April AtoZ American Revolution

a2z-h-smallApril AtoZ Challenge

I’m late, but I’m here. I’ll get caught up the next couple days!

A is for American Revolution

IMG_20180403_184649654I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution under my grandfather Joseph Culpepper, who fought in the state of Georgia.

I am also descended from the following patriots, whose supplemental memberships I have not applied for as yet. The more I research, the more expensive my membership gets. Ouch. The following are my 5th, 6th, and sometimes 7th great grandfathers:

  • William Crane (Crain)

William served in Pennsylvania. He was born in Ulster, Ireland in 1704 and came to America in 1732. He and his wife Jean are buried in old Hanover Presbyterian Church cemetery in Pennsylvania.

  • Isaac Weldon Sr

Isaac was born in 1745 in North Carolina and served in Richmond County, Georgia. His family was originally from Nottinghamshire, England and came to America in the early 1600s. At the time of the revolution, he was a 5th generation American.

  • Amos C Windham

Amos was born in 1741 in South Carolina. He served as a lieutenant, captain, and major in South Carolina. I’ve traced the Windhams back to Virginia in the early 1600s, but am not sure where they came from. I suspect England.

  • Robert Farish

Robert was born in 1738 in Virginia. His grandfather migrated to America in 1714 from Cumberland, England. He served in Virginia.

  • Samuel Truss

Sam was born in 1735 in North Carolina and served in the North Carolina Militia. His grandfather was from Oxfordshire, England.

  • George Williamson

George served in Pennsylvania. He was born in 1748 in Pennsylvania, and his father was an immigrant from Armagh, Ireland.

  • Thomas Hambrick

Thomas served in Virginia. He was just a young boy at the time, born in Virginia around 1765.

  • Reuben Dollar

Reuben served in South Carolina. He was born in South Wales in 1755. His father died there in 1770, which may be the reason he ended up in America.

  • John Clearman

John was born in 1736 in Germany and arrived on the shores of NY in 1761. He served in NY and is buried in New Jersey.

  • John Swearingen

John was born in 1745 in South Carolina and served there. He died at the very beginning of the war at the age of 30.

  • Joseph Culpepper (my official patriot for the DAR)

Joseph was born in 1765 in Anson, North Carolina. He enlisted as a private in the 3rd South Carolina Rangers Regiment. He died in 1816 in Georgia.

  • William Henry Blanks

William was born in Virginia in 1755 and served there. He died at the age of 68 in Georgia.

  • John Hill

John was born in North Carolina in 1750 and served there. He died in Georgia in 1817 at the age of 67.

  • Thomas Young

Thomas was born in Virginia in 1747. He served in North Carolina.

  • John B Rice

John was born in Bute County, North Carolina in 1755. He served for fifteen months as a Private and enlisted again for another three months as a Lieutenant in the North Carolina troops. He died in Nash, North Carolina at the age of 81.

  • James Rodgers

James was born in 1732 and grew up in Virginia. By the time of the war, he was living in Tennessee but there are records of some children being born in Virginia. He was in his mid-forties when the war began and I understand that he assisted the troops with shelter and food. I don’t believe he took part in being a soldier, but he is recognized as a patriot of the revolution, none the less.

  • Captain James Scott

James was born in Virginia around 1728. He served in Virginia. He died about age 71 in South Carolina. With a name like Scott, he’s probably from, oh, I don’t know, Scotland maybe.

  • William Howington

William was born in 1750 in North Carolina and served there. He died in Edgecombe, North Carolina around 1828 in his late 70s.

There are so many more I haven’t had the time to research, along with numerous uncles. I guess that makes me about as American as apple pie, with a little German shortbread, and a big shot of Irish whiskey.

07-9103AThank you, gentlemen, and may you rest in peace. ♥


Egocentric Genealogy


Me.-Center-of-the-Universe-T-ShirtsEgocentric: regarding the self as the center of all things.

As with most people tracing their ancestry, my research and conclusions always revolve around me. How far back? How many generations? Where did my family migrate to and when, and how did I get here?

A few years ago, I had trouble tracing past my maternal great grandmother. (Keep that maternal word in mind for a moment.) She lived in the back hills of Mississippi and didn’t leave a paperwork trail. No census. No education. No land grants. Her family lived on the same land since the 1830s, or maybe even before as there is a Choctaw Indian connection. Members of my family still live on the land today.

A few years ago I found her brother, whom we called Uncle Sug (as in Sugar), and the family opened up. He left a paper trail. I could trace him. I didn’t realize (or care) who he was in my childhood, but now, he became extremely important to my research. He married Aunt Zeffie in 1918. He was 18, she was 13. I imagine him marrying such a young girl because of his raging hormones. He was always a flirt, a sweet-talker, a ladies man, traits I’m sure he didn’t create in his sixties. He was probably always like that.

Okay, stay with me here. The reason I found him was he was listed on my paternal great grandmother’s obituary. Yep, here’s where my family tree stops forking. He was listed as her son-in-law. Aunt Zeffie was my grandfather’s sister. Uncle Sug was my grandmother’s uncle. (This is the point where I had to explain to my mother that her Uncle Sug was also her mother’s Uncle Sug. Welcome to Mississippi.)

Here’s where the egocentric part comes in

Upon finding that info, I always assumed Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie met because of my grandparents. I pictured them having cocktails at family gatherings, since my relationship with my grandparents was peppered with numerous family gatherings at their country house. I pondered if other members of the family questioned their attraction. Wouldn’t you wonder why your sister liked some distant relative? I wondered if anyone on either side disavowed their marriage.

This morning, my egocentric view swiftly collapsed into a smoldering pile all around my feet.

I found out Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie got married (as stated above) in 1918. Never before have I questioned the years, but my grandparents were both born in 1914. They were both four years old at the time of the wedding.

earl culpepper and ina burkePhoto: In my mind, these are not and have never been little kids. —>>>

The thought of my grandparents knowing each other as children blew my mind. I have always pictured marriage beginning with a young couple meeting in their teens and falling in love. Must be the romantic fairy tales pounded into my brain as a young girl. I can’t emotionally comprehend that more-often-than-not people simply married the best person they could find in their small town. My grandparents had known each other for fifteen years before they got married. Did they like each other the whole time, or did they settle for the best person available? I wish I could ask them, but they’ve long been dead.

My egocentric view of my grandparents being the cause of Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie’s marriage is totally and completely wrong. As a matter of fact, since my grandparents probably met because of Uncle Sug and Aunt Zeffie, I think that makes me the product of my Uncle Sug’s 18-year-old testosterone. How strange… and a little creepy.

52 Ancestors #32 – 32


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “32.”

For those of you don’t do genealogy, you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 2nd great-grandparents, and 32 3rd great-grandparents. The family tree grows exponentially.

This generation of 32 people in my past have been on my mind a lot lately due to the feeding frenzy of liberals trying to erase the history of the Confederacy. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Confederate flag, but I understand that hate groups have adopted it and it may no longer represent the South throughout the rest of the United States. Perhaps it is time for a discussion about where it should and should not be flown.

I do, however, have a problem with the hatred that these history-erasing people, including some of my very own friends, are spewing and the way vandals are destroying flags, graves, statues, and monuments. You’ll see why in a moment. I’ve decided to not write about only one of my 32 grandmas and grandpas, but all of them.

Jeremiah William Crane, born 1828 Alabama

Sarah Frances Grimes, born 1824 Alabama

Amos Windham Mercer, born 1799 South Carolina

Amanda Merron, born 1829 Florida

Archibald White, born 1808 North Carolina

Elizabeth B Farrish, born 1824 Alabama

Leonard H Morrow, born 1812 Tennessee

Silvia Truss, born 1814 North Carolina

Robert Theodore Pickett, born 1836 Mississippi

Lucy Ann Rackley, born 1834 Alabama

William Thomas Fisher, born 1819 Alabama*

Elizabeth Ann Butler, born 1834 North Carolina

Green Keene, born 1834 South Carolina

Sarah Tabitha unknown, born 1833 Alabama

William Lafayette Brown, born 1836 Mississippi*

Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar, born 1836 Alabama

Rev. Joseph M. Culpepper, born 1822 Georgia**

Nancy Yarbrough, born 1822 Georgia

William Henry Blanks II, born 1800 Georgia

Nancy Narcissus Young, born 1800 North Carolina

Rice Benjamin Carpenter, born 1828 Alabama**

Mary Ann Rodgers, born 1828 Mississippi

George Washington Spencer, born 1829 Alabama*

Nancy Virginia “Ginny” Holdcroft, born 1839 Mississippi

James C Howington, born 1823 North Carolina*

Amelia Ann Elizabeth Smith, born 1827 Alabama

Of the six missing names; two were in Dublin, Ireland, their son (my 2nd great) arrived on the shores of Florida in 1861; two were Choctaw Indians in the Choctaw Territory of Mississippi but I don’t know their names; and the final two are unaccounted for as I have not been able to trace them, but their daughter (my 2nd great), was born in Alabama in 1848, so they certainly lived in the South.

Notice anything?? Yes, 26 (28 if you count the Choctaws, 30 if you count the folks living in Alabama) of my 32 3rd great-grandparents were born in the Confederate States, and EVERY ONE of my 16 2nd greats lived there also. From the records I have: six of the men above fought with the Confederacy (noted by *) – two died in battle (noted by **). Three of my 2nd greats (sons of the above) fought with the Confederacy, not to mention the countless brothers and other sons who served and sometimes died. Mary Ann Rodgers named above lost three brothers, three brothers-in-law, and her husband.

Off the top of my head, eight to ten of these families were in America during the Revolution, fighting for freedom – the freedom to say and do as you please. You have the freedom to be “offended” by the Confederate flag. It was given to you by MY ancestors who have been struggling since the 1600s to build a great country, even before it was a country.

Here’s where I have a problem. You don’t have the freedom nor the “right” to desecrate Confederate graves, statues, monuments, Confederate cemeteries, or the flags within their boundaries, and you certainly don’t have the freedom to take away my heritage. You will never accomplish that. You will never change how I feel about the men who fought in the Confederate Army. They are AMERICAN soldiers. They will always have my deepest respect for being willing to die for what they believed in, whether you agree with their cause or not. My heritage will not be erased. It will not disappear. Do you want to know why? Because I will fight to keep it alive in my family, my community, my descendants, and my heart. I will fight with the same veracity shown by my grandparents when they fought for their freedom. After all, their blood runs in my veins, too.



52 Ancestors #23 Florence J Smith Howington


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “Challenging.”

john thomas howington florence j smith marriage recordThe most challenging ancestor for me to trace is not only challenging and frustrating, but darned near impossible.

Florence J Smith Howington was my 2nd great-grandmother. The only thing I know for sure is she married John Thomas Howington in Newton County, Mississippi on 1 Aug 1892. The marriage record (photo, click to enlarge) says she was sixteen years old, making her birth around 1876, although the 1900 U.S. census says she’s white and 28. The 1910 census says she’s 36. Her husband was married previously in 1880 to Ellen Raynor who died in 1891. There is no record of any children. Once John and Florence married, they had eight children between 1893 and 1910, the eldest being my great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Howington.

howington, john thomasJohn Thomas Howington died in 1913 and Florence never remarried. She died at the age of 93 in 1969. There is a blank spot in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Collinsville, Mississippi next to John’s headstone (photo). If Florence is buried there, she has no marker.

The frustrating thing about tracing her is that I was always told I had a grandmother who was of Choctaw Indian descent, and if that’s true, she has to be the one. The Choctaw were run out of Mississippi at the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in the 1830s. They migrated to Oklahoma. The ones who stayed changed their names to assimilate into the white European culture. Of course, there would be no prior record of them, and seeing as they probably couldn’t read or write English, there wouldn’t be a record of their name change.

There are a lot of Smiths listed in the Choctaw registries in Mississippi from 1847-1933, but I haven’t been able to trace Florence without knowing at least one of her parent’s names. There are also census records of Choctaw families residing east of the Mississippi River and in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. One such record is a census called the “Cooper Roll,” made by Douglas H. Cooper, US Agent for Choctaws, in conformity with the order of  the Commissioner of Indian Affairs dated 23 May 1855.

The following is part of the Cooper Roll naming the Chunkee Clan (Chunky is the town in Newton County, Mississippi where Florence lived.) Obviously the names were spelled phonetically. I have no clue which one, if any, could be Florence’s family, but seeing that the list was made twenty years before her birth, I wonder if one of the names is her grandfather.

Alsh-fra-sa-hubbee (?)
Hit h-la-ho-ka
Tak-lam-bee (or Tok-lam-bee)
Anah-chi-hat-tah Co-chin-tubbee
Eah-hoka-tubbe e
Emah note:..and off hunting about 20 families; and about the same number living near Harrisons who refused to give their names.

52 Ancestors #5 Mary Elizabeth Howington


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small, and this week’s theme is “Plowing through.”

There are a few ways to interpret this week’s theme, Plowing Through, and the first thing that comes to mind is a farmer, but I’ve decided to take a different perspective. Here is an ancestor that was so hard to trace, I had to Plow Through for a long time to find answers.

My great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Howington Burke.

Granny Burke was a million years old when I was a child, so I never paid her much mind. But as I grew older and began researching my ancestors, I thought back on those days and wished I would have sat down and talked to her about her family.

burke Mary Howington Burke headstoneShe came from poor roots, born in 1893 to John Thomas Howington and Florence Smith. She was followed by seven siblings, including a brother named Milton Howington whom we called “Uncle Sug”(as in sugar) while I was growing up. In 1914, she married John Patrick “Pat” Burke and had seven children, including my grandmother Ina Burke. Pat died in 1958 and Mary died in 1977. They are buried at Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Duffee, Mississippi. That’s all the information I had for years. She lived a quiet life in the country and did not leave a paper trail.

culpepper annie blanks culpepper obitOne day, I read an obituary for my other great grandmother, Annie Culpepper, one that I had read many, many times before, but something stuck out this time. It said Annie was survived by her children, including my grandfather, Earl Culpepper, and a daughter named Mae Howington. First of all, I was sure “Mae” was referring my grandfather’s little sister Zeffie Mae. Second of all, who was this Howington my great aunt Zeffie was married to? Could this Howington be related to Mary Howington? (Note: my grandfather Earl Culpepper was married to Mary Howington’s daughter, Ina Burke.)

As I plowed through documents, made phone calls to elderly family members, and lived inside the time-sucking monster we call Ancestry.com for a whole week, I found the answers about Mary Howington’s ancestry.

Zeffie Mae Culpepper Howington was married to Milton “Uncle Sug” Howington. My grandpa’s little sister was married to grandma’s uncle. By tracing Milton Howington, who left tons of records, I uncovered the whole Howington clan.

The hardest part was explaining to my aunt that her “Uncle Sug” was also her mother’s “Uncle Sug.”

Welcome to the South.

On This Day in 1893

On This Day in 1893, Mary Elizabeth Howington was born to John Thomas Howington and Florence J Smith in Mississippi. She was the first born to the union, followed by three sisters and four brothers.

burke JP and Mary howingtonShe and her younger sister Julia married Burke brothers, both in November 1912. Mary Elizabeth was 18 and married John Patrick “Pat” Burke and had seven children. Julia was 16 and married David Edmund Burke and had eight children. (photo is Pat and Mary)

john thomas howington florence j smith marriage recordThere have been family stories of one of my grandmothers being a full-blooded Choctaw Indian. In all of my research, I could never find any records for Mary Elizabeth’s mother, Florence, other than her marriage record which states she was 16 years of age. I believe Florence Smith is the Choctaw Indian my family speaks of.

burke Mary Howington Burke headstoneMary Elizabeth remained in the small community of Newton County, Mississippi her entire life and died at the age of 83 on 7 July 1977. Her husband died in 1958. She never remarried. She is laid to rest at Liberty Baptist Church with her husband and children.

This post brought to you by On This Day.

October Ancestry Challenge – How far back can you go?

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors.

We’re ending week two!

Ancestor #8 – Zachariah Prickett

How far back can you go?

I’ve traced my roots so far back, there is some evidence that I am descended from King Charlemagne. The cool thing about that is his family is traced very accurately back to sometime in — wait for it — BC.  Yes, Before Christ. Yes, a really, really long time ago.

But as far as my American roots go, as far as I can tell, I am a 13th generation American.

Most of my family came to America from England in the 1600s, and they all seem to have migrated south in the 1800s when the U.S. Government started selling off large plots of land to get the country settled. Someday I’ll sit down and figure out the exact numbers of generations and how far back each go, but when you get up to your 10th greats, there are 2048 of them!!! I just don’t have that kind of time.

I have a lot of 10th, 11th, and 12th generation American ancestors, including a 12th generation on my dad’s Crane side. My 9th great grandpa John Weldon’s (1626-1711 Massachusetts) great grandson’s granddaughter, Mary Polly Weldon, married Jeremiah Crane in 1801. They were my 4th greats.

But the farthest back I can trace my American roots is on my mom’s side. He was my 13th generation, 10th great grandpa Zachariah Prickett, born in Burlington County, New Jersey in the mid to late 1600s. Burlington County is just east of Philadelphia, south of Trenton, northwest of Atlantic City.

Zachariah married a woman named Ellipha in 1699 and had at least four children: John, Zachariah Jr, Hannah, and Elizabeth.

The line from Zachariah to me is:

13. Zachariah Prickett

12. John Prickett

11. Capt Jacob Prickett. prickett Capt Jacob Prickett home built 1781 Fairmont, WVThis was his home built in 1781. It was located just past Prickett’s Fort State Park in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was destroyed by arsonists on March 7, 2005. Jacob was a Revolutionary War soldier. prickett Jacob Prickett II headstone

10. Josiah Prickett

9. Sarah “Sally” Prickett, who married William Howington

8. Herod Howington

7. Nimrod Howington

howington James C Howington Headstone6. James C Howington – Civil War soldier <<<

5. John Thomas Howington









burke JP and Mary howington

4. Mary Elizabeth Howington who married John Patrick “Pat” Burke <<<

3. Ina Inez Burke (Ancestor #7) who married Earl Wilmar Culpepper







Momma2. Linda Faye Culpepper, my mother <<< who married my daddy, Andrew Frank Crane V V VDaddy

crane lori baby1. and…..ME!

October Ancestry Challenge – Ina Inez Burke Culpepper

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors.

We’re in week two!

Ancestor #7 – Ina Inez Burke Culpepper

My maternal grandmother Ina Inez Burke Culpepper.



burke ina and gdaughter loriI called her Mamaw. That’s her holding me in 1966.

She was born Feb 8, 1915 to John Patrick “Pat” Burke and Mary Elizabeth Howington and was the eldest of seven children. The family always thought there were six children total until last year when I visited the family cemetery and found a headstone for Rudolph Owen Burke 1916-1917. I researched all her dad’s brothers and her brothers, but none of their ages fit to have a child born in 1916 except her parents. Also, the middle names of all her brothers were Otho, Otis, and Olen, so Owen seems to fit in there nicely.

culpepper earl and ina in front of carMamaw married Earl Wilmar Culpepper on August 1, 1936 at the age of 21. They live a quiet life in and around Meridian, Mississippi and had two daughters, one being my mother. She worked as a seamstress and could sew anything by looking at it in the store for a few minutes. I’m positive she made the dress she’s wearing. If she were young today, I’d make her go on “Project Runway.”

Burke, ina inez obitShe died following open heart surgery in 1975 at the age of 60. She came out of the surgery just fine, but no one told her to NOT take aspirin once she got home. I guess in those days, when you were in pain, you popped aspirin. She awoke unable to breathe and my grandfather said her neck was swollen and black and blue. She died of “complications of aortic valve replacement/respiratory arrest/laryngeal hemorrhage and edema/anticoagulation.”






burke Ina Inez Burke headstoneShe is buried with her husband, parents, and paternal grandparents at a little cemetery in the middle of nowhere in Newton County, Mississippi – Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery.





The best part of the story:

culpepper annie blanks culpepper obitI couldn’t trace her mother’s family, the Howingtons. Her mother (my great grandmother) Mary Howington Burke was a brick wall for a long time. One day, I saw an obituary for her husband Earl’s mother (yes, my other great grandmother Annie Culpepper – Ancestor #1 blog). It said Annie was survived by a daughter named Mae Howington. I knew my grandfather’s little sister was Zeffie Mae, but who was this Howington she was married to?

Turns out, it was the man I always knew as Uncle Sug (as in Sugar). Melton “Sug” Howington was Mary Howington’s little brother. Mamaw’s uncle.  Since he was married to Earl’s little sister, that also made him my mother’s uncle. Long story short, I traced Melton and found the whole Howington clan! Yay!

So, in closing, I just want to tell you that what they say about the south is true, and it is possible I’m my own cousin!

A to Z Challenge – J is for James C Howington

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge

J is for James C Howington 

James was my 3rd great grandfather. He was born in Wake County, NC on 15 Jan 1823 to Nimrod Howington and Milbury Bradley.  He was the second born of thirteen children. He was 5′ 11″ and had auburn hair and gray/blue eyes.

At some point, he ended up in Sumter Co, AL and married Amelia “Ann” Smith on 24 Sept 1843. His son also married a Smith (my great great grandparents), and I heard through family members that she was a Choctaw Indian. The Indians were all but run out of MS and AL in the 1830s following the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. The ones who stayed changed their names to assimilate into the white European culture. They chose names like Smith, so there is a good chance Amelia was an Indian also.

By 1850, they had taken up residence in Newton Co, MS and had ten children before the start of the Civil War. James signed up with the 5th Mississippi Infantry, Co. A, on 7 July 1862. He was captured 15 Jun 1864 and held prisoner at Rock Island, Illinois. When the war ended, he returned home and they had two more children.

james c howington pow

His great grandparents (my 6th greats) were Robert and Mary Morris. I’ll let you look them up yourself, but it is proof we have been here in the U.S. for a very long time. Oh, all right, I know you won’t go look. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. You’ll go look now, won’t you? Yeah, that was my pappy. We seem to have a rebellious streak in our family.howington james c great grandparents robert and mary morris

James died around 1880 at the age of 57 and is buried in Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, a few miles from his home.

howington James C Howington Headstone

Tracing Your Roots: Using the Back Door

Sometimes you search for information about an ancestor and find oodles of information; sometimes you search for information and find…NOTHING?

How is that possible? Was she in the Witness Protection Program? If the person didn’t die young, there has to be SOMETHING. Census, will, land record, cemetery record, obituary, marriage record, ship log, family bible, something, anything.

I got stuck a while back researching my maternal great grandmother. I knew her name was Mary Howington. I knew she married John Patrick Burke. I knew she had 3 girls (one being my grandmother Ina Inez Burke), and 3 boys, and when I traveled to the cemetery, I found the headstone of a fourth boy who died as an infant.

I knew her in-laws, her children, when she was born, where she lived, when she married, when she died and where she is buried.  Why could I not find her parents? Her siblings? Her past? Her entire past could not simply vanish into thin air.

Her daughter (my grandmother), Ina Inez Burke, married Earl Culpepper. I was working on the Culpepper line when I read Earl’s mother’s obituary for the hundredth time (my other maternal great grandmother).

culpepper annie blanks culpepper obit

“November 16, 1961

Mrs. Annie Culpepper

Funeral arrangements were being completed today for Mrs. Annie Blanks Culpepper, 84 of Mobile, a former resident of the Martin community who died yesterday at Mobile.

Mrs. Culpepper was a member of the Duffee Baptist church and had been active in its various organizations until she suffered a broken hip three years ago.

Her two daughters are Mrs. Mae Howington of Meridian and Mrs. Aaron Spears of Enterprise. She is also survived by five sons…”

WOAH! Wait! Did that say Mae Howington? The only Mae I know is my grandpa’s little sister Zeffie Mae. Was Aunt Zeffie married into the same Howington family? How many Howington lines could there possibly be in the same town?

When I researched Aunt Zeffie, I found she was married to Milton Howington, who I remember as “Uncle Sug.” And when I researched Milton, I found his parents and siblings. His eldest sister was named Mary Howington and had the same birth and death date as MY Mary Howington. And then I found most of the siblings are buried in the same cemetery. I have photos of all of those headstone, but I didn’t know who they were. And then I found when Mary married John Patrick Burke, her sister married David Edmund Burke. Two Howington sisters married two Burke brothers.

After a year of searching, the mystery blew up full-force in less than five minutes. My “Uncle Sug” was my great grandma’s little brother. I didn’t know that. Now I have the male Howingtons traced back to 1750 in North Carolina, and the female line of the Howingtons traced back to 1550 in Wales. BAM!

I knew in the back of my mind that you can find leads if you trace siblings, but it was never cemented until that moment.  Since then, I have used that technique many times, and it ALWAYS works. If you get stuck, look at the siblings. It may take you back farther than you can imagine.