Saturday, March 31, 2012

Summary of Discoveries

This post is intended for my immediate family, who might wish to get a general idea of "where they come from", and learn of some of the discoveries we've made to date about our shared ancestral history.  Below is one summary for each of the four main family names ("surnames") in our family, which will contain references to other families of interest.

There are many hyperlinks to other pages on this blog if the reader wishes to explore further.  Any text that is colored in orange can be clicked on, and a new research page is displayed covering that topic in more detail. These links contain particular stories we've uncovered (or heard told) of our ancestors, along with hundreds of old photographs of people, places (then and now), houses, and historical artifacts, as well as visual diagrams of family trees.  

At any time, the reader can always use the search box to the right of the screen to see what has been written about a particular ancestor.  Also, each page has been tagged with family names, so the reader can easily scroll down on the right side of any page, and click on a surname in order to retrieve all the pages associated with that family name.

This blog has been a continued source of enjoyment for me since 2009.  It is a great way for me to practice my biography writing; and, using a narrative style helps me make sense of some of the context of the vast amount of information at my fingertips.  I'm constantly editing and updating these pages as I uncover more information.

Yet none of this would be possible without the help of many dozens of other cousins and other researchers who have shared their research with me, or who have given their time to looking for materials for me in their hometowns - such materials which cannot be found online or through mail order.  This blog is just as much an interactive project as it is a tribute to our shared ancestors, and I hope it shall continue to develop over the years as more researchers stumble upon these pages...


Our surname Leonard used to be the Irish "Lennan" in Dublin during the late 1600s, before the Brits changed it. (this I confirmed with Y-DNA testing, and as of November 2014 this line is associated with Haplogroup R-P312, but the group keeps changing as the research gets more specific)  Many centuries before that, it was the Gaelic "O'Leannain".  Many Leonards appear to have an artistic temperament, and are keenly interested in painting, music, and flowers (also drinking).  The Leonards in our family are very few and far between in America, and are dying out.  I'm one of the last five male Leonards descending from our immigrant ancestor, Mathew John Leonard of Portraine, Ireland, hard working railroadman and beer maker.  Five male heirs remain, and none are likely to have any male heirs themselves. The surname will probably die with me.  Our immigrant, however, had many siblings in Portraine, one of which has dozens of living heirs still at the old Leonard Homestead, and in the surrounding area.  We believe that this Leonard line is influenced by the "Black Irish", being potentially linked to Spanish blood many centuries back; but, the only confirmation we have of that was that our ancestors from there were dark haired, and not red haired.  The theory of the Spanish Armada and its influence on Ireland is often overstated, so it will have to be a tall tale for now.  The Leonards and their associated Irish Catholic families (Smart, Devine, Wade, and Graney) were very well represented in the West End of Portland Maine from 1870-1940, and some of the remaining descendants removed to South Portland.  My grandfather, the Pearl Harbor veteran Thomas Edward Leonard, was a 'half breed', since his father was from the Irish Leonard family, and his mother was a Danish girl whose parents were from Aalborg in northwestern Denmark, and Skroebelev, in southern Denmark.  I've been fascinated with the Danish link for years now, and have met many of our distant and very friendly Mortensen cousins in New Hampshire who descend from the same Danish immigrants, who were largely all sawmill workers residing in Berlin NH.  In 2012, my travels brought me to Aalborg and Skroebelev - and I have visited the churches and villages where they came from, and the graveyard where some of them are laid to rest.  Many in my immediate family refer to the "Leonard Look", given the very striking shared physical traits among us, and many of our cousins (chubby cheeks, long face, deep circles under the eyes).  I've come to believe that this look is actually coming from our Danish heritage, after having met many of these distant cousins in NH in person and receiving many dozens of old photos.  So it's really the "Mortensen Look", if you ask me. If you click around the hyperlinks in here, you will find old photographs which illustrate my point.


The English Fuller name is overwhelmingly well represented in New England and elsewhere, and is one of the most common colonial names in the region, so many genealogists have published volumes for us, leaving a lesser burden of research than the Irish and Danish connections above.  Our Fuller immigrant was Edward Fuller of the Mayflower, who traveled from the small town of Redenhall, England with his brother, Dr. Samuel Fuller.  While Edward died the first winter in the New World (like many from that ship), his son Matthew (who came over a bit later) had many thousands of descendants, all of whom are our distant cousins.  The six children of Harold Fuller (Nana's brother) each have had some interest in ancestry passed down from their father, and they've been very kind and interactive with me in the research.  There are many interesting connections.  The Fullers intermarried with the farming Osborn family of Fairfield and Winslow Maine (distant cousins still remain there today) who were Revolutionary War patriots from East Hampton, Long Island, New York (and whose ancestors before them were originally from Ashford, Kent, England).  Our Fuller line is also connected to Lady Godiva, famous exhibitionist and activist.  Also, our particular Fuller line is additionally descended from John Alden of the Mayflower (along with his wife and her parents).  This Alden line later connected down to the Burrill line of central Maine.  The Burrills intermarried with the Osborns, who intermarried with the Fullers, and all three families contain many direct ancestors.  There are many instances of cousins marrying here (which is not as genetically problematic as people think).  Also connected to the Fuller line is the Murch line, which is a colonial Maine family from Gorham and Rockland, who are also connected to the famous Jameson line, Revolutionary War patriots of Scotch-Irish descent, and who were founding members of many towns in Maine (Rockland, Friendship, and Cape Elizabeth to name a few), along with the McLellans (also Scotch-Irish) who were wealthy landowners in historic Portland.  Our Murch line is directly descended from Susannah Martin, the oldest person be executed during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, and also the Welsh born Leonards (no relation to our irish Leonards above) but who were founders of the towns of Taunton and Raynham Massachusetts, and creators of the Leonard Forge - the first iron forge in America, and a premier iron supplier during the Revolution.  This Leonard line directly descends from John of Gaunt, son to Edward III of the Plantagenet line.  This Murch line is also of multiple Mayflower descent.  They are linked to the Stephen Hopkins family (the same Hopkins who discovered Bermuda) and also the Francis Cooke line.  Therefore, Nana (Lorena Bell Fuller-Leonard) was of pure colonial stock (with some Scottish and German blood, from the Holland family), and had ten Mayflower passengers in her direct ancestry.  Our Fuller/Murch line is probably filled with the most historical wealth of anywhere else in our tree.  They were early Christian Scientists, dry goods merchants, property owners, and railroad engineers.  Other related surnames of interest would be the Bell family of Scotland by way of Nova Scotia, Canada and Dover, Maine, and the Beans of New Hampshire, our ancestor of whom was a Scottish prisoner of war and sold as a slave upon arrival in the New World.  This ancestor has links to Scottish and English royalty, Robert the Bruce and the MacBeans of Scotland, the Plantagenets, the Normans and the Anglo Saxon Kings of England, ancient France, ancient Ukraine and Sweden, and ancient Germany.

Nana's ten Mayflower ancestors:
  1. John Alden
  2. Priscilla Mullins (his wife)
  3. William Mullins (her father)
  4. Alice Mullins (his wife)
  5. Edward Fuller
  6. Mrs. Edward Fuller (his wife)
  7. Francis Cooke
  8. Stephen Hopkins
  9. Elizabeth Fisher (his wife)
  10. Constance Hopkins (Stephen's daughter)

Blood Connections to Notable People (via Nana's ten Mayflower connections):
  • 2nd President John Adams is my 3rd Cousin, 8 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.
  • 6th President John Quincy Adams is my 4th Cousin, 7 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was my 9th cousin once removed.  Our shared ancestors was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • 21st President Chester A. Arthur was my 6th cousin five times removed, and a descendant of Susannah Martin, just like Nana.  Susannah Martin was hanged for being a witch in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
  • 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is my 9th Cousin, once removed.  Our shared ancestor was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush is my 18th cousin.  Our shared ancestors were Edward the 1st, King of England and Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • 43rd President George Walker Bush is my 18th cousin, once removed. Our shared ancestor was Edward the 1st, King of England and Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was my 5th cousin 6 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.
  • Author Henry David Thoreau was my 6th cousin 4 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Filmmaker Orson Welles was my 8th cousin, 3 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.
  • Actor Dick Van Dyke was my 10th cousin, once removed.  Our shared ancestors were John Alden and Francis Cooke of the Mayflower. 
  • Actor Richard Gere is my 10th cousin.  Our shared ancestor was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Artist Norman Rockwell was my 10th cousin.  Our shared ancestor was Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower.
  • Playwright Tennessee Williams is my 10th cousin once removed.  Our shared ancestor was Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower.
  • Artist Georgia O'Keeffe is my 9th cousin twice removed.  Our shared ancestor was Edward Fuller of the Mayflower. 
  • Mormon Church Founder Joseph Smith, Jr. was my 6th cousin 5 times removed.  Our shared ancestor was Edward Fuller of the Mayflower.
  • Former Vice President Dan Quayle is my 10th cousin, once removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.
  • Politician Sarah Palin is my 10th cousin twice removed. Our shared ancestor was Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower.
  • Painter "Grandma Moses" was my 8th cousin, twice removed.  Our shared ancestors was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Actress Marilyn Monroe was my 9th cousin, twice removed.  Our shared ancestors were John Alden and Francis Cooke of the Mayflower. 
  • Radio personality Wolfman Jack was my 9th cousin, twice removed.  Our shared ancestor was John Alden of the Mayflower.
  • Celebrity Chef Julia Child was my 9th cousin, twice removed.  Our shared ancestors were John Alden and Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Musician Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is my 10th cousin, once removed.  Our shared ancestors was Francis Cooke of the Mayflower.
  • Mayor of Portland during the Civil War, Captain Jacob McLellan, was my 2nd cousin six times removed.  He served from 1863-1865 and in 1868.
Blood Connections to Notable People (via Nana's Royal line):
  • Queen Elizabeth II is my 20th cousin. Our shared ancestor is Edward III of the Plantagenet Line.
  • King Robert the Bruce of Scotland was my 20th great grandfather.


Grammy Clarke's maiden name was Temm.  Her grandfather, Wilhelm Marcus Timm, was a sea captain from Hamburg, Germany with a mysterious past.  In 1852, upon marrying his wife, Sarah Jane Brownrigg of Pictou, Nova Scotia (who was descended from English, Scottish and French sea captain immigrants), in Portland, Maine.  Sarah Jane's brother was a successful businessman, running a number of boarding houses on Fore Street which housed merchant seamen (and where other activities likely happened).  After their wedding, Sarah Jane and Marcus changed their names to Brown (not exactly sure why).  All five children were born with the name Brown, including our ancestor, John Henry Temm (who was born in a boat in Portland harbor). The Brown name stayed until 1864 (just a few years before Marcus' death in 1868), when the whole clan moved from Portland Maine to a large tract of farmland in Scarborough and reverted back to the Temm name (with John Henry's two daughters marrying a Clarke and an Ahlquist).  We are related to all Temms and Ahlquist families in Scarborough (and many of the Clarkes), through Marcus, and there are quite a few still there on old Beech Ridge Road in the vicinity of where our ancestors were early landowners, the land being in the Temm family since 1864.  My interest in the German root of the Temm/Timm surname brought me to Hamburg Germany back in 2012, and I truly felt a connection to the City, and didn't spend all of my time looking through all available church records, trying to find Timms.  Grammy Clarke's mother Hattie was a Morgan, descended from the New Hampshire Elliot and Morrill families (wherein may lie some Native American blood and further research is imminent as of November 2014, but for now this Clarke-Temm-Morgan-Morrill line is classified as DNA Haplogroup X, which has some chance of being divided into a Native American/Central Asian subgroup) and from the brother of "Captain Morgan" the famous Welsh pirate who has a brand of rum named after him, through  Hattie's father William Morgan, a Civil War patriot from Winterport, Maine. The wealthy Holmes family of Plymouth, Massachusetts figures prominently in our Morgan line, and was also directly descended from Thomas Rogers.of the Mayflower and his son Joseph.


Our Clarke line is entirely colonial English, via Central Connecticut.  Our immigrant ancestors, John and his son Thomas, were a settler of Jamestown Colony and steward of the Mayflower, respectively.  This is a common surname to be found in New England, with many thousands of descendants still there today (particularly in central Connecticut, several towns of which were founded by our ancestors linked to the Clarks).  They were humble farmers, carpenters, and blacksmiths.  Many of the colonial era houses they built in CT still stand today.  Many veterans in this family group, including James Clark, who fought in the War of 1812, his son Leonard Sherman Clark, who fought in the Civil War with his sons, and several Revolutionary War veteran ancestors, like John Coult and the Pecks.  The 19th century Clarks of Connecticut frequently intermarried with the colonial English Tooker and Hall families, who also have descendants living there today.  I've been very fortunate to meet distant cousins descending from the Clark, Tooker, and Hall families of Lyme and East Haddam Connecticut, many of whom share a significant passion for their ancestry, which is surprisingly well documented, considering these historical families' impoverished working class background.

To summarize my (and my siblings') specific heritage:

1/8 Danish (Mortensen/Petersen)
1/8 Irish (Leonard/Howlett) (with potentially very small percentages of Spanish)
1/8 Scottish (Bell/Bean/Lissen/Jameson/McLellan/Blair)
1/8 German (Holland/Temm)
4/8 English colonial (with very small percentages of French, Irish, and Welsh)

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