Ancestor Biography – Catharine A. D. Walter

Howell-Darling-2017-Research

Waters – Swayze – Darling Line
By Don Taylor

Purported photo of Catherine A. D. (Walker) Swayze. [Not Confirmed]
It seems like virtually every ancestor born before 1880 has a question regarding their birth. Catharine Waters is no exception to that. Most records I have found are consistent with her date of birth being 15 June, 1794, however there are conflicting locations –  Virginia and Maryland.  The only two census records during Catharine’s lifetime indicate her birth occurred in Virginia. However, written genealogies indicate her birth occurred in Maryland, thus my quandary.

Birth Locations for Catharine A. D. Walter

Document/Source Date of Document Birthdate Suggested
1850 Census[i] 1850 1794-1795 – Virginia
1860 Census[ii] 1860 1794-1795 – Virginia
Marker (per Find a Grave) 1868 24 or 25 June 1789
Obituary – Kalamazoo Telegraph 18 Apr 1866 1868 May or June 1794
Genealogy of the Swasey Family[iii] 1910 15 Jun 1794 – Maryland
DAR Descendant’s List – Helen J. Roy -Nat’l #455124, Ancestor #A120153[iv] Unknown 15 Jun 1794 – Maryland
Sweezey.Com[v] 2011 15 June 1794 – Maryland

On page 187 of the Genealogy of the Swasey Family, Benjamin Franklin Swasey writes, “Catharine A. D. Walter, b. in Maryland, June 15, 1794. Of course, he provides no source for this assertion.

Bob Sweezey, via sweezey.com, states Catharine’s birthplace is Maryland even though he notes that the 1860 Census indicates Virginia. However, I don’t see where his provided a source for his assertion either.

Finally, the DAR descendants list of member Helen J. Roy (Nat’l #: 455124 – Ancestor #: A120153) fails to indicate the source of her assertion that, “Catharine Walter born on 15 – Jun – 1794 at MD.”

The death records really confuse things.  Catharine’s obituary in the Kalamazoo Telegraph and the registry entry with the Michigan Department of Community Health suggests a birth year of 1794 (age 73 years, 10 months) but some think her marker indicates 78 years, 9 months, 22 days.  The photo evidence on Find a Grave isn’t clear and compelling. I can see it indicating 73 years or 78 years.  The image just isn’t clear enough for me.  I think some enhanced photographic techniques may be needed to clear up the conflict.

52 Ancestors – Howell-Darling Ancestor #51

Catharine Ann Dent Walter (1794-1868)

Catharine (known as Katherine[vi] in some records) Waters was born on 15 June 1794 in Virginia (See above) to James and Margaret Ann (Swan) Walker. She is the only child of theirs that I know of.

She married David Swayze on 17 January 1817.

In 1818, Catharine had Elizabeth Jane Swayze, the first of her 8 children.

In 1820, the young Swayzee family was living in Richland, Fairfield County, Ohio.

During the following decade, Catharine had five more children, Emily Ann, Margeretta, Angeline, William D. and S. B. Swayze. Margeretta Swayze died in 1823 at the age of two.

The 1830 Census found the family in Walnut, Fairfield County, Ohio. During the 1830s, Catharine had two more children, Theodore P and Caroline M Swayze in 1837 and 1838 respectively.

About 1840, the Swayzee’s moved to Kalamazoo and they were there for the 1850 and 1860 censuses.  When Catharine died in 1868, her obituary mentions that they had been living in the area for 28 years, which fits their arrival date in Kalamazoo as about 1840.

On 25 September, 1850, Catharine’s husband David Swayze died. On 24 July 1857, Catharine’s daughter, Elizabeth Jane (Swayze) Darling’s husband Rufus Holton Darling died. By the 1860 Census Catharine was living with her daughter Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s remaining children.

Marker – Catherine A. D. Swayze

Death

Catharine died 16 Apr 1868 in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan.[vii]

Burial

Some researchers indicate that she was buried at Marion, Ohio, however, she has a marker at Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Her marker indicates that she died aged 78 years, 9 months and 22 Days. However, her obituary indicates that she was 73 years, 10 months at the time of her death which coincides with her birth date.

Further Actions – Follow-up

  • Await response from Bob Sweezey who I emailed through his website to see if he can shed any light regarding his sources for this information.
  • Finally, I can order a set of 10 DAR documents which support Helen Roy’s DAR Application through the DAR for $20.
  • Visit Mountain Home cemetery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Use enhanced photographic techniques on Catharine A. D. Swayzee’s marker at Mountain View Cemetery, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

List of Grandparents

  • GrandParent:   Robert Harry Darling
  • 1stGreat:           Rufus Harry Darling
  • 2ndGreat:          Elizabeth Jane Swayzee
  • 3rdGreat:         Catharine Ann Dent Walter
  • 4thGreat:          James Walter

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ENDNOTES


 

My Wife’s DNA Results

I was bad. I mean, I was very bad. I got my wife an Ancestry autosomal DNA test for her birthday. Sure, she received some other gifts from me, but she thinks the autosomal DNA test was more for me than for her. She’s probably right – actually, she’s always right. I like figuring out relationships of DNA matches. For me it is great sport and she knows me well. So, I guess it really was my gift to me on the occasion of the celebration of her birth.  


After the test was done and the results were received, I started looking at her results. Ireland, Scandinavia, Great Britain – no surprises there. Iberian Peninsula is a bit odd, but not unbelievable. Then it hit me – No Swiss!? That is very odd. Two of her great grandparents emigrated from Switzerland. Her great-grandfather, John Huber, came from Windlach, Zürich, Switzerland. Family oral history says that his family farmed the same land for 800 years. Her great-grandmother, Bertha Trümpi, came from Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland. With both great-grandparents coming from Switzerland, I would have expected her grandmother to have been 100% Swiss. With her grandmother being 100%, I expected my wife to be about 25% Swiss. However, there was no reference to that ancestry in Ancestor.Com’s ethnicity profile for her. That is really odd. Now, the “trace regions” make up 10% of her DNA, but diving into that showed that she about 9% Italian, Greek, and “Europe West.” Anyway, 9% is a far cry away from the 25% that I expected. I’ll have to see if I can get her mother to test as well and see what comes through from those results.

About 9% from areas that include Switzerland

Although the Ethnicity Estimates are fun, the real reason for DNA testing is to make connections with others researching the same family trees and to facilitate communications between cousins researching the same family. For that, I was disappointed that Ancestry allows you to connect your DNA profile only to one tree. Long ago, I separated my wife’s family trees into two different trees – one for her paternal line and one for her maternal line. The biggest reason I did that was that other people, who are researching one line, are never researching the other line. I’ve also found that few people really care about the genealogy of individuals related only by the marriage of a distant cousin. Anyway, I think Ancestry should allow you to link an individual’s DNA to any tree that they are a part of.

Anyway, because Ancestry.com doesn’t allow for multiple trees to be linked to an individual DNA profile, I needed to create a new tree just for her autosomal DNA results. So, I exported her two trees, then merged them into one, uploaded that as a new tree, and then linked her DNA to that tree. Sigh… Not a huge task, but now I have an instance of her tree that I probably will not manage.

I looked closer at the DNA Matches. Wow, 180 matches at 4th cousin or closer. That’s amazing. One of the matches shared a common ancestor hint. A new 4th cousin’s relationship appeared. Ancestry showed my wife’s tree going up to the common ancestor and back down to the cousin.

Then I looked at the cousin’s tree closer. She had parents for that common ancestor, names that I didn’t have. So, I now have two new ancestors named. The great thing is that individual also had sources for those ancestors. I can then take what she has and determine if I can follow her analysis and see if I agree. So, it is a great beginning to another research project.

Matching tree from Ancestry.com 
(first two generations not displayed) 

The other matches (3rd cousin or closer) either have private trees or do not have meaningful trees on Ancestry  matched to their DNA. I will need to contact each individual and see if they have a tree elsewhere they will share with me. In any event, there are many new leads to follow because of the autosomal DNA testing of my wife.

Actions to take:

Have my wife’s mother tested though Ancestry.
Follow-up research with Catherine A.D. Walter (wife’s shared common ancestor).
Contact each of the 5 people identified as 3rd cousins and
   see if we can determine the relationship and
   identify and research any new ancestor leads.  

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