To My Family’s Genealogy Pages!


Gary B. Speck




For the past ten years, I have not been actively pursuing or researching my family roots due to the passing of several family members, coupled with a general lack of zeal for digging deeper.  The genealogical fire that I was consumed with between 1997 and 2005 has burned down to glowing embers, but is NOT even close to being extinguished.  My main online focus has been to get my Ghost Town USA pages to the top of their game and as a result, much of the information posted on my genealogy pages has not been refreshed.  Like I previously mentioned, I haven’t lost interest in the hobby, it’s just that other passions have stolen the oxygen from those roots-seeking flames. As a result my online family databases have gotten a little stale and have pulled all but a few of my best researched families off the web until such time as I can update and add to them.  Those well-researched family lines will remain online and references to other related families may remain.  However, I will not be supporting or actively pursuing any information on them for the time being and as a result many of the lineage links will remain unlinked until those collateral family lines are updated.    Thank you…


GBS  Dec 2016




Like most people in this country, my family is a typical American hodge-podge of names, locations and dates of entry into what is now the United States of America.  The dates my immigrants arrived, range from the early 1600s up through 1881.  There are no Mayflower descendents in my ancestry; there are no American presidents in my direct line; I have not descended from any Cherokee “princesses” (or other Native American blood); and there are no other directly famous individuals that I have descended from. However, my family does have some “close calls.” Climbing up the trunk of my ances-tree, a number of famous individuals and I DO share common ancestors - as do many Americans.  In some cases we are only a generation or so off, in some cases - many. 



One of my ancestors, Henry HOWLAND, was the brother of Mayflower passenger John HOWLAND.  Henry came to the American Colonies on a different ship at a slightly later date, so he is the closest I can claim to the famed Mayflower.  Both former presidents BUSH, and former presidents Richard NIXON and Gerald FORD also descended from this same Howland clan, as did former British Prime Minister Winston CHURCHILL.



My next brush with a famous person, and the closest thing to a “Black Sheep” in my family, occurs through my 6th-great grandparents William JAMES and Mary HINES.  They were also the great grandparents for

Jesse & Frank JAMES, the notorious outlaws.



My last close call with fame is through my SPECK line.  My 3rd Great Grandfather Archibald SPECK and wife Eliza Jane BOYD are the great-grandparents of Jackson POLLOCK, the famous painter. 




Even though we share the SPECK surname, the 1966 era mass-murderer Richard SPECK and I thankfully are not directly related.  His family comes from a totally different line than my family, and I have not found any common connection other than the same last name.   Going back to Germany it is possible there is a common connection, but none of the Speck line researchers that I am aware of have found it.



On my paternal side family lines, a number of family members fought in the American Revolution, and are listed on the rolls of the D.A.R. and S.A.R.  Even more family members from both sides fought on either side of the Civil War. (OR, the War of Northern Aggression – depending on which family line we are looking at!)  Many of my paternal grandmother’s families originally settled in the 1600s in the colonies that evolved into the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia and North Carolina.



My gene pool falls into four basic nationalities as listed below, with the approximate Old Country ancestry percentages running 33% German, 49% English/Irish/Scottish, 12% Germanic-Swiss, 6% Danish.


1 – GERMAN:  I have three distinct clusters of German ancestors in my lineage.  One line descended from a Hessian Soldier who is said to have been shanghaied by the British, and brought over to fight in the Revolutionary War.  He originated in the Dresden area of eastern Germany.  The second and largest cluster of German ancestors came from the small town of Goldlauter, which is in the southwestern part of the former East Germany, east of Fulda. These folks immigrated to Illinois and Iowa in the middle 1800s.  The third cluster of German immigrants came from the Bremerhaven area in the 1880s, also settling in Iowa.


2 – ENGLISH/IRISH/SCOTTISH:  Many of these families arrived, beginning in the early to mid-1600s.  A large number of them fought in the American Revolution.  There were a number of Patriots, some of whom are listed in the SAR and DAR records.  Some of these families also fought in the Civil War, on both the Union and Confederate sides.  They mostly settled in the Virginia and North Carolina area, and spread west from there.


3 – DANISH:  One of my great-great grandmothers is said to have been of Danish origin, but I have NOT begun to trace her ancestry, nor been able to verify that claim. (NOTE:  Nov 2013 – copies of the 1930 census indicate she was probably German, not Danish. SO, the quest continues…) 


4 – SWITZERLAND:  This Germanic-Swiss family group arrived in the US in the 1840s, and the immigrant fought on the Union side during the American Civil War, marching in General Sherman’s campaign swing through the south. This family married into one of the German lines, settling in Iowa before coming to California.




Only a few of the SURNAMES I am searching for.




There will probably be many errors. 

If you are related to any of these lines, and see any errors or omissions, please don’t hesitate to contact me so I can fix ‘em. 

If you have additional information (or photos) on any of my listed family lines you’d like me to share with the world,

please let me know and I’d be happy to post it - giving you the full credit.



E-mail Me 






E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open any e-mails with unsolicited attachments, blank subject lines, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, etc.  If you do send an E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate surname AND/OR location, or other appropriate genealogical topic on the “subject” line.  THANK YOU!  :o)



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FIRST POSTED:  June 16, 2001

LAST UPDATED: June 05, 2017

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