The Croatian Connection? Maybe (Stephanz Family)

Use your historical societies, archives, and libraries.

Last weekend I spent time adding some names in my Gottschee side of my family tree. A gentleman who has published his and his wife’s family history passed away in September. He was a great contributor to the Gottschee Heritage Association and has helped me in the past. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until recently that although I wasn’t related to him, I found out through a cousin that I am related to his wife! And, considering he and his wife were third cousins, I could be related to him as well.  

It really does pay to visit your Historical Societies, Archives, and Libraries. They are a treasure trove of information. Find out where your ancestors were from and look up the historical society or family history library in that area. You will be amazed at what you can find.

Anyhow, the gentleman who died was John Krauland and his wife was named Dorothy Maurin. Dorothy is my 3rd cousin, 3x removed. As I have stated in my previous blog on my Gottscheer ancestry, these families are very interconnected. Her great grandfather and my second great uncle were brothers. Wrap your mind around that!

 I was able to add seven more generations to my tree. What I find interesting is that one of my new 6th great grandparents is from Croatia. Why is that interesting? I’ve been wondering where my Croatia DNA connection could be.  

If you’re interested in seeing John Krauland and his wife’s ancestry, visit Krauland’s databases.

Porterfield and Rowan: My Brick Walls (Logan Family)

Porterfield and Rowan are my elusive ancestors. Can you help find them?

Saturday was spent on these two surnames. They are my 4th great grandparents on my dad’s line. Because of records from the Records of the N. Washington Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery, Washington Twp., Westmoreland Co., Pa, I know that they both emigrated from Tyrone County, Ireland in 1791. From there they settled in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and had nine children.  

In the book, Western Pennsylvania and the Settlement by the Rowans, it states that John and Letitia came to America with John’s eight brothers and sisters. Three children stayed in Ireland. It also states that John was the oldest son of William and probably had responsibility for the siblings that came with him.  

It is said in the book that they probably settled in Western Pennsylvania because it is where they could practice their Presbyterian faith and the stricter Conventar beliefs with other people of similar views. This book was written with work completed by Merle Rowan Thompson, Jr., a descendant of John Rowan, II.  

And, while I can document John and Letitia’s time in Pennsylvania, I am having disconnect issues with Letitia’s parents and how they connect to the Porterfields of Ireland and Scotland. John’s family is a little easier to trace, but finding information about John and Letitia’s time in Ireland has been difficult.  

I have come a long way with this line, but it is still frustrating until I can break down this brick wall. I am hoping my writing this blog on them others researching this family will reach out.   

How Surnames Can Help In Your Research

What does your last name mean and how can it help you with your genealogy?

In last week’s “Family History Detectives” class to my students, we talked about surnames and how they developed. I used their last names as examples of how that surname could have come about. Needless to say, they were intrigued.  

The application of surnames did not come about until about 1066 during the Norman Conquest. The population was growing and the need to distinguish people was great. Surnames came from different means.  

For instance, from what people did, “Cook”, “Farmer”, “Carpenter”, but they could also come from where they lived, “Hill”, “Woods”, “Ford”, or like mine, Logan, Gaelic lagán (a little hollow), a diminutive form of lag (a hollow): hence, “dweller at a little hollow.”

They could also be based on common names, so the son of John would be “Johnson”. Lars’ daughter would be “Larsdoetter”. Or, Joseph the Tailor became “Joseph Taylor”. John, the son of James, became “John Jameson” and so on. In Scotland, the prefix “Mac” meant paternity as well. MacGregor means Gregor’s son.  

Names could also be descriptive such as “White”, “Strong”, “Young”, “Black”, or “Long” and “Longfellow”. Or, geographical, such as “London”, “Street”, “West”, and “Holland”. A lot of Irish and some Scottish surnames came from the names of legendary clans such as “Abercromby”, Agnew”, Buchanan”, “Stewart”, “Kelly”, “Duffy”, “Wallace”, and “Quinn”.  

There are even surnames that have a religious factor, “Abbey”, “Bishop”, “Deacon”, “Parsons”, and “Sexton”.  

Every country and even places within a country have their surname practices. Of course, now names do not change as much as they used to.  

You will find a lot of places online that want to sell you a Coat of Arms with your surname or a plaque, but make sure you do your homework first. How do you know what’s real? Stick to the most reputable sites like Ancestry,, or And, for Irish and Scottish names, they have many clan sites that have researched for you.

The most important thing about studying your family history and surnames is not to get hung up on an exact spelling. Names evolved and changed over the years due to travel, language, and understanding. Be flexible and understand that the name Stephanz could also be Steffens, Stefanc, and Steffans.  

Make sure you check out Ancestry’s surname message boards. Here you can see different spellings of the same name and connect with others researching the same ancestors you are.  

Surnames have now become standard practice, but it behooves you to learn the origin of your surname. To know what your ancestors naming practices are, and were. It just may lead you to your roots. 

Ancestry DNA can also connect you to others with the surname you are researching as well as 23andMe.

Some books that may be helpful are:

Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History

Surnames of Ireland

Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, Second Edition, Revised

A Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford Paperback Reference S)

Dictionary of German Names

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Gardening, Family, and Family History

This weekend was a long one for me. I had a three day which I wish I had more of. I accomplished so much!

The most exciting for me was that I was able to get in my yard and tend to my plants and flowers. Just deadheading, trimming, and planting bulbs made me feel so serene. It makes all the thoughts whirring in my head become silent. The bees were buzzing and there are so many different butterflies, it makes me feel good that I am helping nature.

Being in the garden is so beneficial for mental health, whether you have the most common of the 200 forms of classified mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression or you have a serious case such as bi-polar or even dementia. Gardening is such a great therapeutic intervention, an issue of hope. It is good for cognitive, social, and even physical aspects of life. For enduring. There is always hope.

So, cutting down the Mexican Marigolds and basil and deadheading the marigolds, roses, and cana lillies brings hope that new growth will occur and the planting of the bulbs brings the hope that new flowers will emerge in the spring. Hope springs eternal. 🙂

I then worked on my lesson plans for Tuesday’s “Family History Detectives Club” at my school. I have so enjoyed hearing from the student’s parents telling me that their children are calling their grandparents and “interviewing” them. It makes my heart sing and I can only imagine how those same grandparents feel about receiving these calls.

Some parents even sent me pictures of their children interviewing the grandparents, one was Facetiming a grandparent, one had their pencil and notebook in hand, asking questions. These events are so very special to all parties involved. Others were interviewing their parents. A parent even told me that they are all now involved in learning their family history.

After working on the lesson plans, I helped my son with some personal business needing to be done; insurance, job, etc. It is great spending time with him. When he’s not working, he’s out with friends so these moments are few, but cherished. Mom actually was able to take the car and get out to an appointment and shopping. It made her feel so good!

I then worked on making videos to promote my online classes. “Roots to Trees” is the name of the program, but “Bare Roots” is the name of the first class; basic genealogy for children and anyone needing the basics. The next class will be “Emerging Leaves” and is currently being worked on. The “Bare Roots” class is $9.99 for 5 sections and can be worked on at your own pace in the comfort of your own home or wherever you choose to learn.

So, it was a jam-packed, fun-filled, productive weekend. I hope yours was too!

Expanding To The Library Family History For Children

My Roots to Trees- Family History Detective courses will be expanding. I had an appointment with our local librarian to speak to her about offering these classes for children. The discussion took a different turn than I was expecting, but not necessarily a negative one.  

I prayed before I went in asking God to help me have an open mind and lead me to where He wanted me to go. And, low and behold the discussion took a different turn than where I had thought it would go. I went in thinking I would offer paid classes and rent a room at the library.

The director asked me to join the library program! They offer genealogy classes to adults, but do not have classes for children and asked if I would be interested in joining the program and expanding it to tweens as well. I believe this will help me get my feet wet and learn what works and what does not work in teaching family history to this age group.  

With the wonderful support group I have at school and online, I feel it will be a great success. It will also help me in my lesson plans for my online course at the Genealogy Classes page, On Sale now for $9.99 for 5 lessons with more being added. Discover who you are and your family history.  

Clan Logan Visits Scotland

Originally published in October of 2018.

I am now an official member of the Clan Logan Society International, Inc!  Meaning my Logan lineage has been proven (whew!) and I will be kept up to date on their search for  Restoring Our Standing as a Clan with a Chief, help with our family history, and, of course, meeting new family as well as sharing what I know.

James C. Logan, cousin from my blog, Logan Theories- Restalrig, Scotland , went to our Scotland lands in June and visited  historical sites relevant to our Logan history.  He and his wife visited and stayed with another clan member in Gavington.  When they weren’t discussing clan business, they toured the ruins.  James has given me permission to share these with you.  All photos are courtesy of James C. Logan.

On one of their first outings, John led them to visit the ruins of Fast Castle and nearby Siccar Point.   “Fast Castle was once held by the Logan Barons of Restalrig – also held by the Clan Douglas and Lord Home. The approach is very steep and slippery. “

Approach to Fast Castle

Ruins of Fast Castle
Ruins of Fast Castle

Other points of interest John took them to “included several churchyard cemeteries where ancient Logan’s are interned from a very early time. Edrom Kirk, for example, was established in the Middle Ages about 1147 and the chapel added in 1499. The existing church was rebuilt in 1732 and then repaired and partially rebuilt in 1886.    The only fragment of the 12th century church is the doorway to the entrance of the Logan burial enclosure. The ancient inscriptions on the tombs inside are very difficult to read.

Edrom Kirk
Edrom Kirk

Ancient Logan Burial CryptThey also visited “the site of the 1513 Battle of Flodden, where the 4th Baron, Sir John Logan and his eldest son perished in battle at the hands of the English commander, Lord Dacre. The Battle that day saw the loss of 10,000 Scots, mostly of the nobility, including King James IV of Scotland.”

Flodden Battle Field
Flodden Battle Field

“In Edinburgh, under John’s guidance included St. Margaret’s Church, St. Anthony’s Chapel, and Lochend House. The Logan’s once owned Leith and Leith harbor as part of the Barony of Restalrig.

St Margaret’s Church is located in Restalrig, now a suburb of Edinburgh. The original church existed in Restalrig from before the 4th century, dedicated to St. Triduana. A new church was built on the site in about 1165. The foundation for St. Triduana’s Chapel and St. Triduana’s Well adjoin St. Margaret’s Church.

St. Triduana's Chapel and Well
St. Triduana Chapel and grounds

Inside St Margaret’s is a stained glass window dedicated to the Logan’s. This was the church of the Logan Barons of Restalrig up until 1610.”

“The foundation of St. Triduana Chapel is a hexagonal structure now capped with a square structure with a peaked roof, abutting St. Margaret’s. When St. Triduana died in Restalrig on 8 October 510 AD, the story is that “a well of pure water” sprung up where she was buried. In 1438, Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig erected a hexagonal tomb over her grave which provided pilgrims access to the “curative” well water. “

“In the basement of St. Triduana’s Chapel, we noted a large (about 6 ft tall) tombstone for Lady Janet, Ker — Lady Restalrig — but with one corner broken off and missing, containing the date.  The ladies guiding our tour of the Church could not supply the date. But John recalled seeing a picture of the tombstone. We looked it up in Scott’s Heraldry by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Oliver & Boyd Publisher, Edinburgh, 1934. Lady Ker was the wife of Sir Robert Logan, the 7th and last Baron of Restalrig. Lady Ker died in 1596.”

“While in Edinburgh, John took us on a short auto tour of the city, passing by Holyrood Palace and the new Scottish Parliament, then to Arthur’s Seat. Arthurs’s seat is a very large volcanic plug next to the volcanic plug on which Edinburgh Castle is built. Half way up one side of Arthur’s Seat is the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, reported to have been built in the 1100’s by the Logan’s of Restalrig.”

Castle Doocot
St. Anthony's Chapel
Ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel

“Our tour of the Edinburgh area included a visit to Lochend House, Restalrig, which is the site of the Old Logan Castle of Restalrig. All that remains of the Castle is the Doocot and one wall with the last standing chimney of the Castle. The castle wall is now decorated with modern graffiti and the chimney is hardly visible through the trees.

On the site of the old Castle are several apartment buildings and a modest post World War II mansion, Lochend House. Lochend House is boarded up and run down, and is now on the market for sale, I am told, at a mere 220,000 pounds (about $300,000 or so).

One day while studying the roadmap, John noticed a reference to Nell Logan’s Bridge. So we had to investigate. After several wrong turns we finally found the bridge. The bridge was built in 1793 over Preston Burn. A prison cell was built under the bridge by adding walls and floor, and small windows and a door with bars. Nell Logan was the last prisoner. She was charged with sheep steeling. It’s not known what her fate was.”

Nell Logan's Prison Cell Under Bridge
Nell Logan’s prison cell under the bridge

New Nell Logan Bridge

“Was Nell tried and convicted or found innocent? Was she punished? These questions beg for more research. It’s a mystery! A new bridge was built above the old bridge in 2010 to provide 2 lanes across Preston Run, but the old bridge is still there, under the new one.”

I thank James for including me on his family email on his trip to Scotland.  And, I invite all Logan’s to become members of the Clan Logan Society International.  Clan Membership

Proud to be a Logan!

By the way, here is the sacred burial plot containing the heart of Robert the Bruce.

Sacred Burial Plot Robert the Bruce

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Click the book picture to purchase.

If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

Martha Ann Chadwick (Wescott Family)

My 2nd Great Grandmother

Wife of John Thomas Wescott

Her nickname was “Puss”.  Not sure why.

Born November 3, 1865 in Currituck County, North Carolina

Marth Ann Chadwick

                                           Photo Courtesy of Spence/Wescott family

She was born to William Davenport Chadwick and Lurana J. O’Neal.  Lurana was four years older than William.

Lurana’s family ancestor names are very rooted in North Carolina and the natives.  The Farrow’s, O’Neal’s, Midgette’s, Payne’s, Jennette’s, Woodhouse’s, and Pugh’s.  Most names being related to the Lost Colony.   The “Families of Interest” include the surnames of the colonists and families associated with historical documents with local Native American heritage. If the colonists survived and were integrated into native village life, DNA, matching that of the colonists, will appear within the descendants of the local Native American population.  More information on the Lost Colony is here

I can only find records of Martha Ann starting at age four.  They lived in Poplar Branch.  Poplar Branch is an unincorporated community in Currituck County, North Carolina.

Poplar Branch Map

Martha Ann was born during the Civil War and the Burnside Expedition. (See blog on John Wescott). She had three two older sisters (Maria, Luvina, and Rebecca) and one older brother, John.  Her brother, Edgar, was born when she was three.  Her sister, Lillie Dane, was born when she was seven and died three months later.  Her older sister, Rebecca, died when she was thirteen.  A year later, her mother, Lurana, died.  Her mother was only fifty years old.  A year after that, her half-sister, Arissia died.  Seven months later her father died, he was only forty-eight.  Such sadness in her life so far.   Five deaths by the time she was just sixteen!

No wonder when John Thomas Wescott proposed to her when she was barely 18, she gladly accepted.

I believe that Martha and John met through their fathers.  By 1884, John is showing in the Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory as the proprietor of the Wescott Hotel in Roanoke Island, NC. This same directory shows W. D.  Chaddic (Martha’s father) as a lawyer in Manteo. It also shows he owns the Manteo Hotel in Manteo.  Even though the elder John Wescott died in 1884, it could be him listed in the directory.  I cannot see this being John T. as he had just joined the Life Saving Service and had a 2-year-old daughter.  I cannot see him having the time to run a hotel too.

Marriage License John and MarthaMarriage Registration John and MarthaJohn T. Wescott and Lovey MarriageJohn T. Wescott and Martha Chadwick Marriage

Martha’s mother was married prior to marrying William.  She had four children with Nathan Etheridge before he died in 1856.

At age 18, Martha married John, 30, and helped raise Dora, 6.  At age 19, she and John started having their own children.

She and John had five children.

John T Wescott and Martha Chadwick's Golden Wedding ArticleAt age 68, they celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

By the time she died at age 70, she had nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild if my calculations are correct.  She died of Chronic Nephritis.

Martha Chadwick death cert

She is buried in the Wescott Family Plot at Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina with her husband.

Martha Ann Chadwick headstone

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