Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Branching Out of Zachary Taylor's Tree

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..."

Quaife, Milo Milton. Wisconsin: Its History and Its People 1634-1924. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co, 1924. (Vol. 4, p. 5)
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.

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.


Kim Jo said...

I definitely voted option 3... I think I was told by you or mom. ;-)

T.K. said...

Statistically so far, two out of three people have been told they're related to Zachary Taylor... :-P

Lori Thornton said...

I think that Thornton lady would likely match what the Thornton DNA project calls the Virginia A line. My Thorntons are the South Carolina A line.

"Good Ole Cousin Zach" has given all of us plenty of headaches.

T.K. said...

Along with a good excuse to learn more about him, huh?

Apple said...

Nope, not Zachary Taylor. Abe Lincoln maybe.

Just for fun I pulled up my grandfather in one world tree at ancestry and tried out their beta - Find Famous relatives. So I have Franklin Pierce - 1st cousin 5x removed, The rest were much more distant but interesting. I'll have to print out the list. I'm not too impressed but Mom will love this when I see her tomorrow!

T.K. said...

That sounds like fun, Apple. One o' these days I'm gonna have to cut loose of a few bucks and get me some Ancestry. I swear I'm not gonna do it, though, until I organize the mountain of stuff I've already got. Yesterday I pulled up all of Myrt's 2009 Get Organized series, which I've been saving up for when I finished the whole moving cross-country process. Not that I'm done unpacking, you understand, but I've gotten to that dangerous point where the computer and the coffee maker are set up and I know where to find socks. The rest, in my recent experience, may never get done. So I'm reading Myrt's list and the first thing in January is to clear and organize your desk. Wouldn't you think my desk would be relatively clear? Well, don't think that! There's so much stuff on it, I had to move the computer to a little TV table next to the desk. Oh, wait, I did that because the desk is too high. No matter, the space where the 'puter was is spacious no more!

I need more coffee.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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