How Far Back Can You Go?

One Kendall coat of arms version

I said in my first post about family history that I didn’t “get” the appeal of genealogy. I am now getting it more, and apologize to anyone I offended by how I characterized my earlier disinterest in previous generations. I honestly DO see now that people are interested in more than just finding out if they were related to any kings or queens.

That said, hey, I have ancestors with “Sir” and “Lady” and “Viscount” and such in their listings! Knowing that I have slave ancestors on one side, I guess it all balances out.

I like this Kendall family crest, because it has pelicans pecking their breasts to feed their blood to others. So noble.

When I delved into the past of my dad’s side, which are Kendall and Butts lines from north Georgia in the hills, I kept thinking surely I would run into a dead end pretty quickly, since “all those hillbillies” probably didn’t keep good records. Well, once again I was totally wrong.

People care deeply about migration patterns of early European settlers to the US, and there are very good records showing how my ancestors ended up heading as far as Arkansas. Where did they start out? Most arrived in the Virginia colonies in the 1600s. I read a tale on of one Kendall ancestor who paid for his passage by putting his two sons into indentured servitude for three years. As soon as they were done, they got out of Virginia! People owning each other seems to have quite the history, and it applies to my ancestors on both sides.

Why Leave Merry Olde England?

I read a very intersting article or heard it on NPR (in other words I don’t have a reference) saying that many of the waves of migration to the US coincided with diseases being eliminated and population booming. That seemed to be what happened in England in the 1600s. The families were huge, and even landed gentry didn’t have enough land for all the sons. So, the second through nth sons struck out for another continent.

Shakespeare Before Thomas Lucy by Thomas Brooks.. Apparently Bill stole a buck or something.

I decided to look into the English ancestors (like the many generations of Thomas Kendalls I found). Because they had good records and such, the genrations kept rolling on. I found someone (Thomas Lucy I, 1532-1600) who was apparently a buddy of William Shakespeare and a whole bunch of lords and ladies leaping.

I kept going and going finding ancestors all over England. I finally ended here at my 16th gread grandmother:

Emmotte Hervey 1440–1485
BIRTH ABOUT 1440 • Hereford, Hereford, England
DEATH 8 NOV 1485 • Whitney, Oxfordshire, EnglanBIRTH ABOUT 1440 • Hereford, Hereford, England

I knew there were no more, because someone put END at the generation above her.

The Battle of Bosworth Field by Philip James de Loutherbourg –

For actual Kendalls, I got to the 1300s, a Richard Kendall, born in 1355, another 16th great grandfather. Wow. His son, John, died 22 August 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last battle in the War of the Roses. Go Tudors, I guess.

As I was browsing through all the English people, I did find my Native American ancestor, a woman named Mitha Elizabeth Meaurroway Pender-Parker, who was born in 1668. I was surprised to see how far back her ancestry can be traced. I think it’s because one of her grandfathers was Chief Powhatan. Because of that, the Native American line goes back to the 1400s, before those meddling Europeans showed up.

I think that’s far enough. All of that digging convinced me I am, as I thought, a white Euro-American person, but way, way back there was one Native American. (I do not forget that my grandfather on mom’s side was Swedish, but that line didn’t go back far at all).

I think I have two more ancestor posts in me. One’s about “famous war people” in my US ancestors, and another one is some stuff I’ve re-learned about my dad, the athlete.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

10 thoughts on “How Far Back Can You Go?”

  1. Wow. Amazing. You know, in the days before Henry VIII began the church of England, son #2 of the landed gentry went to the church (became a priest). It was only 3rd through nth who went to sea or became a soldier or an adventurer! Alas, I don’t have any really interesting ancestors. Well, unless you count Uncle Russell who robbed a bank in 1931 and was shot dead by the sheriff, but he was only a relative, not a direct ancestor. On my father’s side, the line only goes back to a Mr. Small in Scotland, who got a woman pregnant (he claimed she was a prostitute). She died young and her brother brought his young nephew, also named Small, to the US and they settled in Western Pennsylvania, where my dad was from. Farmers and coalminers on that side, farmers on my mother’s side, from Kansas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WTG on the genealogy! My mom is one of those people who thinks me “looking for dead people” is ridiculous. Well, maybe to some, but for me it’s like detective work!


      1. It is fascinating – how much you were able to find!! I am descended from Thomas Rogers who came with his elder son on the Mayflower. My mother’s line is shorter as there was, during some wars, a loss of church records in what we call Germany. But on my Dad’s side We go back to Charlamagne and William the Conqueror, and from a fellow fellow, Peter Shumway, who had to leave after a long time of coexistence under several Kings, when a later King declared that they had to be Catholics.


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