Moments Frozen in Time in Our Collective Memory: The Challenger Explosion – 52 Ancestors #387

On January 28th, 1986, a bright, sunny Florida morning, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing all 7 crew members aboard. Later, we learned that their deaths probably occurred instantaneously or within seconds after the explosion ripped … Continue reading

Sarah Cook (1774/1775-1863), Epitome of Perseverance – 52 Ancestors #386

Sarah Cook was the wife of James Lee Claxton, or Clarkson. That name changed like a chameleon and trust me, those changes caused Sarah massive headaches too. Much of what we know about Sarah comes from her application for her … Continue reading

Hugh Benson (c1650-1687) and Wife, Catherine; Landowners in Leonard’s Town – 52 Ancestors #384

Let’s begin this journey by disproving Hugh Benson’s birth. He might have been the Hugh Benson born on September 5, 1653 to William Benson in Yorkshire. The timeframe fits, and so does the location for Catholics. Transcribed; “Hugh Benson, sone … Continue reading

Mary Benson (c1675–c1758) Heiress of Crackbornes Purchase in Leonard’s Town – 52 Ancestors #383

Mary Benson was born to Hugh Benson sometime after his 1671 immigration, probably between 1673 and 1678 in St. Clements’s Hundred. Her mother’s name was Catherine. St. Clement’s Hundred was defined as St. Clements Island and 5 miles into the … Continue reading

Thomas Speake of Zachia (c1700-1755): Life and Death in Zachia Swamp – 52 Ancestors #382

Thomas Speake of Zachia was born about 1700, the son of Bowling Speake and Mary Benson. He was named after his grandfather, Thomas the Immigrant. To understand Thomas’s life, we need to tell his story, at least partly, in reverse. … Continue reading

The Ancestors are SPEAKing: An 18-Year Y-DNA Study That Led Us Home – 52 Ancestors #381

In 2004, 18 years ago, I founded the Speak(e)(s) Family DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA. I descend from Nicholas Speaks through his son, Charles Speaks. Some two decades before, I had met my wonderful cousin, Dolores Ham, by snail mail. We … Continue reading

Charles Speake, (c 1731 – 1794), But Which Charles? – 52 Ancestors #380

We are certain that Charles Speake (spelled a variety of ways including Speak, Speaks, and more) is the father of the Nicholas Speak (or Speaks) who was born in 1782 in Maryland, married Sarah Faires in 1804 in Washington County, … Continue reading

Elizabeth (born c 1711), Frontier Wife of John Dobkins Jr.: Warfare, Conflict and Uncertainty – 52 Ancestors #379

We know very little about Elizabeth Dobkins. Most of what we know is told through the lens of her husband, John Dobkins Jr. who was born around 1708 and died sometime after 1788. We know that Elizabeth was Protestant, and … Continue reading

Tracking John Dobkins or Dobbins to Maryland – 52 Ancestors #378

Scientist Dr. David Resnik discusses the concept of consilience of evidence with his students. In essence, consilience of evidence isn’t a brick wall falling in one fell swoop, but chipping away at that wall with all sorts of different types … Continue reading