RECENT UPDATES - An ongoing log of updates to my genealogy research.

6 April 2018:  Several years ago, I made a breakthrough in finding the parents of my maternal great grandfatehr, John Henry Roberts. While I had narrowed the search significantly through research, it was DNA that finally confirmed that the ROBERTS family line that I thought most likely his, was in fact the correct family. Lately, I have returned to my work on that ROBERTS line and added a number of additional lines back from it to early colonial times, including at least one new Gateway Ancestor (Elizabeth BUTLER/BOTELER CLAIBOURNE) with royal ancestry.

19 February 2018:  I have expanded my work on the MURPHY and TODD lines and added a number of individuals in these families. So far, I have found no link between my TODD family line and the family line of Mary (ODD) LINCOLN, the wife of President. Abraham Lincoln. Her TODD family seems to have descended from Irish roots. My own TODD family seems to have been of English origin.

6 February 2018:  I have more or less completed the update of the descendants of John Paul VOGT/Vaught, though some loose ends remain. Lately, I have been working on the MCCOY family line and have corrected some errors I had made earlier in mis-attributed children, census records, etc. This family Was heavily settled in Arkansas in the 1900's.

15 January 2018:  Over the past several months, I have added hundreds of members of the VAUGHT family line - descendants of John Paul VOGT/VAUGHT. Most of these lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, descending from the three sons of John Paul in VA and migrating on to TN, KY, AL, MS, GA, MO, OK, and TX. I have able to expand the work of Helen Spurlin and Mickey Martin and the Vaught Family Lineage research group (published in the early 1990's) principally by adding material from federal censuses and marriage information.

2017 Updates

2016 Updates

2017 Updates

23 November 2017: Regarding the Susannah BALL and John LILLARD marriage, I finally received a copy of Lillard: A Family of Colonial Virginia, by David Lillard. This is a 1991 2nd edition and major revision of the original which was published in 1928 by Jacques Ephraim Stout Lillard. The author of the 2nd eidition states that South Lillard had simply asserted the marriage and date in the 1st edition without any evidence, basing it simply on family recollection. David Lillard had found no additional evidenc in preparing the 2nd ed. I am now working on updating my VAUT/VAUGHT family line, based on the work of the late Helen Spurlin and Mickey Martin of the Vaught Family Lineage Research Group. Just before her death, Helen sent me in 1995 her unfinished draft of the fifth volume of the work in loose leaf form. I also have volumes 2 and the 2 books of volume 4. I would love to find copies of volumes 1 and 3. Please contact me if you have thouse. The whole series is:

  • V.1. Descendants of Christley Vaught, grandson of the immigrant John Paul Vaught
  • V.2. There was a Gaspar in the family : John Paul Vaught line, dscendants of Gaspar Vaught
  • V.3. Teach them thy sons, and thy son's son, lest they depart from thy heart : John Paul Vaught line, descendants of George Vaught 1994
  • V.4a and 4b (2 volumes). Oxcarts through the Cumberland Gap : Vaught compilation : John Paul Vaught line, descendants of Henry Vaught, 1993
  • V.5. Moving in on the Cherokees or Neighbors to the Cherokees, 1994

18 November 2017: I completed my core effort on the BALL family, though I will continue to update it as I uncover new information. I am so far stumped in trying to "prove" the marriage of Susannah BALL (dau. of Samuel and Ann Catherine (Tayloe) BALL to John Lillard, Rev. War militia Capt. This is the key link for me to the BALL ancestry. The marriage (with date and location) is repeated frequently in DAR applications and even on the website on the John Lillard Chapter of the Kentucky DAR, but I have not found any concrete documentation of the marriage or of Susannah's parentage. Hill (1990) deosn't list a Susannah as among the children of Samuel and Ann Catherine (Tayloe) BALL.

My present work involves updating my SHERRILL family line based on the 2 volume work by Mary La Jean Davis Sherril, Samuel Sherrill, son of Adam and elizabeth, and Some of his Descendants, 1994, Denton, Texas. The book has a lot of typos, but is lauded by other researchers for its genealogical quality. Ms. Sherrill has drawn together (with appropriate credits) the work of a number of earlier SHERRILL family researchers to create a rather encyclopedic compilation.

11 November 2017: Lately I have been working on my BALL family line, with a thorough review of Margaret Lester Hill's Ball Families of Virginia's Northern Neck: An Outline, compiled for teh Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, Inc., Lancaster, VA, 1990. I supported this with additional research on related families. The BALLs were an early Virginia colonial family that connected with many of the most politically and financial important familes of the colony in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

5 October 2017: I have done a lot of clean up work, though there is still a tremendous amount to do. This round was devoted to deleting about 400 "orphan" individuals (people with no know connection to anyone else - parents, spouses, children, siblings, etc.) from my database of 89,000 individuals.

8 September 2017: I have updated my CHILES family line working from Joanne Chiles Eakin's Walter Chiles of Jamestown [1983]. I also drew materials from Gloria Tune's well-documented RootsWeb data base "Our Chiles - Clark - Horsley - Kersey Family - Descendants of Walter Chiles, Thomas Clark, Rowland Horsley, Thomas Kersey & Related Families."

28 August 2017: I have severed the connection between Mary Sampson and the parents I had previously attributed to her: John and Elizabeth (Church) Sampson. Some researchers have assumed that the Mary Sampson who married Matthew George Covey was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Church) Sampson), but Mayflower Families (Vol. 2, p. 277) shows that Mary, the dau. of John and Eliz. Sampson, lived in Bristol Co., MA (now RI), married Samuel Clark(e), and died in 1748 (aged 28). The Mary Sampson who married Matthew Covey was in Dorchester Co. MD and died after 1755 (when her last known daughter was born). Mary (Sampson) and Matthew George Covery) were my 7th great grandparents. Regretably , this terminates my claim to any connection with the Church family of early MA and their ancestral lines, including the Southworths.

26 July 2017: I have done some work on early Pilgrim, Puritan and other immigrants to 17th century Massachusetts (many to Plymouth Colony), based primarily on The Ancestry of Lorenzo Ackley & His Wife Emma Arabella Bosworth, compiled and published by N., Grier Parke, II, and edited by Donald Lines Jacobus (Woodstock, Vermont 1960). I am supplementing this with the multiple volumes by Robert Charles Anerson on immigrants to New England in the period 1620-1640 (published by NEHGS, Boston), including the Great Migration series.

23 July 2017: I have taken a break from my work on Quaker family and other American lines and have returned to clarifying some of my (mostly British) royal lines. For this I am heavily reliant on the work and website of the late Leo van de Pas who passed away in 2016. Leo spent years recording lineages from some the most important historical and genealogical secondary sources and created one of the most reliable and complete websites available: Leos's Genealogics Website. Where I have reported information from Leo's work, I have tried to accurately source that information, including Leo's own meticulous source citations. Leo's work is particularly valuable to American and Australian reseachers trying to trace Gateway ancestors back to English noble families. (In the case of American Gateway genealogical research there are so many instances of completely unsubstantiated links of American colonialists to supposed British nobility.)

26 March 2017: I have completed a lot of work tying together the main Quaker families of Chester Co. See more at my Chester & Centre Co., PA research blog. I have also done considerable work on my HUDSON and BANKS family lines from Malvina Banks Hudson.

6 January 2017 (Happy New Year!): I have begun research to identify the land transactions of the Downing, Valentine and collateral families in Chester and Centre counties. Updates on this work will be posted under the "Chester and Centre Co. Research" Tab, above, in the "History secion of that web page.

31 December 2016:

  • I have completed the survey of census entries for the early generations of the DOWNINGS, VALENTINES and collateral families. This has been a difficult process since the same names appear over and over making it difficult to correctly assign the identy of each census entry.
  • I have identified all of the 18th and 19th century TRIMBLE family members who intermarried with the DOWNINGS of Chester Co., thanks to Palmer's 1910 book on the genealogy of the PALMER family.

27 November 2016: The charts of nearly 200 census results for the various Centre and inter-related Chester county families in this study which appeared on the "Chester and Centre Co. Research" page (see Tab above) are now consolidated into one chart, including the few families found in other counties (Lancaster, Philadelphia).

29 October 2016: I have just about completed recording the census listings for key Downing families in Chester and Centre counties. I am still working on the Valentine family listings. Other Chester Co. families that have been brought into the census analysis include: Edge, Evans, Gordon Hoopes, Miller, Park/Parke, Roberts, Scott, Sharpless/Sharples, and Thomas. In Centre Co. the Miller, Sharpless/Sharples and Thomas families have so far been incorporated into the study. The are principally families that are included in the direct lineages outlined in the graphics on the "Chester and Centre Co. Research" page and that were generally Quakers. Summaries of all of the census listings can be accessed from that page as well.

15 October 2016: I have expanded my documentary research to include the Downing, Valentine and related families of Centre co., descendants of the original Chester Co. settlers. Spreadsheets have been uploaded to track my progress in identifying family listings in the U.S. Federal Censuses for 1790-1940. These spreadsheets are accessible from The "Chester and Centre Co. Research" tab in the icon bar at the top of this page and are updated periodically.

1 October 2016:

  • Currently, my genealogical research is focused quite narrowly on the DOWNING, VALENTINE and related families of Chester Co., Pennsylvania, in the years 1700-1860. I am identifying all of the listings for those families in the Pennsylvania Tax lists (starting in the early 18th century), land transactions, and state and federal census listings.
  • Concurrently, my historical research is looking at the history of Chester Co., Penn., focusing principally on the history of the Quakers who settled there (including the Downings and Valentines), and the history of African Americans in that county and their interactions with the Quaker families. This includes my recent discovery (new to me not to historians) of the underground railroad link between Chestertown, Maryland and Chester Co. along which escaped slaves from the Eastern Shore of Maryland fled to Chester Co. to be sheltered by Quaker families there.

I have created a "Chester and Centre Co. Research" page where I will periodically report results from my genealogical and historical searches. A link to this page is in the icon bar at the top of this page.

31 August 2016:

  • The publication of Such Lives As These was announced in NEHGS's American Ancestors Magazine (Vol. 17, No. 3, Fall 2016, p. 65).
  • The first of three articles drawn from research on the HART family for my book Such Lives As These has just been published in the Journal of the MoSGA. This article, "The Hart Family of Franklin County, Missouri", deals with the family from 1821/2 to 1829. A copy of this article is available at
  • Two additional articles are in preparation covering "The Pennsylvania Roots of the Hart Family of Franklin County, Missouri" (1756-1793), and "The New York Roots of the Hart Family of Franklin County, Missouri" (1793-1821/2). I plan to make available copies of these articles as they are published.
  • Based on my research into the early Quaker families of Chester Co., PA, and my discovery of large numbers of "free coloured" and (sometime) slaves in their households, I have begun a separate research project on the issue of Quakers and slavery. I will post future findings on this here.

1 August 2016: After reviewing my book Such Lives as These, the Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) Journal has requested that I produce a series of three articles on the genealogy and history of the HART family. The first of three planned articles on my HART family has been completed and submited to the MoSGS Journal for publication. This article, "The Hart Family of Franklin County, Missouri", covers the years from the arrival of Armstrong HART in Missouri ca 1821/2 until his death there in 1829.

19 July 2016: I have begun working on my wife's Pennsylvania families which include the MEEK, DOWNING, VALENTINE, EDGE, GRAY and related families of Chester and Centre counties, as well as the CATLIN, RASIN, BECK and related families of the Easteren Shore of Maryland.

28 June 2016: I added 3rd, 4th and some 5th generation descendants from Thomas and Elizabeth (ARMSTRONG) HOWARD, from the 18 Nov 1889 Chart of Mary Agnes Howard McClarren, loaned to me by Carolyn K. Howard.

16 June 2016: For several years I have been trying to use DNA analysis to determine which ROBERTS clan in Texas my great grandfather, John Henry ROBERTS (1867-1928). came from. I have begun to post progress on this search under the ROBERTS DNA Project tab on the menu bar.

15 June 2016: I am happy to announce that the NEHGS in Boston will be making Such Lives as These available through its digital library and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has accepted it for their research library.

6 June 2016: My book Such Lives As These has been published and is available without charge at (For more information on the book click on Such Lives As These at the top of this page.)