A final formal portrait

Here’s a studio shot of Grandpa shortly before his death. He looks more relaxed and accepting than anything we see in his earlier pictures. Tomorrow would have been his 120th birthday.


DNA could clear up two big questions

For those of us working the genealogy of Orphan George Hodgson, the two biggest questions center on his parentage – and both cases could be determined by DNA test results if we obtain samples from those two other lines.

The first would require a male descendant from Robert Hodgson (born 1666 in Lamplugh, Cumbria, and married Sarah Nicholson in 1701 in Lurgan, Ireland). I believe his brother, George, born in 1668, is Orphan George’s father, but my case is circumstantial. Thus, if our DNA matches up with the other line, we have support for this connection. A mismatch, though, would undermine my contention. And mismatches are possible if there were any extramarital affairs.

The second DNA search would require a male descendant from Robert Hodgson and Sarah Borden of Pleasant Garden, Pennsylvania. In this case, we would finally know if we have a blood connection to that line. So far, contrary to claims by many, I’ve found no evidence of kinship, yet there are tantalizing bits suggesting some kind of influence.

Ideally, we would need at least two DNA donors for each case, simply because there is no guarantee a surname actually matches the true father, if we can believe historians.

Anyone want to locate descendants from these other lines and then extend our request/invitation?

Is this really his birthday?

January 6, 1701, is widely reported as the date when Orphan George was born, so let’s take a moment to wish a Happy Birthday.

A word of caution is also in order. In my many years of research till now, I have yet to see a definitive citation for the source of this date. No family Bible, no Quaker Meeting minute, no correspondence. Nada. Perhaps it’s in one of the pages “too faint to microfilm” in the Lurgan Friends records, but until we find it, we do need to consider the date as soft data.

Likewise, with any claims to the place of his birth or even his parents’ names.

For instance, one account puts his birth at Newcastle, Ireland, January 6, 1700/01. (Remember, at the time, the new year didn’t begin until mid-March. Writing it this way assures that we’re accounting for the difference and adjusting it to our modern calendars.) But where does the location come from? It is situated by the sea, about 30 miles from Lurgan.