In this series of blog posts, I’ve been discussing connections to my neighbors found in my family tree. Having moved into a cul-de-sac about ten years ago, it has amazed me that I have discovered either relationships, or connections by marriage with several of my neighbors! All of us were new to this neighborhood, and new to each other. I had never done any genealogy so we became acquainted through shared interests and proximity, then I discovered the genealogical connections.
My next door neighbors were a delightful couple, named John and Dora Burgess Pryor. John was an accomplished genealogist at age 92! He’d been researching for years the old-fashioned way– no internet! He and his wife had traveled the towns and states, and spent many hours in libraries and courthouses, poring over tax records, marriage and death records and the like. They’d walked cemeteries and taken copious notes! I was impressed with what John had accomplished and he inspired me to think about creating my own family tree.
Many of my readers know I have severe heart disease and can’t walk far or stand long. I had always loved to garden, but unable to bend over or stand for any length of time, I thought my gardening days were finished. John was in his nineties as mentioned. He could not stoop or bend over either, so he sat on the ground and scooted or crawled to where he wanted to go, gardening up a storm! I watched him work and again was inspired! If this 92-year-old man could sit on the ground and garden, I could too! What a pair we made. Other neighbors got used to seeing us crawling around our gardens! I loved it, and hadn’t had as much fun in years–playing in the dirt! We both had beautiful flowers to show for it as well. Not that we could take all the credit! John’s wife Dora was quite a bit younger than John, and she could and did work rings around both of us! She was the true gardner! Her yard was spotless and beautiful! I didn’t even try to keep up, just tried to enjoy what I could do. My own husband didn’t consider himself a gardener, but he was the labor end of our efforts! Dora and I became great friends! Unfortunately, John passed away a few years ago, and even though he has left a hole, we love Dora with a passion! John passed away shortly after I started my own genealogical work, so we had only a couple of opportunities to compare notes! What a loss.
Just like with the Voorhees and McLaughlins, it wasn’t long until I was seeing Pryors and Burgesses in my tree! What’s up with this?! My neighbors thought I was crazy as they heard me saying again, “Dora, I think we are kin to each other…and I might be kin to John as well! LOL Like before, I asked Dora to let me work on her tree a bit so that I could check out these things I was finding! The “coincidences” are amazing in my book, and unfortunately, I can’t even remember them all! I wasn’t thinking I’d ever write about them, so I noted them, talked about it with Dora, then went on with my research.
But look at this. As you know, my paternal grandmother’s line is Hogue on one side. Hogue is Scottish, and Pryor is generally English in origin. However, I found the name Pryor all over my Hogue family tree! My neighbor John was named John Hamilton Pryor. Right there in my tree was a John Pryor Hogue, a Pryor Hogue, and a John Hamilton Hogue! My neighbor John was born and reared in West Virginia, and I could trace my Hamilton Hogues right to West Virginia! I could never quite prove the kinship however. After John passed, I took a dna test to aid with my genealogy research. As I learned more about the Hogue dna, I discovered that the Pryor and Hamilton Hogues were not in my Hogue haplogroup! Hard to believe, but definitive. Nevertheless, what are the chances we’d have these name connections moving in next door to each other from different states and backgrounds?
Dora and I not only shared the love of gardening, we became red hatters together and played like there was no tomorrow! She and Linda and I shared our strong faith as well, we were great “pray-ers”! Dora and Linda were avid volunteers in the community, at their church and in other endeavors. I couldn’t believe the blessing of moving next door to such a dynamic, loving woman.
Burgess and McKay (pronounced McCoy) were her main two genealogical lines. Her McKays were from Scotland like my Hogues, and I saw them everywhere, along with Burgess!
After I got my dna done, I began to zero in on my exact relationship to her Burgesses! We shared a third cousin! However, we were kin to that same person by opposite sides of the family, so we were still only kin by marriage. But, hey, it seemed amazing to me!