry Darling (1857-1917)
  • 3nd Great-grandmother: Elizabeth Jane Swayze (1818-1896)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1796-1850)
  • 4rd Great-grandfather: David Swayze (1762-1838)
  • 5th Great-grandfather: Amos Swayze (1739-1813)
  • 6th Great-grandfather: Mathias Swayze (1699-1728)
  • 7th Great-Grandmother: Hannah Beardsley (1671-1742)
  • 8th Great-Grandfather: Joseph Beardsley (1634-1712)
  • 9th Great-Grandfather: William Beardsley (1602-1661)

Known relatives.

Although I only have 11 Beardsley in my data, my records have identified 271 direct-line descendants of William Beardsley.

Sources:

Endnotes:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

My Irish Ancestry

Brown/Sanford/Parsons/Maben
Roberts/Scott

My Ancestry – 18% Irish, 82% “Great Britain”

I grew up being told I was English, Irish, and French. And modern DNA testing results have confirmed that.  Ancestry indicates that I am 18 percent Irish and the rest “Great Britain” which included England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and part of Germany.

I have discovered very few immigrant ancestors among my Ancestors. Only two that I know of were born in Ireland.  The first one is a sixth great-grandfather on my Brown line.

John Maben (1753-1813) was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1753[i]. He came to America and fought in the American Revolution. He served with Capt. Abner Hawley and Col. Peter Van Ness in the 9th Regt., Albany County Militia[ii]. In 1781, he married Sally Pierce in Connecticut. He died in Lexington, Greene County, New York in 1813.

Interestingly enough Slemish, in County Antrim, is the location that Saint Patrick was a slave for seven years.

Descendants of John Maben include:

My second Irish ancestor is a seventh great-grandfather on my Roberts line.

James Scott (1719-1783) was born in Northern Ireland in 1719. His wife’s name was Ester and he died in Virginia in 1783. I have not researched him in depth, consequently, I know little else about him.

Descendants of James Scott include:

  •             William Jarvis Scott (____-____)
  •             John Scott (1784-1855)
  •             Samuel Kinkade Scott (1809-____)
  •             William Hunt Scott (1834-1903)
  •             Samuel Vaden Scott (1863-1931)
  •             Clora Dell Scott (1883-1945)
  •             Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949)
  •             Hugh Eugene Roberts (1926-1997)
  •             Me

Today, Saint Patrick’s Day, 2019, I raise a glass and toast my Irish ancestry.


ENDNOTES

[i] It is possible that John Maben was born in the town of Antrim in County Antrim.
[ii] Daughters of the American Revolution, “Ancestor Search”, DAR, Maben, John – Patriot: A072838.