Thursday, June 19, 2014

Greenberry English 1822-1866

Greenberry English born about 1822, died between 1858 and 1866. Those dates make him a very frustrating brick wall. The only record that is known, as of today, is a marriage record in Madison County, Florida. He married Mary Elizabeth Newbern, my great-great-grandmother, on July 11, 1853. Another record that is probably him is the 1850 census.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day 2014

William Vandervort Pixler

My father, William Vandervort Pixler 1924-1977

Father's Day weekend seems like a good time to share my father's story. Because he was placed for adoption, his parents and ancestors are unknown. Using DNA, I am attempting to find the identity of either his parents or their ancestors. I have found some surnames in cousin matches that I can't link to my maternal side. Whether I can definitely discover his parents only time will tell. I am sharing what is known concerning his birth parents....

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Genealogy Maze

Searching a family surname is like going through a corn maze. You never know where a turn will lead you. Will that path end in a dead end or lead to another path to search?  This is what I encountered when I decided to find more ancestors to add to my Conner family tree.
I had a small amount of information that I had gleaned from having grown up in the area where they had lived since 1875. I had visited my great grandparents’ graves and knew their birth and death dates. 

 James Conner born 1816 in Georgia, died 1896 in Lake County, Florida.
Mary Vanzant Conner born 1832 in Georgia, died in Tavares, Lake County, Florida
They are buried in Glendale cemetery in Umatilla, Florida along with other family members.

Over the years, I talked to relatives, ordered death and marriage certificates and filed all the information away. Using all this information, I turned to a new tool to use, DNA.

My brother and I have both had our DNA tested at Family Tree DNA and I turned to the cousin matches to search for Conner and Vanzant (my great grandmother) surnames. I downloaded my Family Finder matches as a spreadsheet and did a search for these surnames. The easiest way to find someone's family tree is to contact them via email. If this doesn't generate a response, a google search or search at one of the genealogy sites may turn up family trees or information. These trees are in various places including,, wiki family trees, individual web pages, Family and many more.
I ended up discovering some Blackburn descendants in some peoples trees.  My great grandmother, Mary Vanzant Conner, was born in Georgia to William Vanzant and Lavina Blackburn. While looking at some of these Blackburn family trees, I found one that linked to William Miller RS. He had a DAR file number.
After going to Daughters of the American Revolution website and using their ancestor search, I found a descendant of Lavina’s brother, Martin, had applied for DAR membership. Their application included family Bible records and other proof of relationship. I had now found Lavina’s mother, Mary Ann Miller Blackburn, and her family. Mary Ann’s parents were William Miller and Amy Barker. I am now working on adding the various members of all these families. Considering how many children people had back then, I have a lot of work to do. The most exciting find, so far, for my family tree. Oh, yes I still need to find those elusive Conner ancestors.
Coming up soon:  William Miller, RS and his ancestors.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why I enjoy Genealogy

     Recently, I was asked why I was researching my family tree.  Having been asked this before, I was ready with my standard answer of “I am just a curious person who loves history”. The questioner stated that the only reason to do research was to claim a royal or famous ancestor. I assured them that is not the reason for most genealogists. I don’t really expect to find anyone like that in my ancestry but the people I am finding are interesting to say the least.
     In a handful of years, I have gone from reading the census page by page on micro fiche to querying a name at The progress of genealogical research has been amazing in its speed.  Not only are more people researching and sharing but now DNA is available. The DNA results don’t come with a family tree or absolute relatives but it does help see over any brick walls. I have been hammering away on those walls for a while now. Research lead to some assumptions but no direct proof.  Those assumption surnames have appeared in the DNA results. While it isn’t absolute proof, I have been led to other avenues to explore. While DNA has its limitations, it is another tool to be used.
      I am starting this blog to share my ancestors’ life stories and in the process, hopefully, help others discover new relatives.