I have been working on my family tree now going on three years, and the one thing I have learned is this truly is a small world. I learned that my Great Grandmother on my birth fathers side of the family was a Downer. This is weird because there was a Judge living here with the last name of Downer. It would be interesting to know how we are related.
Another little anomaly is that one of my 11th Great Grandmother's, Baroness, Lady Margaret Dixon, 1485-1550 along with the continuing line of that family at least down to Jonathan T. Dixon, 1873-1944, my 12th Great Grand Uncle. And here where I live is a family with the sir name of Dixon, Related, probably, but I don't know how.
Something a lot of my current friends don't know is that my name at birth was Donald D. Merritt and remained Merritt until May 27, 1963 when my brothers and I were adopted by Edward C. Hausmann. The Merritt family name has had many notable persons throughout the history of this Nation. The first Merritt's to arrive in this country, arrived with the Mayflower Party, not sure of the ship. After arriving in Plymouth some of the family surveyed and settled Rye township, Westchester County, New York State. The Island on which the people working at Cape Canaveral live is Merritt Island. Some of the first settlers to Oregon were Merritt's going to Portland and Canyonville.
Other interesting facts I have found is that my 5th cousin 3x removed, Brig. General Wesley Merritt, served in the Civil war with General Sheridan. Wesley Merritt along with Elon J. Farnsworth and George Armstrong Custer were all promoted at the same time skipping three ranks from Col. to Major General. Unfortunately General Farnsworth didn't survive the next battle he was in. In the above picture Wesley Merritt is seated on a chair at the right, George Custer is laying petting the dog.
In the above picture, Wesley Merritt is seated at the middle right, with General Sheridan with the big beard. I Read that General Merritt was one of only three Officers present at the surrender at the end of the Civil War.
The above picture is of Wesley Merritt when younger. After General Custer was wiped out, General Merritt was placed in charge of the Indian champagne, and was the first commander of the Buffalo Soldiers. There used to be an Army base at San Francisco California named Camp Merritt After General Merritt.
The above Picture is of Brig. General Wesley Merritt after he served as commanding general in the War of the Philippines and acting Governor, and completing his career as Commander of West Point for five years.
Other interesting facts I have found are; I am related to most if not all United States Presidents, although I currently only have six of them connected in my family tree. The six that are currently connected are Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Taylor, Madison, Polk, Ford, and Obama. Interestingly, President Polk, my 2nd cousin 6x removed Admitted Oregon, California and Texas to the United States.
Virtually all of my family lines were founding fathers, including David Tasker Reese, who signed the Meklenburg Declaration of Independence.
In conclusion I would STRONGLY urge everyone to search out their family trees, not just for the interesting people you find but some of the really great stories and I think you will find this is truly a small world.
Am I bragging? Well maybe just a little especially since I didn't know these things a few years ago.