Thursday, February 25, 2010

Long Branches On the Family Tree

This magnificent warrior is Quanah Parker, whom many historians call the last great chief of the Comanches. AND he just might be a very distant twig on my family tree!

My son has recently developed a keen interest in genealogy, and has been researching branches of our McGary family tree. Turns out that my 4 times great grandfather, Hugh McGary was married to a woman named Mary Jane Parker. Mary Jane's cousin Cynthia Ann Parker was captured by a Comanche raiding party when she 9 years old, and she was then adopted by a Comanche family who had lost their own child. Cynthia went on to marry the chief of their tribe, and Quanah Parker was their son, who also became chief.

VERY distant relationship I must admit, but still FUN! Many, many years ago, I read the historical novel, Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson, a fictionalized account of Cynthia Ann Parker's life with the Comanches. So I was somewhat familiar with who she and her son Quanah Parker were, but I would never have imagined they might be related even distantly.

Admittedly, my knowledge of my ancestors has been limited to things older family members told me. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, my son's research has turned up many interesting things that might or might not be substantiated about our family.

Being Irish on both my mother and father's sides, I naturally assumed some of my ancestors came to America during the terrible Potato Famine of the 1840s when so many Irish immigrants landed here. Looks like I was completely wrong in that assumption. Turns out that Grandpappy Hugh was born around 1815 in North Carolina!

And according to my mother's cousin, one of our mutual xgreat grandfathers sailed from Cork, Ireland in 1832 and settled near the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky. Since I know my maternal grandfather was born in a little Kentucky town near the Cumberland Gap, this sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

So what do you know? No Potato Famine immigrants, but a famous Comanche chief. Those branches on my family tree certainly are tangled!

What about yours? Do you have any "famous" ancestors that you know about?


Helen said...

How cool is that Aunty Cindy I don't have anyone that I know of in our family. My Fathers family tree has been done and is on the net and goes way back to William The Conquerer and I have to say it is very interesting and yes there are some convicts in there that were sent to Australia but I am not sure about my Mum's side. I gotta say if I had the time it is something that I would love to do.

Have Fun

Jane said...

How cool, Aunty Cindy. I would love to trace our family tree. I have no idea if we have any famous ancestors. My cousin's husband says his ancestors include Wild Bill Hickock.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Helen,
I heard it is an honor to be able to trace your ancestors back to some of the first convicts sent to Australia. Considering most of those folks had committed no crime other than being poor and in debt, I wouldn't mind finding them on my family tree! And how COOL that your father's lineage can be traced back to 1066! My ex's aunt traced her part of the family tree back to the ill-fated George Boleyn, sister of Anne. I believe his wife was also a Parker.... INTERESTING!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jane,
I was as shocked as all get-out when my son ran across this connection! I'd always been told there was Native American blood on the McGary side, and my fraternal grandfather certainly LOOKED the part (except for his blue eyes). But even though the family has a long history in Texas (one of my great grandfathers was named Austin after Stephen Austin first president of the Republic), we never thought our Native American ancestors were Comanche.

You might have some famous connection too! You never know.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GEEZ! I just looked at my comment to Helen...
George Boleyn whose sister WAS Anne. Obviously HE was her brother.

I think I need more caffeine.


T McGary said...

What do you know of Hugh H McGary's history? I am a decendant, but that is as far back as I know.

Austin TX