I am Dan Hancock. My objective is to weave a colorful tapestry of people, events, and places of the past — and thereby document my ancestry and family history. This is not a simple listing of black and white statistics. Instead, I am combining hundreds of pages of historical narratives and private biographical text, hundreds of old family photographs, with thousands of well-researched facts. These are being interconnected together using the power of the Internet, hyperlinks, and your browser — hopefully to provide you with an interesting and interactive set of windows into the past. This is my time machine of memories, a chronicling of the adventures of my family, and my way of building a living legacy for them.
DNA analysis determined that my Hancock line of male ancestors migrated across continental Europe thousands of years ago — and settled in Devon, England, many centuries ago. DNA analysis also determined that my female ancestors spread from the Near East to Europe thousands of years ago. In more recent times, my eight great-grandparents carried the surnames Hancock, Bird, Coleman, Ellison, Fisher, McFarren, Samuels, and Williams. Here is the unique story of their migration from Europe to Canada and the eastern United States, and then West across the great plains as my ancestors sought a better life in California and the Napa Valley.
My great-grandfather Frank Hancock
was born in Dorset, England, in 1869. His parents
(Thomas Hancock and
Mary Anne Howells)
soon brought him and his brothers to Ontario, Canada. There he married
Mary Ellen (Ella) Fisher in 1891.
Thomas Hancock was an itinerant preacher, a Bible scholar, and the author of a book on
Deaths and dire times in Ontario caused most of the Hancock family to move to California early
in the 1900s. Going back further:
Great-grandfather George Washington Samuels was born in the Napa Valley in 1862. His parents came from Alabama. George married Lucy Coleman, a native of Nebraska, in Napa in 1883. Her parents were Samuel Louis Coleman of Maryland and Mary Powers of Ohio.
My great-grandfather Theodore Williams
came from a line of Pennsylvania ministers.
His paternal grandfather, the Reverend Matthew
Williams was born in Ireland in 1768.
His maternal grandfather, Thomas McCaw
was born in Ireland in 1797. Theodore, however, rebelled and left his family behind.
He then joined with
Myrtle Bird of Kentucky
and they soon thereafter travelled to Napa to start a new life. Myrtle's father,
Elam Bird, was born in 1834 and was in the 53rd
Regiment of the Kentucky Mounted Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War. Going back further:
Great-grandfather William Henry McFarren was born in Missouri in 1876. His grandfather, John McFarren (#2) was born in Pennsylvania in 1792. William's mother, Mary Ann Jackson, was part Cherokee. Mary Ann's grandfather, James Jackson, was a soldier in the war of 1812. William married my great-grandmother Rebecca Jane Ellison of Missouri in 1897. Rebecca was the daughter of Rev. John Harding Ellison and Sarah Elizabeth McCord. John was in the 1st Regiment of the Missouri State Militia Cavalry — and Sarah's father was in the 29th Regiment of the Missouri Infantry during the Civil War.
This family history includes the lines of my first cousins, aunts, and uncles (e.g., Imboden, Lacaze, Martin, Rath, and Whitthorne surnames) — as well as other close collateral family lines (e.g., Bean, Buck, Butler, Duhig, Glos, McGinnis, Murphy, Nickels, and Rath surnames). The building of this Hancock family history is a dynamic and a long-term work in process.
For guidance on the source and structure of the information at this website, click on Guide to the Data.
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