Friday, September 4, 2020

The Ancestral Origins of the Kirk Family

I know we're supposed to love, value, and appreciate all of our forebearers equally, but let's be honest: genealogists have favorite ancestors, right? 

You know, the ancestor who you'd stay up into the wee hours researching even if it was just to turn up some paltry clue (Wahoo! He paid personal property taxes in 1823!). 

My favorite ancestor to research is my fifth great-grandfather Thomas Kirk.  

Once an impenetrable brick wall on my direct paternal line, I've learned that Thomas was likely born in Berkeley County, Virginia in 1778, migrated to Ohio shortly after it received statehood, and made a decent living as a farmer in Licking County until he was "accidentally killed" on December 3, 1846.

Genetic and paper trail genealogy now suggest that his Licking County neighbor, Mary (Kirk) Geiger, was his sister. Geiger family history firmly identifies her parents as Joseph and Sarah Kirk of Berkeley County. Accordingly, Joseph was likely Thomas' father, too.

Few records survive for Joseph Kirk. The earliest known record dates to April 9, 1773, when he leased a 100-acre farm in Berkeley County. He presumably raised a family in the area while subsisting off the land until his death in about 1784.

Where did Joseph Kirk come from? Was he my immigrant ancestor - the first Kirk in the American Colonies? What were the Kirks' ancestral origins?

I've spent a considerable amount of time meditating on these questions, sifting through the paper trail and boning up on genetic genealogy to surface answers. 

I recently made a film to benchmark my present understanding of the Kirks' ancestral origins and my next research steps. The purpose was to help my Kirk cousins understand the research to-date in a more compelling way. 

 

20 comments:

  1. Great film - I really enjoyed it. The info was clear, you spoke clearly and slowly enough and the captions are super. One typo - about 2:55 is mail line instead of male line.

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    1. Thank you, Linda, and thank you, too, for flagging that edit. Updated!

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  2. Great job! Your films are always an inspiration

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  3. That was a very good video. You can tell you've done a lot of research and your presentation of that information was great. Also loved the illustrations and pictures! Well done Michael.

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    1. Thanks, Aunt Sue! It's a passion (borderline obsession) project. :)

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  4. Excellent Michael! & best of luck finding someone in Tipperary willing to take the test for you.

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    1. Dogged persistence will eventually turn up a willing candidate sooner or later...I hope!

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  5. Good work, Michael! Very clear, I am pretty sure your family will appreciate. :)

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  6. Wishing you more than a little luck of the Irish, Michael. You've done an excellent job on the research and film.

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  7. That was wonderful, Michael! It took me a bit to have time to watch and listen, but it was worth the wait. So I assume you were born Kirk? And keep us posted on your search for an Irish Quirke living today.

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    1. Thank you, Amy. Glad you enjoyed it.

      I wasn't, but my grandfather was and then there was a divorce, a remarriage, and an adoption by a step-father that changed the surname (a complicated chain of events just to keep me on my toes). Sometimes I think about taking Kirk as my surname...

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  8. That would be pretty cool, given your passion for the Kirk family history. But I am sure it is complicated as these things always are.

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  9. Excellent presententation Michael and research! I wish you luck in your quest for the Quirk/Kirk cousin who is who will take a DNA test. As I watched your video, my husband overheard the place names in Southern Ireland and recognized them from the Peter Tremayne book series, "Sister Fidelma."

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    1. Thank you, Kendra, I appreciate it! I'm not familiar with th Sister Fidelma books, but I plan to look into them. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. An informative family video and great inspiration and example for all of us. I learned about y patrilineal lines. Thank you, Darlene

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    1. I also find that sharing my research (especially through creative means like film) help the findings stick in my brain better.

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