Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Morning!

Hello! My name is Douglas Edward Noblehorse.

When it comes to genealogy, I've taken the road heavily traveled - I didn't consider genealogy a productive pursuit until after my father, Earnest Robert Payne, passed away in December 2004. My biological mother, Virginia Mae Gulick, had passed away in March 2008, while my stepmother, Jennie Lee Wilson, passed away in November 1994.

In my defense (such as it is) I had always been told and believed that my mother Virginia had been adopted as a child. Also, my father Earnest had never talked much about his early years - he was of Native American descent, being half Shawnee and half Cherokee (or so I believed for most of my life); I mistakenly thought that not much family history on his side could be traced beyond my grandparents.

Family assumptions. You grow up being told certain things about your family and these assumptions carry forward unchallenged into your adult life. So it was for me. I had no reason to think otherwise.

I believe it was my oldest daughter Damara Payne Neuenschwander (for reasons that escape me now) that finally secured a copy of my mother Virginia's birth certificate from the State of Washington - and it clearly showed that adoption was not involved. So one assumption was eliminated; however, the genealogical bug hadn't hit just yet.

I grew up having quite the blended family - both my mother Virginia and my father Earnest were married multiple times during their lives (at last count 10 for my father!) I can count 14 siblings, alive and dead, half and step; however, I have no full siblings. Keeping track of who was who was easy for me - it seemed like a natural thing to me, as all things seem normal and natural when you're growing up.

So it never occurred to me that my children were a bit confused as to which of my siblings belonged to which set of parents, at least until my youngest daughter Aleena Noblehorse mentioned that she had no idea who was who. So, thinking that this was an easily remedied problem, I set about to find a computer program that would help me diagram my immediate family tree so that my children could understand my genealogical history - at least as far back as my parents.

I had no clue what awaited me - surprises, twists, turns, brick walls, family stories verified - but most of all, the skeletons in the closet. Along the way my understanding of myself, my parents and my family history has completely changed. Despite having an already large and unwieldly blended family structure I found (or in some cases they found me!) complete branches of my family completely unknown to me! And I'm talking aunts, uncles and first cousins, not 14th cousins, 38 times removed. Some of these family members literally lived down the street from me - not in the town where I grew up nor in the town where they grew up, but in the city I've adopted as an adult home town (as did they), Phoenix, Arizona.

This blog will detail the long and winding genealogical road I've traveled, the surprising stories I've uncovered, and the brick walls I've run headlong into. As a reader of this blog you may see elements of your own genealogical journeys in my story - I'm hoping you can identify with the delights and commiserate with the frustrations.



  1. Hi Douglas, welcome to the geneablogging community. It sounds like you won't be running out of material, huh? Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Sorry, forgot to applaud your very apropos "forest" image! I'm lovin' it!

  3. Thanks for the welcome and the kudos.

    And no, I shouldn't run out of material - even if it's just idle speculation about the course of an ancestor's life - based on available facts...

  4. Welcome
    Fascinating beginning. You held me spell bound as I read your first blog here.
    Keep it up.
    thanks for sharing.

  5. Welcome Douglas to the wonderful world of the geneabloggers! I look forward to reading more of your research journey.