Sunday, December 31, 2017

Claiming Robert Hampton ~ a DNA victory

This is worth briefly returning to blogging. I am elated! 

Rachel Hampton Mulkey, my 4th great-grandmother has been a focus of my research efforts from my earliest days as a family historian. Given that I've been at this a while, she and I are nearing 50 years of rampant curiosity on my part and maddening discretion/mystery/stubborn refusal on her part to share her parentage. 

I've written about this before. More than once. I gave up believing the Andrew Hampton story decades ago when not a shred of any believable evidence linking her to ANY Andrew Hampton could be found. What could be found were a myriad of clues connecting her to the family of a Robert Hampton who died in 1796 in Washington County, Tennessee. 

Robert's will named his wife, Mary, five sons and no daughters. There is however, evidence  that Elizabeth Hampton Edwards (abt 1787-1840), the wife of Abel Edwards, and Sarah Hampton Bayless (abt. 1786), the wife of Samuel Bayless may have been his daughters. Abel Edwards and Hampton's sons attended a crying sale together and a marriage record exists for Sarah Hampton and Samuel Bayless. Hardly conclusive, but this is the frontier. Conclusive documentation is scant. There are also no records suggesting any other Hampton family lived in the area at the time Rachel, Elizabeth and Sarah Hampton were born. 

Rachel Hampton Mulkey lived near Jesse Hampton, a son of Robert Hampton. Rachel and Isaac Mulkey named one of their own sons Robert Hampton Mulkey. Their children served as witnesses on documents relating to the family of Robert Hampton, another son of Robert. They were members of the same church. 

A few years ago, after spending days pouring through the last boxes of documents from the era at the Archives of Appalachia and finding nothing naming Isaac or Rachel Mulkey and Robert Hampton I declared my reasonably exhaustive search complete. While I can build a convincing case, there were enough holes that I did not feel I could declare Rachel's parentage solved to my own satisfaction. 

Ancestry tree showing DNA matches to family of Robert Hampton. Rachel, as my direct line, is shown with green arrows. 

Enter DNA. I was thrilled when my maternal aunt (Rachel's 3rd great-granddaughter) matched a descendant of Elizabeth Hampton Edwards. And thrilled again when she or I matched three different Robert Hampton, Jr. descendants. And yet... The match to Elizabeth did not prove their parentage, only their kinship. One of the matches to Robert Jr. also shared other lines, so I could not be certain all of them supported the Hampton kinship. This week I found a match to a descendant of Robert's son John Hampton. That makes matches to three different documented children of Robert Hampton. The aggregate data persuaded me. I am waving the victory flag. 

Now who were Robert Hampton's parents? Who was his wife, Mary? 

Goldene Fillers Burgner, Washington County, Tennessee Wills 1777-1872 (Southern Historical Press, 1983, Easley, SC), p. 6. 
Washington County Inventories of Estates, Vol. OO, 1779-1821(WPA records), p. 113-122. Samuel Culbertson's Estate May Sessions 1799

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Blog Caroling 2016

One of the women I admire most in the world has requested Christmas carols. She is one I joyfully obey!
So, dear fM, here is one of my favorite, favorite carols. One I heard constantly as a child and hear still today. I never tire of Harry Belafonte's voice. Nor of his version of Mary's Boy Child. Written by Jester Hairston in 1956 (a REALLY good year) it topped the charts the next year when Belafonte recorded it. It still tops mine.
#BlogCaroling2016 #fMRules#MerryChristmas
Long time ago in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas day.
Hark, now hear the angels sing
A new King born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas day.
While shepherds watched their flock by night
And see a bright new shining star
And hear a choir sing
The music seem to come from afar.
Now Joseph and his wife Mary
Come to Bethlehem that night
And find no place to borne she child
Not a single room was in sight.
Hark, now hear the angels sing
A new King born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas day.
By and by they find a little nook
In a stable all forlorn
And in a manger cold and dark
Mary's little boy was born.
Hark, now hear the angels sing
A new King born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Catholic Burial Records in Frederick, Maryland

This once in every 20th blue moon post is inspired by a superb book I was given during a recent trip to Frederick, Maryland. My Catholic in-laws have lived in Frederick for centuries. And been buried there. I regularly visit their graves at St. John's Cemetery when I am back for a visit. And wonder. For many of the Smith and Jamison kinfolk there died decades before the cemetery was created. The skeptic in me has questioned whether the markers were memorial stones or actually marked their graves.

A dedicated group from St. John's and the Frederick County Historical Society answered this and several other questions tumbling about in the back of my mind in the book Burial Records St. John the Evangelist Church Frederick, Maryland From 1779 Through December 31, 2000. It turns out the Smiths and other early Frederick settlers were moved from their original graves at the Jesuit Novitiate graveyard when the Jesuits left Frederick in the early 20th century. Which FINALLY explains how Leonard Smith, who died in 1794 is buried in a cemetery that opened in 1845. 

The book is drawn from church records recording deaths rather than actual burial records. As such, it includes people who were buried from St. John's but not at St. John's. It also includes at least two men not yet buried - my father-in-law and uncle, whose ashes await their very strong and long-lived wives. Long may they wait. 

The book costs $25 and is available privately. I, of course, no longer have the name of the gentleman selling the book (you can find it on the board near the entrance to the cemetery) but contacting the church or historical society bookstore should yield contact information. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Frank Popp (1889-1966)

Frank Popp was another of my grandfather's cousins who emigrated to the United States. He was a storied cousin to my father and his siblings, living a glamorous life in Los Angeles and sending photographs to them of beaches and Rose Bowl parades.

Several years ago I was fortunate to be able to talk to Frank's daughter and get some information about his life beyond the pictures. After our conversation she sent me this photo of her parents and brother taken sometime after his birth in 1913.

His daughter knew very little about his life or family in Europe. He was born Ferencj Pap, in a Carpathian mountain village, either Drahova or Berezovo (now in Ukraine). She thought he was about 20 years old when he came to America. She thought he came through Ellis Island and then went to the mines in Pennsylvania. He may have gone to stay with another cousin, Joe Popp. Her mother, Mary Burjosky, came with her family as a child. They settled in Wyoming. 

Frank left the mines as soon as he could and went to Chicago where his cousin and my great-aunt, Mary Popp Hricak was living. He learned to barber there, then left to work near, but not in the mines. He went to Wyoming where he met and married his wife, and then to Washington State where his son was born in 1913. By 1917 they had moved to Miami, Arizona (another mining community) where their two daughters were born. By 1920 they had moved to Hollywood, where Frank bought a barber shop on Hollywood Boulevard and even cut a few movie stars' hair. 

Frank lived the rest of his life in California. He died there in 1966. I don't believe he ever came to New York, but he did visit the Hricaks in Chicago. My aunt and uncle met him as adults when they were in California. 

I don't actually know how Frank and my grandfather are related. They were clearly close, but whether they were first cousins is open for discussion and further research. The documentation I have found supports the information his daughter shared (with the exception of the 1930 census which lists his son's birthplace as the District of Columbia, rather than Washington State). I have yet to find immigration documents that I can absolutely assign to Frank. He was not the only Ferencj Pap leaving those mountains at the turn of the century. 

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Photo Source
Frank Popp family portrait, c. 1914; digital image, privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2006. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: John Popp (1886-1959)

My grandfather, Stephen Popp (Stefan Papp) was part of the tide of Austro-Hungarian immigrants that came to United States in the early 20th century. Like many others, he followed his family and neighbors. In addition to his siblings, three of his Popp cousins came to America from two small villages at the eastern edges of the Empire.

I grew up in Connecticut near the family of one of the cousins, John Popp. John died when I was a toddler, but I knew his widow and son's family. John had a certain stature in the family stories. He was dearly loved, a successful business man in Bridgeport, owned a car (this was a big deal), and was active in the immigrant church and cultural societies in the United States. He and his wife even hosted my aunt and uncle on their honeymoon in 1947, providing a sleeper sofa in the living room for the newlyweds. My aunt made it clear that they stayed a few days, then headed off to someplace more private for a traditional honeymoon. The notices that appeared in The Bridgeport Post following John's death don't mention the car or honeymoon hosting, but they more than illustrate his stature in the community.

EASTON, Sept. 14 -- Services will take place Thursday for John Popp, 72, of 10 Palmer place, former operator of a liquor store on Arctic street, Bridgeport, who died yesterday in his home.
The will be conducted at 8:30 a.m. in the Adzima funeral home, 591 Arctic stret [sic], Bridgeport, and at 9 o'clock in St. John the Baptist church, Mill Hill avenue. Burial will be in St. John's cemetery, Stratford. Panahedeon services will be conducted at the funeral home tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 o'clock.
Mr. Popp was past president of St. John the Baptist Carpatho Russian Greek Catholic church on Mill Hill avenue and supreme past president of the American Russian Sokols of the Greek Catholic Brotherhood, and a member of the Fathers' club, St. Basil's society and St. Nicholas' society.
A native of Czechoslovakia, Mr. Popp resided in Bridgeport many years before moving to Easton three years ago.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Wargo Popp; a son, George Popp, operator of the Appliance Center on Main street, four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

EASTON, Sept. 18 -- Services for John Popp, 72, of 10 Palmer place, were conducted yesterday in St. John the Baptist Carpatho-Russian Greek Cathoic church, Mill Hill avenue, Bridgeport. Burial was in St. John's cemetery, Stratford.
His Grace, Archbishop Benjamin, of Pittsburgh, officiated.
Celebrant of the Mass was the Rt. Rev. Andrew Slepecky, administrator of St. Clair, Pa.; co-celebrants, the Very Revs. John Kivko and Joseph G. Simko.
The Very Rev. Hrista Vasilescu, the Rev. John Shunda, the Rev. Victor F. George, the Rev. Alexander Kovachi, and the Very Rev. Stephen Antonuk were seated in the Sanctuary.
Father Simko assisted by Fathers Slepecky and Kivko, read the committal services.
Delegations from St. Basil's society, A.R.S. 3; St. Nicholas' society, and the Fathers club attended.
Bearers, all church officers, were Michael Tarasovich, Michael Hritz, Michael Soltis, Jr., Richard Kopchyak, Peter Liscinsky and George Komtos. 
John was born on 22 Dec 1886 in Drahovo, Maramoros, Austria-Hungary to Ivan Papp and his wife, Ilka Papp. Today Drahovo is in Ukraine. He came to the United States in 1903 with his mother. His father was working in Johnstown, PA, and paid for their passage. He had two surviving siblings who remained in Europe, Anna Papp and Stefan Papp. John's parents ultimately returned to Drahovo. While I cannot document the relationship between John and my grandfather, their children believed them to be first cousins through John's mother. If so, then Ilka Papp was a sister of my great-grandfather, Ivan Papp, and a daughter of Stefan Papp and Anna Stajko.

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


"John Popp, 72, Dies; Ex-Head of Sokols," The Bridgeport Post, 14 Sep 1959, p. 34, col. 8; digital images, (accessed 22 Apr 2014), Newspapers & Publications. Cit. Date: 22 Apr 2014.  

"Obituary John Popp," The Bridgeport Post, 17 Sep 1059, p. 2, col. 9; digital images, (accessed 22 Apr 2014), Newspapers & Publications. Cit. Date: 22 Apr 2014.  

"Ellis Island Ship Manifests," online images, ( : accessed 22 Apr 2014), manifest, S.S. Finland, 6 Oct 1903, Ilka Papp and Ivan Papp, lines 7 & 8. Cit. Date: 22 Apr 2014.