Summer Wrap-up 2014: The Colvin Ethnicity and Some Electronic Housekeeping.


With summer quickly coming to a close, and my return to academics on the horizon, now is a good time to mention some of what this summer’s research has yielded. Firstly, there’s the 5,000-word essay on the Colvin Piedmont ethnicity which took me into two research areas I normally don’t indulge in — namely, etymology, and linguistics. But it seemed appropriate and perhaps somewhat overdue — particularly linguistics which, in the Piedmont Colvin case is, for me, especially compelling evidence of their ethnicity. I have long suspected the Colvin ethnicity was of an English origin; the essay, however,  forced me to research the topic more rigorously as a way to articulate my position. Of course anyone is welcome to challenge my findings. All I ask is that you not use excessive ear-hair as your rational for thinking the Colvins of this study are of a Scottish origin.

Sadly, little new data is known on the Colvin progenitor of the Piedmont line, but perhaps another summer may yield him.

A close relative recently gifted The Colvin Study with never-before seen images of my own father as a teenager, donning swimming trunks, as well as images of his mother with her companion, Timothy Miller, in what appears to be her Washington, D.C. apartment.

I have spent much time this summer at the Find-a-Grave.com website, said visits yielding quite a few heretofore unknown Colvin burial locations and headstone images. Some of which  were incorrect. For example, for the  memorial (# 58802659) for John Calhoun Colvin (1845-1921) the poster — a FAG contributor who goes by the name of Audrey (ID # 46877347) had a digitized obit of John, but no other information, and so for reasons unclear, placed his memorial in the Catlet Methodist Church Cemetery in Fauquier County although the most recent cemetery survey of his original interment at Hazelwood, John’s ancestral home in Nokesville, Prince William County — shows that, in 2001, the family enclosure and tombstones were still on the grounds in situ! More curious, Audrey linked John to his son, George McCoy Colvin (1877-1955) and his wife Dora Rebecca Ruffner (1877-1967)  — as his parents!  And then linked George’s children as John’s siblings! I provided a few edits and also sent Audrey an email asking that she transfer the memorial to me, explaining that FAG had no cemetery listing in its database for the private cemetery at Hazelwood. I hope she is as generous with this request as she has been with the many hours she’s spent building FAG memorials.

But this appears to be an extreme case, thus, as a way to reciprocate the other more fruitful finds and to help support this valuable resource, I have begun creating original Colvin memorials as well as adding to extant memorials already at the website. In doing so, however, I quickly noticed that none of my database death-related entries showed a Find-a-Grave.com memorial number, which I set about to correct only to discover this is an awfully big chore when you consider that only about 16% of the nearly 3,000 individuals in the database  have had their burial locations identified. Thus, as time allows, I will be going through the entire database in order to not only included these FAG memorial numbers with the headstone images on file, but to also attempt to ferret out those burial locations where FAG memorials are non-existent of which, apparently, there are quite a few.  Ultimately,  not only will all known burials in the  database  be accounted for but each will have a FAG memorial and corresponding number.  So I’ve added to my never-ending list of genealogy projects.  Good for me.

Update 8/27. Audry has kindly transferred the J.C. Colvin FAG memorial to me and I have renamed it as “Unknown” and removed all the data and annotated the memorial with a comment regarding J.C. Colvin’s actual known burial location in Price William County.  I have also requested its deletion from FAG.

On a lighter note, I’ve upgraded the Colvin Study Blog banner to reflect seasonal changes and plan to use it to help ring in seasonal changes or any other special occasion.

The family featured are the heirs of Hiram “Jack” Jackson Colvin (1840-1904) who is believed to be a great-grandson of Charles Colvin, Sr., (~1745-1810) though his heir, Charles B. Colvin, who in some documents is likely the same individual being referred to as Charles Colvin, Jr.

The actual image from which the blog banner is taken features two rows of individuals – all of them H.J. Colvin’s heirs. However, the edited banner image uses only the back row of  subjects. They are:

L to R: : Rachael Anita Colvin (1863-1935); George J. Colvin (1872-1922); Myrtle Edmonda Colvin (1878-1945); Issac Newton Colvin (1873-1952) and Addie Hahn (wife of Charles Alvin Colvin, in first row not shown)

As usual, I’ve gotten my share of emails from folks who invariably inspire met to go on a fresh sleuthing trip to discover the particulars about this or that Colvin who may or may not be related, but who, more often than not, are and  I am always grateful for their correspondences which help to motivate me and expand the knowledge base. These excursions always serve to reminds me how much The Colvin Study matters. To date, the database consists of nearly 3,000 individual profiles comprising nearly 1,000 family groups. and nearly 1,700 digitized images of individuals and primary source records. My thanks as always to those who continue to contribute images and data and especially to those for whom this work holds enduring value.

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About Alex Colvin

Senior, History, minoring in Anthropology, University of Houston. Charter President, Walter Prescott Webb Historical Society, (Webb UH Main 2014-2015) University of Houston. Additional publishing credits can be found at the link:
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