Remembering Our Ancestors: Lady Anne Jernegan

Our 15th and 16th Great-Grandmother Harris, nee Jernegan, lived in 15th century England during the War of the Roses.

Lady Anne Jernegan was born in 1448 in Herefordshire, England, if the Find-a-Grave record is correct, to Sir John Gilberd Jernedan and his wife Lady Agnes Jane Darell.  Times were spicy in England then as the War of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York was soon to be in full swing, and would not be resolved still by the time little Lady Anne was grown, had married, had children and passed on.

It appears that Lady Anne grew up in Herefordshire which lies up against the Welsh border in the west of England.  There, she also met and married William John Harris, son of John Harris and Anne Hartford, in 1467 when she was 19 years old.  They had three children during their marriage, if we are correctly informed.  Their son John Arthur was our direct forefather through Arilla Harris, mother of Mattie Mulford who married Steward Leslie Denney.

St Marys Churchyard in Prittlewell
St Mary’s Churchyard in Prittlewell, Southend, Essex

While the English nobles continued their feud, Anne and William apparently moved from one side of the country to the other for by the time Anne died on 4 May 1480, we find them living in Prittlewell in Essex, that is, on the south-eastern side of the country.  Anne, who died when she was only 32 years old, lies buried there as well as William, who passed on almost 25 years after Anne in 1504, and their son John Arthur (1468 – 1520), all, it appears, in St. Mary’s Churchyard where the gravestones are in disarray by now as you can see in the featured image.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Harris.  England was in turmoil during your life, but you still managed to grow up, marry, have children, and carry on the torch.

Harris Coat of Arms
Harris Coat of Arms

Remembering Our Ancestors: Richard Felton Jr.

This week 351 years ago, our 9th (and 10th) great-grandfather Richard Felton Jr. was born in England’s West Midlands. By the time he died in 1734, he had made the journey west across the Atlantic.

Latest since the 16th century, the Felton’s of our family tree appear to have lived in the West Midlands of England.  The village of Worfield in Shropshire was their home, a place that was first settled in the Iron Age when it was inhabited by the Celtic Cornovii.

Our 9th and 10th great-grandfather Richard Jr., son of Richard Felton Sr. and Alice White, was born there on 4 February 1669 and baptized nine days later.  By the time he was old enough to marry, we find Richard a couple of miles further east in the thriving market town of Wolverhampton.  There, he married Elizabeth Shinton of Wolverhampton on 7 April 1686, and they had at least one son whom they named – you guessed it – Richard.

Some sources say that Richard Sr., his wife Alice and Richard Jr. already sailed to Virginia in 1662, and given that the same sources declare how Richard Sr.’s brothers John and William may have lived in the New World for a while and then returned to England, it is well possible that Richard Jr. returned with them to the old homeland to marry, and then took his new wife back to the New World with him.  In any case, Richard Jr.’s son Young Richard was born in 1690 in Surrey County in South Carolina, which is where our Felton’s had settled and where, two generations later, Sally Wise Felton married Azariah Denny in 1776 (sic!).

Richard Felton Jr. died in 1734 at the age of 65 in the New World, and his great-granddaughter carried his family name into the Denn(e)y family:  Both her last names, Wise and Felton, appear for a while as middle names in the family tree.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Felton.  You did not live to see the birth of the new nation, but your grandchildren and great-grandchildren did.

IMG_2196 - Edited



Remembering Our Ancestors: Thomas Andrews V

This week 523 years ago, our 18th (and 19th) great-grandfather in the Andrews line passed away.

The Andrews go way back in our family tree, with the oldest known ancestor Thomas Andrews born in 1163 in Winwick in the Daventry district of Northamptonshire in England, and today’s ancestor is a namesake of this earliest known Andrews.

When Thomas Andrews V and his twin brother Edward were born in 1437, the family still resided in the Daventry district, now in the village of Charwelton.  Their father’s name was Richard, and their mother was Catherine Burbeck, of whom we know precious little.  Richard and Catherine had nine children altogether, and the twins had only one older brother.  How many of the children grew up to be adults we do not know, but when Thomas was 13 and his youngest sister 5, his father died.  His mother passed on when her youngest child was, or would have been 18.

Our great-grandfather to-be  went on to marry Joan Clarell in 1467 in the south-west Northamptonshire village of Edgcote where Joan had been born in 1446, and the two had eight children together.  The family lived in Charwelton where Thomas’ family had been living all along.  Thomas, it appears, was a merchant.

In 1496 at the age of 59, and six years after his wife, Thomas passed on on the 11th day of December.  A brass plate covers their grave in the Holy Trinity Churchyard in Charwelton (see below), and there is also a depiction of their children (see featured image).

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Andrews.  This week, we remember you and your family.

Thomas and Margery Andrews




Sunday Afternoon Story: A Different Version of “Le Mort De Arthur”

Incidentally: “To swoon” means “to faint”.

Here I have a different version of  “Le Mort de Arthur.”

Le Mort de Arthur

Here is what is says, in case you can’t read it.

Here is written in letters of gold a tale of yore.

The Lady Guinevere sayeth “Where doth Arthur, Sir Gawain?” And Gawain sayeth onto her “I hath rode far and wide and yet Arthur hath not been found.  So yet if I have to ride for nine moons I will search.”  But nine moons passed and Arthur hath not been found.  Sir Gawain rodeth back to Guinevere and said to her “I hath rode for nine moons and I  hath not found him. I am afraid Le Mort de Arthur has befallen him.”  And Guinevere swooned away.

Remembering Our Ancestors: John Wise

Great-Grandpa Wise would have been 361 years old this week!

Today we remember our 9th (and 10th) great-grandfather John Wise, one of our ancestors who lived in what is today the UK.  This year on the equinox, he would have been 361 years old!

John Wise was born on 20 March 1658, somewhere in England, most probably in the south-east.  He married Eliza Drigee and they had at least one daughter together, Susanna.  John died in 1718 in Bix, Oxfordshire, England, at the age of 60.

leaf and snow 4 insta.jpg

John’s daughter Susanna Wise was born in September 1700 in London, England.  She married Andrew Speer, who was also born in 1700 in Middlesex, which today belongs to Greater London, and they both immigrated to the colonies in America at some time before 1730, to what is today Surry county in North Carolina.  There, their daughter Elizabeth Wise Speer was born in 1731.  She, in turn, married Job Felton on September 15, 1786, and their daughter Sally Wise Felton was born there as well in 1751.  She married Azariah Denny in 1776 in her hometown.  The Denny’s had lived on Pilot Creek under Pilot Mountain for a while, and Azariah and Sally are buried there as well, while some of their sons moved further west into Ohio and Indiana.

The interesting thing about this branch of the Denney-line is that the surnames “Wise” and “Felton” remained in the family as middle names for several generations, not only in the daughters mentioned above, but also in several descendants of Sally and Azariah, boys and girls alike.

up the brook insta.jpg

Happy 127th Birthday, J.R.R.!

Raise a glass to the Professor in honor of his 127th birthday.

What can I say?  Our world would be poorer without what your imagination and wisdom gave us.  Immortality?  Let’s quote The Other Bard on the subject:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Happy 127th Birthday, dear John Ronald Reuel.  Wish we could have a pint together at the Bird and Baby and drink to your health this day.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Jupp Kappius

Today we remember my father, Josef Kappius, who was known to everyone only as Jupp. 

Today we remember my father, Josef Kappius, who was known to everyone only as Jupp.  For those who know a bit about Germany it might be obvious that my father was a child of the Ruhrgebiet where Josefs tend to be called “Jupp”, and indeed, he was born in Bochum on 7 November 1907.  The original farm homestead of the family was in nearby Haaren (today technically a part of Bad Wuennenberg), but Jupp’s grandparents had already settled in Grumme (now part of Bochum) before their children were born, and so my father was not a child of the country, but of the city.

Grummer Strasse 26 in Bochum: the house in which my father was born.

There is much to say about him and we actually maintain a website where we do just that, but the long and short is that he lived to see both world wars, the first as a pre-pubescent child, the second as an active participant.  He worked in the steel industry before WWII, and after the war made a livelihood from being a representative of his political party in the local government of Dortmund.  He died there, in Dortmund, at the age of 60, on 30 Dec 1967.

Not sure when or where this was taken, but probably in the 1950s and on vacation.

My father was married twice.  His first wife Aenne was his companion from the early 1930s all through WWII and into the mid-1950s, and the two were childless.  Purposefully so, one has to add, because they had been active in the socialist workers youth of their day and quickly evolved into full-fledged enemies of the state when the Hitler was elected as chancellor in 1933.  All members of their political group, the ISK, vowed to be vegetarians, teetotalers, and childless.  Jupp and Aenne fled in 1933 when a GESTAPO arrest was imminent, and while she ended up in Switzerland where she stayed until the end of the war, for the most part, Jupp went to England, from where he, together with other enemy aliens, was deported to Australia in June of 1940.  For over two years he sat there waiting for his chance to do his bit in the war.  October 1942 found him back in London, England, and on 1 September 1944 at midnight, he returned to Germany via parachute with the objective to undermine Nazi Germany as best as possible, and strengthen the resistance in the Ruhr area.  The OSS was involved as well as British Intelligence, but he was only trained by them, not paid.

Don;t know when or where this was, but it sure looks like May 1st to me.

After the war he was reunited with his wife and they did their best to help shape the new Germany that was emerging out of the ashes of the war.  For Aenne, it was too late to have children anymore by that time, and she died in 1956.  She was strong of will and conviction, but her (physical) heart was weak.

Aenne Kappius, nee Ebbert. I grew up with a lot of her relatives, with her sister, her nieces and nephews, and their children.

Just shy of 10 years later, and after some dark and lonely years, my father married again, this time a much younger lady – my mom – with whom he had two children, one boy and one girl, before he died.  Can you imagine what it must have meant for him?  But his newfound joy did not last very long in this world:  My brother was about 20 months old when our father died, and I only 8 weeks.

Christmas 1966

For the longest time, I only knew very basic things about my father.  He was of a different generation than my mother and the parents of my friends, and history teachers in school would call me a liar when I said anything about my father actively participating in WWII.  Later, during my years at the university in Germany, I met someone who was working on a documentary (“Deckname Downend”, in German) about my father’s involvement in the German resistance movement, and I learned something new then.  Again a few years later, I started looking into all that a lot more seriously, reading through my father’s internment diaries and studying other material about the groups he was involved in at the time, and that’s when I really “met” my father for the first time.  As a child and teenager I had met some of his “old” friends in person; now I learned about the things they had done together back in the day, and he became very much alive for me.  Fascinating!


If you are interested in reading a bit more or watching the documentary (it’s in German, though, no subtitles (yet)), head over to his site:


For today, we remember the day he passed on, this coming Sunday, 51 years ago.  He lived in England long enough to cherish one English (or should I say, Scottish?) tradition in particular, that is, to sing Auld Lang Syne together on New Year’s Eve.  It’s almost New Year’s Eve, so go ahead, turn it up and sing along…

Robert Burns – Auld Lang Syne, as sung by Dougie MacLean on the album “Tribute”

Cultured Wednesday: Fanny Corbaux

Fanny Corbaux was a 19th century British portrait painter.

The girls took a book about the history of dolls home from the library one day.  It was a very interesting book with a lot more photos than text.  One doll the girls thought particularly interesting, and that was one that was fashioned after this painting:

the day before marriage
The Day Before Marriage, by Fanny Corbaux

Our oldest loved the painting because it was so beautifully detailed, and the youngest liked it for the pretty clothing.  Who, then, painted the painting?  It was Fanny Corbaux, a British lady, although her last name does not sound British at all.  Her full name was, in fact, Marie Françoise Catherine Doetger Corbaux, which throws one completely off when it comes to first names as well.  She is known as a portrait painter of the late Edwardian and early Victorian era, as well as being credited with inventing whitewash, also known as calcimine or lime paint.

Cinderella, by Fanny Corbaux

Fanny Corbaux was born in 1812 in Paris, to an English-born statistician and mathematician who had a French last name and spent much of his life abroad. Fanny was obviously very talented and developed her talent early, for when she received her first medals for an original portrait she painted and two copies, one of a water-color and one of an engraving, she was only 15 years old.  She continued to copy artwork and paint original pieces as well, in oil as well as water-colors, but eventually she gave up the former in favor of the latter and joined the New Society of Painters in Water-Colours in 1839.

Leila, by Fanny Corbaux (1845)

By that time, she had already illustrated Thomas Moore’s Pearls of the East (1837), and in 1841 she did the same for Cousin Natalia’s Tales, both of which her sister lithographed.  Of these illustrations, a critic said she had “depicted oriental beauty in all its varieties of voluptuous languor and fascinating vivacity”.  Sounds like a compliment to me.

Gulnare, by Fanny Corbaux

Fanny Corbaux died at Brighton on 1 February 1883.

The Prado Madrid
The Prado, Madrid. By Fanny Corbaux

Who Were The Very First Denney’s?

One theory that seems to have considerable merit is that the earliest Dennys were Vikings or North Men…

It’s that time of year again, when we blow off the dust from boxes of documents, photos, and old handwritten notes, reactivate the account, and continue exploring the family’s history.

The material quoted below comes from the work of Richard F. Denney.  His web site was one of the first I came across when I caught the genealogy virus, many moons ago.  I had occasion one time to correspond with Mr. Denney, helping to correct a minor error in the record of my grandfather Lorain Franklin Denney.  Sadly, Richard F. Denney passed away July of 2011.  His genealogical efforts are greatly appreciated.

While I am not able, for obvious reasons, to attest to the validity of the Viking theory, it fits with certain personal experiences of a particularly Jungian flavor that I’ve had over the years.

“The existence of these archaic strata is presumably the source of man’s belief in reincarnations and in memories of “previous experiences”. Just as the human body is a museum, so to speak, of its phylogenetic history, so too is the psyche.”

~C.G. Jung, “Conscious, Unconscious, and Individuation”, 1939


Who Were The Very First Denney’s?

by Richard F. Denney

One theory that seems to have considerable merit is that the earliest Dennys were Vikings or North Men who settled along the Normandy Coast of France. French history tells of a Danish Prince named Bernard, who, along with his cousin Rollo, settled in Normandy. Members of this Norman colony or settlement of Danes were called the Danish Men or L’Denshmen or in French, L’Denne.

Some of these early Denshmen migrated across the Channel and settled in southern England.

Because of the unrest in the English country side, many of the Surrey Dennys migrated to Ireland and Scotland. Scotch and Irish Dennys were noted for large families. Many Dennys from England, Scotland and Ireland came to America in the late 1600s and early 1700s to escape hunger, unrest and religious persecution. Most of these people ended up in the Western Frontier which was then Western Pennsylvania.

Later, around the Daniel Boone era, many of these Dennys migrated on to Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee. Others continued on into Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. As a matter of fact, Daniel Boone trapped on the Raccoon Creek, Gallia County, Ohio about the same time period as when the first Denneys were to arrive in that area and settled around the creek.

Samuel Denney (1635 – 1710), my 10th great-grandfather
Birth 1635 • Avon River section, England
Death 1710 • Tidewater region, Virginia, USA

James Denney (1777–1860), my 5th great-grandfather
Birth 1777 • Pilot Creek, Surry County, NC
Death 29 JUN 1860 • Gallipolis, Gallia, Ohio, USA

Featured Image:  Viking ships on the Normandy coast. Scene from the Bayeux tapestry.

%d bloggers like this: