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

Click the shirt to purchase.

Click the book picture to purchase.

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

Your Family Tree Research Specialist

The Cofer/Copher Families- Part 2 (Wescott Family)

Minnie’s parents were Robert E. Cofer and Martha Ann Davis, my 3rd great grandparents.  Not much is known about them except from records.  Both were from Virginia and were married in Norfolk when they were both aged 23.

Martha was the third of eleven children and they grew up during the Civil War during 1863 when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and when the Battle of Chancellorsville took place.

I have pictures of Martha circa 1918, but nothing of Robert has been found yet.


Robert was the fifth of ten children, but his father remarried and had four other children.  He also grew up and spent his live in Surry County, Virginia and grew up with slaves in the household.

According to Ruby and cousins, Martha went to a finishing girls private school for music and she had her own carriage and two horses.

Martha told her granddaughter, Elizabeth Cofer Reed, that she had not dressed herself until she was grown.  She also told her that the slaves did not want to leave when they were freed.  These are from notes left in Ruby Chapman Wescott’s things.

In 1900, the census shows Martha’s occupation as a “Professional Nurse”, at age 59.  Impressive.  Her previous occupations show her as “Keeping House”.  More about her family in my next blog.

In 1850, Robert is shown at age 16, with two of his brothers, to be an apprentice to a “carriage maker”, he was listed as a “mechanic” in 1860 at age 20 and in future census records, as being a “wheelwright”.   Skilled tradesmen were as valuable to the Confederate army as a musket-toting soldier.  A wheelwright was a highly skilled profession combining both woodworking and metal-working skills.

After 43 years of marriage, Robert passed away at age 67 of Dysentery which he had for three years before he died.  Martha lived until the age of 78 dying of heart disease.  They are both buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk City, Virginia.

Robert’s parents were Isaac Cofer and Mary C. Jones.  Both of whom grew up in Isle of Wight, Virginia.  Isaac owned a plantation and many slaves.  The first record being when he was aged 24 in 1830 and owned three slaves.  He and Mary were married two years prior.  By 1840 he had eleven slaves.  And, by 1860, he owned fifteen.  His Real Estate Value was $3200 and his Personal Estate Value was $8000.

In 1861, papers were filed on property of Isaac lost in the Civil War worth $1400.  It was his slave, John.  There are seven papers in this file with witnesses for Isaac stating John was an actual slave of Isaac, that he died in service, etc.  Government paperwork!


“The Southern Claims Commission was created by Congress on March 3, 1871, to compensate southern Unionists for property appropriated by the Union army during the American Civil War (1861–1865).  Although claims for reimbursement had been made since early in the war, such as the above claim, many in Congress had resisted authorizing their payment.” Source: Southern Claims Commission

By 1870, Isaac’s worth had decreased. His Personal Estate Value was $300 and his Real Estate Value was $3000.  He died about four years later at age 68 although there is no real proof of his death yet found.  I cannot find any record of a certificate or a grave.  Interestingly enough, Isaac’s second wife is a Sarah Jones (any relation to the first wife? I do not know… yet).

Two of Isaac’s daughter’s marriages are shown to have taken place at “Isaac Cofer’s Residence”.  Mary E. married a Confederate Army Captain.

Isaac Cofer’s parents were Reverend Joseph Cofer and Jerusha Lancaster (age 15 at the time of their marriage).  They too, were slave owners.  Jerusha died at age 39 leaving Joseph with ten children ranging from aged five to age twenty-three at the time of her death.   Less than a month later, when Isaac was age 41, his father married a second time, to Martha Wrenn.   They had three children together.  All in all, thirteen children for ‘ole Joseph!  Add to that Joseph’s twenty-five slaves and you have quite the plantation I assume.

In one of the genealogy message boards, a person is trying to find information on her family stating, “Family history talks about an Aunt Mandy and Uncle Charles Jones who were slaves that were free after the war and were residing with Joseph.”.

The below video is of an old grist mill owned by the Wrenn family which stood on Route 677, north of Smithfield.  The video is made from scans of a roll of medium format film taken in the late 1960’s with a Yashica Model “D” camera. The mill was demolished in 1989 after a pickup went off the road and crashed into it.




The below article was in something I found in my research while writing this blog.  I am hoping to get the previous pages as well.  Maybe I can convince my cousin, the history major, to make a trip for me and get me copies.

The book title is In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition
By Kimberly Smith Ivey.

Updated 3/11/18- Someone from my Isle of Wight Facebook page owns the book and supplied the missing page 90!

Southampton, Surry, and Isle of Wight Counties
Unity A. Delk and Elizabeth M. Cofer worked almost identical samplers to honor the deaths of their respective parents, Wiley Jones Delk and Jerusha Lancaster Cofer (figs. 123 and 124). Not shown here is an earlier sampler worked by Unity’s older sister Martha, which also commemorates the death of their father. In 1824, four years after the death of Wiley Delk, his widow, Martha Wren Delk, of Southampton County, married Joseph Cofer, a Baptist minister from Isle of Wight and Surry Counties. One year earlier Joseph’s first wife,

Regarding Jerusha's Youngest

Figure 123 – Sampler by Unity A. Delk, dated Sept. 5, 1834; attributed to Isle of Wight County, Virginia.
Figure 124 – Sampler by Elizabeth M. Cofer, age sixteen, dated 1834; attributed to Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

Samplers Delk and Cofer

On the website,, I found this which has the exact date of Jerusha’s death! How wonderful it would be to have this! How exciting for me to find this!!

Elisabeth Cofer Sampler Cropped

Isaac’s half-brother, Thomas Wrenn Cofer, is another fascinating figure.  Thomas owned and operated the T.W. Cofer & Co. which produced the Cofer revolver during the War Between the States. It was used by the Army of the Confederacy.

You can still purchase these rare guns for as much as $2,500.00 or so.  To read more about his patent and see his application and guns, click on Thomas W. Cofer Legacy  Believe it or not, after 157 years, his patent papers are still intact.

Image result for T. W. Cofer

Joseph’s parents were Thomas Cofer and Elizabeth Moody.  Ruby states that “Thomas and Elizabeth Cofer gave an acre of land to build the Mills Swamp Baptist Church.”  As proven in the 190th Anniversary newspaper article written in Aug 13, 1964 below.

190th Anniversary Article Mill Swamp Baptist 08131964

It is Elizabeth Moody’s father who I have been able to trace to the American Revolution thus far.  His DAR Ancestor # is A079173.

“Phillip is the ancestor who assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of Patriot (supplying Provisions for Virginia militia).

Although he was too old for military service, he served the county of Isle of Wight, VA as Justice, and was a member of Isle of Wight County, Virginia Court 1750 until 1751. 

He came from Gloucester County, VA and bought 477 acres in Isle of Wight on 22 Oct 1724.

This marks his time of settlement in Isle of Wight.”

He was one of the first head’s of families in the First Census of the United States.  Here is a copy of his will which lists not only his wife and children, but also his slaves by name. If you click on the picture below, it should open in a new window for you to view it in a larger format.

Phillip Moody's Will

Phillip is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 27, Site 1912.

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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