Our Ancestors  

Our Ancestors

by Tom Osborne (tlosborne@aol.com)

Have you ever wondered just how many ancestors we have, how many have been identified, and how far back we know our ancestors?  Or just who is our earliest known ancestor and how are we related to that person?  What nationality or countries did our ancestors come from and when?

All of the known information is on the web in the Worldconnect database, but I have found the big picture hard to grasp.  For a long time, I tried to find a way to visualize the big picture, yet keep the details of each known individual.  Finally, I have contrived an Excel spreadsheet that displays most of this information on one page. To view or download this spreadsheet for the ancestors of the children of William and Lula Osborne, click here.  Each cell that has a red triangle in the upper right corner will display a note when the cursor is placed over it.  The note associated with the cell named “About this chart” contains an explanation of the chart.

Looking at the chart, one of the first things that becomes apparent is that, while we tend to concentrate on the Osborne name and where it came from, in reality all of our ancestors are created equally; each contributes equally to our gene pool.  In fact, those ancestors named Osborne are really a very small minority of our ancestors.

We also have an enormous number of ancestors.  With each generation, the number of grandparents doubles, each one contributing to our genes.  Counting William and Lula Osborne as our first grandparents, by the 10th generation of grandparents there are 1024 grandparents just in that 10th generation.  By the earliest known generation of our ancestors, which is the 12th generation, there are 4096 grandparents in that generation, and a total of 8190 grandparents up to that time.

Out of this enormous number of ancestors, we know only a small number, and those tend to be concentrated in the most recent generations.  The spreadsheet shows the number presently known in each generation.  We know all of our grandparents up to our 3rd grandparents, but by our 5th grandparents we only know half of them.  Overall, at the present time, we have identified only 94 of our 8190 total ancestors out to the 12th generation, a little over 1%, and none beyond that.

So who are we and where did we come from?  If you pass the cursor over each name, the basic information about that person will appear, such as when and where they were born.  By looking over the birthplaces we can get some general idea of what nationalities our ancestors were.  Bear in mind however, that these are only the KNOWN ancestors and may not represent the other 99% of our ancestors.

In the generation of our 6th grandparents, we begin to see some grandparents that were born Ireland in the mid 1700’s:  Ruth Ann Scott, Landon Newell, and William Bean III.

The Bean line is interesting.  Our earliest known Bean ancestor is William Bean II, born Ireland in 1727.   We do not know for sure who his father is at the present time.  William II married Naomi Bates, who was also born in Ireland, and they had three children there, including the oldest son, William Bean III, our ancestor.  Then William II migrated to SC where he died in Laurens Co. by 1784.  Laurens Co., SC is also where our Osborne ancestors lived, but there is no indication of contact until both lines meet in Caldwell Co., KY.  William III first married Celia Wyatt (born in NC),  in NC and they had at least the oldest son, Peter.   He later married Ruth Ann Scott (born in Ireland).  The exact date of the second marriage varies with sources and determines which children are from which wife.  I have chosen to show his marriage date with Ruth Ann Scott as about 1766 which makes Ruth Ann Scott the mother of our ancestor Thomas Bean,  born about 1784.   The family then moved on to western KY where William III, Ann, and Thomas died.  Our 4th grandmother, Jane Bean, daughter of Thomas, was born in KY, married Charles Erbey Osborne in KY, then they moved to Johnson Co., IL.

In the 7th generation we begin to see more Dutch ancestors where Aaron Vancleve is married to Rachael Schenck, and the Dutch line becomes more dominant as the marriages stay within that nationality.

In the generation of our 8th grandparents, there are other Irish grandparents: William Gibson,  Matthew Scott, and Ann Fulton.

By the 9th generation, we mostly know only of our Dutch ancestors because that line has been well documented by other geneologists.  We see the Dutch names of Vancleef, Vanderbilt, Vanderbeek, Schenck, Couwenhoven, and Monfort.  It is through the Vancleves and Vanderbilts that we are related to Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt.  My generation is a 3rd cousin, six times removed, of “Commodore” Vanderbilt, with Jan Aertsen Van Der Bilt, our 11th grandparent,  as our common ancestor.

One of our earliest known ancestors is Garrett Van Couwenhoven, our 12th grandparent, who was born in the Netherlands sometime in the late 1500’s.

Through the modern science of DNA testing we now know that our earliest known Osborne ancestor is Capt Thomas Osborne of Henrico Co., VA, who was born in England about 1580 (Capt Thomas is 16 generations back from our youngest generation).  He came to the VA about 1619 on the ship Bona Nova which sailed August 1619, with 120 persons.  During his life, he was justice of the peace and member of the House of Burgesses (1625-33). Capt Thomas was evidently successful for he could pay for importing twenty people to the Colony.  They thus granted him 1,000 acres in Henrico (now Chesterfield) County in 1634. This land, that Thomas called “Coxendale” and “Farthing,” was officially granted to him Feb 6, 1637.  Coxendale was the home of five generations of Thomas Osborne's before Edward, in the sixth generation, got restless and migrated to Laurens Co., SC.  His son, another Thomas, had several sons who all migrated to different parts of the country in the westward migration.  Our David was one of those sons and he migrated to Western KY and lived along the Cumberland River in the Livingston/Caldwell Co., area.  David is the father of Charles Erbey who migrated to Johnson Co., IL in 1850.

In general we can see how our ancestors migrated.  The Dutch came to New York, and migrated to NJ, then VA, then were involved with Daniel Boone in the settlement of KY, moved to western KY, and finally our 2nd grandmother, Sarah Ellen Vancleve, married Thomas Green Osborne in Johnson Co., IL.

The Beans migrated from Scotland and Ireland to VA, NC, and KY.  Other ancestors first appear in VA, NC, and SC and migrate west into KY and end up in western KY.  Primarily all of our known ancestors migrated west from VA, NC, and SC with the opening of the new frontier into KY about 1800 along the southern route, probably along the Cumberland River.

The Osborne's came from England to VA and first migrated south into the Carolina's and then westward into KY.

More recently, from David Osborn, who once owned and operated a ferry across the Cumberland River near Hurricane Creek a few miles above Barkley Dam, to our parents, a span of about 200 years, most of our ancestors have lived within about 25 miles of what is now Interstate highway I24 from Princeton, Caldwell Co., KY to Ozark, Johnson Co., IL, and back to Paducah, KY.

Geneology is a very active field and with more people using computers and more information being put on the web where it is more accessible, we are constantly adding to our knowledge of our ancestors.  The discovery of a new ancestor may link to a new chain of known ancestors adding many new ancestors, like finding a key element in a puzzle leads to finding more pieces.  So we continue to try to identify all those unknown ancestors in the chart.