What I Started With
It was 1970. I was 12 years old, my two brothers were 9 and 4. Up until that point, about all I knew about my family history was that Mom was adopted (she said she was a Martian) and Daddy had just reluctantly admitted that his grandfather was French Canadian -- with a "Spaniard in the wood pile" (his words). It was a change from Daddy's previous story about his family being Italian.
1970 was also the year the movie Little Big Man came out. Mom took me and my brother Don to see it. If you have, or had, a 12 year old, you know how they can go on about something, and my Something was the man who had portrayed Old Lodgeskins, Chief Dan George; he had totally blown me away -- like he had been the only Real Person among all the actors.
Mid-rave, Daddy looked up at me from his newspaper and said, REAL nonchalant like, "Dan George . . . ? He's your great great uncle, a couple times removed," and calmly went back to his paper, as though he'd just commented upon the moistness of Seattle's weather.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, my Something instantly became family history.
Part One : According to Daddy
His paternal grandmother was Grandma McFARLAND, and he thought that her first name was Emma. Through her side of the family, I was related to the surnames BOYD, GEORGE, VON HORLIK, and HOUSTON.
His paternal grandfather, Louis Seymour PEPPAN, was from Squamish, British Columbia. After a few days thought, Daddy added in that nonchalant way of his that maybe Louis Seymour might have been part Squamish Indian -- which was why Louis Seymour was French-Canadian.
Louis Seymour PEPPAN and "Gramma McFARLAND" eloped on horseback, and then got themselves a homestead at Cattle Point on Washington State's San Juan Island, which they later traded for a house and lot in Ballard, Washington.
We were "shirt-tail relations" of was THE Sam HOUSTON, who'd had, as a young man, an enterprising business stealing and selling horses and cattle between Canada and Mexico.
We had other HOUSTON kin who had been involved in an ax fight in a logging camp back a generation or two; one lost, one won . . . but then got hanged. When asked when this took place, he changed the subject.
His father, Don "Big Peppy" PEPPAN had made leather conveyor belts for Weyerhaeuser, worked for Foss Tug of Seattle, and had been in the 1933 version of the movie Tugboat Annie as Wallace Berry's body double; Grampa Don had also been a bootlegger and a motorcycle racer.
When I had exhausted Daddy's family knowledge, he took me to see his mother's brother, George Eldon STUCKEY; that one day will live forever as a golden moment in my memory.
Among the many things he was, including a merchant seaman, Great Uncle George was wonderful story teller and; he passed away peacefully, early in the morning on April 1, 1999.
He will be sorely missed.
Part Two : According to Great Uncle George
I was related to a Cherokee War Chief by name of Robert HILDEBRAND who refused to sign the Treaty Of Okmulgee, quit his tribe, and went on to be a renegade in THE Dodge City during its heyday
Robert's daughter, "Rose", whom he took with him when he quit The Tribe, became a "famous beauty of the Old West"
I had an "Uncle Freddie", who had been a bootlegger who got shot down by G-men whilst bringing in a full load of whiskey from Canada, resulting in a fiery crash and Freddie's death. "Wasn't enough left of Freddie OR his Marchetti to bury in a matchbox," he said.
Great Uncle George gave me other surnames. Besides the HILDEBRAND (which he didn't know how to spell; the spelling hereafter is my best guess) and the STUCKEY, there were also SCHAFFERs and MILLERs.
Needless to say, my curiosity had been piqued.
The Search Begins
Well, Ladles and Jellyspoons, I looked.
At the Seattle Public Library, I found my great grandparents Seymour and Emma in the Federal Census for Seattle, Washington, taken in the year 1900, and dutifully copied down the information presented therein:
Seymour had been born in "Canada, E." in June of 1849, and both his parents were Canadian born
Grandma McFarland became Emma Sarah, born May 1851, in Canada, E., her mother was born in Canada, her father in England
Many years later, with not much more information, I received a letter from a cousin, Klara VAN HORLICK (now, unfortunately, deceased) who was working on the HOUSTON side of the family. It contained Emma's maiden name -- HOUSTON -- and a copy of the certificate of death for Emma's older brother, Fred. According to that certificate:
Fred was born in Moodyville, British Columbia.
Fred's father was Alfred John HOUSTON, who had been born in Scotland.
Fred's mother was -- and I quote -- "Sophie GIORDAN (surname not clearly written)", who was born in Moodyville, British Columbia.
For several years, I looked at that "(surname not clearly written)" and wondered if it was possible that "GIORDAN" was actually "GEORGE". If you've seen some of those old handwritten records, you know how tough they can be to read. So, I wrote a letter to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. I got a very nice letter back, but because I didn't have the correct information, the findings were inconclusive.
Records from the cemetery where Emma is buried (Evergreen/Washelli, Seattle, Washington) yielded a different birth year than was on the census: 1864. A chance comment on the FIDOnet Writing echo resulted in my meeting one of Chief Dan George's many nieces (thank you, Laurie Campbell, for facilitating that meeting).
The niece took a look at my family photographs, listened to my family stories, and then made three phone calls from a friend's house on the Beecher Bay Reserve on Vancouver Island. After the last phone call, she turned to me and said, "Sophie was a George. She was either sister or cousin to Dan George's father. Sarah is a family name."
I walked on air for days.
After recovering from this wondrous discovery, I took my family history out of its assorted grocery bags and shoe boxes and with the help of a computer genealogy program started to organize what I had. For years I'd been picking at family research, but finding this piece of information got me going again.
When my father died 4 November 1997, I decided to put together this page in hopes of perhaps filling some of the holes in my research.
And, because it was Daddy who piqued my interest in my family history, because it was Daddy who took me to see his uncle --and because Daddy helped make ME possible-- I would like to dedicate this site to him, Jack Lewis "Little Peppy" Peppan.
This is for you, Daddy.
Daddy 3 Nov 1997
What you will find on this website is what I have discovered since late 1997. It's been quite a ride. For those of you who have helped, thank you. Though I can never pay you back, I shall endeavour to Pass It Along, helping those who are where I have been.
Lessons learned along the way:
1.) It is never as easy as it looks -- most especially if you have ancestors who where in North America prior to 1492 -- Aboriginal, First Nations, Native American ancestry, you pick the term you are most comfortable with, and be prepared for real challenge.
2.) Write down what information you got from whom, and when (month day year). This includes stories your immediate family can not agree on; write down all variations.
3.) Never EVER think you'll remember what the letters "FtBwM" or "p-t-b-j" mean. Take the time to write out "Ferry to Bremerton with Mother" and "Phil, Toots, Buddy, and Jackie".
If you a member of Dan George's family:
Though stating that I am related to Dan is not a proper thing to do without more proof than just the stories my father told me, but those stories are all I have to work with. I respectfully request assistance in determining the correct identity of my paternal grandfather's maternal grandmother, recognizing that there may be no record of Sophie, and thus no definitive answer. Should any of you know about a visit Dan made to a woman named Shirley Caillier in Tacoma Washington, some years ago (Len . . . you know anything about this?); Shirley is my father's sister, and I would like to learn more about that visit -- mostly: if we aren't related, why did he visit her? How did he know of her and where she lived so he could visit?
If you are a member of a British Columbian First Nations George family, related OR unrelated to the late Chief Dan George:
If you had a relative named Sophia Giordan, who lived on Burrard's Inlet in the 1860s, and Sophie entered into what appears to have been a country marriage with a Scottish blacksmith, having three children with him -- Fred A., Emma Sarah, and William, please drop me some email. If Sophie was aunt to another Dan GEORGE, in another GEORGE family, I really do want to know, so that I might direct my questions to the proper family. I don't want to be right, I want to be correct.
Copalis Beach, Washington, USA 1929 Emma Sarah Houston
(May 1864-1 April 1878)
Mrs. Simeon Peppin/Mrs. Seymour Peppan
(1 April 1878-circa 1907)
Mrs. Frank McFarland
(1907-29 April 1930)
4 Nov 1925 - 29 April 1930
From left to right in their Gramma's lap:
Donald William "Bud" Peppan (1927-1999)
Jack Lewis "Peppy" Peppan (1928-1997)
Shirely Rose "Toots" Peppan (1925-1984)
If you've been here before:
If you're a first time visitor:
Welcome. Family research is an ongoing process. For example:
This web site started as a single long page --the above information, in fact-- and has now become many. Some of the family stories I grew up on have proved true, while others have not, but, so far, every story I have heard from family members have contained at least one kernel of the truth. You just don't know, so collect those stories and keep track of who tells which one; family stories can contain valuable clues. Save them all, even the fabrications.
Some folks who have found ancestors among the Five Civilized Tribes of the south-eastern United States have family stories from the time of The Removal of Black Dutch, Black Scotch, and/or Black Irish ancestors to explain their dark coloring ("Cherokee . . . ? No, not me, I'm Black Dutch.") However, concealing one's heritage was and is not limited to the Aboriginal Peoples of North America. There are as many reasons for concealing one's heritage as there are people who felt the need to conceal their heritage.
If you have Irish ancestors, you'll understand this.
If you're having trouble with one particular branch of your family tree, check as many alternate spellings of that particular last name as you can think of -- and then ask a creative friend to think up some more. Have fun saying it in as many different accents as you can muster, get hokey, get corny -- be wildly politically incorrect -- then figure out how these pronunciations might be spelled. Why? The farther back you go, the fewer the literate people. There were many places where the most literate man in town was the circuit priest. Some times he was the only literate man around.
When searching for my PEPPAN great grandparents' Canadian certificate of marriage, the only alternate spelling I checked was PEPIN; the certificate of marriage is filed under the PEPPIN spelling. It's also spelled PAPIN, PEPPEN, PEPING, PEPPA, CHANCE, LACHANCE . . .
If you have family roots in New France/Early Québec, you'll understand the above. If you do and you don't, you will. La Nouvelle France : 20,000 personnes - 20 prénoms (New France: 20,000 people - 20 first names).
This first page contains the information I started with. What follows is what I've found since -- some of which comes from relatives who hadn't seen me since before I was toilet trained. I collected the stories they told me. Some of these relatives I have unintentionally upset in the process, I've unintentionally disconcerted some, and made a couple angry enough they won't speak to me -- again unintentionally.
Western Society likes to Pretty Up the ugly bits of Real History. It's not a Written Rule, it just happens. If you have ancestors of an ethnic and/or religious background that, at some point in recent history, was Not Popular, you'll know them by the odd blank spots in your family history, or the ancestors with no known parents.
If you're here because you're hoping to find missing pieces of your own family puzzle and are unsuccessful, tell me about who you're looking for. Or better yet, sign my guest book (once I find a new one) and maybe your family will find you; it's happened before, it can happen again..
About the Query Pages:
In 1999, I got this really cool idea: I wanted to post all the queries I got in e-mail from other family researchers who were looking for connections but didn't tie into my family lines. I contacted some of them and asked how they felt about this. The response was quite positive, so I started with Pepin and its assorted spelling variations, and was working on Stuckey when one of my hard drives crashed.
So, if I contacted you about posting a piece of email you sent me and you haven't heard back from me in a while, this is why. Send your info again, with the subject line: QUERY PAGES.
Another Infernal Expensive Education Experience ("AIEEE"for short):
Back up AND make hard copy of ALL the important stuff on your computer. The odds of you remembering which of your three 3rd great grand aunt Marys was which will sharply decrease when the hard drive that has never crashed crashes.
If you see something that looks like it might be a typo, or if you read something you KNOW isn't right, regardless of what it is:
Don't be shy, tell me. If it's genealogical information, I most definitely want to know. Many of the major discoveries in my research have been through folks saying, "Um . . . that isn't right, this is how that happened." Even if it directly contradicts my family stories, I'd much rather have the truth.
On misspelled words: even the best spell checker can't catch missing words, or the words I typed, meaning another word entirely. My motto is:
"Proof read carefully to make sure you nothing out."
"Dew knot putt awl yore trussed in spill chuckers."
If it's how something looks on your computer, please include what version of which browser you're using; I did a preliminary check with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Netscape 7.2 but I know they aren't the only two web browsers out there (and I'm trying REAL hard to remember that many of you still have dial-up internet access.).
Whatever it is, send me email -- stick it on a leopard slug and point it my direction -- whatever works best for you, but do let me know. This web site was made possible by the help of many people.
If you've sent me e-mail and I haven't answered
Most important: I'm NOT ignoring you. Really. One of the Family Legacies is Clinical Depression and I am a most unenthusiastic recipient thereof. Had I been asked I would have much preferred Lands and Titles. If you e-mail me and I don't respond after a reasonable amount of time please PLEASE e-mail me a gentle nudge.
Thanks, in advance.
GENERAL GENEALOGY RELATED LINKS
THE Worst Virus of All is e-mailing a warning about a bogus virus to everyone in your address book and encouraging them to do the same.
Snopes has the low down on all the hoaxes making the e-mail rounds on their Urban Legends Reference Pages.
Check with Snopes before passing those hoaxes and stories along to half the Known World.
And help keep our Internet Clean
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This page updated 22 November 2004
The above page is the Shadowcat's very first web page, created originally in November and December of 1997; the orginal URL was http://members.tripod.com/LisaPeppan/index.html and would never have happened were it not for the help of two dear --and patient-- friends, and my youngest brother: David W. Cibulka, Brett C. Jones, and James H. Peppan
Brett, Dave, and Jim -- Thank you.