When I asked my grandfather about the origins of our German-ish surname, he said we were Scots-Irish and came from West Virginia. I was 13, and just made a note for future research.

I'm now a genealogy researcher, and have long since dismissed my grandfather's version of our family origins. It's a German name, so how is it Scots-Irish? The earliest (known, so far) progenitor of the name came from Pennsylvania and the family ended up in Illinois with a stop in Ohio. So how does West Virginia even get in there?

I figured some other line--female line--probably married in, and THEY were Scots-Irish and from West Virginia, but it never has shown up in my research. So, Grandpa had just heard something that was wrong, that's all.

Until I found where in Ohio the "stopover" was. I had assumed northern Ohio, since that's what's between Pennsylvania and Illinois. Uh, no. Apparently my family was working its way down the Ohio River. There's a whole nest of my ancestors in Gallia County, Ohio, and they were from Clay Township, which, as far as I can tell from a map, might be literally a stone's throw (across the river) from West Virginia.

Grandpa wasn't very wrong. (I still haven't found any Scots-Irish, though.)
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genealogy: Cover of the Register for Alameda County 1904 (Default)
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