Friday, July 16, 2010

Genetically Iowa: By the Numbers

Sometime in 1841, John Chapman and his wife Jane Cather would cross the Mississippi into the very southeast corner of Iowa Territory, a territory created less than three years earlier. Only a year later, James Ware and wife Polly Busick and parents Lindsey and Martha Ware would cross at the same area and continue on into what is now Davis county, Iowa where they would take up farming. The great grandchildren of the John and Jane Chapman and James and Polly Ware would marry and their only son would be my grandfather. These were the first of many ancestors who would migrate to the state of Iowa which for me, has the best of every state in this union combined and placed in the center of our country.

One more set of 4th great grandparents would make it into Iowa before Iowa was even a state. Salmon Cowles and wife Polly Miner would also cross into Lee county in 1845 and declared it home. They were just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Out of my sixty-four 4th great grandparents, 6 were here in the state before Iowa became a state and another 14 would move here within the next decade. Only 11 more would would ever come and it took them an addition decade. All told by 1870, 12 of my 128 5th great grandparents and 31 of 64 4th great grandparents would be living or buried in Iowa.

By 1880, all but two of my 32 3rd great grandparents would be in Iowa having been born here or immigrated here from other countries. Those two holdouts, Jessie Luther and Mary Igo would have a son David Luther who most certainly traveled to Iowa or perhaps lived here for a short time because he would marry my 2nd great grandmother Sarah Gordy whose parents moved to Iowa. David and Sarah's son born on May 18, 1894 was my great grandfather and the last of my ancestors to arrive to Iowa.

As I have mentioned before, my goal is to identify all 256 of my 6th great grandparents, a job that is only 34% complete. Likewise, I have only identified 74% of my 5th great grandparents and 91% of my 4th great grandparents. Only when I get to my 3rd great grandparents have I identified all 100% of them. What amazes me most so far in that task is that I have only found ten that immigrated here. Two of them came from Germany, one from Switzerland, two from Ireland, one from Canada and four from England. Five of those are my 3rd great grandparents and five are 4th great grandparents. If you carried that out to my group of 256 6th great grandparents, only 52 or 20% never lived in America. I'm guessing there is still a handful of lurkers out among the ranks of my 5th great grandparents that were immigrants but I haven't found them yet.

All told, I have 100 ancestors buried or still living in Iowa. Although I haven't kept records, I have probably visited the graves of almost half of them leads me to another quest of mine. I would like to visit all 100 graves and pay homage before I become the 101rst person in my great family tree to be buried within this state.


R. Sherman said...

Your family is like mine. Most of mine lived or now live within 10 miles of where the first ancestor set up shop.


Vince said...

Did you check the land company that settled those areas. You'd never know but there may well be some information from that source.

Beau said...

Remarkable, and a neat goal to have. I can't claim the same except on one side and they were mostly in NY and PA. (BTW I watched that thunderstorm come down from your neck-of-the-woods early this am 7/18, and hit us around 8:45!)

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I think I have said this before but I would have thought with our "global" world that we would scatter and yet "family" seems to be an even stronger influence, at least in my case.

Vince - I have and do have some original patent records in the case of Lindsey Ware.

Beau - I mostly slept through it though I often woke due to the intense lightening and thunder.