Roberts Line & Howell Line
by Don Taylor
My fifth look at possible relatives using the “We’re Related” showed Johnny Depp as a potential cousin. I immediately thought, “Oh – My – Gawd.” I had looked at my wife’s relationship with Johnny Depp last spring. If she is a 7th cousin three times removed to Johnny Depp, and I am an 8th cousin twice removed to Johnny Dep, then it would suggest that my wife and I are 10th cousins. Could it be?
“We’re Related” suggests that John Pinkard (1647-1690) is a common ancestor of Johnny Depp and myself. The lineage goes up my paternal (Roberts) line:
I did a brief look at the descendants of John Pinkard (1647-1690) and didn’t find any children named Jean nor did I find any daughters who married a Panetier or Pankey.
Even though I haven’t found anything, so far, to support the “We’re related” suggestion that my wife and I are related I haven’t seen anything that disproves it either. In both cases, I need to do much more research into the Pinkard, Pankey, and Panetire families. It is possible my wife and I are related through this connection.
Panetier is similar enough to Pankey that Pankey could be a derivative. Likewise, Pinkard could be another derivative name. So, I have seven or eight individuals I need to research further to confirm both of us are related to Johnny Depp, and each other. This research could be fascinating and fun to do.
Once again, “We’re Related” proves to be an interesting application that causes me to ask new questions and suggests new areas for research.
[* = Italic entries are “We’re Related suggestions that are unknown to my research.]
My fourth look at possible relatives using the “We’re Related” app showed fewer new cousins than ever before. The famous people I had determined could not be related have fallen off the possible list. The three I’m looking at this time are Dick Clark, Meghan Trainor, and Marilyn Monroe.
Dick Clark (1929-2012)
Richard Wagstaff Clark was a radio and television personality. He is best known for hosting “American Bandstand” from 1957 until 1987. I remember Dick Clark and his show very well and watched it throughout the 1960s. I also remember him bringing in the new century in a 2000 New Year’s program.
According to “We’re Related,” our relationship follows up the Montran, Barber line through Frank Barber to his mother Orissa A. Champlain. From there it goes back five more generations to Noah Wells being a common ancestor. I have not determined Frank Barbers parents so I was excited to pursue this potential line.
Then I noticed the first discrepancy, “We’re Related” was indicating that Ida Mae Barber’s father was Frank W. Barber and my records indicate Ida’ father was Frank (short for Franklin) A. Barber.
Then I searched Ancestry.Com’s family trees for Orissa A. Champlain and found her. According to a family tree posted on Ancestry, her son, Frank Barber was born in 1841 in New York. My 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E. Barber, was born in 1836 in Ohio. I’m confident that I am not related to Dick Clark through that path.
Meghan Trainor (1993-)
Meghan Elizabeth Trainor is a Grammy Awarding winning singer and songwriter.
This relationship is said to follow my Brown/Sanford/Parsons/Mabon/Rowley line back to Weeks Rowley. It then suggests that his mother Hannah Phelps, and his grandfather was Nathaniel Phelps, our common ancestor.
I searched Ancestry and found several trees that indicated that Hannah Phelps married Nathaniel Rowley and although I didn’t have Weeks Rowley’s mother, I did have Nathaniel Rowley as Weeks’ father. Assuming the downward tree from Nathaniel Phelps to Meghan Trainor is correct, I think it is very likely that she and I are related as 8th cousins, once removed.
Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)
Norma Jeane Mortenson (aka Marilyn Monroe) was an actress and model famous for being a popular sex symbol of the 1950s and known for her movies which included “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds,” and “Some Like It Hot.”
“We’re Related” suggests Marilyn and I are related through the Roberts line back through John Calvin Roberts and his mother. My records indicate that John Calvin Roberts’ mother was Rebecca Brashears but “We’re Related” is indicating John Calvin Roberts’ mother is “Private.” Likewise, “We’re Related” shows John Calvin Roberts’ mother’s father is “Private,” also. My research found that John Calvin Roberts’ mother’s father was Robert Cager Brashears. If I am right and they are right then Robert Brashear’s mother is Charity Dowell.
I find that Marilyn Monroe might by my 9th cousin, but additional research is needed. So, I need to research Robert Brashear’s ancestors and determine if Charity Dowell is his mother.
I definitely need to listen to some of Meghan Trainor’s music. Although the music gene seems to have passed me by, my sister Glennis and my brother Mark appear to have inherited it.
“We’re Related” is fun to look at and see the possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and provides clues into further research. Ancestry algorithms may have slipped back as one of the matches is unlikely through the suggested line. However, two of the famous people are possible and require additional research.
Research the mother of Weeks Rowley. She might be Hannah Phelps.
Research Robert Brashear’s ancestors and determine if Charity Dowell is his mother.
It had been a while since I tried using “We’re Related,” so I thought I’d take another quick look at my wife’s closest matches. Among the latest matches is my wife’s closest match so far, a 4th cousin 3 times removed – Dakota Fanning.
There are still seven individuals who are supposed to be 9 degrees of separation cousins, but I decided to focus on Theodore Roosevelt (8th cousin once removed) and Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) a supposed 6th cousin 3 times removed.
Hanna Dakota Fanning is an actress and model. She was born February 23, 1994, in Conyers, Georgia. At the age of eight, she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for her work in “I Am Sam.” She is also known for her roles in “Coraline” (2009), “War of the Worlds” (2005) and the role of Jane in “The Twilight Saga” movie series.
The relationship with Dakota Fanning follows my wife’s Howell line:
My previous research indicated that Nancy Jane Panky probably married Joseph L. Covington on 23 April 1861 in Henry Virginia. Readily available on-line resources provided Dakota’s parents and grandparents names. I readily accept the Ancestry trees that make the link from Covington to Arrington and am quite certain that Dakota Fanning is a fourth cousin three times removed to my wife.
The 26th President of the United States was a driving force for the Progressive Era. Famous for establishing the US Forest Service, he proclaimed 18 national monuments and placed over a quarter of a million acres of land under public protection.
The relationship with Teddy Roosevelt follows my wife’s Darling line:
John Munsell (1690-1776) (I am unsure about John Munsell.)
Lydia Way (1653-1733) – Ancestry suggests, but still unknown to me.
George Way (1614-1690) – Unknown to me.
Henry Way (1583-1667) – Supposed Common Ancestor
John Munsell and Lydia Way were identified as ancestors on the way to a common ancestor with Winston Churchill. Both are on my future ancestor research list. However, I am not comfortable with John Munsell being born in 1690. My research found Timothy Munsell’s father John Munsell born in 1702. The Munsell family lived in and around Lyme, New London County Connecticut and there were several John Munsells. That said, I believe the relationship with Theodore Roosevelt is still possible, but with 4 generations of uncertainty, I’m unconvinced.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known by his pen name of Mark Twain. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are among the greatest classics of American fiction.
John Munsell (1690-1776) I am unsure about John Munsell.
Lydia Morrill (1661-1737) – Ancestry suggests, but still unknown to me.
Sarah Clement (1626-1694) – Unknown to me.
Robert Clements (1595-1658) – Supposed Common Ancestor
You may have noticed that one tree suggests that Lydia Way was the mother of Timothy Munsell and the other tree suggests that Lydia Morrill was the mother of Timothy Munsell. There could be one Lydia who had two different surnames before she married a Munsell. However, there could also be two different Lydia’s one the mother of Timothy Munsell, one not
Again, researching the parents of Timothy Munsell is on my research plan. A relationship with Mark Twain is possible, but we are still 4 generations away from certainty. So, I’ll put the relationship with Mark Twain to be possible.
Yes, “We’re Related” is fun and can provide clear direction to famous cousins. However, it can also provide questionable lineages. Its genealogical pathways should be taken as possible but never true without your own research to follow the tangled webs.
There are new people every week using “We’re Related” so I thought I’d take another look at the three of my wife’s new matches. My wife’s two closest matches were Winston Churchill and Bill Gates, both supposed 8th cousins. At 9th cousins, there were several matches that I had seen before when was looking at my famous cousins. It was exciting to see my wife had similar relatives to me. If my wife and I share the same cousin then she and I must also be related. I had looked at my relationship with Stephen King before and determined my relationship to him was unlikely, so I decided to look at my wife’s relationship with Walt Disney, whom I had determined was at least possible before.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill is certainly one of the best-known politicians of the last century. He was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945 and again Prime Minister from 1951 until 1955. He is also, potentially my wife’s 7th cousin, once removed.
I have confirmed Sally Ann Munsell as an ancestor, and I concur that Timothy and John are likely Sally Ann’s father and grandfather respectively. I haven’t found any information about John Munsell’s parents yet. However, I suspect that the relationship is likely.
William Henry Gates III, is, according to Wikipedia, the richest man in the world, worth about $87 Billion. “We’re Related” suggests that he is my wife’s 7th cousin, once removed. Again, this relationship follows the Darling line.
I have confirmed Abner Darling (Sr.) as an ancestor, and I concur that his mother was Mary Hakes and his grandmother was Anna Billings. I haven’t found information about Anna Billings’ parents yet. However, I suspect that the relationship is very likely.
Walter Elias Disney is a great film producer and fun maker. His creations of Disneyland and Disney World are the template for theme parks.
According to “We’re Related,” the relationship of my wife to Walt Disney is an 8th cousin, once removed. The relationship follows her Darling line:
I have confirmed Sally Ann Munsell as an ancestor, and I concur that her mother was Elisheba Smith. However, I haven’t found information about a Chadwick line for Elisheba. I judge that the relationship to be Possible.
According to “We’re Related,” my lineage to (8th cousin, twice removed) Walt Disney follows a Roberts/Blackwell/Harris/Brown line to the supposed common ancestor of Benjamin Brown. I’d be a lot more comfortable that my wife and I are related if we ended up at the same supposed common ancestor, or at least see a common surname. With us coming from two entirely different directions I suspect that one (or both) of the supposed lines to Walt Disney is incorrect. As such, I judge the relationship of my connection to my wife through a common ancestor of Walt Disney to be possible but improbable.
“We’re Related” is fun and I enjoy looking at possibilities. It makes me think about key relationships in my tree and provides clues for further research. Ancestry appears to have improved its algorithms as none of the matches this time were unlikely or impossible. I enjoy the application.
So, my wife says to me, “I thought you were going to look at my family also in “We’re Related.” I had mentioned in my first article, “We’re Related – My Possible Relatives – First Look,” that I was looking forward to seeing how well the app did looking at her family.
Switching user trees in “We’re Related” is cumbersome. You need to add another tree, identify yourself in that tree, then remove your old tree from being used. Also, the app uses your name from somewhere and not the tree and person you are saying you are. In any event, the app uses my photo instead of my wife’s even though it uses her name in some places and my name in other locations. It is frustrating, but nothing you can’t think your way around. It just tells me that the app was intended only for one person and one tree.
I researched my wife’s tree before and learned Patrick Swayze was my wife’s ninth cousin. I also read that John Cameron Swayze (Timex – takes a licking and keeps on ticking) was related to Patrick, so must be related to my wife also but I didn’t trace the relationship. I figured one or both of them would show up in “We’re Related.” I was wrong. Neither of them are in the first potential cousins suggested. “We’re Related suggested the following relationships:
Michelle Obama 8th Cousin, 2x Removed 8 Generations to the common ancestor
Elon Musk 8th Cousin, 2x Removed 8 “
Miley Cyrus 7th Cousin, 1x Removed 7 “
Britney Spears 8th Cousin, 2x Removed 8 “
Johnny Depp 7th Cousin, 3x Removed 7 “
Christina Aguilera 8th Cousin, 2x Removed 8 “
“We’re Related” extends family trees to a common ancestor, I figured the shorter the line, the more likely it would be that I could confirm a relationship. Miley Cyrus and Johnny Depp were the closest famous people suggested by the app with only seven generations before the common ancestor. Of individuals with eight individuals before the common ancestor, I thought she’s like the idea that Michelle Obama was related, so I selected her from the “eights.”
Miley Ray Cyrus
Born Destiny Hope Cyrus in 1992, Miley Cyrus is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She is known for her role as Penny in the animated movie “Bolt,” where she not only starred but was nominated for a Golden Globe award for the original song, “I Thought I Lost You.” She and my wife are supposedly 7th cousins, 1x removed. The relationship follows the Howell/Hobbs line:
I have looked carefully at Mary Hobbs, Annie Long, Martha Bryan, and Cherry Price’s lives and written about them (as noted above). I agree that Cherry Price’s mother appears to be Mary Brown. I suspect Hardy Brown is Mary Brown’s father, but I haven’t confirmed that yet. I have no knowledge of William Brown nor a clue regarding Hardy Brown’s parents. My wife’s relationship with Miley Cyrus is verypossible.
John Christopher Depp, II, is a famous actor, producer, and musician. He is best known for his roles in “Edward Scissorhands,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” He was born in 1963 in Kentucky. He and my wife are supposedly 7th cousins, 3x removed. The relationship follows the Howell/Pankey line:
I have looked carefully at Howell/Pankey line through Thomas A. Pankey, and I agree that Thomas’s father was likely Samuel Pankey. I have no knowledge of Stephen Pankey being Thomas Pankey’s father nor have I seen anything suggesting the Panetier surname. My wife’s relationship with Johnny Depp is possible.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born in Chicago, IL, in 1964 and married Barack Obama in 1992. She campaigned for her husband in 2008 and became First Lady of the United States with his inauguration on January 20, 2009. Michelle and my wife are supposedly 8th cousins, 2x removed. The relationship follows the Darling line exclusively on my wife’s side.
Dennis Darling (1640-1717) – Common Ancestor – Agree!
This is the first “We’re Related” suggested famous person relationship wherein their suggestion of a common ancestor is an ancestor known to me and one with I agree. I have confirmed that Dennis Darling (1640-1717) had at least ten children. One was my wife’s ancestor Benjamin; one was Michelle’s supposed ancestor, John. Although I don’t have their names, I am fairly sure that John had at least 13 children, one of whom could easily have been Martha Darling. I suspect that the genealogical research for the famous people, like Michelle Obama, is pretty solid, so I’m am fairly confident that the relationship of Michelle Obama being my wife’s 8th cousin twice removed, is very probable.
“We’re Related” has not suggested any of our friends are related to my wife yet.
“We’re Related” is a fun little app to look at possibilities. It pleases me to think that Michelle Obama and my wife are related. But more importantly, “We’re Related” helps me think about key relationships in my tree and has the potential of providing clues into further research. Ancestry has clearly improved its algorithms and appears to use feedback from researchers so that matches aren’t presented that are unlikely or impossible.