Thursday, July 5, 2012

Those Places Thursday: A Kaleidoscope Perspective

Carla, of sassygenealogist, published a post on her four sets of great-grandparents which consist of her eight primary surnames she searches for, entitled "My Eight Great Surprises". The surprise was that she found out she was not as  "Southern" as she thought.

It prompted me to think of my eight surnames and where they came from. They would be: Watts, Spencer, Hardy, Lovelace, Timmer, Bolhuis, Katsma and Kiel. Half are firmly Dutch as my mother was the second or third generation from the Netherlands. Her grandparents on her father's side came over on their honeymoon. Her Kiel family was here a generation earlier.

The Watts and Hardy lines are firmly entrenched in Virginia clear back to the 1700s and likely English before that. The Lovelace line (also of English origin) can be traced from Kentucky back to North Carolina and then up to Maryland, but still not past the Mason Dixon line. The Spencer line is my most elusive after twenty years. While I can't say for sure where this line originated, I'd be very surprised to find it varied from the others. (But, hey, I surely wouldn't complain if someone were able to trace this line successfully and prove  otherwise.)

I commented on Carla's post that I wound up marrying a Northerner to add more variety to the mix. My children's eight greats consists of:  Watts, Hardy, Timmer and Katsma from me, of course.  Then they have Westfall, Smith, Neamon and McKinsey. These four lines are firmly entrenched in the Northern half of the United States. The first Westfall from Germany to America was born in 1843. He settled in Cattaraugus County, New York. The Smiths hailed from Ontario, Canada for a few generations having originally emigrated from England at some point. Neamon is also a German line that emigrated in the same time period as the Westfalls. Last but not least is the McKinsey line which so far I have traced back to Pennsylvania in the 1830s.

Researching all of these families have given me a broad and varied perspective from a historical lens, reminding me of a kaleidoscope of blending patterns that makes us who we are.

The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society


  1. Great post! So your mother's grandparents married and then immigrated to the United States while on their honeymoon? Wow! That's a pretty cool story right there! Of course, it also must have been quite sad for the families they left behind in the Netherlands.

  2. Thanks, Jana, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, "they came over on their honeymoon in 1906 and never went back," is what my grandmother told me. Although, they did take a trip back over there in the 1950s. I think that was prompted by the death of one of my great-grandfather's sisters. I imagine they did miss family. On my great-grandmother's side, though, her brother and sisters came around the same time.

    1. By the way, this post is listed on my Fab Finds blog post at

      Have a great weekend!

  3. Why, thank you, Jana! You always highlight some great finds, I am honored :)

  4. Eight greats to find is quite an accomplishment. My grandparents hail from Transylvania -- but I discovered that my grandfather's forebears headed there (Germans) from Alsace in 1770. I loved learning that. Lots of Germans in America. Thanks for commenting on my Mankini post!