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Synchronicity, Genealogy, and DNA

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  • Synchronicity, Genealogy, and DNA

    Synchronicity Genealogy and DNA

    When I was a little girl I was fascinated by the name "Garlinghouse." I'd leaf through the Garlinghouse house plan magazines at the bookstore. That name stuck in my mind. Why? One of my all time favorite actresses is the late Katharine Hepburn.

    Fast forward many years and I had become a genealogy geek after inheriting boxes of genealogical research done by my maternal grandfather. I was able to use what he did back in the 1930s and verify his work and build on what he did by joining Ancestry. One photo of a grim looking older woman with strong, high cheekbones had a name attached to it that I could NOT find in the Ancestry and FamilySearch data bases. Her first name was Anna and she was born in 1777. I dug and I dug and learned her birth name was Parker, not Tyler which was written on the back of the contemporary reproduction of the photo which was taken in the late 1840s or early 1850s - the early years of portrait photography. I learned Anna was the daughter of Abigail Garlinghouse from New Jersey. That name! My ancestor was named Garlinghouse!

    Anna and her mother were survivors of the Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1778. They survived by hiding out in a hollow tree. Abigail's husband, a Nathaniel Parker was killed. Abigail's daughter grew up and married a man surnamed Buchanan and when he died she married his cousin James McWhorter of Steuben County, New York.

    But the name "Garlinghouse" was so unusual and now that it looked like I was descended from that same family, I was curious to learn more about that name and family. I started digging around again. I found Abigail's parents; James John Garlinghouse and Johanna Buchanan.

    A couple of years ago I made contact with a man who was descended from ANOTHER one of my mother's family lines AND the Garlinghouse family of New Jersey.

    He saw my profile photo in Ancestry and told me I had the "Garlinghouse cheekbones." "Okay.....whatever," I thought to myself, "that's nice." And I moved on to researching other lines.

    About a year ago I had my DNA done at Ancestry and just in the past month I got a match to a descendant of James John Garlinghouse and Abigail Buchanan of New Jersey! What the man who told me I had "Garlinghouse cheekbones" also told me and I poo-poohed immediately was that one Garlinghouse descendant was Katherine Hepburn.

    Now it looks for real. Katherine Hepburn's grandmother was Carrie Garlinghouse who married a man name Houghton. Houghton's daughter Katherine married Dr. Hepburn - the actress' father. Hepburn was descended from Abigail Garlinghouse's younger brother.

    I then put one of my mother's old theatrical/modeling photos next to one of Katharine Hepburn at about the same age. People who don't know the other woman was my mother can see a resemblance without any prompts from me.

    So I broke down the Garlinghouse brick wall and found Katharine Hepburn on the other side.

    What is interesting is I have photographs of Anna Parker and her descendants going all the way to me. I also have photos of Anna's first cousin who was Hepburn's ancestor and have placed them side-by-side at each generation. This has been a most fascinating study in facial features and how they appear to be inherited and shared by fairly distant cousins.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Very nice story!

    Thank you !