Monday, December 10, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #103

James Watson reportedly has the genetic makeup "you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African."

Can you name his eight great-grandparents?

(For the sake of this challenge, let's assume that none of his recent ancestors was the product of a back-door romance.)

Drew Smith

In "Avoid Boring People", Watson names 6 of his 8 great-grandparents:

William Weldon Watson II and Augusta Crafts Tolman (parents of his paternal grandfather, Thomas Tolman Watson)

Robert Mitchell and Flora MacKinnon (parents of his maternal grandfather, Lauchlin Alexander Mitchell)

Michael Gleason and Mary Curtin (parents of his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Gleason)

Watson identifies his paternal grandmother as Nellie Dewey Ford, born in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The 1880 census for Geneva, Walworth County, Wisconsin shows 5-year-old Nellie D. Ford, with parents Debran (or possibly Delwan) Ford and Sarah L., and Debran's father-in-law James J. Dewey.


After reinventing the world a few times, I found this book:

Parents of Thomas Tolman Watson:
William Weldon Watson & Augusta Crafts Tolman

Parents of Nellie Dewey Ford:
Debran Ford & Sarah L Dewey

Parents of Lauchlin Alexander Mitchell:
Robert Mitchell & Flora MacKinnon

Parents of Elizabeth Gleason:
Michael Gleason & Mary Curtin



Yes, this section of his memoir (pdf) shows that Watson is himself a family historian. The name of his Ford great-grandfather appears to have been "Delavan."


So was he named after Delavan, Wisconsin, or vice-versa?


I think he might have been named for a local Ford dealership.

Ken Million

Thomas Tolman Watson is my third cousin, twice-removed: found him in the 1920 Census, Chicago, but not in 1910 or 1930. Want more info:

John Zarrillo

It appears as though paternal grandmother may actually have been Nellie Dewey Hamlin, daughter of Charles Dewey Hamlin and a woman named Mary.

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