Notes from the past…

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Daily Journal 21 Nov 2009: A beautiful new desk!

A busy blogging day:

  • Posted about my Bennett family for Surname Saturday
  • Posted about my second great-grandfather for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Also went to garage sales this morning with my daughter and grandkids. Found a beautiful desk/hutch, almost brand-new or at least very well cared for, only $30! It fits perfectly in my living room!

Only one problem: when I moved all my computer equipment and junk from the old desk to the new desk, somehow or other my DSL modem died. Bummer! So I had to make a quick trip to Best Buy to get a new modem, but now everything is back up and running just fine (obviously!).

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Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Where are you, my second great-grandfather?

The Challenge:

1) Who is your MRUA – your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.

2) Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don’t you scan it again just to see if there’s something you have missed?

3) What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?

4) Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.

Joseph Rogers is my maternal 2nd great-grandfather and #28 on my Ahnentafel list… and that’s almost all that I know about him!

The only “official” document that I have with the name Joseph Rogers on it belongs to his son, my great grandfather Charles Arthur Rogers. “Bubba” Rogers’ SS-5, his Application For Social Security Card, lists his father as Joseph Rogers. As this information was presumably given by Charles Arthur Rogers, it presumably is correct. Presumably.

That’s it, folks. No census entry, no cemetery headstone, no nothing.

Let me tell you a little about Joseph Rogers’ son, Charles Arthur, then you will understand why I know so little about his dad.

Here is the story as my grandmother tells it:

Charles Arthur Rogers ran away from home as a “child” because if he didn’t leave, he knew that he would one day kill his stepfather, who was abusive to his mother. He met a family who paid for his train fair to Texas in return for working for his keep, and eventually landed in Round Rock, Texas. When his bill was paid, he set out on his own and never looked back.

The earliest document I have for Charles is his 1900 census entry in Yoakum, Texas; he is well into manhood by now. His past was far behind him.

My grandmother thinks that Charles had 2 brothers, Tom and Henry, who ran away with Charles but eventually returned home.

That is basically all that I have on Joseph Rogers. After consulting my calculator, the “earliest” date that Joseph could have died would be approx Aug of 1869, since Charles was born April of 1870. Charles lists his home as Grassy Lick, near Mt Sterling in Montgomery County, Kentucky. I have browsed every page of the 1870 Federal Census for Montgomery County, Kentucky with no sign of Joseph, wife Susan Hannah Knox, or sons Tom, Henry or baby Charles. No family even comes close. I just don’t see the family up and moving with a tiny infant in tow, as women in those days frequently were bedfast for some time after giving birth.

If Joseph did die about August 1869, would a widowed Susan have remarried before Charles was even born? Doesn’t seem likely.

I have located a possible family for Charles’ mother Susan Hannah Knox in the 1860 census for Montgomery County. A child, Sarah Knox, was listed as being 10 years old at this time, which would put her within child-bearing age in 1870.  This is the only Knox family in 1860 Montgomery County.

Is she my Sarah (Susan)?

Or was Montgomery County even significant? Maybe the Rogers family was traveling when Charles was born, on their way to who-knows-where when Susan went into labor.

This all just circumstantial, of course…

How can I get some solid info on my missing 2GGF?

I’d love to be able to go to Mt Sterling, which is the county seat of Montgomery County, Kentucky and camp out at the courthouse until I find something… marriage record, cemetery, probate, maybe an archived newspaper clipping. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Plan B would involve writing a letter to the courthouse to see what they have, but I don’t see that being very successful with the amount of details that I don’t have. What I need is actual research, sitting at a large wooden table and going through some large and dusty volumes of records, page by page, line by line until I find something. If there is anything to find, that is. This is such a large window of time and place (9 months prior to Charles’ birth in 1870 ’till his appearance in the 1900 census and Mt Sterling, Kentucky to San Antonio, Texas) to investigate.

But I’ll keep looking and someday…

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Surname Saturday: Bennett

Bennett Crest Joshua F Bennett (b. 1794 Kentucky) was my fraternal fourth great-grandfather. He and his family came to Texas before 1850, and were living in Travis County for the 1850 United States Federal Census. He is my “oldest” Texas ancestor, having arrived here the earliest (so far…).

According to, the surname Bennett is English, derived from “the medieval personal name Benedict (Latin Benedictus meaning ‘blessed’). In the 12th century the Latin form of the name is found in England alongside versions derived from the Old French form Beneit, Benoit, which was common among the Normans.”

The Internet Surname Database provides the following information about surname Bennett:

This interesting surname derives from the medieval given name “Benedict”, from the Latin “Benedictus” meaning blessed. This personal name owed its popularity in the Middle Ages chiefly to St. Benedict (circa 480 – 550), who founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino, and wrote a monastic rule that formed a model for all subsequent rules. There were many versions of the name throughout Europe, and in England in the 12th Century the Latin form of the name can be found alongside versions derived from the Old French forms “Beneit” and “Benoit”, which were popular among the Normans. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below). London Church Records list the christening of Dennys Bennett on June 15th 1567 at St. Mary at Hill, and the christening of Thomas Bennit on December 1st 1583 at St. John’s, Hackney. One John Bennett was an early emigrant to the New World; he is recorded as sailing in the “Plaine Joan” from London in May 1635, bound for Virginia. A Coat of Arms granted to a Bennett family is silver, a chevron between three red lions’ heads erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Benet, which was dated 1208, in the “Charter Rolls of Durham”, during the reign of King John, known as “Lackland”, 1199 – 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Most of my Bennetts were cattle ranchers, first in Texas, then in Wyoming in the early 20th century.

One Bennett brother, James Bennett, Jr, grandson of Joshua F Bennett, apparently was a “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” kinda guy, having killed a man in San Saba County, Texas ca 1880, then fleeing to Wyoming, where he robbed several banks there and in Montana and even Canada, and was eventually killed trying to rob a bank in Glendive, Montana.

A second grandson of Joshua F was Thomas Joshua Bennett, who became a physician and was elected as president of the Texas State Medical Association:


Those Bennett boys where certainly an interesting and colorful bunch!