Bet you didn’t see this coming…

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD (just a little early).

Over the years the research on my JOHN side of the family has brought to light our German, Norwegian, Dutch and Irish heritage and has been quite an interesting trip. And now, thanks to recent in-depth research on my great grandmother Gertrude (Cain) John’s ancestors, we can also add English and Welsh to this side of the tree. In fact, thanks to the English ancestry on this side of the tree, we can add another gateway ancestor, AKA a Royal Line (I am still waiting on my tiara). Which also means that I have found a common ancestor for my parents: Henry I.

“What!? How than this be?” You ask. Well I’ll tell you.

Gertrude’s parents were John Cain, our Irish line, and Carrie Rosa. Carrie’s father Abram adds Dutch on the Rosa (originally Roosa) side, however, his mother Clarrisa Cross is where the English pops in. It is believed very likely,  (but not 100% proven, although the evidence is pretty compelling), that Clarissa’s parents were Joseph Cross and Zerviah Warner, both of whom’s ancestors can be traced back to New England, where they can be found mostly in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Today’s focus, however, is on one of Zerviah Warner’s great great great grandfathers, Rev. William Skepper/Skipper, (the name is seen both ways).

William was baptized in Boston, Lincolnshire, England on the 27th of November in 1597 the son of Edward and Mary (Robinson) Skepper. When he was about 14 years old he attended Sidney College in Cambridge, graduating after 2 years, having acquired a seminary style education. Due to, most likely, family connections he became a Rector of Thorpe by Wainfleete. Ten years later he is found as a curate and/or vicar of the same.

William was married twice, the name of his first wife is not known and they had several children together. His second wife, my ancestress, was Sarah Fisher. They had only one child, a daughter Sarah, who was born about 1640, it is assumed in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts.

1639 is believed to be the time period that the Skepper family moved to New England with other folks from Boston. A large contingent from the area at that time was making the exodus from England. William didn’t live long in the new world though as he died before 1650, which we know because a son-in-law was in court in 1650 petitioning that the estate be divided.

William’s grandmother Joan Legard was the 7xg grandchild of King Edward III and Queen Philippa Hainault (see images above). Not only did she have English royal blood, she also had French and Scottish royal blood in the mix. My favorite great grandmother is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is such an awesome chick, and who I was very disappointed wasn’t one of my grandmothers in Mom’s royal line. (Descent on Mom’s side is through an illegitimate son of Henry I, whereas on Dad’s side it is through a legitimate daughter of Henry I, who marries and proceeds to birth the future Henry II.)

It is easy to think dismisively that this is ridiculous, every genealogist wants to be descended from royalty. (Insert eye-roll here). But actually it is pretty easy to believe, these folks had kids, some lots of kids, not every child was going to be king or queen, so the younger kids married, had kids, and so on, in each successive generation the oldest inheriting the most and the youngest getting less and less, and so on down the line. Until, you have the not so landed gentry ending up down here with us common folk. Personally, I have never done my research with the intent of finding famous ancestors. I have always been surprised if I did and mostly just thought, Cool! And, as a reminder, there are hundreds of thousand of descendants that can claim the same royal ancestry as me.

Still. Cool!

Here we go again:
Pipin the Short=Bertrada of Laon
Emp. Louis I=Judith of Bavaria
Emp. Charles II=Ermentrude of Orleans
Judith=Baldwin I, C. of Flanders
Baldwin II, C. of Flanders=Elfrida of Wessex
Arnulf I, C. of Flanders=Adela of Vermandois
Baldwin III, C. of Flanders=Matilda of Saxony
Arnulf II, C. of Flanders=Rozela of Italy
Baldwin IV, C. of Flanders=Ogive of Luxembourg
Baldwin V, C. of Flanders=Adela of France
Matilda of Flanders=King William I of England
King Henry I of England=Matilda of Scotland <–daughter of King Malcolm III Scotland
Matilda=Geoffrey Plantagenet, C. of Anjou
King Henry II of England=Eleanor of Aquitaine <–MY FAV
King John of England=Isabella of Angouleme
King Henry III of England=Eleanor of Provence
King Edward I of England=Eleanor of Castile-Leon
King Edward II of England=Isabella of France
King Edward III of England=Philippa of Hainault <–daughter of King Philip IV France
Lionel of Antwerp, D. of Clarence=Elizabeth de Burgh
Philippa of Clarence=Edmund de Mortimer, 3rd E. of March
Elizabeth Mortimer=Sir Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy
Elizabeth Percy=John Clifford, 7th Ld. Clifford
Mary Clifford=Sir Philip Wentworth
Elizabeth Wentworth=Sir Martin de la See
Joan de la See=Sir Peter Hildyard
Isabel Hildyard=Ralph Legard, Esq.
Joan Legard [royal line enters our JOHN tree]=Richard Skepper, Lord of Ingoldmels Manor
Edward Skepper, Lord of Ingoldmels Manor=Mary Robinson
Rev. William Skepper/Skipper=Sarah Fisher
Sarah Skipper=Walter Fairfield
Sarah Fairfield=Thomas Abbe
Tabitha Abbe=John Warner
Daniel Warner
=Ann Pember
Zerviah Warner
=Joseph Cross
Clarissa Cross=Garrett Rosa
Abram Rosa=Jennie/Janett Smith
Carrie Rosa=John Cain
Gertrude Cain=Victor John
Clarence John=Myrtle Hamm
Victor John=Margaret Shepard
ME <– 10 greats to the Rev., 21 to Edward III



Thomas Cain, still a mystery…

For Christmas last year I took advantage of a sale going on at FTDNA and upgraded my cousin Robert Cain’s DNA results. I upped his yDNA to 111 markers, added the FamilyFinder test, (which will help find cousins), and had some refining marker tests done to suss out more precise information on his haplogroup.

Because Robert passed away a few years ago, his DNA is all we have left of him. And in honor of his memory. and generosity in helping us to find the origins of the CAIN line through DNA, (along with the possibility of his DNA going bad due to time), I wanted to do these tests.

Robert has many yDNA matches, however none of them are less than 5 markers off and none of them are the same surname. So our common ancestor is way, way, way back in time. His updated refined haplogroup designation is:


I added Robert’s yDNA results to the R1b Haplogroup Project a few years ago. Recently one of the group’s administrators provided me with a chart that shows Robert’s new place in this project. All the green cells show how his DNA is being refined until we get to the latest test results. Over time yDNA testing will get even more precise.

What does all this mean? Because the haplogroup R1b is such a huge pool of humans, refining the tests helps group results so that DNA matches are more manageable and more accurate. You can see that none of the group of men with Robert have the same last name. It is assumed that the common ancestor of these men was around about 1100AD, before last names really existed in historical documents. So we know who our CAIN ancestor is, just not his name or where he was from or anything else for that matter, just what his yDNA tells us.

To see the chart more clearly click here.

The FamilyFinder test, which finds cousins and other relatives, I had done on Robert’s DNA so that I could see where our DNA was matching. This also helps when comparing it to other relatives and cousins to see where we are matching on our Smith/Cain/Rosa lines. Here is an example:

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.13.59 AM

The solid blue/black is Robert, he is the base DNA being compared to. The orange is myself and the light blue is my dad. So you can see what DNA I inherited from the CAIN line that my Dad didn’t, and vice-versa. Ignore the gray bits.

I am not sure how many more tests I will be able to subject Robert’s DNA to, but for now this is a nice improvement on his results. So in a nutshell, we still don’t know the specific origins of Thomas Cain, but we are getting closer.


A little spit goes a long way…

This week FamilyTreeDNA announced their new ‘myOrigins’ which is, according to their website, the new version of their DNA Population Finder. This is the test that gives you your ethnic makeup. If you had the FamilyFinder test done previously, then you will automatically see the new results. Apparently they have updated their database, so the percentages and breakdowns of one’s results, in some cases, will have changed slightly.

I have already seen one change, the 5% JOHN result that had Palestinian/Jewish/Bedouin is no longer there. But now I see Spanish/Italian/Greek in the mix instead, which is also seen with William Shepard’s results. Interestingly Bill has a slight bit of Middle Eastern showing up now, and no Germanic whatsoever. I highly suggest you click on the images to see them larger.

Vic’s results show very little of his German ancestry, but lots of his mother’s Norwegian and, possibly, George Hamm’s unknown father’s Northern Mediterranean heritage, (which probably showed up as the Jewish background before the update). There is also a bit of the JOHN’s Trans-Ural Plains.

Bill has mostly English/Irish/Scottish with good percentage of Northern Mediterranean thrown in, and that smudge of Middle Eastern, maybe the latter two came from the Roman empire’s invasion of the British Isles.

For myself, it looks like I got mostly the German DNA with about equal amounts Irish/English/Scottish and Norwegian. The surprise for me is seeing the Finnish added in the mix with our Norwegian, although I am not sure why I should be surprised.

Now for those Bumann relatives. No surprise here, with a guy who is half German and half Polish, these results were pretty well expected.

I didn’t put Robert Cain’s results on here because he is only related to us on one side of his family, the Cain side, so I don’t know what part of the results would be from his mother and what part his father.

Personally I find the new way of presenting the data very organic and more comprehensive, also colorful. And as purple is my favorite color, I am glad to see lots of it on the maps, even if it’s not on mine.

The study of the origins of the human race has always been of interest to me. As far back as high school I was most interested in those classes that taught DNA and Anthropology. Reading about the breakthroughs in science, that are helping us understand where we come from, has been a fascinating journey these last few years. And it seems that more and more of these breakthroughs are coming out everyday. I am glad that I am able to participate in the ride and I thank those of you who have joined me by donating your spit.

Science Rocks!

Martin you naughty, naughty boy…maybe

Well seeing as today is St. Patrick’s day, I have decided to stick to the Irish theme I started last week as regards Martin Cain. So here is a real doozy for you.

On August 31, 1874 after 3:00 in the afternoon the examination of Owen Keogh and Martin Kane was commenced, they were charged with assaulting Charles Tourtellot and Samuel Hicks on the night of August 24th. The room was stuffed to the rafters with excited spectators.

“Tourtellot swore that the two respondents, with one other, came out of Owen’s place and approached himself and Hicks on Plainfield street. They stood on the corner of the streets near Owen’s shop when the three men came out. He and Hicks walked down toward the railroad and the men followed them. Kane has a pistol and fired at the witness, a ball passing through his coat. At the same time his companion, Hicks, was struck with a slung shot, or something similar, which he held in his hand. Hicks was quite badly hurt, went to the Sixth Police Station for help, and returned to Owen’s place, when Kane was arrested. This was the gist of Tourtellot’s testimony, as elicited by State Constable Wilson, who conducted the case for the prosecution. He was closely cross-examined by Mr. Mowry, for the defense.

Samuel Hicks swore that he was with Tourtellot on the night of August 24th; was followed by three men near Owen’s place; heard a pistol fired, and at the same instant fell to the ground hit by a slung-shot; heard someone say, “Keough, you’ve hit him in a good place;” witness thought so, too; saw the flash of a pistol, and thought I was shot when I was struck at first; jumped up in about five seconds and ran to Dr. Eldy’s [sp.?] office; didn’t wait to see who was there when I jumped up; doctor told me it was only a blow from a slung-shot, and I’d better go and put my head in a watering trough.

Officer Bowen testified to arresting Kane in Owen’s shop; was trying to escape by the door through which two or three others had already escaped; Officer Southwick and myself arrested him; Officer Conway, of the Johnston force, came in at the front door afterwards.

Mrs. Mary McLaughlin testified that she heard a noise on the Johnston road, about a quarter past ten; looked out of her window and saw a man lying the road; he got up, and ran away; saw two other men running in the another direction; heard a pistol fired and the cry of “MURDER!”

This closed the evidence for the prosecution. Mr. Mowry observed that his defense was that the respondents were not at the place when the assault is alleged at the time in question, and knew nothing about it.

Martin Kane swore that he was at John Grady’s house, on or near Sampson street; got him to write a letter for him; was there an hour; came out with him; stopped at one or two places; stopped at a tavern; himself, John Grady and Peter Flynn went to Thomas Owen’s place; saw no disturbance; never owned or fired a pistol; never had or owned a slung-shot; never knew Owen Keogh; was arrested at Owen’s place; didn’t know that anyone had been assaulted.

To Mr. Wilson.–Have had no particular reason for keeping the letter a week after it was written before mailing it; got to Mr. Grady’s about half-mast seven; left there about nine; was in Owen’s place about fifteen minutes before the officers came; took his pocketbook out in Owen’ place to hand over the bar, but put it back in his pocket.

Jon Grady swore that Kane, whom he had known twenty-five years, came to his house in the Tenth Ward, Aug. 24th, went to Owen’s place after writing a letter; met Owen Keough there; never saw either Hicks or Tourtellot till after the row; saw no pistol or slung shot that night; told officer Conway they had got the wrong man.

To Mr. Wilson.–Didn’t know there had been a fight; didn’t see any one run from Owen’s place.

 Michael Leonard, Owen’t bartender, swore that Hicks and Tourtellot passed by Owen’s place on the night of Aug. 24, and in a few minuted the city police rushed in, “and tha’t all I know about it.” Owen Keogh was not in the sop that night; the shop is two or three rods from the railroad’ didn’t hear any pistol fired or any cry of murder; was no three men in the saloon at the time; saw no one in the shop but Kane, Grady and Flynn.

To Mr. Wilson.–Am sure I can tell the time within three minutes; Kane said then he came in, “We’ve walked all the way from North Providence to have a glass of hop beer.”

Thomas Owen swore that Kane, Grady and Flynn came to his shop between ten and eleven; had been in but a few minutes when the officers came; heard no pistol and knew of no disturbance till the officers rushed in; saw no pistol.

To Mr. Wilson.–Tink it was near eleven when Kane and the others came in; Kane seemed to have a little down, but was not drunk; I can give a pretty food guess about that.

Owen Keogh swore that he was “round Olneyville” on the evening of Aug. 24; was with Michael McDonough all the evening; had no slung shot that evening; never saw Hicks before to-day; was not on the Johnston road that night; didn’t hear any one say “Owen Keough has given Hicks a good one, now give Tourtellott a good one.”

Here the evidence was concluded.

The counsel on both sides spoke with ability, but not at such length as in the previous case, for human nature is not invulnerable, and the appeals of an empty stomach are not to be entirely disregarded. It was after five o’clock, and beads of perspiration stood thickly on the foreheads of the weary group. There remarks of the counsel for the prosecution were commendable for their pointed character and brevity.

The Court found the respondents not probably guilty, and they were discharged.”1

So the question still remains. Was he guilty or not guilty? I’m thinking he and his pals got lucky in court that day.

Crusade Of The State Constables. A Camp Meeting Visited–A Liquor Case in a Johnston; Paper: Providence Evening Press Date: 09-01-1874; Volume: XXXI; Issue: 146; Page: [1]; Location: Providence, Rhode Island  

Something about Martin…

Years ago, after coming into contact with a Connelly cousin, I heard mention of Winifred (Nolan) Connelly, the matriarch of the family, having to travel out to Rhode Island a couple of times, after they had settled in Chilton, Wisconsin, to take care of one of her daughters, who’s husband was causing problems.

There was never any mention of who’s husband that might be, but I always had my suspicions.

In the 1860 US Federal census for Chilton, Calumet County, Wisconsin there is an entry for Winifred and Dennis Connelly:

1860 census entry from image

 Living with them are 4 of their grandchildren: John, Sarah, Winifred and Julia Cane. Winifred and Julia had been born in Wisconsin. Dennis and Anne were still in Rhode Island with their parents. So the question is why were their grandchildren living with them? I can understand why two of them were born in Wisconsin, their daughter Winifred probably travelled out to Wisconsin to have her children with the help of her mother.

Here is the entry from the 1870 US Federal census for the same:

1870 census entry from image

Now two Cain children, Dennis and Anne, are living with their grandparents and attending school. John the eldest is 17 and already living in Oconto working at one of the lumber companies. We do not know what happened to Sarah, Winifred, or Julia.

Winifred Cain had died by 1863. Martin Cain had married his second wife in 1864, Bridget Nolan, and is still living in Rhode Island working in the mills there (it does not appear that they ever actually lived in Wisconsin). But somewhere along the line Martin had picked up a few bad habits, none of which would bode well for a happy household:

Providence Evening Press; Date: 06-14-1865; Volume: XIII; Issue: 78; Page: [2]; Location: Providence, Rhode Island

There is never mention of abuse from rumor or in the papers, but Martin most likely was a typical Irishman who loved his drink a bit too much. He married young and had no other family around, that we are aware of, so probably took his cue on husbandly duties from those around him. And they were very poor examples.

I haven’t found any other evidence in the papers of Martin’s shameful lack of support for his family, but I do not know how thorough the digitized paper collections are online.

McDonnell update…

I just received Annie’s death registration from Rhode Island. Her death at 54 was caused by cardiac disease.

This makes the third Cain sibling to die from cardiac issues. So it is definitely a genetic trait on the Cain side of the family, or possibly the Connelly’s. Either way for all the descendants of this line, watch those fats and carbs and sugars.

So no trick-or-treating!

A Death in Rhode Island…

Well if you stretch it, this post could be considered very Halloweenie, it is about a death.

On the 10th of March in 1914 at the age of 54, Annie Laura Cain McDonnell passed away. She was John and Dennis Cain’s sister. It doesn’t seem as though the Cains were very long lived as a clan. But I was happy to see that this obituary confirmed what I pretty much already knew, she was one of Martin and Winifred Cain’s children.

Here is her short obit:

From a Rhode Island paper of unknown origin.

Apropos of nothing…

I was just sitting at my computer yesterday doing a little research on some Goble’s for a future post, when I had this sudden urge to look at Rhode Island records at the Family History Library web site. It had been a while since I had done any research on the Cain’s so I thought I would see if there were any new digitized records I could look through.

They don’t have a lot of digitized records for Rhode Island, but they do have a few important ones, births, marriages, deaths, and Rhode Island State census records, (different from Federal census records).
I started with the death records, maybe, just maybe I will finally find a death record for Martin Cain. The results showed me several records I was already familiar with, two of them being Martin and Winifred’s children who died as infants. Then I saw a curious entry for a Annie Laura Mcdonnell in 1914, husband Terrence, father Martin Kane, mother Winifred Kane. Hmmmmmmm. Stick a pin in that. I still didn’t find a death record for Martin.
Okay no Martin, where is that pin….oh there it is…so I clicked on it.
The record was really just an index entry and it didn’t tell me much more than the search hit did. So I went to my Reunion genealogy file to check and see if Martin and Winifred had a child named Annie. According to my records they had an Ann/Amy (from census records) born about 1859. The death record was off on her birth year, which didn’t faze me one bit. I proceeded to do a little happy jig. I found one of John Cain’s sisters.
Now the hunt really began. There proceeded a flurry of computer research activity into birth, marriage and census records from several online database companies. The end result being Ann/Annie Laura Cain Mcdonnell/Mcdonald married Terence in 1884 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island. They proceeded to have 7 children between 1884 and 1899. In fact the last child born was Annie on October 30/31, 1898, a day or two after her first cousin once removed, Clarence John. Only 4 of their children made it to adulthood.
But that’s not all. The big news from this find was a 1900 census record in Providence for Annie and her family….and her father Martin Kane! Now I could do a full on happy, happy, joy, joy dance. I found Martin in 1900, in Providence, living with his daughter.
That’s why you research ancestors other than your direct lines.
Sad to say I still don’t know when Martin died. But I know he was still around in 1900. When looking at the 1905 census record for Annie and her husband, she indicated she was born in Crompton, West Warwick, Rhode Island. Slightly different than data I had, but it prompted me to see if there was a Crompton in Rhode Island. There is, it was named after a man who invented some type of textile device having to do with corduroy. In fact there was a mill in the town that made it. So it is quite possible that this is one of the mills that Martin was working in when he and Winifred were married.

1917 view of Crompton Mill

More DNA testing

FamilyTreeDNA, the company that has done all of our genetic testing in the past, had a holiday sale at the end of 2011. So I decided to upgrade a few of our samples that they have in their freezers.

Firstly, I upgraded Robert Cain’s sample to 67 markers. It had previously only been tested at 37 markers along with a specialized SNP test that is being used to help sort out the CAIN lines. That is probably all I will be able to do with his sample for a while, and I am crossing my fingers that we won’t need many more tests with his DNA, samples can go bad and with Robert having passed away, I am left without a source for this genetic line.

Secondly, I upgraded grandfather’s (William Shepard) sample. Grandfather’s maternal DNA was never tested, so I remedied that situation, and I added the FamilyFinder test. This is the one I had done, sometime in early 2011, to my DNA. The results help you to find cousins in their database (male or female, it doesn’t matter) and your ethnicity. Grandfather’s maternal DNA will give us genetic information on g-grandmother Dick’s maternal line back to Sarah Asher who married Thomas Headlee in Pennsylvania in the very early 1800s.

Results are expected sometime around February 20th. If we are lucky it might be a little earlier. But I imagine with the sale that they had, lots of folks have decided to jump on the upgrade bandwagon.

I will keep folks updated.

On the same note, I periodically receive updates from surname group administrators on the progress of the testing, the sorting out of the lines, and other news related to that surname. The most active group so far has been the CAIN line, and it has come to our attention that there is a particular marker that is showing up with our CAINs, that will be confirmed with the upcoming upgrade results, indicating a Briefne connection. Part of what this means is that our CAINs are descendants of original Irish/Celts, not one of the invaders who later integrated into the population. It also points to Martin Cain possibly coming from the Northern Ireland area, as I was beginning to speculate.

The future is looking very interesting.

NOTE: The Kingdom of Breifne or Bréifne (anglicized BreffnyBrefnie or Brenny) was the traditional territory for an early Irish tribal group known as the Uí Briúin Bréifne. The Bréifne territory included the modern Irish counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with parts of County Sligo. [from Wikipedia]