Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm related to someone famous, kind of




So here's what I do know.


The Wales-side of the family (West) migrated through England about 1670 to the then English Colonies and we are officially considered patriots of the American Revolution. The German side (Schmidt) arrived about the same time, and anglicized their name to 'Smith' so that makes our family tree with our 'John Smith' quite common.

We arrived in Pennsylvania, made our way south to Virginia (which became Kentucky) not long after Daniel Boone explored there. I was pleased to find Kentucky neutral during the war, but suspect due to family names like 'Dixie' that we had a southern leanin'. If fact we have one of the actual Hatfields (Mary Hatfield) in our family tree, stepmother to our Great Great Great grandmother Louisa Catherine (sp?) Jackson, but she's not blood related to us and 40 years older the Devil Anse Hatfield, so breathe easy relatives . . .

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we're all related to Charlemagne somehow (according to Ancestry.com) family trees, but are able to document that our 1st cousin (many generations back) was Benjamin West, court painter to the King of England, and close enough to Benjamin Franklin, that dear Benjamin installed his first lighting rod on old uncle Benjamin's rooftop! Futher down the line, we're cousins with Jerry West of NBA fame (the guy in the silohette on the NBA logo nonetheless) but sadly, there are no additional artists or pro-athletes in the current generation.

On Grandpa Bernie's (HB) side (Wolff), we're linked in with stonemasons, with Harold A. Wolff (grandpa H.B Wolff's dad) having cut stone in St. Louis and having his name stamped on several St. Louis buildings including the main postoffice.
Being 'adopted' by my step-father Richard DePhilippis of Filippis Pizza fame always left me feeling a bit rootless until I met my biological father's sister, Aunt Suzi who filled in the gaps and shared photos - bless her heart. The geneology research helps me realize that in fact, my family, aka 'patriots' were one of the first families on the ground in the U.S. and if the rumors about a native American link are true (maybe William Harrison Jackson's first wife?) then we've been here longer than almost anyone. That sure helps me feel like I belong.

1 comment:

Kendi, a Master of Life said...

it's october! i'm waiting for more news... what's going on laura? :D