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Dr. James M. Owston (#47059231)
 member for 6 years, 8 months, 26 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo Prompted by an eighth grade assignment to construct a family tree, Jim Owston has been interested in collecting genealogical and historical data for over 40 years.

As part of this assignment, the discovery of a yellowed newspaper clipping detailing the 1929 death of his great-great grandmother, Sarah Ann Merriman, prompted an initial visit to her grave site at the McKeesport-Versailles Cemetery in 1968. He was pleased to add this grave to Find A Grave as a new contributor in 2008.

He has traced all the lines of his family back at least four generations. His direct ancestors include the following:

Four Civil War veterans (John Merriman, Thomas W. Day, John C. Brakeall, & George W. Staley).

A decorated Royal Navy warrant officer that served in the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars: William Owston.

At least two Revolutionary War veterans (William Gardner & David Gardner).

A soldier in Captain Beer's company in King Philip's War — John Gustin, who was born as Augustine Jean de le Tocq in the Bailiwick of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

The Plantagenet royal house of England and Anjou via 3 Gardner lines that merge. This lineage includes 60 European kings and 8 canonized saints.

Members of the Waldensian sect that escaped religious persecution in southern France by traversing the Alps into Germany - the Maneval/Manewal family. His great-grandmother, Marie Katherine Manewal Schad was his most recent relative born with the Maneval surname.

Among the Quakers who traveled with William Penn to the colonies was his ancestor Thomas French who settled in Burlington, NJ.

His ancestors came from England, Germany (Würtemberg & Hesse), Scotland, France, Ireland, Wales, the Island of Jersey, and perhaps Switzerland. Family tradition holds that one or several of his New England lines were Mayflower descendants. Another tradition signifies that one of his German ancestors served as a Hessian soldier (on the side of the British) during the American Revolution. Neither of these traditions have yet to be satisfactorily proven.

Beyond record keeping, Y-Chromosome DNA Testing has determined that Owston's paternal line was among the haplogroup I1. This group originated in Scandinavia and his ancestors may have been Danish Viking invaders that attacked and settled the north of England in the 9th Century A.D. The modern spelling of his surname Owston indicates Norse influence over the original Saxon spelling Æston which became Easton elsewhere.

As far as his maternal ancestry, mitochondrial DNA testing places his ancestry in common with 47% of all Europeans in the the H haplogroup. This DNA grouping has been nicknamed Clan Helena - one of the theoretical seven European foremothers. Apparently, the H haplogroup was the most successful of the migrations into the European continent.

In addition to his genealogical studies, he is currently researching the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves with Chris Rasmussen. Three blood relatives (although not direct ancestors) served in this unit which was formed in Western Pennsylvania in 1861. His relatives in the unit included Captain Charles W. Owston, Daniel Merriman, and Charles Champlin Townsend.

Owston holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) and educational specialist (Ed.S.) in Leadership Studies from Marshall University in addition to masters' degrees from Marshall and WVU, and bachelors' degrees from Kentucky Christian University and Mountain State University.

His Master's of Arts in Humanities from Marshall included a concentration in history. Owston's internationally recognized doctoral dissertation on institutional rebranding utilized historical research as one of the multiple research methods that he employed. The dissertation is available online at This work was the winner of two outstanding dissertation awards.

Other historical works under his belt include being the designer & caretaker of the Virtual Nixon Era Center at Mountain State University. This project was actively worked from 2001-2003. While currently operational, updates have been added on an infrequent basis since 2003.

Two historical papers are available online: Heterodyning in the Hills - The WOBU Story and The Early History of Transylvania University: An Archetype of Restoration Movement Institutions of Higher Education and has contributed to several WikiPedia articles including most of the article on his hometown of North Versailles Township, PA.

Owston, a former dean at Mountain State University, lives in Beckley, WV with his wife and two daughters.
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Craig Merriman, Curtis D. Craig, Michael Millike..., P.R.V.C. Histor..., Pam Owston, R. Pinkerton, Suzanne Damien, Todd Walker, Tracy Francis
Messages left for Dr. James M. Ow... (633)[Leave Message]
Suzan Bodnarsuzan
At one time there was an obituary attached to Ivy Cora Campbell's memorial information. It seems to have disappeared. Can I get a copy of it ?
Added by Suzan Bodnarsuzan on Jul 03, 2015 12:38 PM
Ray Henry
Elizabeth Tackaberry
Thank you for the transfer (much appreciated).
Added by Ray Henry on Jul 03, 2015 6:09 AM
Robert K. Boatfield, Sr
RE: Gertrude Soles
Thanks so very much for the Transfer. This means a great deal to me and our family.
GOd BLess...
Ken aka: Robert K Boatfield
Added by Robert K. Boatfield, Sr on Jul 03, 2015 12:54 AM
Ray Henry
Elizabeth Tackaberry
Would you consider transferring the memorial for Elizabeth Tackaberry 33555129 to me. She was my 5th great grandmother.

Many thanks for your consideration.
Ray Henry
Rochester, MI
Added by Ray Henry on Jun 20, 2015 7:18 AM
Robert K. Boatfield, Sr
Gertrude Soles
Hello Sir

My name is Robert K. Boatfield and I do alot of research and genealogy for several of my family lines.
I have all of alot of information linked with this person.
Gertrude Soles is my Blood Great Aunt. Soles was her married name.
My grandfather Walter H. Churchfield was her youngest brother.

She died 11 July 1914
was born 02 August 1878

I would very much appreciate it if you would transfer the management of this record. Thanks so much...
If you need more information, pleas don't hesitate to ask.
Robert "Ken" Boatfield
Added by Robert K. Boatfield, Sr on Jun 14, 2015 10:29 AM
Brian J. Ensley
Christian & Elizabeth Goebert
Thank you for the several edits you've approved for me on Christian & Elizabeth Goebert.
Added by Brian J. Ensley on Jun 10, 2015 5:13 PM
Carol Lotz
Clara Wright
Please remove the maiden name all family links and Place of birth for memorial #33498277 this is not the correct relative. Thank You
Added by Carol Lotz on Jun 08, 2015 6:54 PM
Christine Wells-Leddon
Dean C Donovan
Thank you for creating the memorial for Dean C Donovan (she is my 1st cousin, 3x removed). I have submitted some edits for her memorial, please look them over and approve them if you would.

Thank you!
Added by Christine Wells-Leddon on Jun 04, 2015 1:30 PM
Samuel R. Rogers
John Emanuel Nelson ancestors
Thank you for creating the find a grave page for my Great-grandparents
John Emanuel Nelson
Birth: Aug. 15, 1857
Kalmar län, Sweden
Death: May 1, 1940
Allegheny County
Pennsylvania, USA

and Anna Sundel.
I am searching for any relatives descended from them. I belong to and 23andme and I have had my DNA analyzed but so far no luck in finding any relatives. Does anyone know how I may find some of my relatives in the Pittsburgh area?
Samuel R. Rogers/Nelson/Nilsson

Added by Samuel R. Rogers on Jun 03, 2015 6:04 PM
RE: photos
Thanks, I realized that after I posted and followed up with him as well. Both are a lot of work, so I thank you for creating it!
Added by SageAlum on Jun 02, 2015 1:15 PM
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