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Shaking Your Family Tree!

Rooting Out the Rich and Famous

December 03, 1987|MYRA VANDERPOOL GORMLEY

Daniel Boone wrote to me recently wanting to know how to determine if he is related to the Daniel Boone.

Family traditions often claim kinship to some rich or historically famous person. Proving or disproving such family stories can be the major motivator in getting you to trace your family tree.

If your own family stories claim kinship to someone famous, you must do two things: First, learn all you can about the family history of the famous person, and, second, begin tracing your own lineage.

Take a trip to your local library and see how much you can learn about the famous person--genealogically. There are numerous biographical dictionaries and reference books. Ask the librarian to help you locate them. A starting place is in a good encyclopedia.

From "The Encyclopedia Americana" is genealogical information about Daniel Boone, the famous American explorer, pioneer settler and surveyor. He was born on a farm in Berks County, Pa., on 22 Oct. 1734 (Old Style). His family was a Quaker one that came to America from Devonshire, England, in 1717. Daniel was the sixth son, among 11 children, born to Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan.

Daniel Boone's family lived briefly in the Shenandoah Valley and then migrated in the 1750s to the valley of the Yadkin River in North Carolina. His bride was Rebecca Bryan, and they were married in 1756.

Genealogical material can be gleaned from such biographical accounts of well-known personalities. Place this information on pedigree charts and family group sheets. This will enable you to see if any of your family tradition matches in names, dates and places.

Many genealogies have been published of families with rich-and-famous lines. Consult the latest edition of "Genealogical & Local History Books in Print," compiled by Netti Schreiner-Yantis. Most libraries with a genealogy collection will have this reference book. Check the family genealogy section for books that have been published that may pertain both to your illustrious and lesser-known ancestors. By using this source, you will learn the exact title of published genealogies and how and where to obtain a copy.

The famous Boone family lived in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, in the 18th Century, which is another lead to pursue. If your Boone family also lived in this area during this time, it is likely there is family connection somewhere. However, if you trace your family back to Connecticut, and find none of your Boone family was Quakers or ever resided in Pennsylvania or North Carolina, the possibility that you are related to the famous Daniel Boone is remote.

Once you obtain some dates and localities pertaining to the famous personality, begin your own family-tree research, starting with yourself and working backward, generation by generation. Obtain copies of birth, death and marriages records. Track your family through all the census records from 1910 back to 1790. Locate information about your line through the probate and land records. Obtain copies of your ancestors' military service, and locate any old family Bibles that may contain important genealogical information.

Armed with names--direct and collateral lines--and dates and places, compare the data to what you know about the more famous person's family. Does anything match? Is it at all possible that the two lines come from the same family? If not, just accept it and continue tracing your unique ancestry. Many family stories prove to be false.

If your family tradition claims relationship to a President, consult Burke's "Presidential Families of the United States of America." This book usually will be found in the reference section of a library. Copy the lineage and information about descendants and be sure to study the excellent genealogical charts on each President.

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