Friday, October 23, 2015

An insignificant connection, but it still amazes me

This Fall I was honored to be allowed to scan a photo collection that was retrieved from my cousin Pauleen Harris's house upon her passing. The photos had been passed down to her from her parents, so included both sides of her family. Pauleen's mother Pearl Flanders Harris was an older sister of my mother, Ruby Flanders Margheim Craine. I scanned the collection of 1,500 photos, saved them to a CD, filed them online in a Dropbox folder for sharing and am storing the originals in archival photos boxes. 

Among the treasured old photos was the one at the top of this post. My cousin Pauleen's brother Duane Harris has told us this photo always remained at the bedside of his father, my Uncle George Harris. So we believe it to be that of George's father Henry Harris (1857-1928 Virginia). As I prepared the family photos for the CD, I also did some research on the family so I could provide reports to my cousins as well. George Harris's mother was Mary Britt (b. 1890 Botetourt, VA). I discovered that Henry Harris had a first wife, namely Rebecca Damewood (b. 1848 Botetourt, VA). 
At the time that I found this record I remember thinking that I had never heard the name Damewood. I had a hard time remembering it the first few times I was entering the information into my database. It was just so unfamiliar to me. 

Today I finally had time to reply to a message that had come into my email through the Message link from It was in reference to a William Hiram Follette and the sender was notifying me that I had an incorrect County name on his profile at As I was "poking around" among the family members related to this William Follett and his wife Minnie Etta Cozad, I noticed the Damewood name! And fortunately I remembered how it was attached to my Harris research from 2 months ago. The reason I have the Follett name in my database and in my Tree at is that they are connected to my son, whom I adopted in infancy. Interesting! I'm seeing the Damewood name connected to my mother's sister's husband as well as my adopted son's family line. 

I did a bit more research and found these connections that I've represented in this homemade chart.
Starting at the bottom left we can see my adopted son Matthew Klein, son of me and my first husband, Billy D. Klein. My mother is Ruby Flanders and her sister E. Pearl Flanders was married to George Harris. George's parents were Henry Harris and Mary Britt, but Henry was first married to Rebecca Damewood. We can see that Rebecca's grandparents were James Damewood and Catherine Huffman. James and Catherine also had a daughter Eleanor who married John Moomaw. Eleanor and John had a son Phil, who married Sarah Gilbert and they had a daughter Alice Moomaw, wife of Jonathan E Follett. 

On the chart you can see that Jonathan Follett's grandparents were Jonathan Follett III and Catherine VanDyke. If you follow the descendancy down the far right side of the chart, you can see their 5th great grandson is my (adopted) son Matthew C. Klein. 

You might say "So what?" It may be an insignificant connection, but I find it amazing. When we research family lines, our minds tend to stick to a particular line. If you've actively researched your ancestors, you'll know what I mean. We get narrowly focused on a certainly line and don't expect to see names that belong in other family lines, especially if those families aren't associated with each other in real life. My Harris cousins through my mother's family have never met and don't know my son. My son doesn't know anyone in my mother's Flanders family either. My son is not "related" directly to my mother's family, or the families of her in-laws. But I still find it amazing that I can establish this meandering connection between my Uncle George Harris and my son! This is what keeps the research fun for me. The slang expression comes to my mind: "Whoda thunk it?" 

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