Friday, May 6, 2016
Close Encounters of a Family Kind
How does one end up marrying a third cousin without knowing it? Apparently, sometimes these things happen. Those who keep diligent track of every branch of their family tree would spot the issue immediately. But how many people out there are smitten with the genealogy bug, as we are? Despite the current rankings for popular genealogy shows on television, not that many.
In the case of my husband's family, the route went something like this, all beginning with two half-siblings, both sons of William Gordon. The eldest, James, was son of William and his first wife, Mary Carroll. Before the family moved from Greene County, Pennsylvania, to their final home in Perry County, Ohio, James married a woman named Sarah Rinehart. Among their ten (and counting) children was their first-born daughter, Nancy Ann. She married Simon Flowers in Perry County and had, among many others, a son whom the couple named Joseph.
Joseph, in turn, married and also had many children, including John Ambrose Flowers, born in 1885. Still in Perry County by this point, John Ambrose took a wife of his own, the young Bertha Metzger, daughter of Joseph Metzger and Bertha Gordon.
Oh oh. There's that Gordon surname again. Perhaps the couple—and their parents, too—didn't realize that significance because the groom's family hadn't had a Gordon surname since John Ambrose's paternal grandmother, who died six years after he was born. Besides, the bride's connection to the Gordon name was through her mother's maiden name. But still.
The young bride, Bertha, owed her surname to her father, Joseph Metzger, true, but that Gordon line came through to her, too, thanks to her mother's father, Adam Gordon.
The name Adam plus the surname Gordon is enough to give me grief. There seem to be more than one Adam Gordon—all born about the same time—so I've had to tread carefully through this branch of the family tree. Still, a Gordon is a Gordon, and it's likely Adam's father was William H. Gordon, who turns out to be son of none other than William B. Gordon and his second wife, Mary Cain.
And that, my friend, is the full circle between half-siblings James and William Gordon.