Who were Elizabeth Rogers’ parents?

I left you with quite a dangler in my last post back in April. I didn’t mean to keep you on the edge of your seat for so long awaiting an answer. But you see, my Aunt M’s chromosome map is coming together quite nicely now, and I’m finding many new leads to follow for our missing paternal ancestor. I’m sure you understand.


When I’m not doing genealogy you might find me knitting or taking photos.

As a quick review, as I was dusting off the mess I’d made of my 3rd great-grandfather Thomas John Baber‘s parents, I started to question whether the parents of his wife Elizabeth Rogers were really Dauswell Rogers and Phoebe Smith. As I took a closer look, it didn’t add up because… geography. And more.

Dauswell was born in Virginia in 1789 and lived in Tennessee between 1810 until at least 1850. He died in Georgia in 1866. Phoebe was born in Tennessee in 1793, lived in Tennessee all her life and died in Tennessee in 1830. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1811 in Tennessee and died in Tennessee. Whoa! That’s a lot of Tennessee.

Our Elizabeth Rogers who married Thomas John Baber was born in 1811, but she was born in Kentucky! Oh snap! How did Dauswell and Phoebe have a child in Kentucky in the vicinity of Lexington, when they were living in Tennessee in the vicinity of Chattanooga?

They didn’t. Their Elizabeth is not our Elizabeth. Their Elizabeth married Lindsey Brown with whom she had five children. He died in 1850 in Tennessee, and she died in 1880 in Tennessee.

Our Elizabeth, who was born in Kentucky, married Thomas John Baber in 1828 in Kentucky. In 1850 they lived in Scott Township, Montgomery County, Indiana. He died in Iowa in 1856. She died in Iowa after 1860. They had six children.

So many words; so many details! A simple comparison pinpoints what separates the two Elizabeths:

Elizabeth Rogers Daughter of Burgess and Sophia Rogers Daughter of Dauswell and Phoebe Rogers
Born 1811 Kentucky 1811 Tennessee
Parents born in Kentucky Virginia and Tennessee
Lived in Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa Tennessee
Married Thomas John Baber Lindsey Brown
Died After 1860 in Iowa 1880 in Tennessee
Mother of my ancestor Susan Elizabeth Baber? Yes! No!

This was painful. You cannot imagine the number of generations of Doswell, Dauswell, and Dowell Rogerses who are connected to Addenston, Addunston, and Addenstone Rogerses. Working out Dauswell’s ancestral line was a nightmare that consumed many of my research hours.

But when it doesn’t add up, you have to move on. And I did get lucky. I found the answer in Elizabeth’s memorial on findagrave.com. Her parents were Burgess Rogers and Sophia Miller. Backing up this information with verifiable records, I found a much more believable scenario to fit the facts of Elizabeth’s life.

Burgess was born in Culpeper Virginia in 1771. By 1800 he was living in Kentucky. He had moved to Indiana by 1840. Sophia was born in 1771 in Pennsylvania and died in Indiana in 1846. Her father, a German immigrant, arrived in Philadelphia in 1748 and served as a private from Culpeper, Virginia in the Revolutionary War.

In the end, my Elizabeth and the other Elizabeth were distant cousins. But please don’t ask me to figure out the relationship. Their most recent common ancestors were John Fitz Roger and Lucy Iverson from England and Scotland in the early 1600s.

In hindsight, besides the geographic discrepancies, I found another overlooked clue that might have helped me. Thomas and Elizabeth named their first son Burgess. In the tradition of the Dauswell Rogerses family names, Burgess is missing. But the name is unique enough that it should have caught my eye as a possible family name. Yes, no doubt young Burgess was named after grampa Burgess Rogers.

Using Your Senses along with the Census


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US Census information in general provides basic data points useful for tracing an ancestor, but the 1850 census is particularly beloved in genealogy land. Before 1850, the head of the household was the only name recorded in the census. The other household members were counted and reported as total numbers of males and females in different categories, such as Free White Persons, Slaves, and Free Colored Persons [Figure 1].

In 1850, the veil is pulled back to reveal more names, including wives, children, laborers, and boarders. Slaves, however, were moved to separate Slave Schedules and, sadly, remained nameless [Figure 2].

Using the 1840 and 1850 censuses as my primary sources, I traced my 3rd great-grandfather Thomas John Baber. Many researchers, myself included, had mistaken him for another person with a similar name—Thomas G Baber, but the census will prove their separateness and help reveal their relationship to each other.

Thomas John in the 1840 census

We find Thomas Baber in the 1840 census in Scott, Montgomery County, Indiana with the number of people in his household tallied as follows:


Figure 1 Thomas Baber in the 1840 US Census

Trying to identify the household members if they aren’t listed in the census is a chore on its own. If you succeed at that, it takes even more effort to see if the household members you’ve found line up with the categories tallied in the census.

Thomas John in the 1850 US census

See the difference in information available for Thomas John just ten years later in the 1850 census:

Thomas Baber in 1850 census

Figure 2 Thomas Baber in the 1850 US Census

Connecting Thomas John in the 1840 and the 1850 censuses

With the information about Thomas John from the 1850 census, I could analyze the 1840 census to see if the two censuses make sense together. Note that between 1840 and 1850 the Baber household had a net loss of one daughter, Emily, due to marriage and net gain of one son, William, born in 1843.

For the analysis, I created a table in which the first two columns contain the tallies from the 1840 census. In the third column, I recorded each person who would have been living in the Baber household in 1840, placing each one in the appropriate category. I was relieved to find that I had accounted for everyone and had the right number of people in each category.

1840 US Census

Household members in each category

Name Thomas Baber
Home in 1840 (City, County, State) Scott, Montgomery, Indiana
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5 1 John T
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9 1 Burgess
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39 1 Thomas John (father)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5 1 Susan Elizabeth
Free White Persons – Females –5 thru 9 1 Sophia Ann
Free White Persons – Females –10 thru 14 1 Emily
Free White Persons – Females –20 thru 29 1 Elizabeth (mother)
Persons Employed in Agriculture 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write 1
Free White Persons Under 20 5
Free White Persons 20 thru 49 2
Total Free White Persons 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves 7

Feeling sure about my Thomas

When I found my Thomas John in the 1850 census, I felt confident I had the right guy for several reasons.

  • Thomas John was born in Kentucky in 1810 (1806 according to his grave marker).
  • He lived in Montgomery County, Indiana in 1850, a plausible migration route for a man who died in Polk County, Iowa six years later. (Thomas G lived in western Missouri in 1850.)
  • He lived with his wife Elizabeth (Rogers) whom he had married in Clark County, Kentucky in 1828.
  • The five children living with Thomas John and Elizabeth included Susan Elizabeth Baber—my 2nd great-grandmother!!

What about Thomas G Baber, then?

Thomas G is more elusive than Thomas John, but he is in the 1850 census and other records.

  • Thomas G was born in Kentucky in 1819.
  • He lived in Platte County, Missouri in 1850.
  • In 1850 he lived with Isham Baber, his father, who had purchased property in Clinton County, Missouri as early as 1820. (Platte and Clinton counties share a small border in the northeast corner of Platte and SW corner of Clinton.)
  • His mother Elizabeth Gordon was not in the census, although an Elizabeth in the correct age range is in the 1860 census with Isham
  • A 7-year old girl named Margaretta (Marietta?) was listed in the household. I later verified that she was Thomas G’s daughter. Further, his wife was not listed because his marriage to Faith Ann Martin ended in divorce when she abandoned the family around 1848.

Making connections

Clearly, I had followed the wrong census when I added Thomas John to my tree as the son of Isham. But if not Isham, who was Thomas John’s father?

The sum of my research from the census and other sources revealed that even though Thomas John and Thomas G were different people, they were related. They were 1st cousins once removed! They both descended from Thomas W Baber (1720-1778) and Elizabeth Lawson (1719-1778) as thus:

Thomas John Baber Ancestry Match blog minimal with dates

Filling in their backgrounds, Thomas W Baber and Elizabeth Lawson were born in Old Rappahannock/Richmond County, Virginia and moved to Fluvanna County, Virginia sometime after 1740. Four of their sons—Thomas, Stanley, Obadiah, and John moved around 1786 to a part of Virginia that later became the state of Kentucky.

  • My 4th great-grandfather, the father of Thomas John, was Stanley Baber!
  • Obadiah had a son Isham who was the father of Thomas G Baber.
  • Stanley and Obadiah both died in Kentucky.

Details, details

I have saved many records in my family tree for anyone with interest in all the details, but my focus here was primarily about using the census to make the most of your valuable research time. It’s also fine to take advantage of research others are willing to share, but it pays to verify source information before you charge off adding people to your tree who may or may not belong there.


My mother had a favorite saying about politicians. You’ve probably heard it before: One guy lies and another swears to it. It can work that way in genealogy, but not usually with malicious intent. Doing genealogy is a process of learning that continues as long as you continue to work at it. Correcting my old mistakes is now part of my process.

I also want to mention the wonderful Baber Family Tree website for its detailed descendant lists of so many Babers and for the additional documents and details they provide.

What’s next?

Now, as if it wasn’t bad enough to have had been so wrong about Thomas John, I could hardly believe it when I realized I had also gotten his wife, Elizabeth Rogers, my 3rd great-grandmother, quite wrong as well. If you take another peek at the 1850 census for Thomas, you will find a son named Burgess. He will be helpful when I talk about Elizabeth in my next post.


These aren’t the Babers you’re looking for


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How many Babers have you met in your life? I can’t think of a single one. Very odd considering that Babers were among the earliest settlers of this country. Their progeny thrived and migrated with so many others from Kentucky and Virginia to the fertile farm lands of the Midwest. As it turns out, the farms surrounding Des Moines, Iowa where I grew up abounded with Babers.

And so it came as a surprise that my 2nd great-grandmother was a Baber. Susan Elizabeth Baber was my dad’s mother’s mother’s mother.


Susan was born in Indiana in 1840. She married David Morgan Ballard in Indiana in October of 1857, and by 1860 they had already relocated to Marion County, Iowa. They weren’t the only ones. The decade ending in 1860 was a time of explosive growth in Iowa’s population averaging an increase of 48,000 immigrants per year[1].

The paper trail for Susan goes back as far as my 5th great–grandparents, Thomas W Baber and Elizabeth Lawson from Old Rappahannock County in Virginia. But where did they come from?

Many researchers believed that the progenitor of all the colonial Babers was Robert Baber[2], familiarly known as “Robert the Immigrant.” Robert was 28 years old in 1679 when he arrived in Virginia from Somerset, England. Robert’s line has been traced to the Babers of Chew Magna[3], a village in Somerset, England, where Sir Edward Baber, Robert’s great grandfather, is entombed in St. Andrew’s Churchyard[4].

Many of the trees on Ancestry.com connect their colonial Babers to Robert the Immigrant. Until very recently, mine did as well. Recent DNA testing, however, has proven it is not true.

One type of DNA test identifies the direct male ancestral line by analyzing just the Y chromosome[5]. Only males have the Y chromosome. It’s what makes them males. The convenient thing about the Y chromosome is that it doesn’t often mutate so it’s reliable for many generations.

Thanks to the male Baber descendants who were tested, we now know the DNA markers that identify descendants of Robert the immigrant and know that they tie those descendants to the Chew Magna Babers. We also know that other Babers who were tested, including the Babers in my line, do not match Robert. Their origin is still unknown.

I wasn’t all that shocked that Robert was not the Baber I was looking for. I’ve created a couple other lineages based on other trees on Ancestry.com that did not hold up to scrutiny, either. At least I had not carried this line back to the Middle Ages like I have others. Oh, the agony of delete.

But it serves as a good reminder to check the Y DNA tests for ancestors other than your direct paternal line. If it’s your lucky day, you’ll get an answer that will either extend your line or keep you from wasting time on it.

The bigger surprise came when a strange clue added to a nagging doubt about Susan’s parents, my 3rd great grandparents, Thomas John Baber and Elizabeth Rogers. Now it looks as if their paper trails lead in different directions than the ones that I, and the majority of Ancestry trees, had given them. Now I’ve sorted it out, and I will write about that next.


[2] Descendants of John Baber, England

[3] Edward Baber’s London Home. 1611

[4] Sir Edward Baber

[5] Richard Hill’s Guide to DNA Testing (p 15)

Trust me


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I know the competition for your attention is fierce. How many Facebook notifications came in even as you read this sentence? Should you keep reading or return to the familiar world of cat videos and political memes? To get you to hang with me, I need to convince you that I have some amount of cred.

First off, I am not a professional genealogist. I am an amateur although a serious one. Since my early days of freely copying ancestors from other trees, I’ve learned the value of starting from a well-documented base and working back from it. I now understand the relative importance that different types of evidence provide. And painfully, I know that using DNA to find your ancestors is not usually the easy breezy task that Ancestry.com makes it appear in its commercials.



Paper trails are absolutely wonderful, but few trees are perfectly documented generation-by-generation back to antiquity. And even then, the perfect paper trail may not reflect the actual genetic trail. For just about forever now humans have been ineptly practicing monogamy and celibacy before marriage. Those human activities can result in non-paternity events (NPEs). Some of these NPEs are known ahead of time, but others come as surprises.

Genetic testing has made NPEs more apparent while providing tools for resolving them. For me, the fun starts here. Some tools are quite sophisticated. One of the most basic, known as fishing, is about baiting your tree to catch ancestors in your DNA matches net. Sometimes the right fish takes the bait, but beware the scrod when you were casting for cod.

While this preliminary talk may sound dull and boring, it will become more lively in following topics as the research yields surprises, validates some ancestors, but releases impostors back to await the lure of another researcher’s hook.

My general disclaimer is that I am as accurate as I can be at any moment given the amount of information available and the knowledge I have to analyze it. I reserve the right to modify my conclusions due to changes in either of those variables.

So that’s my pitch for your attention. If it worked, please be sure to click the Follow button to be notified of updates to My Blooming Family Tree.

Are you related to…?


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Being asked, “Are you related to that guy?” so often in my childhood surely sparked my initial interest in genealogy. But answering the most logical follow-up question has been even more challenging: If I’m not related through him, then who were my paternal ancestors?

My dad’s family line always carried an air of mystery and uncertainty about our surname. There were the rumors and theories, the various versions of family lore discussed within the extended family about “the problem” with my dad’s lineage. The storyline as I remember it went like this: At some unspecified previous generation, specifically in Alsace-Lorraine, a paternal ancestor had been adopted. At which point, we would have had a switch of surnames.

As it turns out, the possible break in our family line hit a lot closer to home. My great grandfather James Ami was born in Iowa on April 2, 1855. His mother, Sarah Berry, was single and remained single for four more years. In 1859 she married the man who provided a surname for James and his prolific progeny, including me. But is that all he contributed?


My grandma Hazel, dad Wendell, grandpa Dale, great grandma Elizabeth, Lelia, and great grandpa James Ami Booth

Descendants of James Ami are divided about whether Benjamin Franklin Booth (BF) was actually James’ father. Some insist that BF visited his brother who had relocated to Iowa, met Sarah while there, and that thing that makes babies happened between them. Other’s are equally convinced that BF was not James’ father, and they have their reasons, too. My family group is among the latter.

With the information and tools available last century, that was it. We had a short paper trail that didn’t yield an indisputable answer, so we accepted that we would never know how far back our surname was valid.

As to answering the are-you-related-to question, during my school years I learned that famous, even infamous, people have biographies. I found the answer. But back in the 1960s, when questions of legitimacy were only whispered about, my bold and honest response to that question would often produce a shocked look on the face of my school-aged inquisitors: “No, I am not related to him unless it was illegitimately because he was never married and had no known children.” No apologies.

Thus, I could finally deny any link to the assassin who took the life of President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater on April 15, 1865. The assassin’s name is well known; I need not mention it.

The answer to the second question still remains elusive despite much research and countless hours analyzing and comparing DNA tests. I continue to search, and I hope that DNA tests will eventually provide the unequivocal truth. Whether it is someone on the current suspect list, including Sarah’s husband BF, or someone as yet unknown, I remain open. I just want to know the truth if it is possible to find it.

About My Blooming Family Tree

Who wouldn’t want their family tree to be tall and strong, symmetrically branched, and loaded with the perfect blossoms of ancestors who are fully documented and verified with DNA certificates? You could liltingly refer to my blooming family tree and follow it with a satisfied sigh.

Solitary Slipper Orchid

More likely, I’m afraid, as is frequent in my case, the phrase would borrow the old-fashioned British usage, as in, my BLOOMING family tree!! ARGH!

I started My Blooming Family Tree to write about my successes and failures at finding my ancestors and tracing some elusive lineages. It includes stories about the most basic efforts to create paper trails as well as those that connect ancestors through genetic testing.

What I write may interest no one other than my family, and maybe not even them. Perhaps I’m simply writing an online genealogical diary to myself. It would be lovely, however, if my experiences turn out to be interesting, inspiring, and helpful to others who are making their own ways to their ancestors.

With that said, your feedback is welcome.