“The Old Country” ~52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week 30

old photoI had always been told that my heritage was that of the English, Irish, and Native Americans. Growing up I was told to never mention the latter because it was a shameful thing to be. Our family was void of traditions or customs, so I really had no sense of being anything other than me.

Researching my family history has really surprised me and has given me a new outlook into who I am. I can now count England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, France, and Switzerland among my “Old Country” homelands. I have yet to discover any proof that I am Native American, but I am still searching!

Because most of my ancestors arrived in this country in the early to mid-1600s, I feel a tad disconnected from their place of origin. I have however found a few that arrived in the mid to late 1700s and I find myself gravitating to them.

The earliest arrival of those who did not come over in the 1600s was8900-dublin-locator-map my maternal 4th great-grandfather, Thomas Divine Sr. who immigrated to Delaware from Dublin, Ireland in 1765. He participated in the Revolutionary War and was injured in one of the many skirmishes with the British. He married Jemima Dill on April 12, 1782. They moved to South Carolina then to Tennessee. They had 6 children. He died in McMinn County, Tennessee on June 20, 1840.

22-9-map-of-scotland-showing-fifeThe next to arrive was my paternal 4th great-grandfather, John T. McClain who came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Criech, Fife County, Scotland in 1777. He moved to Montgomery County, Kentucky in 1785 and married Rachel Jones in 1787. They had 9 children. He fought in the War of 1812 and his wife Rachel received the pension from his service after his death in 1829.

The last arrival was my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Peter Walt, New Brunswick mapwho arrived in St. Claire Co, Illinois from New Germany, New Brunswick, Canada in 1857. He made his way to Grape Grove, Ray Co, Missouri in 1860 and married Elizabeth Marsh on June 2, 1861. They had 10 children. He participated in the Civil War. His occupation was a wheel-wright.

I sometimes wonder if it is too late to adopt some of the customs or traditions of the various countries that my ancestors came from.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

Travel ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #20

America-Map-small colonialThe bulk of my ancestors can be traced back to the east coast of Colonial America. Most arrived between 1607 and 1669 and either took up residence near where they landed or moved farther inland with each generation. They migrated all the way to the west coast. They originally came from England, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, and Germany.

I have never felt the desire to travel outside the United States with the exception of map of east coastIreland. Lately, I have added England and Scotland to that very shortlist. I have, since long before I even knew what Genealogy was, always wanted to travel along the east coast. Of course, once I began to discover all the places my ancestors had lived along the coast the desire grew greater. About 25 years ago my husband and I flew to Manhattan then the next year we flew to Chicago. A couple of years later we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. At this time I really didn’t care about my ancestry. Today I am kicking myself because so many of my ancestors had lived in these areas, especially in and around Nashville.

I have traveled to many places on the west coast where some of my ancestors eventually migrated. These trips were easier since I live in Arizona and the places they lived are a short road trip away. Although there are some historic places nearby, it is nothing like on the east coast. I was lucky enough to find that there was one large family that lived about 50 miles from where I live. It was fun to see where they lived. I am still amazed to think they lived in the Arizona desert before air conditioning! The temperatures here get up to 120 degrees in the summer!

Map of IrelandI do want to plan a trip to travel from Massachusetts down to Georgia along the coast then move inward, weaving through the Carolina’s, Virginia’s into Kentucky and Tennessee, then spend a lot of time in Missouri. I am also thinking of making a trip to Ireland. I had one planned and paid for 12 years ago but I fell and crushed my right elbow. Because of the surgeries and the medications I was having to take they would not let me fly. I will try again, that is if I can find someone to go with me. My husband won’t fly that far!

Who knows, I may one day decide to make a pilgrimage to the other places where my ancestors were born. Until then I will continue to map the east coast with all of the towns and historic places I want to visit and I look forward to the day I can begin this exciting journey!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



Saturday Dilemma ~ Francis McGowan

Searching McGowanFrancis McGowan is my 3x Great Grandfather and he is also one of my solid brick walls. He was born in Dublin County, Ireland sometime around 1794. He came to America in 1810 and he filed a Common Plea for naturalization on March 3, 1811, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. After this, he is found living in Monroe County, Tennessee. He eventually married Margaret “Peggy” Divine sometime before 1829 and they had 9 children between 1830 and 1844. He died in April 1871 in Monroe County, Tennessee.

I have a cousin, who is a McGowan, who has researched this line and she found a lot of court documents that didn’t shed a good light on our ancestor. Apparently, he had bought 80 acres of land from a gentleman and never paid him. Sometime between the purchase of the land and the lawsuit Francis transferred the title to his son James. There were more suits brought against him over non- payment of bills.

This makes me wonder if Francis had been one of the Irishmen that were sent over here to fight in one of the ongoing skirmishes with the Native Americans. There is a large gap between his naturalization and when he is found in 1830 Tennessee. I am currently looking for any information about this but have found nothing yet.

My Dilemma is: His name is a common one in County Dublin. I can’t determine which one would be him. As you can see, my “proof” concerning this ancestor is very slim. What I need is to find alternate websites to try to discover where he came from etc.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

52 Ancestors, Week #11 – Thomas Lee Divine – Luck of the Irish

Thomas Divine back tombstoneThomas Lee Divine is my maternal 4th Great Grandfather. He was born on February 21 1748 in Dublin, Ireland. At the age of 17 he made the decision to start a new life in America. He arrived in Kent County Delaware in 1765.  He soon found his new adopted country was in great turmoil, most of his fellow citizens wanted desperately to break away from England and begin a new, more Democratic Country.

Thomas Divine letter

When the Revolutionary War broke out Thomas enlisted as a private in the year seventeen hundred and seventy-six under Captain Gray in the Continental Line in Kent County in the State of Delaware and served for six years until shortly after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown and was then honorably discharged. He was in the Battle of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth and he was at the siege of Yorktown. Thomas was wounded by a cannon-ball on the side of the left leg above the ankle in a skirmish with the British when they fired across a small lake or pond but he continued to fight and to serve once his wounds were healed.

In 1782 he married Miss Jemima Dill at the house of Esgr Calhoun that was located within one mile of Black swamp-causeway in the county of Kent and State of Delaware. They lost their first four children to miscarriages but went on to have 6 more children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Prior to 1790 Thomas moved his growing family to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

After moving to South Carolina on the waters of Pacolit River in the Greenville District, the house they were living in burned to the ground and they had to start all over again, building a new home and getting new furnishings. Over the next several years he expanded his lands and crops and provided a very good life for his family.

church_3_945_334_c1In 1825 Thomas moved his family to McMinn County Tennessee. In 1834 on land given by Thomas the Big Creek Baptist Church was constituted. He also furnished the land for the cemetery, which is up the hill from the church.

Thomas Divine tombstone

Thomas Divine died on the twentieth day of June, eighteen hundred and forty at the age of ninety years old.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.