My grandpa Rosmer always said we're related somehow to Zachary Taylor, the twelfth U.S. president. After I'd been doing genealogy for some time, my mother asked me whether I'd found out exactly what that relationship is. I hadn't, but I went on a hunt to see if I could. Not a mad, obsessive-compulsive hunt, you understand. Just a gentle, low-impact, moseying hunt.
I was able to determine quite handily that we're not direct descendants of President Taylor. (If we had been, I'm sure that information would have come down to us as a much stronger message anyhow, don't you think?) To my surprise, though, I did find a few other presidents perched in the distal branches of our family tree. If I wasn't such a devotee of the Chaos System of Filing, I'd be able to tell you which ones. I'm pretty sure Millard Fillmore was among them. That did not impress my mom, though. She had her heart set on Zachary Taylor.
Finding some other connection to him, as it turns out, could be a whole 'nuther lifetime hobby unto itself, and moseying may not be the way to go. Or maybe it is. The other day, as a result of moseying around at World Vital Records and then Google Books, a search for one of Rosmer's surnames, "Effner," turned up this passage in a biographical article about George Albert Whiting, of whom I've never heard:
"One of the most prominent and highly esteemed residents of Winnebago county, is George A. Whiting of Neenah. He was born in Gilboa, Schoharie county, New York, on the 6th of June, 1849, a son of Charles and Catherine (Effner) Whiting, both of whom were born in Schoharie county. The Whitings are of Scotch and English stock and the Effners of Holland. The maternal grandfather, Colonel Valentine Effner, married a cousin of Zachariah Taylor and commanded a regiment in the War of 1812..."Okay, I've never heard the President referred to as Zachariah. Still, if this were a reference to some Zach Taylor of lesser renown, why even mention it? And anyway, now I know exactly where I should be moseying.
Quaife, Milo Milton. Wisconsin: Its History and Its People 1634-1924. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co, 1924. (Vol. 4, p. 5)
Through Richard Efnor's extensive research, I was quickly able to determine that Catherine Effner was a sister of Ezekiel Taylor Efner, Rosmer's great-grandfather on his mother's side. Now we're getting somewhere!
I'll be following up (moseying, probably!) in later posts which will be, like this one, wearing the "efner" label. For today, though... funny story. In the process of Googling for information about Zachary Taylor's family tree, I came upon this interesting Zachary Taylor post at Lori Thornton's blog, Smoky Mountain Family Historian. It makes me wonder... has everyone been told they're related to Old Rough and Ready?
At Google Books, I found a partial Taylor descendancy in the 1893 Genealogy of the Lewis Family in America by William Terrell Lewis, and I decided to turn it into a Legacy database where I can begin collecting these bits and pieces in a more organized and searchable way, and sourcing it all as I enter it. Yes, I know this is method is not part of the Chaos System of Filing, at which I am so... is 'skilled' the right word here? Never mind, as proof of my effort to master a new system, I've uploaded yesterday's GEDCOM, President Zachary Taylor's Family as researched by W.T. Lewis, at WorldConnect. There are 78 names in the database.
And... hey, Lori? One of them is a Thornton.