Ancestor Biography – Catharine A. D. Walter


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, 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


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


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




Will DNA Testing provide the Answer for my Howell Brick Wall?

By Don Taylor

I have completed my initial writing about Generations 3, 4, and 5 on my Howell line research. (See my blog on Howell Research for a list of people and articles.) My next person to research in that line is the unknown father of Peter M. Howell, my wife’s third great grandfather. When you begin researching an unknown person, it is highly desirable to have a plan.  Maybe not as formal of a plan as many genealogists do, or say we should do, but it needs to be enough to get going and not duplicate previous efforts. The plan is simple.

  • Consolidate what I know.
  • Determine a pathway to potentially learn more.
  • Document and relate what I find.
  • Determine the vital information about the subject.

What I know:

What little I do know about Peter’s father was gleaned from Peter’s book, The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Peter M. Howell[i]. From it, we know that Peter was born 15 July 1805, so there is a presumption that Peter’s father lived in Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1805. We know that the family moved to Buckingham County, Virginia in 1807. We also know that Peter’s father died when Peter was 12 years old (c. 1817). Finally, just for ballpark purposes, I conjecture that Peter’s father was likely somewhere between 20 and 45 when Peter was born. That gives the following:

Unknown father of Peter M. Howell

  • Born c. 1760-1785.
  • Resided Charlotte County, VA. 1805.
  • Resided Buckingham County, VA 1807.
  • Died Buckingham County, VA 1817-18.

Because this is my wife’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father, it is a perfect situation for Y-DNA testing one of my wife’s brothers. The first brother I asked agreed to test; he tested through Family Tree DNA – Amazing results. There were three matches with a genetic distance of 0 (Zero). The surprise was that the surname wasn’t Howell, rather it is Howle. Nothing I had ever seen before ever suggested that spelling for the surname.  Also, the haplogroup was I-M253 rather than the typical R-xxxx most Howells are.

A genetic distance of zero means there are no differences between the 37 markers tested. According to Family Tree DNA, that indicates an 83.49% likelihood that they share a common ancestor in 4 generations, a 93.29% likelihood in 6 generations, and a 97.28% likelihood in 8 generations. I have four generations (to Peter M. Howell) with assurance.

All three of the Howles indicate their most distant ancestor is William Howle, born circa 1730. One mentions William as being born in Lunenburg Co., VA and two show he was born in Charlotte County, VA. A quick check of Wikipedia indicated that Charlotte County was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764, so, all are consistent. (I love consistency.)

One of the three has a GEDCOM file on Family Tree DNA showing his 4th and 5th great grandfathers born in Charlotte County, VA. Another interesting item of his GEDCOM is that his Howle family moved from Virginia to South Carolina and then to Alabama. Peter M. Howell’s half-sister married a Holman and moved to Alabama. Peter apprenticed with him for a while in Alabama. So, there might be a connection there as well.

Crumbling Brick Wall
Crumbling Brick Wall

I also joined The Howell Surname Y-DNA project on Family Tree DNA. There are seven other people with the same Y-DNA Haplogroup (I-M253). Two of them indicate ancestors in North Carolina and two indicate ancestors in Virginia (three don’t provide a location for their earliest ancestor.)

I am excited. Family Tree DNA testing results may well provide the clues to help me find the answers to my Howell line brick wall. The DNA testing results are providing new holes in the wall for me to peek through and see if I can find the answers to the Howell research wall.

Further Actions:

Contact Match #2 and see if he has a tree that might include potential candidates for Peter M. Howells father.
Contact Match #3 and see if he has a tree that might include potential candidates for Peter M. Howells father.
Contact Haplogroup I-M253 matches with Howell surnames for further details.
Do further research regarding the descendants of William Howle, born circa 1730 because he may have had additional offspring that weren’t identified by other researchers.

List of Greats

Peter Fletcher Howell
Peter M. Howell
Unknown (father of Peter M.) Howell


If you are related to Peter M. Howell, or anyone in this Howell like I would love to hear from you.  Please use the contact form below.


[i] Howell, Peter. 1849. The life and travels of Peter Howell, written by himself in which will be seen some marvelous instances of the gracious providence of God. Newbern, N.C.: W.H. Mayhew.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-


Barnett Surname

Surname Saturday


I only have one known direct Barnett ancestor, my 5th great grandmother, Catherine Barnett (Ancestor #209) on the Brown line. However, I have some 35 other known Barnetts identified in my family tree. Several Barnetts married into the Mannin and Brown families in my research, so even though I only have one direct Barnett ancestor, the Barnett surname is important in my research.

Barnett Name Meaning

There are two major threads of discussion regarding the meaning of the surname Barnett.
First is that it is a habitational name, relating to where people lived. Once source suggests that the name comes from a town in Hertfordshire, and the name of several parishes in that county. It also suggests it refers to towns in Middlesex and Lincoln.[i] Another source suggests the name derives from Old English bærnet ‘place cleared by burning’.[ii]
A second thread indicates that the name is a variant of Bernard or “the son of Barnard”.[iii] Barnard was a popular name in the 13th century and the Cistercian monk, Saint Barnard, provided impetus to the name’s use. Other popular variants of Barnett include Barnet and Barnette.


I do not know where Catherine Barnett or her ancestors came from. But a good guess would be from England. The New York Passenger Lists on Ancestry indicates that more than half of the New York Passengers with the surname Barnett came from England. My Catherine was probably born in Virginia about 1782. If that is the case, her ancestors never immigrated, rather they just relocated to the colonies.

In1840 there were 71 Barnett households in Virginia and another 119 in Kentucky.[iv] Although Catherine married Meredith Mannin about 1797, I’m sure she had plenty of Barnett relatives in the area. Catherine appears to have died in Kentucky sometime before 1862.           

My Direct Barnett Ancestors

#209 – Catherine Barnett (1782-c.1862) – Generation 8
#104 – Meridith Mannin (1801-1885) – Generation 7
#52 – Enoch Mannin (1819-1907) – Generations 6
#26 – John William Manning (1845-1888) – Generations 5
#13 – Mary Elizabeth Manning (1874-1983) – Generation 4
#6 – Richard Earl Brown (1903-1990) (aka Richard Durand, aka Clifford Brown) – G3
My mother – Generation 2
Me – Generation 1

My known relatives.

My records have 865 direct-line descendants of Catherine Barnett identified in my known Brown/Montran tree, which is about 19% of my entire tree are descendants of Catherine Barnett.


[i] Patronymica Britannica, written: 1838-1860 by Mark Antony Lower via Forebears
[ii] Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press via Ancestry
[iii] ibid.
[iv] Barnett Family History, Ancestry;

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

Search Military Records - Fold3 Search Military Records - Fold3

19 – Elnora Busby Vincent – (c.1818 – bef.1900)

This week I write about 2nd Great Grandmother Elnora Busby Vincent, who’s child, Susan R. Vincent/Vinson married Peter Fletcher Howell. 

Elnora Busby[1] (aka Ellenior Busbee) has a confusing birthdate. It is possible she was born about 1818 in Halifax County, North Carolina; however, it is more likely she was born in 1825 or 1826 in Nansemond, Virginia. United States)[2],[3]. The census records are conflicting. The 1850 Census indicates her name as Lenora, age 32 born in Virginia, but the 1860 and 1870 Censuses suggest she was born in 1825 or 1826.  Her parents are unknown. 
Some records indicate the Busby surname may have been spelled Busbee sometimes.
1850 Census – Leanora
via Family Search
In the 1850 Census, “Lenora” is 32 and living with her husband and first three children. 
In the 1860 Census, “Ellenior” is 35.  The change in name from Lenora and the 7 year change in age makes me think that Lenora and Ellenior might be two different people and that John married again between 1850 and 1860. I have found records for two children which indicate that Elnora is their mother. I have not, however, found birth records for any of the children born before the 1850 Census, so I’m not convinced that Lenora and Elnora are two separate individuals, yet, but I expect that to be the case.
1860 Census – Ellenior
Via Ancestry.Com


Marriage : She, presumably, married John Vincent, the son of Burkett and Elizabeth Vincent sometime before the birth of their first child Virginia in 1844. 
The Vincent surname is somewhat problematic as it appears to have been interchanged often with Vinson in several records. As such, I consider Vinson to be a variation of Vincent.


Child #1: Virginia was born between 2 Jun 1844 and on 1st Jun 1845 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She died on 20 May 1923 in Faucett, Halifax County at age 77, at least. She has no known descendants.
Child #2: Elizabeth Vincent was born between on 2 Jun 1846 and on 1st Jun 1847 in  Halifax, North Carolina, United States). She had no known descendants.
Child #3: Susan R Vincent was born about 1847 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She died on 1st Mar 1910 in North Carolina, aged about 63. She married Peter Fletcher  Howell on 10 December 1866. She had 7 children: Anna, John, Augusta, Martha, James, David and G.
Child #4: James W  Vincent was born between 2 Jun 1851 and on 1 Jun 1852 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He has no known descendants.
Child #5: Benjamin J Vincent was born about 1855 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He died on 3 July 1931 in Roanoke Rapids (Halifax, North Carolina, United States), aged about 76. He married Bettie [Unknown], next he married Sally. He had one known child: Georgin[?].
Child #6: Joseph Burkett Vincent was born between on 2 Jun 1857 and on 1st Jun 1858 in Halifax County, North Carolina. He died on 31 Aug 1917 in Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County, North Carolina aged 59, at least. He had no known descendants.
Child #7: Ellen B  Vincent was born between 2 Jun 1860 and 1 Jun 1861 in Halifax County, North Carolina. She married Wanick S  Hockaday. She had 2 children: Nathe and Alice.
Child #8: There may be an eighth child born to John and Elnor, Jennie. 

 Census Records

Seamore [Lanora]
via Family Search 
         Census : On 1st Jun 1860 she lived near Weldon, in the Western District, Halifax County, North Carolina with her husband, five children, and what appears to be her mother-in-law. [4],[5],[6],[7]
1880 Census – Elnora
via Ancestry.Com
Census : On 1st Jun 1870 she lived near Weldon, in Halifax County, North Carolina with her five children,.  Her husband has apparently passed away by then as his is not present in the household. [8],[9],[10],[11]
Census : On 1st Jun 1880, the widow Vincent lived near Weldon, Halifax County, North Carolina, with three of her children and a son-in-law.[12],[13]


There are no other references to Elnora in later census records, so it is presumed she died before 1900; (There was no 1890 Census Record.) however, I have been unable to find a definitive death record.

TIMELINE of Elnora Busby Vincent
About 1818 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
About 1825 – Usa (North Carolina)
Between 2 Jun 1826 and 1 Jun 1827 – ? (Nansemond, Virginia, United States)
Birth of her child Virginia  Vinson
Between 2 Jun 1844 and 1 Jun 1845 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her child Virginia  Vinson
9 February 1845 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Elizabeth  Vinson
Between 2 Jun 1846 and 1 Jun 1847 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
About 1847 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
22 Aug 1848 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
22 Aug 1848
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1850 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her son James W  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1851 and 1 Jun 1852 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her son James W  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1852 and 1 Jun 1853 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her son Benjamin J Vincent
About 1855 – Halifax County,USA – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her son Joseph Burkett Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1857 and 1 Jun 1858 – Usa (North Carolina)
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1860 – Western District,USA – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Birth of her daughter Ellen B  Vincent
Between 2 Jun 1860 and 1 Jun 1861 – Usa (North Carolina)
Birth of her daughter Ellen B  Vincent
1862 – Usa (North Carolina)
Marriage of her daughter Susan R  Vinson with Peter Fletcher  Howell
10 December 1866 – ? (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Death of her spouse John Vincent
Before 1870
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1870 – USA – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Census (Participant)
1 Jun 1880 – Weldon (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)
Death of her daughter Susan R  Vinson
1 Mar 1910 – Usa (North Carolina)
Death of her son Joseph Burkett Vincent
31 Aug 1917 – Roanoke Rapids (Halifax, North Carolina, United States)


[1] Note: Benjaman Vincent’s Death Certificate indicated mother as Elnora Busby.   In the 1850 Census an Eliza Beasley, age 30 is also living with               bly a sister. In the 1860 Census Ellenior is 35.  The change in name from Lenora and the 7 year change in age make me think that Lenora and Ellenior are two different people and that John married a again between 1850 and 1860.
[2] Note: John Vincent – Age 33 – Farmer – Property value $50 – Born Halifax County. Lenora – 32 – Born Halifax County Virginia – 5 – Born Halifax County  Elizabeth – 3 – Born Halifax County Susan – 1 – Born Halifax County Eliza Beasley – 30 – Born Halifax County – Could not read &amp; write.  — Family 637 — Elizabeth Vincent – Age 64 – Born Halifax County Nancy – Age 25 – Born Halifax County – Could not read &amp; write.
[3] Source: 1850 Census / John Vincent  – Family Search (Other)
[4] Cause/Information: Census
[5] Note: Farmer – Real Estate Value: $800 – Personal Estate Value $538 – Cannot Read & Write.
[6] Mentioned: John Vincent (Participant), 43  , Head – Farmer -Real Estate Value: $800 – Personal Estate Value $538 – Cannot Read & Write. – Elnora Busby (Participant), 35  , Seamstress. – Virginia  Vinson (Participant), 14  , Attending School – Susan R  Vinson (Participant), 12  , Attending School – James W  Vincent (Participant), 8  , Attending School – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 5  , Attending School – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 2   – Elizabeth  (vinson) (Participant), 75 
[7] Source: 1860 Census / John Vinson – Family Search (Other)
[8] Cause/Information: Census
[9] Note: Farmer, Property value: $1,800, Personal Property value: $600, Born in Virginia.
[10] Mentioned: Elnora Busby (Participant), 43   – Elizabeth  Vinson (Participant), 23  , Keeping House – James W  Vincent (Participant), 17  , Farm Labor – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 14  , Farm Labor – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 12  , At Home – Ellen B  Vincent (Participant), 9  , At Home
[11] Source: 1870 Census / Lanore Vincent – Family Search (Other)
[12] Cause/Information: Census
[13] Mentioned: Elnora Busby (Participant), 50  , Widowed – Farmer – Benjamin J Vincent (Participant), 25  , Working Farm – Joseph Burkett Vincent (Participant), 21  , Working Farm – Ellen B  Vincent (Participant), 18  , At Home – Wanick S  Hockaday (Participant), 18  , Married – Working Farm

————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-      

The Life and Travels of Peter Howell by Himself

This week I began research on the Howell Family Tree (my wife’s).  I had very little on her grandfather, a bit more on his father (who was in the Civil War) and very little about his father Peter Howell.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, her grandfather, went by his initials most of the time. I knew he was a Baptist preacher in North Carolina. So I started searching Baptist records in North Carolina just searching for “Howell” and not his first name, nor his initials, just “Howell.”  Suddenly a WOW!  Up popped a book, “The Life and Travels of Peter Howell”.  My wife’s great and her 2nd great grandfathers were both named Peter Howell.  Could this be the same Peter Howell.  Found the book was at a library in Raleigh reference section.  I then searched around for the title elsewhere and found it at, which is a must site for your searches.  I downloaded the files and began to read.  It was the right one, born 1805, married to Caroline Pankey, lived in Virginia…. it was the right Peter Howell.

The first page was a bit of a disappointment, he mentions his birthdate (which we didn’t have before) but not his parent’s names.  He spent his adult life as an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town preaching in people’s homes, at court houses, at Methodist and Baptist churches, even on occasion at quaker meeting halls, masonic temples and a Catholic Church. He walked almost everywhere putting on over two thousand miles walking in one year preaching at hundreds of places.  He describes town, buildings, such as the Virginia and North Carolina State Houses, as well as places like Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.  He mentions churches,  and most importantly people throughout his travels. Sadly, he mentions very little about his personal life or his family, but the book does provide a wonderful insight into the life of a itinerate preacher of the 1840’s.

He seldom ever mentions his two daughters.  He does correct one name Lousianna (I had Laurana previously) but never mentions the name of his second son nor his second daughter. He confirmed the name of his first son and, in the book, corrects the name I had for his youngest child.  More importantly, he provides county information for his parents, marriage information for a sister, and the names and living locations for a couple brothers that I had no information about.

It took many hours to go through the book, determine genealogically interesting information, and incorporate them and the source references into my tree.  

Of course one of the greatest finds in the book was a drawing of the author, Peter Howell (b. 1805).