#123: God Bless “America”

123.1  In the mood for leftovers? Got some from last week’s look at the McCoys and Hatfields. But one thing you should take away from last week is how easy it is to confuse relatives, especially if they have the same names. Now obviously the History Channel did this on purpose…combining Preacher Anse Hatfield, Judge Wall Hatfield, and Devil Anse’s older brother Valentine Hatfield into one character for the show…that was intentional. Confusing Good Lias with Bad Lias? Could have been a slip-up, who knows?

123.2  As I was researching these 2 clans, it was amazing how many times one relative was thought to be another…and put in the wrong spot in the family genealogy. Only thru comparing multiple trees was I able to come up with some semblance of order…and honestly, if I made any mistakes, it wouldn’t surprise me…and I’ll gladly correct them with the click of a mouse. And I’ve found this to be true when comparing notes with other researchers on my own families…someone confuses a great grandmother’s sister with her niece, a distant relative’s brother is thought to be his cousin, and so forth. Sometimes because the name’s the same, but sometimes not!

123.3  In any event…remember how Devil Anse’s wife Levicy Chafin and 3 of her sisters all married Hatfields? In that case it was 2 brothers, Devil Anse and Good Lias…their half-1st cousin once removed ascending Bad Lias…and Bad Lias’ nephew, the brothers’ half-2nd cousin. But I also happened upon another Chafin/Hatfield alliance, this one a lot simpler…3 Chafin sisters marrying 3 Hatfield brothers. Again it involves George Hatfield…last time, 2 of the husbands were his son and grandson…this time, it’s 3 of his grandsons thru a different son, as you can see in Chart 434. The natural thing to ask: were these Chafin sisters related to Levicy and her sisters?

chart 434

123.4  Study Chart 434 for a moment…did you come up with 1st cousins once removedand2nd cousins once removed? Then I’d say you’re doing it right. Take it step by step…on the Chafin side: Nathan and Pleasant are brothers…their children Levicy and John Lewis are 1st cousins, so Levicy is 1C 1R to John Lewis’ daughters Polly, Parlee, and Yantice Jane…who married respectively James Elva, David Crockett, and Robert E. Lee Hatfield. BTW, the real Robert E. Lee’s middle initial stood for Edward…I’m guessing that Robert E. Lee Hatfield’s “E” was just an E, standing for nothing at all…maybe?…sound reasonable?

123.5  Then we have 3 Varney sisters marrying 3 Chafin brothers. Again, step by step…Andrew and Alex Varney are brothers…their children Matilda and Henry C. are 1st cousins…so Levisa and Mahulda are 2nd cousins…and the Chafin/Hatfield sisters are thus Levicy’s 2C 1R. If you’re scoring at home, that’s a total CR of 1/16 + 1/64 = 5/64, or slightly closer than half-1st cousins.

123.6  Now that name “Yantice” is interesting…it comes from the German surname Yandes…also spelled Yantes, Yantas, and Yantis. The Chafin sister who married Robert E. Lee Hatfield got it from her maternal grandmother…so there was surely a Yantes or Yandes back somewhere in the McNeely line. Trouble is, Yantice Jane Chafin is sometimes given as Levicy Chafin’s sister…which I guarantee you she is not. I might humbly submit that they’re confusing Levicy’s mother Matilda Varney with Yantice Jane’s mother Mahulda Varney… after all, they both married Chafins,  and one of Mahulda’s sisters married a Nathan Chafin, nephew of Levicy’s father Nathan Chafin…which doesn’t really factor into it…but doesn’t help either, if you’re bound and determined to get confused… ;) ;)

life123.7  But what also struck me was that the 3 Hatfield brothers had a sister named America Hatfield…now there’s a grand old moniker…and she married a Valentine Hatfield! This bore investigation on 2 fronts…first, which Valentine? Turns out it was Devil Anse’s nephew, son of his brother Ellison…see Chart 435, in yellow. And second, were there any more Americas? You betcha, a passel of ‘em…I even identified the one who married Floyd McCoy and is mentioned in the 1944 LIFE magazine article…and they lived into our era…this America died in 1960, and Floyd in 1969.

chart 435

123.8  As you can see in Chart 435, I stopped at 11 America Hatfields…actually, I found a couple more but couldn’t link them up. And one of those is the “earliest” America Hatfield I found, born in 1832…15 years before the earliest on Chart 435 in 1847, 2nd America from the right. And in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that Joseph Hatfield at the top of Chart 435  had 2 sons, by different wives, both named Joseph Jr. …both these sons had granddaughters named America…and wouldn’t you know it, which is which is a matter of some dispute, so I flipped a coin.

chart 436

123.9  But Chart 436  sketches out this earliest America Hatfield…how do these Hatfields hook up with the Feudin’ Hatfields, if at all? Good question, for here we get into a mire of confusion, speculation, disagreement, and yes, leaps of faith. There are 2 major lines of Hatfields now living in the US…the New Jersey Line, which originated in England, and the Pennsylvania Line, which comes from Germany.

123.10  The New Jersey Line…begins with Thomas Hatfield, born in England around 1590…and mind you, this was way before the time of standardized spelling, so the name of his family will appear as Hitfield, Heathfield, Hayfield, Haytfield, Hatfeld, Hatful, and other variations. He is described as a “religious dissenter” who fled to Holland, married, and had a son Thomas Jr. who immigrated to New Jersey. Thomas Jr. had a son named Mattias, and it is from him that many believe the Feudin’ Hatifelds are descended.

123.11   The Pennsylvania Line…this is the line of the 1832 America Hatfield. It starts in Germany with a man born around 1640. His name is generally given as Jurian Georgius Hartsfelder…altho occasionally his first name is spelled Jurien…and for his last name, you can either substitute a Z for the S…or a V for the F…or do both. His middle name, which is sometimes given as his first name, can also be found as Georges, Georg, or even Görg…that last one being curious, since in German, ö (pronounced “er”) is transliterated into English as oe, but never eo…for example Joseph Göbbels/Goebbels. At any rate, Jurian immigrated to Pennsylvania, and it is said that his son Adam stabilized the family name as Hatfield…and Adam is believed by some to be the ancestor of the Feudin’ Hatfields.

123.12  There is also the possibility that these 2 lines are connected…either in the Old Country or here. I should mention that DNA testing is proving an invaluable tool in getting to the bottom of all this….altho from what I’m reading on the internet, opinions shift with each new lab report. And there are some Hatfields who appear to be related to neither of these 2 lines …like the ones descended from one Mansfield Hatfield, parents unknown, as you might expect. Yup, ‘field ‘field, the man with 2 fields… ;) ;)  And there’s even an America Hatfield born 1870, daughter of William Thomas, son of Henry, son of Mansfield.

123.13  And that’s why my “earliest” America Hatfield must remain in limbo…well, for now let’s say “unaffiliated.” Still, it might be a valuable exercise to figure how each of my 11 America Hatfields is related to each of the others…to that end I’ve revised Chart 435 as Chart 437giving them alphabetical labels…we can all work on it and see what’s what next week, OK?

chart 437

123.14  But in this swirl of names, I came across an interesting thing…it has to do with siblings who have the same given name. Back when infant mortality was much higher than it is today, it was not uncommon for several siblings to be given the same Christian name…you might have 2 Johns that died in infancy, and finally a third John that didn’t. Or when families had as many as 20 children, ones at “either end” might be given the same name…I’m guessing because the older one had married and moved away by the time the younger one arrived.

123.15  But what I noticed had to do with James Madison Hatfield…he had a brother 4 years younger, who lived to adulthood and raised a family, named…James Hatfield! Not so peculiar, really…because James Madison was known as “Matt”…so in that sense, they didn’t have a James who might be called Jim…because the James they had already was Matt…see?


joy123.16
  One final note…with all the jumbled identities on the miniseries, it’s refreshing to find one they got pretty much right…that being Roseanna’s “Aunt Betty”…listed in the credits as Betty Blankenship, played by actress Joy McBinn. She was indeed a Blankenship, and married Sally McCoy McCoy’s brother Allen…he was dead and gone by the time of the ill-fated Roseanna-Johnse romance…altho not before fathering 11 children. And given that, it seems a little odd that Aunt Betty would go back to using her maiden name…but at this point I choose to gracefully yield to that possibility. Wouldn’t you, dear friends?

wicked ballsy

Part of the fun of all this is figuring out how to present charts in the clearest way possible. Now looking back last week at Chart 431that showed Devil Anse’s wife Levicy Chafin and her 3 sisters all marrying Hatfields…you might not have liked the crooked lines leading from Great Grandpa Efraim Hatfield to his 2 half-sons* Valentine and George. Here’s the problem: the top of a family tree will be determined by the bottom…and along the bottom of Chart 431 there are 4 marriages consisting of 8 people, so that necessarily spreads things out as you move to the top.

chrat 431 x2

I mean, Valentine and George could have been put closer together, but then we’d be back to crooked lines to get to their descendants. And yes, I could have made Valentine and George come straight down from Ephraim and his 2 wives (above, bottom chart) …but that leaves hardly any room for Nathan Chapin, who gets shoved to the side. So its 6 of one, half a dozen of the other…you do it your way, I’m do mine.

* His who?? Half-whats?? Fret not…we’ll also take this up next week…promise.

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Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

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