The challenge of genealogical research is that it is never completed, unless bounded by highly restrictive goals. While the research reflected here is limited to finding ancestors (not their countless descendents) and has been confined to eleven generations beyond our grandparents, there are still thousands of people to discover and important contentions to resolve.
Here are the ancestors who have most frustratingly eluded research. In most cases their parents are unknown. In others the challenge has been to assess differing accounts of their origins or to validate more conclusively their inclusion in the tree.
William Acree of Hanover Co., Virginia, was almost certainly the father of John Acree, Sr.. It's unlikely that their relationship will ever be proven through documentation because few records of that county survive, but no plausible alternatives exist. Two other reputed sons of William - Isaac and a junior William, migrated from that county to Warren Co., North Carolina, in the early 1750s, a few years before John first appeared in nearby Bertie Co.
Matching DNA tests of descendants within the Acree Surname DNA Project have confirmed that the junior William and our John were closely related. While the tests can't define precise relationships, all circumstances indicate that they were indeed brothers, as presumed sons of William Acree of Hanover Co.
The circumstantial identification of Mary as a daughter of Isaac Allerton, Jr. of Massachusetts (thoroughly explained by Cochran in his article listed in the SOURCES page) has been competently challenged. Alternative scenarios, however, appear less likely.
Joseph's reputed parentage, as presented in our tree and others - undocumented and based essentially on circumstantial evidence, has been called into question as the result of Y-chromosome testing within the large Campbell DNA Project. The test results of one of his male Campbell descendants, whose research is respected, appear to indicate that George Campbell, Sr. (c1700-c1749) was not Joseph's father. That is because two claimed descendants of George share a genetic profile that differs from his, which matches instead the profiles of two claimed descendants of Whittaker Campbell (1727-1814) - leading to the tentative conclusion that Whittaker and Joseph were likely brothers or cousins who were not closely related to George. Whittaker's father is unknown, though there is speculation, on the basis of geographical circumstance, that his grandfather was an immigrant named Alexander Campbell. There do not appear to be obvious alternative candidates for Joseph's father, though several Campbell men of Scottish descent were living in colonial Virginia at the time. Nevertheless, if another patrilineal descendant of Joseph should be tested (a minimum evidentiary requirement) and his results support the above tentative conclusion, our tree will be amended to show Joseph without reputed parents.
The dates of this prominent couple's marriage and arrival in Virginia are unrecorded, and Edward's parents are unknown.
The two were most likely wed in England before fleeing to America as Royalist refugees during the final years (1649-51) of the English Civil War. There are no surviving records of marriages, baptisms or burials in Diana's ancestral Prestwold parish, Leicestershire, between August 1638 and October 1650, apparently coincidental with the absence of a pastor there.
Edward is believed to have been a grandson of Robert Dale, Sr., of Cheshire, by one of his three sons, Robert Dale, Roger Dale or William Dale, most likely the latter. However, Edward claimed the coat of arms belonging to the Dale family of Northamptonshire.
Edward and Diana had three known children:
There has been speculation that Diana was not the biological mother of at least one of their daughters, on the basis that she signed two documents as Diana Skipwith, not Diana Dale, in 1655, after Katherine's birth. Responsible genealogists experienced in researching Colonial Virginia families have effectively refuted this speculation, regarding it as defective because it is based on inadequate, selective evidence that excludes pertinent, overriding considerations. They have emphasized that it (1) disregards Diana’s unique social status as one of the highest-born Englishwomen ever to have emigrated to Colonial America; (2) imagines that a lady of her stature would have remained unaccountably single into her mid to late thirties and then wed in the late 1650s without fanfare; (3) neglects to take into account that other married women occasionally used their maiden name after marriage; (4) fails to mention that available family records contain no hint whatever that Edward had an earlier wife; (5) ignores Katherine’s naming two of her children (Diana Carter and Henry Skipwith Carter) conventionally, thereby proclaiming her unexceptional familial descent from her mother and maternal grandfather; and (6) overlooks clear implications in legal documents that Diana indeed gave birth to all three of her children.
Though the ancestry of his wife is well established, John's ancestry in Virginia and the British Isles is indefinite, having several disputed variations, including a commonly-accepted one that omits a crucial generation. The most coherent account is shown in the tree.
John and Margaret had seven children:
John's identification as a son of Richard Waugh & Pamela Campbell of Virginia/Tennessee and Mary's identification as a daughter of Cuthbert & Catey Peyton of Virginia/Kentucky are deductions based upon convincing circumstantial evidence. Mary was recorded as "Mary P. Branaugh" in the couple's Davidson Co., Tennessee, marriage bond on December 13, 1810; their license itself was lost.John and Mary had five children:
The above Foster brothers, John and James, were sons of John Foster (1786-1873) and Elizabeth Hill (1781-1863). Their father, in turn, was a son of our ancestors, Robert Foster, Sr. and Sarah Elizabeth James.
This couple's parents have been determined through circumstantial evidence. Christian's surname, which he and other Albrechts modified to Albright, was common in southeastern Pennsylvania during the 18th century. An analysis of the area's baptismal and census records indicates that he was almost certainly Johan Christian Albrecht, who was baptized at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, in the city of Lancaster, to Joerg Adam Albrecht and Eva Barbara Friedel.
Margaret has long been known to many descendents as Margaret "Prakner" - an artificial surname that first appeared in a late 19th-century family history. Her correct maiden name, Prescher, was spelled "Prechner" in a Cook/Hoover family-bible record kept by her granddaughter, Emeline Cook, and "Precher" on the back of her inherited photograph. By the same analysis, she was almost certainly Anna Margaret Prescher, who was baptized at the Seltenreich Reformed Church in Earl Township, Lancaster Co., to Jacob Prescher and Margaret Kramer.
After their marriage, Christian and Margaret lived a few years in nearby Douglass Township, Berks Co., next to his father's farm, before leaving the area. In 1801 Christian bought land in Londonderry Township, in the southwest corner of Bedford Co., on the Somerset Co. line, where the couple settled and raised their large family.
Christian and Margaret had fourteen children:
Her parents, George & Christina Shoaf, have been determined through circumstantial evidence. She's been known to our family as Frances "Shrofe," born in Montgomery Co., Ohio, where, in 1834. she married Daniel as Frances "Shoup." Other recorded versions of her surname have been Schultz, Sroufe and Shrouf. A few years later, she and Daniel moved their young family to the Fulton/Miami county area of Indiana. Her father, George, whose name was sometimes spelled Shoup in official records, lived with his family near the Hoovers. He and Christina raised a dozen children in Ohio, but few have been recorded by name. Frances's birthdate fits conveniently within their known and approximate years of birth.
Daniel and Frances had sixteen children:
Their parents are unknown. Peleg was probably a son of John Carr who came to what is now Tompkins Co., New York, with sons Peleg, Job and Caleb before 1800 from eastern New York. The author of an 1894 book on the Carr family wrote that Job and Caleb were 'supposed' sons of Slocum Carr, who had a brother named John. However, it was John who came west with them and was called father of the three in a local history. Elizabeth may have been a daughter of James Travis, who lived in the vicinity of Tompkins Co. at the time, or a daughter of Titus Travis, son of Sylvanus - the other contemporary Travis in the area.
Peleg and Elizabeth had six children:
Her parents are unknown, though the ancestry of her husband is well established. She was born in Virginia of parents born there and probably moved with them to Ohio shortly before her 1851 marriage, as she cannot be found in the 1850 Ohio census. Her mother's maiden surname was shown as "Polan" in her death certificate. In 1830-40 there were neighboring Chew and "Pullen/Pullin/Pulling" families living in northeast West Virginia (then Virginia). A male Chew and female Polan raised in that vicinity may have married and gone to Ohio.
Andrew and Rebecca had ten children:
Susannah's parents are indefinite but were probably Samuel Dunscombe (1632-1706) and his second wife, Abigail (lnu) (1654-1684). Her paternal grandparents would then have been Thomas Dunscombe and Hannah Jadwyn, the first Dunscombe settlers in Bermuda, who came there from London, England, and inhabited substantial property left to Hannah by her father, Thomas Jadwyn. Assertions persist (based on an erroneous entry by Virkus in his Compendium) that Susannah was a daughter of Daniel Dunscombe and Helena Swan, though it's evident that Susannah and Daniel were siblings. Susannah left Bermuda for Virginia as a young woman in 1694, presumably to join Jadwyn cousins living in that area. She and Daniel, who also moved to the continent, both married a few years later in New York.An obstacle to confirming Samuel as the father is the fact that, while he reputedly had children by Abigail, who presumably included Susannah and Daniel, he made no mention of them in his will. That may have been because they had already received their due from him before leaving Bermuda or because he was unaware of their survival in New York.
According to twice-widowed Susannah Dunscombe Ogden Sutton's 1765 will (proved in 1769), her six children were:
John's reputed English ancestry, shown in this tree, is indefinite. His parentage, moreover, has often been mis-reported. Known as "John of Rye" (New York), he has sometimes been confused with "John the Pilgrim," who was his father's first cousin. He has even been repeatedly confused with his own father, the senior John Ogden, who, some Ogden family histories erroneously assert, married Judith Budd after his wife, Anne Richardson, died - claiming that Judith was born about 1622 and married widower John as a teenager in 1638. That's implausible, because Judith would then have been 45-57 years old when her children were born in 1667-79. Judith Budd was, in fact, born fourteen years later, in 1636, and wed the junior John Ogden.
Her parents are unknown. John and Frances had seven children:
John's parents are unknown, and, despite claims, there is no evidence that he fathered James Skipper, who migrated from Virginia in the early 1700s to become the first of our Skipper line in Onslow Co., North Carolina, after passing through Northampton (Bertie) and Craven counties.
John Skipper is said to have been born before 1650 in England, to have emigrated to Virginia in the mid to late 17th century, and to have died about 1700. His documented appearances are few. A person of his name witnessed a legal transaction in Middlesex Co., Virginia in 1682. The same John Skipper or another married Jane, widow of John Snowden, about 1686, administered Snowden's estate in nearby St. Marys Co., Maryland, and died before 1694, when his own estate was administered there by twice-widowed Jane, who lived past 1696.
As the reputed father of James, John has sometimes been identified as "John Skipwith," usually casting him as a brother of prominent immigrants, Sir Grey Skipwith and Diana Skipwith Dale (above), who, in fact, had no such brother and are not known to have arrived in Virginia with other Skipwith relatives. Unfortunately (because a double tie to the Skipwiths in this family tree would be welcome), there is no easy fit of an immigrant named John to the well-established Skipwith ancestry.
A more likely candidate than John for James Skipper's father was George Skipper, Sr., who owned property near that of James in Northampton Co. in the mid-1720s and had a son, George, Jr., perhaps a brother of James, who lived next to James and, like him, moved south to Craven Co. in the early 1740s.
The parents of this couple are unknown. Both were born in Virginia. They arrived in Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky, shortly before the 1830 census, following the births of their first four children, with several members of Nancy's family. Circumstantial evidence indicates that she was probably a daughter of William Turner, born c1775, who in 1830 lived with his wife and others near the Staples family and several Turner families presumably headed by his sons. According to local lore, they all came from "Hawksnest," (an area in Fayette Co., West Virginia). John was a wheelwright and wagon maker who became a landowner in 1832 and later the prominent owner of the local cotton gin and grist mill, which ground wheat and corn by horse-power.
A family bible has recorded that John and Nancy were born in 1785 and 1782 respectively - supported by family legend affirming that Nancy was 99 years of age when she died in 1882, outliving John by many years. Census records and their children's years of birth, however, suggest that they were both born about 1800.
John and Nancy had at least ten children, including:
The parents of this couple are unknown. Nathan moved from Virginia to Jefferson Co., Kentucky, before April 8, 1799, when he married his first wife, Mary Patterson, with whom he had several children (names unknown) before moving to Harrison Co., Indiana, about 1819. Mary had died by December 12, 1823, when Nathan wed his second wife, Susan, in neighboring Floyd Co.
Nathan and Susan had four children:
Nathan had a sister, Mary Taylor (born c1786), who married first, in 1803, James Richey. They lived in Jefferson Co., Kentucky, and had a daughter, Rebecca Ritchie (1803-1866), who married there in 1824 Dr. Jesse Wendell Holmes (1799-1876) and had six children. Widowed Mary Taylor Richey/Ritchie married second there, in 1807, Jacob Funk (c1784-1819) and had seven children with him.
Susan Potter Taylor may have been a daughter of Joseph Potter, who came to Floyd Co. from North Carolina. She was living as a widow in Georgetown Township, Floyd Co., Indiana, in both the 1840 and 1850 census. Included in her 1850 household was 19-year-old Charlotte Overby, presumably related to William Overby (born 1805 in North Carolina), who in 1830, in Floyd Co., had married Milla Potter (born 1805 in North Carolina, died 1887 in Indiana), who was probably Susan's sister. In 1850, William and Milla Overby were living in nearby Orange Co.
John was born to Leah DeMott, who gave him the middle name "Ten Eyke" upon his baptism at the Readington Dutch Reformed Church in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, on September 11, 1808. No father was included in that record. Leah never married and raised her only child on the farm of her parents, next to whom she was eventually buried. As a schoolboy, John used his mother's surname, DeMott. As an adult, he added his father's name to his identity and was known as John DeMott TenEyck. The DeMott family bible, which was presented to Leah in 1827, as her deceased parents' eldest surviving child, contains her notation that John's father was "John Ten Eyke," without elaboration.
On the basis of circumstantial evidence and lack of plausible alternatives, it is clear that John DeMott's father was John Andrew TenEyck (earlier spelled TenEyke - 1781-1860), whose parents lived near Leah's in Readington Twp. He and Leah grew up as close neighbors and apparently became lovers in their mid 20s. Though both were single, they did not marry for some reason. Leah's father presumably took all financial responsibility for their illegitimate child, because no court case was ever initiated in this regard.
After the infant's birth, three years passed before John Andrew wed his first and only wife, Jane Brokaw, in 1811, when he was nearly thirty, and moved to Branchburgh Twp., just across the Hunterdon Co. line. When he and Jane finally had their only-son (following three daughters) in 1825, they called him John Adam Poole TenEyck, in an unusual departure from Dutch naming conventions. The boy may have been named after Adam Poole Vandiver (1788-1876), of South Carolina, who had achieved notoriety and served in the War of 1812, perhaps with John Andrew, who was called "Captain" on his tombstone, though no record can be found of his military service. John A. P. TenEyck moved out of the area soon after his own marriage - first to Pennsylvania and then to far-away Kansas. Understandably, a TenEyck family bible record kept by the eldest daughter of John Andrew and Jane made no mention of John DeMott.
John DeMott married his neighbor, Joanna D. Stillwell, when both came of age in 1829. They resided near John Andrew's parents, who remained on their Readington farm until their deaths. When John DeMott and Joanna died in the 1890s, they were buried next to her parents, having conceived six children, three of whom died as infants:
John and Joanna had six children, three of whom died as infants:
John's parents are indefinite, while his wife Maria's ancestry is well established.
The couple lived in northwest New Jersey, at the border of Somerset and Hunterdon counties in the vicinity of Branchburgh and Readington townships. They are buried in the Readington Dutch Reformed churchyard. Despite John's prominence as an adult, he is curiously absent from VanderVeer family histories. An inventory of his estate was conducted on December 7, 1857, yielding no clues to his origin. No will or death record exists in the state archives. Nor can an obituary or helpful property transaction be found. There are no hints of family origin inherent in John's residence in his early years because the New Jersey census for 1790-1820 is lost.
From all indications, John was an orphan born out of wedlock whose circumstances of birth and presumed baptism somehow evaded official records. He is alleged to have been raised informally by a guardian - Deborah Voorhees (1763-1849), who lived in nearby Franklin Township and married Garrett VanderVeer in May 1794. He is also alleged to have lived outside the Somerset Co. area prior to his marriage.
There is convincing evidence that John's father was Cornelius VanderVeer (1767-1847) of North Branch, Branchburgh Township, a son of Ferdinand Vandeerveer and Rebecca TenEyck, who sired John in his bachelorhood through a liaison with an unidentified woman. In March 1794, three weeks before John's fifth birthday and two months before Deborah Voorhees married, he wed Ann VanderVeer (1774-1841), a daughter of Michael VanderVeer and Cornelia VanNortwick, with whom he had two children: Rebecca (1794-1811) and Michael (1799-1866).
Cornelius, whose VanderVeer lineage is included in this tree, is deduced to have been John's father because: (1) John's descendants share significant autosomal DNA inherited also by descendants of Cornelius and his brothers, (2) The given names that John and Maria chose for their children conform with the ethnic-Dutch naming convention, (3) John was included among Cornelius' debtors in his 1847 inventory (though not his will), (4) Cornelius was kin to two VanderVeers who were involved in John's life - Garrett (Deborah Voorhees' husband) and Garrett's nephew Lloyd, at whose home John's daughter Ellen Jane was staying when she died, and (5) There are no viable alternatives among the generally well-documented contemporary VanderVeers. While the convincing DNA evidence alone would support any one of Cornelius' four brothers (sons of Ferdinand) as an equally-strong alternative, through an unrecorded marriage or affair, the supplemental evidence pertains specifically to Cornelius.
John H. VanderVeer and Maria Dalley had six children:
Copyright © 2001- by Charles Acree. All rights reserved.