News & Research

I am continuously researching my family tree. However, there are times where it might be helpful, particularly for other researchers to see what has been added to my tree over time. I won't put every update, but I will put significant updates and highlights to the genealogy depicted on this website. Note that since this page was launched in November 2016, news items before then will be more generalized. Also check out how to get started on your own research.

Pick a specific timeframe:          
  • March 2018: Researched my Simmons ancestry after discussion with distant cousin Nora Taylor Lambert and revisiting A compilation of Simmons descendants of Pendleton County, Va. (W. Va.) by Walter L. Eye. Nothing particularly new came out of the research, but some clarification (children and lineage as depicted on my site) and questions did (whether or not Leonard Simmons was connected to John Nicholas Simmons). Discovered via 23andMe my 5th cousin Robin Quick who is descended from Benjamin Morris, Sr., and Sarah Elizabeth (Bolton) Morris. After reviewing, designated persons listed prior to the 1560s on the Newby-Albertson-Nicholson-Hayward-De Cam Ancestry as speculative due to suspicious dates. Did likewise for other names on pages tying into Scottish Royalty that are currently speculative. I modified surnames as unverified accordingly.

    Worked on stronger inheritance lines for viewing the site so that instead of using this:


    The site can begin using this:


    For now, it is demonstrated on the Simmons Ancestry page as it is a simple hierarchy to model the new lines. Over time, this will replace what is out there, though the text overlay will be in place for the sake of printing the lines on pages. It will be slowly rolled out one page at a time.

  • February 2018: Updated the page Fun - Genealogies from Fiction and other fun stuff! and included a link to it from the home page menu. Improved layout on certain pages to lessen the "rectangles" as my oldest son calls them by condensing the real estate of the page taken up by lists and narratives as seen at William H. Johnson page and Jesse B. Hill note, both being among the redesign. Updated information about Jesse B. and Mary Ann (Luther) Hill as well as Mary's father Abraham Luther and her great grandfather John Michael Luther, Sr. (D.A.R. application, deposition of war pension and verification of service in the American Revolution), with information provided from Joyce Kendall (with whom I corresponded in January 2018 and this month). While Michael Luther was clearly a Revolutionary Patriot, there is a claim that he was among the hundreds of men who crossed the Delaware with George Washington. I have reached out to those who wrote articles and made original posts to verify with source documentation. Read and featured on relevant pages (Kearns, Pritchard, Newby, Morris, Johnson and Surratt) the article Life In 18th Century North Carolina (prior to the Revolutionary War). Revisited The History of the Hunt Family by Roger D. Hunt, 2011, and made clarifications on my ancestor Elizabeth Charles Nicholson. Doing some design changes to make less vertical rectangales shorter (using scroll or widening) on certain pages. Due to link changes on a source site, updated source links for the Shattuck ancestry. With much appreciation to S. Joyce Kendall, updated my page with one of our ancestors Richard Loflin, adding documentation she provided, confirming him as a Patriot of the American Revolution. With the ongoing problems with RootsWeb being down, changed some of the references on the site sources and references on Shattuck/Page/Symons/Morris Ancestry & Quaker Ancestry and Hill and Cranford, Surratt, Kearns ancestry to use links like this - (Problems viewing?) - pointing to archived pages from Wayback Machine ( for the time being. Found documentation showing John Mills married Sarah Sarratt, which had been a mystery in Surratt ancestry. Did further research on that ancestry and added details to that page. Reached out regarding my ancestor Sarah Rednap, starting a public discussion at Continued collecting leads to try to figure out my Johnson origins. I corresponded with Patty LaPlante and based on that correspondence as well as the profiles for Robert Hicks of Hick's Ford and Capt. Robert Hicks, Indian Trader, I have found confusion and error in my Hicks line and by default the origins thereof, causing me to "stamp" those pages as being in error and needing research as well as setting certain surnames listed on the home page to only show up if "unverified" names are selected to display. Eventually, I removed content from the pages, including certain surnames from the home page (as they are beyond unverified), after further correspondences and discussion with curators. This also resulted in updates to the generations page for six, seven and eight generations back on my paternal side.
  • January 2018: Continued research on the Kearns ancestry after last month's correspondence with Gene Kearns (Eugene Kearns, Jr.) and his compilation of Descendants of William Thomas Mosson Keirns. Came across various resources related to my Johnson, Morris and Bisher ancestries, namely around Census data and the Civil War era and added them to the site. Updated research about J. Conrad Bescher and his son Godfrey and their wives. Added History of Sugar Grove, WV to the ancestry of my maternal grandmother Hazel Jane (Eckard) Fisher. On, my ancestor Sarah Rednap is listed as Sarah Lawton (b. 1609; d. 1674), daughter of George and Isabel Lawton, instead of Sarah Haughton (b. 1595-d. 1617, which is a suspicious date given her daughter's birthdate). I contacted profile managers on for sources/substantiation to see if I can unravel this mystery. After reading "How DNA Testing Botched My Family's Heritage, and Probably Yours, Too," by Kristen V. Brown, uploaded data to Gencove, which suggests I am 88% Northern and Central European, 10% Eastern Mediterranean and 2% Finnish. It is worth noting FTDNA suggests that I am 97% European, less than 1% East Middle East, less than 1% South American and less than 2% Southeast European. So, these is somewhat in contrast in my DNA information. On MyHeritage, discovered a DNA relative Sarah Joyce Kendall whose grandmother was sister to my great grandfather William "Eddie" Hill, which means she shares the ancestry of my great-grandfather Hill with me, among that being Luther ancestry about which she provided information. She also descends from Richard Loflin, father of John Loflin who married Nancy Hall and she contributed greatly to my Loflin research. Also discovered DNA relative Patricia Elliott who with me shares Reverend Beverly and Paulina "Laney" (Loflin) Surratt and John (Sr.) and Nancy (Hall) Loflin as common ancestors. I came across the article Calling HOGWASH on 23andMe's Ancestry Timeline by Dr. Roberta Estes of DNAeXplained, which substantially shows how 23andMe's Ancestry Timeline is inaccurate, even deceptive in its wrongly drawn conclusions. Therefore, I removed that tool's conclusions from both my Generations page and home page. With the help of the aforementioned Joyce Kendall, gathered even more material from her research for my Loflin ancestry. Found my father's (William H. Johnson) honorable discharge from the United States Navy in card form and added a summary of my father's Navy service to the William Herman Johnson in the Navy page.
  • December 2017: Renewed research of the De Skene ancestry, particularly that of my ancestor Agnes Forbes De Skene attempting to verify her ties to Scottish royalty. In researching the De Skene ancestry, I found inconsistencies in dates, therefore making my path to the John De Skene (ca. 1290) difficult to trace. The question is not if I am descended from him as much as how I am descended from him. So I dug into it and began the process of correcting the dates for the De Skene ancestry and the Skene ancestry as I reviewed sources (some of which are now listed on the various pages). While I was able to get a clearer path to John De Skene (ca. 1290) in my research, I also found that the parentage for Agnes Forbes (who married Alexander De Skene) is only speculated. So while I can verify being descended from a Forbes, I cannot say with certainty who Agnes' parents were. Meanwhile, the documentation substantiating her husband's De Skene line appears in tact, though some dates may vary slightly among sources. Corrected name links in Hicks ancestry and Hicks Origins - Early Hicks Ancestry and did some research thereof. Also added embellishments to those pages (coat of arms and links). Theorized possible Virginia locations of my early Johnsons. Found a picture of the house of Joseph Coffman, brother to my ancestor Catherine Coffman Funkhouser, which has an interesting story, thanks to The Heartland: Rockingham County by Nancy B. Hess (1976). Added quick select for sources. Revisited the research of the Kearns ancestry after corresponding with Gene Kearns (Eugene Kearns, Jr.). I am both his 4th cousin twice removed and his 5th cousin once removed through the Kearns line. He is son of Eugene Kearns, Sr., son of Lewis Marvin Kearns, Sr., son of Calier Steed Kearns, son of Isaac Kearns, Jr., son of Isaac Kearns, Sr.
  • November 2017: I heard from Bryan Scott Godfrey, a descendant of Miriam (Newby) Lamb, sister of my (5x) great-great-great-great-great grandmother Mary (Newby) Morris. From his sources and research, replaced the surname Gosbey/Gosbey with Sutton. Further, via the Sutton ancestry, discovered additional surnames beyond Sutton: Tilden, Huckstep/Huckstepe, Bigge/Biggs, Hatch, Warner and possibly the following as well: Glover and Hand. Researched the Surratt line, adding some speculated but possible origins and details to the line. Joined MyHeritage. Met (online) and gathered information from Pamela Kudla, a fellow descendant of Isack and Damaris (Shattuck) Page and between her research and other information from Philip Shaddock, researcher of the Shattock/Shattuck/Shaddock/Shaddick/Shadduck DNA, added more details to the Shattuck ancestry. I came across the MyHeritage Family Tree of Lewis Armstrong, great-great-great-great-great grandson of Nicholas and Anna Elisabeth (Seybert) Hevener, my alleged great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents, making me possibly Lewis Armstrong's 6th cousin twice removed via the Hevener ancestry. What is interesting is that this challenges research suggesting that my ancestry is through Cowger instead of Hevener. MyHeritage predicts we are 1st cousins twice removed to 4th cousins, which is much closer than the estimate when just considering the possible Hevener connection. Thus, he and I are likely related via another route. Yet, as I review the tree of Lewis Armstrong, I see no other familiar names besides Nicholas and Anna Elizabeth (Seybert) Hevener. Still, the question remains if my ancestor was a Cowger or Hevener. Nonetheless, I did research Nicholas Hevener and found some detailed information about him on It doesn't answer my question, but it is interesting nonetheless. Continuing to try to break through my brick wall with the origins of Abraham Johnson in researching leads for my Johnson line.
  • October 2017: Not much by way of changes on the site itself, but a lot of time researching chromosomes and chromosome mapping/browsing. Added improved contact capability as seen by the mailbox 📫 above. Updated the page Fun - Genealogies from Fiction and other fun stuff!.
  • September 2017: Found via FTDNA a Richardson family, to whom I am connected via the Bowman/Baumann and Funkhouser lines. The mother is daughter of a woman whose maiden name was Corbett , who in turn was daughter of Charles Howard Corbett, son of Arta Leola Bowman Corbett, daughter of Jacob Samuel Bowman, son of Samuel Bowman, son of Jacob Bowman, son of Daniel Bowman, son of Christian and Elizabeth Bowman (our common ancestors). Researching the Bowman line as a result. Found via 23andMe a 5th cousin through my Surratt line in Miranda Stokes Winters, a fellow great-great-great-great grandchild of Beverly and Paulina "Lucy" or "Laney" (Loflin) Surratt. Updated Shattuck ancestry with a link to a tree holding their origins. Found via 23andMe Grace Morris (not related through my Morris line though her father Andy was adopted into it), daughter of Sarah Sexton Morris, daughter of John Sexton, son of Nannie Hill Sexton, daughter of my great grandparents William "Eddie" Hill and Mary Addie (Cranford) Hill. Found via FTDNA Lane Hancock, multiply related to me, thrice through the Kearns line and once through the Lassiter line. Her father Charles Bauserman is my 5th cousin through the Lassiter line. Our common ancestor is Micajah Lassiter, Sr. (1764-1854), Charles through Micajah's first wife Celia Spivey. I am descended from Micajah via his second marriage to Mary Tadlock. Charles Bauserman is my 4th cousin through the Kearns line, our common ancestors being Thomas and Rebecca (Ivey) Kearns. Charles is descended from their daughter Anna and I am descended from their daughter Elizabeth "Betsy" (Kearns) Johnson. However, Charles Bauserman and I are also 5th cousins through the Kearns line. Being 4th cousins as descendants of Thomas Kearns, my also being descended from Thomas' brother Isaac via my paternal grandmother Gertrude Leona (Hill) Johnson makes the parents of Thomas and Isaac a common ancestor to Charles Bauserman and me, thus making us 5th cousins a second time. However, Lane Hancock added further connectivity she and I share beyond her father Charles Bauserman for her mother Leeta Belle Highfill is daughter of Mary Louise Russell, daughter of Hattie Bell Strider, daughter of Jessie Lee Strider, son of Margaret Ann Kearns, daughter of Silas Kearns (1807-1844), son of Isaac Kearns. So, I am a 5th cousin to Lane's mother through Isaac. So, taking all this into consideration, Lane is twice my 5th cousin once removed through the Kearns line and once my 4th cousin once removed through the Kearns line and she is my 5th cousin once removed through the Lassiter line. Wow! Found via FTDNA, found Barbara McMahon, a fellow descendant of Thomas Nash IV. She is the daughter of Charles Nash, the son of Clifford Nash, the son of Charle Nash, the son of James Nash, the son of William Nash, the son of Thomas (IV) and Mary Herbert Nash. I am her 5th cousin once removed.
  • August 2017: Found via FTDNA a 3rd cousin through my Surratt line - Kim, daughter of William Howard Green, son of [private], daughter of Gertrude Surratt Green, daughter of McCager Surratt, son of Spencer Surratt, who is my great-great-great grandfather. Found via FTDNA that I am the 5th cousin, once removed, of Joseph "Joey" Nance, son of Wid Henry Nance, son of Joseph A. Nance, son of Charlie Thomas Nance, son of Wiley Nance, son of Hudson Nance, Jr., son of Hudson Nance, Sr., and Elizabeth "Betsy" (Hubbard) Nance, his 4x great grandparents and my 5x great grandparents as seen on my Nance ancestry. Found via 23andMe Rebecca "Becky" (Waggy) Allen to whom I am multiply related via both my Waggy and Propst ancestry. Becky is daughter of Ted Waggy, son of Jacob and Pernina (nee Propst) Waggy. I am related to both of her paternal grandparents: Jacob Waggy and Pernina (nee Propst) Waggy. Jacob Waggy is son of Daniel J. Waggy, son of John and Allie (Propst) Waggy. Pernina (nee Propst) Waggy is daughter of David Propst, son of Samuel Propst, Sr., son of George Propst, Sr., son of Leonard Propst, son of Johann "John" Michael Propst, Sr., who is a common ancestor of both lines! Continuing efforts to reorder sources on the home page to better assist researchers. Revisited 2008 correspondences and information from Samuel "Sam" Houston Johnson, Jr., in searching to further uncover my Johnson line and found where some of my distant cousin Johnsons migrated from North Carolina to Tennessee to Texas. Also, I was able to get clarification and information regarding my ancestor John Johnson, including his will! Researching Matthew Skeen and his ancestry per findings and sources at Mathew Skeen (1701-1748) | WikiTree. Revisiting and researching my Lassiter ancestry with the help of distant cousin Jocelyn Barrett. Cleared up my Skeen and Skene ancestries (and therefore the pathway through my De Skene ancestry) with the help of Linda (Peck) Shreiber who maintains Mathew Skeen (1701-1748) | WikiTree and who provided me with the article by Phyllis J. Miller, "A New Hypothesis on the Ancestry of Mathew Skeen of Augusta County, Virginia." The Virginia Genealogist (Oct - Dec 2001), pp. 305-309, which convincingly shows the true ancestry of Matthew Skene of Augusta Co., Virginia. Found via 23andMe a second cousin John Shackford, son of Kathryn Virginia Johnson (d. 2005), daughter of Allen Starling Johnson, son of Norman and Julia (Morris) Johnson, both John's and my great grandparents! Completed reorganization of sources listing on the home page. Added clarification to the Morris line regarding the ancestry of John Morris b. 31 March 1680. Added the 1812 Probate Document for Thomas Nance, Sr., to the Nance ancestry. With the help of distant cousin Nora Taylor Lambert, obtained a list of VaGenWeb. Highland Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, namely those who fought in Capt. Peter Hull's unit and the campaign on Yorktown, substantiating information in my Crummett, Eckard (particularly Eckards in the military), Eye and Simmons ancestries. [More Info] With the help of Sarah Loflin Borcherding, found significant information substantiating and clarifying my Loflin ancestry. Sarah Loflin Borcherding is the daughter of Paul Loflin whom I match as 2nd to 4th cousin on FTDNA. After research found that I am the 4th cousin once removed of Sarah Loflin Borcherding, daughter of Paul Hurl Loflin (to whom I am 3rd cousin twice removed), son of Emmett "Earl" Hurl Loflin (m. Goldie Stewart), son of William Whit Loflin (m. Amanda), son of William J. "Peg Leg Billie" Loflin, son of John Loflin (originally only speculated to be correct via clues of geography, but my DNA connection to this family confirms it), son of Richard Loflin.
  • July 2017: Fixed broken links on the home page and elsewhere. Added pictures about Denton, NC, to my father's page and pictures as well as improved navigation to the Johnson-Hill Pictures page. Updated the page Fun - Genealogies from Fiction. Corresponding with administrator of FamilyTreeDNA Johnson surname DNA project as I continue the pursuit of my Johnson origins. Added more comments to testimonials. Researched my Lassiter ancestry with 9th cousin Janet Lassiter. Reordered sources on the home page to better assist researchers.
  • June 2017: Pursuing my Johnson ancestry. Updated the page Fun - Genealogies from Fiction with additions of videos. Researched and updated Bittmann/Pitman Ancestry and Snapp/Schnepp Ancestry.
  • May 2017: Researched Sub-Saharan West African ancestry. Researched Cranford Ancestry with Anita Sue Gates. Launched Testimonials page. Further researched my Eye and Propst Ancestries as well as my Crummett Ancestry upon exploring Walter Eye's books: A History of the Descendants of Christopher Crummett of Pendleton County, VA, (W.VA.) and A History of the Descendants of Christopher S. Eye of Pendleton County, Va. (W. Va.) and A History of the Descendants of John Michael Propst of Pendleton County, Va. (W. Va.). Improved navigation at mobile resolution for the List of Last Names on the home page. Discovered a DNA connection to an 8th cousin, which verified another generation of my Luther ancestry, including the surname Kelp. Discovered a DNA connection to a 5th cousin whose research opened up more information on my Bittmann Ancestry and resulted in the addition of my Schworm Ancestry. Continued research of my Hicks/Hix Ancestry.
  • April 2017: Continuing to pursue my Johnson ancestry. Adding and centralizing more sources on pages where applicable (e.g., Births PENDLETON CO. WV (Partial) from USGenWeb Archives on Eckard ancestry and Simmons ancestry). Improved navigation on and added beautiful ancestral portraits to the Generations page. Thanks to Dalles Schneider's work at the Schneider Family Site - Family Tree at, discovered my Wagner ancestor Apollonia Wagner Lautenschlager. Did some additional research around John Culpeper and Sarah Mayo Culpeper from Maggs-Mayo-Henley Families from Lyford Hale, July 2009. Began adding thumbnail images to ancestry of Louise Mae Johnson. With the help of Patty LaPlante, discovered my Hicks/Hix Ancestry and we researched this ancestry. Added this new section regarding how to get started on your own genealogy research:

    How to get started with genealogical research:

    by Jamie Johnson

    • Start with you. What do you know? Are you named for anyone in the family? Who are your parents? Where were they born? Ask them who their parents were. If you don't know a parent, ask the other parent or ask your guardian and go from there.
    • Talk with older living relatives - parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents.
    • Look for books and documents and photos already within your family. Is there a historic family Bible? Is there an old shoebox of photographs? By the way, make sure that if you have a photograph, write the name of persons in the photograph and any other information on the back of the photograph.
    • Look for books and documents and photos elsewhere. Do you go to family reunions where persons may have books, documents or photos? If you know where your ancestors came from or live in the same area, the local libraries often have books about particular families and their histories in the area. Also, know that Google Books has many free genealogical books as does Internet Archive.
    • Look for wills, deeds and probate documents.
    • Keep a list of surnames in your ancestry, starting with your own, your mother's maiden name, and go from there. If possible, note where they are in your tree.
    • Look at Census data.
    • Look at online resources, particularly for the above mentioned documents. Again, know that Google Books has many free genealogical books as does Internet Archive.
    • Join Facebook groups dealing with genealogy. Converse and find sources from friends and yes, even distant cousins, there.
    • Take DNA tests such as 23andMe and Family Tree DNA. At the very least, take an autosomal DNA (atDNA or auDNA - mixture of DNA from both parents passed to child) test. Males, trace the patrilineal line (DNA passed from father to son) by taking a Y-DNA test. Females, trace the matrilineal line (DNA passed from mother to daughters and sons) by taking a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test. In my case, I took the 23andMe (autosomal) test, did the Y-DNA test at Family Tree DNA and I uploaded my 23andMe (autosomal) results to both Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch (free). Where appropriate, contact persons on these and see if you can find your connections. If possible, have a parent take a DNA test on the same site you do. My mother took one at 23andMe, allowing me to now distinguish between maternal and paternal relatives.
    • In ALL of this, DOCUMENT. Don't just write names of persons on the back of photographs, but keep notes, file emails meticulously, keep good track of sources and to which part of your ancestry they apply. And keep a back up of your information, whether that involves emails, hard copies, document imaging and digitizing photographs, back up drives, monthly or annual burn to CD or DVD, and/or multiple aforementioned methods.
    • Finally, keep your data in a centralized place: a filing cabinet, a binder, a database, a website, etc., so you can easily maintain and keep track of it.

    Hope this helps and happy searching!

    Chromosomal Browsing and Triangulation

    June 2018 Update by James "Jamie" Arthur Johnson

    Use chromosomal browsing and triangulation. They allow me to see what genetic information (overlapping chromosomal segments) I share with my matches. And if I know the common ancestors of the match as well as myself, then other DNA cousins who have overlapping segments can be assumed to have the same common ancestors or share ancestry via those ancestors (such as when a DNA match and I share my great-great grandparents as ancestors and another DNA match and I share great-great-great grandparents). That is why it is called triangulation because two persons know the shared ancestry and a third does not, but is brought into the triangle, so to speak. Multiple DNA sites allow chromosomal browsing. Here's another more specific example: say my mother's DNA is on the same site as mine so I can tell who is related to me through my mother. Say I browse the chromosome of a maternal DNA cousin John Doe and we match on chromosome 1 with overlapping segments 18,417,427 to 27,592,940. Now say I find another match in maternal DNA cousin Jane Smith who matches me on chromosome 1 with overlapping segments 18,493,076 to 22,564,305. This means an overlap!

    There are 5 conditions I test (for which I wrote a formula for in a spreadsheet) to determine if John Doe and Jane Smith have overlapping chromosomal segments (and I know they overlap with me because they are among my matches):

    1. Jane's segment range straddles the John's lower number.
    2. Jane's segment range straddles the John's higher number.
    3. Jane's segment range is within the range of John's.
    4. Jane's segment range envelops the range of John.
    5. Jane has a segment in the exact location as John, such as if they have the same starting number, same ending number or the same range, the last of which may mean being related as closely as siblings.

    In John and Jane's case mentioned, the third condition is satisfied. Jane's range is within John's range. Do note that I am assuming they are related to me on the same side (i.e., maternal exclusively or paternal exclusively).

    If I am estimated to be 4th cousins to both Jane and John, then we may share the same great-great-great grandparents; i.e., have common ancestors 5 generations back. However, what if I am John's 2nd cousin and Jane is estimated to be my 4th cousin? This would mean that Jane and I would be related via one of the lines in the ancestry of John's and my common ancestors. So, in this case, John and I would have shared great grandparents. Since, in this case, I am only looking at my maternal side, this narrows it down to four people (instead of 8). So, I would look at the ancestry of each of those four people and go back a couple generations on each one to see if I can find a connection with Jane. This is how chromosomal browsing and triangulation can help. It narrows down the possibilities of how a DNA cousin and I are related. Mastering these methods can be very helpful to you. They open the door to have additional tools beyond surnames, records and documentation.

    Suggestions from others:

    Philip Shaddock of Shattock Shattuck Shaddock Shaddick Shadduck DNA Group suggests the following:

    What I have found helpful is to create a word document that records every Shattocke I come across from a very wide range of sources, organized according to place and then chronologically. Often you can find relatives just by looking at people with the same surname in neighboring towns or villages. You should also emphasize "crowd sourcing," which means making it easy for other people researching your surnames to find you (e.g. through a website, facebook and A lot of the work of recovering your ancestors from documentary sources may have already been done on sites like Ancestry or other websites.

    Dorie Leland and Rene Dorsey, members of North Carolina Genealogy, offer these guidelines in being honest with the past and history:

    If you're very politically correct and easily offended, don't do genealogy. If you can't handle the truth, stay away. If there is a skeleton in your closet, be prepared to dance with it -- a variation of the George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) quote: "If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance" (RootsWeb Guide to Tracing Family Trees).

    Sherri Mora Bass, member of North Carolina Genealogy, suggests the following:

    I would advise someone new to always source, even if it's verbal; do it well enough so that it can be passed to another researcher without needing an explanation. Also, don't copy other trees without checking accuracy/sources. I keep 2 trees. One I've researched and one from public trees I have found online. That way I know one tree is sourced, the other I use as "hints" so it can guide me in a certain direction but it will not be added until confirmed. It's such a headache to have to unattach parts of your tree.

    Professional genealogist Kimberly Powell offers suggestions in her article 50 Questions to Ask Relatives About Your Family History.

    WikiTree pondered this question: What tips do you have for interviewing relatives? And searchers offered their tips.

    Shannon Christmas of the blog Through the Trees, in his article "Realizing The Illusion: Communicating With Long Lost Relatives", suggests proven strategies for connecting with DNA relatives.

    Charity Rouse, genealogist, addresses the question, "Why do I geek genealogy?" - a 2012 presentation, and offers various ideas for researching genealogy.

    Got Genealogy? offers Golden Rules of Genealogy.

  • March 2017: Added thumbnail images to the following pages: The Family of William H. and Carolyn Fisher Johnson, Descendants of Otto Woodrow Fisher and Hazel Jane (Eckard) Fisher, Ancestry of Hazel Jane Eckard Fisher, Fisher/Nash Ancestry, Charles Florence Fisher Ancestry, Stover/Supinger/Pifer/Funkhouser Ancestry, Waggy/Kiser/DeFrain Ancestry, William H. Johnson Ancestry - Bisher/Morris/Johnson/Kearns, Kearns (Keerans) and Ivey (Ivy) Ancestry, Hill/Cranford/Surratt/Kearns Ancestry and The Early Johnsons. Modified the interface on the home page to not show legendary and unverified names by default in the ancestral surnames listing. Through exploring my mother's DNA, I found that my 0.1% "Unassigned" DNA is from my mother's DNA having 0.6% Sub-Saharan/West African (as my father's DNA is 100% European and mother's is 99.4% European and mine 99.9% European). Continuing research Smith Ancestry with Karl Kiser. Added a page featuring the children of John Smith (d. 1838) at Karl's suggestion to help other Smith researchers. In the research, confirmed that my maternal Smith ancestors were Germanic originally with the surname Schmidt. Clarifying sources on various pages and adding those listed on the home page to respective pages where applicable. Researched Bowman ancestry, discovering Christian Bowman of Germanic descent as my ancestor who lived near Strasburg, VA. Reviewed Walter L. Eye's books on Eckards and Simmons to clean up those pages with help from their corresponding books. Revisited the alleged early De Skene ancestry as I read through Memorials of Family of Skene of Skene, from the family papers, with other illustrative documents by William Forbes Skene. Found and read the Probate Document for Rev. Micajah Hill, Jr., which reveals that Rev. Micajah Hill, Jr., and his wife Sarah are the parents of Jesse B. Hill! Set up Jamie's Toolbox under the home page's helpful links. By researching with Susan Ford, a distant cousin through the Funkhousers, I found more information about Abraham Funkhouser, Sr., as well as his sister-in-law Barabara (Layman/Lehman) Funkhouser, including her Baughman ancestry.

    So, who's in the background image on this page, the Generations page, the Testimonials page and the home page? The background shows pictures featuring ancestors:
  • February 2017: Being more intentional at listing sources on pages. The research last month for Jesse B. Hill's parents was inconclusive. I continued work on the Luther ancestry in view of last month's research. Updated Generations as a result. I explored further details about my Surratt ancestry via the book Some Surratt/Sarratt Families in the United States 1715-1980 (by Laura and Norman H. Sarratt) and via correspondence with Hal Surratt, who is doubly related to me through the Johnsons via his great-grandmother Vatura Getrude (Johnson) Surratt who was sister to my grandfather H. Edwin Johnson, and via Surratt, which I was able to determine: I am likely fifth cousin to Hal through the Surratt line as he is son of (Harold) Allen Surratt II, son of Harold Allen Surratt I, son of (Franklin) Gurney Surratt, son of Samuel Lewis Surratt, son of James L. Surratt, son of Beverly and "Laney" Surratt. I continue to dig for the origins of my ancestor Abraham Johnson to open up more information regarding my patrilineal ancestry, including looking into these documents involving Abraham's son John Johnson: (North Carolina Civil Marriages, 1763-1868, North Carolina County Marriages 1762-1979 here and here and here, and North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979). Confirmed my Cranford ancestry via a DNA match to Jason Cranford. With Karl Kiser, researching the Smith ancestry and ancestries thereof. Verified the parents of J. Michael Kiser who married Mary as pointed out by Karl Kiser who shared the information from p. 17 of Valentin and Michael Kayser: Pennsylvania Pioneers and their Descendants in Virginia by James "Jim" Van Lieu Kiser (2002).
  • January 2017: I researched the possibility that Charles and Mary Ann (Lewallen) Luther are parents of my great-great-great grandmother Mary Ann (Luther) Hill as I have a DNA match to Sammy Miller, the great-great-great grandson of Nancy Jane Luther, granddaughter of Solomon Luther, brother of the aforementioned Charles Luther. Further, Charles lived in Randolph Co., NC, and the 1840 census mentions 3 daughters under age 10 -- Elizabeth (b. 1831) and Sara (b. 1835) and one unmentioned. FamilySearch suggested that Mary Ann Luther Hill's parents were not Charles and Mary Ann (Lewallen) Luther. Rather, it was found that the Charles who married Mary Ann Lewallen is a distant cousin to my Mary Ann Luther Hill. In correspondence with Sammy Miller, it was found that his 6 times great grandfather George Luther is a brother to Mary Ann Luther Hill's great grandfather John (Johan) Michael Luther, Sr. This puts our common ancestor back 9 generations to a common 7th great grandfather Christian Luther, making us 8th cousins. More details: Luther ancestry. Meanwhile, with help from Tiffany Parker, I am researching the possibility that Daniel and Abigail (McCracken) Hill are parents of my ancestor Jesse B. Hill. Particularly, I am looking into these resources:, and as well as a DNA match suggesting a possible McCracken ancestor within a generation or two before Jesse. Yet, FamilySearch offers different scenarios for the ancestries of Jesse B. Hill and it may be worth serious consideration after the aforementioned Luther discovery. Thanks to the research of Tiffany Parker, I have corrected my ancestor's to John Milton Hill (was listed as James in error) on my Hill ancestry, which I am now researching further. I have verified Hearne ancestry in the Skeen ancestry via exploration of the web version of William T. Hearne's Brief History and Genealogy of the Hearne Family as I research my Skeen ancestry where I have verified a couple generations of the Skeen/Skene line via exploration of the book Clan Skeen by A.T. (Tom) Skeen. Researching Quaker roots in the following of my ancestries: Culpeper, Morris, Newby and Pritchard.
  • December 2016: Researching Culpeper ancestry after being provided with extensive research from Lew Griffin of Culpepper Connections in view of DNA findings. Per Culpeper ancestral reasearch, the following ancestries remain unproven: the Malet, Poyntz, Beaumont, Vermandois, Anjou, Kievan ancestry, Byzantine ancestry, Viking ancestry, de Braiose, La Zouche, ancestry to kings of Leinster, legendary Irish ancestry and ancestry to the kings of Wales and Mercia and all the ancestries thereof. Researching wills at Abstract of North Carolina Wills compliled by J. Bryan Grimes, 1910. Posted the Will of Thomas Symons. Working on verification of Skeen ancestry as many ancestral surnames remain unverified. Further researched my Quaker ancestries: Newby, Albertson, Nicholson and Charles ancestries, mostly via this source: The History of the Hunt Family by Roger D. Hunt (2011). Found that part of my Charles ancestry is in question. As a result, the following are also uncertain ancestries: Quarles, Billingsley, Danvers (d'Anvers), de Brancester, Talemasche, de Wallingford and de Warwick ancestries, de Bruley, de Cocton (de Coughton), de Foliot ancestries and Knyvet (Knevet) ancestry. As a result, I halted any further research on those ancestries. Linked the December 8, 2016, BBC article Reconstructed face of Robert the Bruce is unveiled on my Royal Scottish Ancestry page where one finds my ancestor Robert "The Bruce."
  • November 2016: Uncovered my Charles ancestry, which includes Quarles, Billingsley, Danvers (d'Anvers), de Brancester, Talemasche, de Wallingford and de Warwick ancestries, de Bruley, de Cocton (de Coughton), de Foliot ancestries and Knyvet (Knevet) ancestry. In reading The History of the Hunt Family by Roger D. Hunt (2011), I revamped my Quaker ancestries -- my Newby, Albertson, Nicholson and Charles ancestries and Morris ancestry, particularly around the Symons ancestry. Corresponded with Gwen Gransberg and Amy Hedrick regarding my Symons ancestry. Discussed with Philip Shaddock the split of Quakers over slavery where some went north and some went south. Launched this News page (yes, the one you are reading!).
  • October 2016: Held further discussions on regarding my Shattuck ancestry, namely Damaris Shattuck, the Widow of Salem. Seeking to clarify my maternal Smith ancestry by encouraging Smith males to take Autosomal DNA tests and through meeting a distant Smith cousin, gained further details about my maternal Smith ancestry.
  • September 2016: Redoubled efforts trying to get past the roadblock to find the ancestry in my Johnson line.
  • August 2016: Made the home page mobile-friendly and added a background collage. Continued to try to pursue my Campbell ancestry. Added the page You Be the Judge to show family members and ancestors who look similarly.
  • July 2016: Found significant information regarding my Stauffer ancestry from the book The Stauffer Families of Switzerland, Germany, and America (including Stover and Stauffer). Created the mobile-friendly Generations page to assist with finding the MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) with DNA matches. Also by Richard Warren Davis. Also reached out to try to trace my Campbell ancestries (plural as I have Campbell ancestors on both my paternal - possibly in two places - and maternal sides). Held discussions on to clarify and solidify my Ivey ancestry. Researched Funk Pioneers of Frederick County, Virginia, expanding information on my ancestors Jacob Stover (Stauffer) and Christian Crabill. Went further back on my Surratt and Cranford lines, though the latter needs to be verified.
  • June 2016: Revamped the sub-site for the marriage of James "Jamie" Arthur Johnson (me) to Louise Mae Shifflet. Uncovered my Skeen ancestry (some of it needing to be verified), which includes royal Scottish ancestry including Stewarts and Robert the Bruce, expanded Viking ancestries, expanded Welsh ancestries, and Hamilton ancestry (which includes my shared ancestor with Alexander Hamilton, 1st Secretary of the United States Treasury: Sir David fitz Walter (FitzWalter) Hamilton). Found my connection to the Shaw surname in the mother of my ancestor Cora Rebecca (Webb) Kearns.
  • April-May 2016: Significant discussions with Erica Isabel Howton, curator at, and Philip Shaddock of Shattocke Family History regarding his and my shared Shattuck ancestry. Had discussions with S.P.D. and Daniel Bly regarding our shared Snapp/Schnepp/Schneppff Ancestry where we found a distant relationship to a U.S. President. Also had discussions with S. regarding our shared Fisher ancestry.
  • March 2016: Got results back from FamilyTreeDNA.
  • February 2016: No news.
  • January 2016: Y-DNA proves that the American Nance men, from which I am descended, were not related to the Cornish Nance men, the latter of which connected to the Arundell line. Therefore, I am not knowingly descended from the Arundell line and thus it has been removed from my tree.
  • Summer 2015: Discovered various royal lines from which I am possibly descended.
  • March 2015: Further traced back my Lassiter ancestry. Added will documents for Silas K. Kearns confirming his marriage to Annie Nance.
  • January 2015: With the help of Daniel Bly, further expanded details of my Snapp/Schnepp/Schneppff Ancestry.
  • 2014 highlights: Joined Launched a part of the site about my late father's (William H. Johnson) days in the U.S. Navy.
  • May 2009: Began redesign of the family tree to use
    This Format

    over the use of
    | old ASCII charactered design       |
    | from the late 1990s, early 2000s.  |
  • October 2008: The domain is purchased and the family tree site is migrated to its new home at
  • January 1996: The original Family Tree of James Arthur Johnson site launched at, later
  • July 1986: James "Jamie" Arthur Johnson begins researching his genealogy.

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    Developed in November 2016.