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Dr. James M. Owston (#47059231)
 member for 5 years, 10 months, 17 days
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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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Jack Novicki
Winfield S(cott) Tipton
Hi Dr. Owston:

I have been doing research on Winfield Scott Tipton who was born in Adams Co., PA and his mother is/was my wife's g-g-grandmother. You posted on his Find-A-Grave memorial (#33633823) that he was born in 1887. His Pittsburgh City Death Certificate has his age as 41. He died on 27 May 1897 and that would make his birth year about 1856/57.

No other Winfield Scott Tipton is listed in the Allegheny Cemetery. No other death certificate has been issued for a Winfield Scott Tipton for any year.

Could you check your records and see why we have this discrepancy. If you would like an email copy of his death certificate please email me at the following address -

Regards, Jack Novicki
Added by Jack Novicki on Aug 26, 2014 3:32 AM
Kelly M
RE: Susan Bayard Ekin Memorial
Thank you so much.
Added by Kelly M on Aug 22, 2014 12:58 AM
Memorials 37032536,37032535, and 37032533
Please transfer ownership of these memorials to me, as Laura Virginia Ehrenfeld is another member of my extended Moon family from Allegheny Co. Thank you again for your initial work to create these listings, and your prompt responses to messages concerning them.
D. Christine Adams
Member 47641500
Added by DCA on Aug 21, 2014 7:44 PM
G. Charles Ogline Lantay (aka Gregory P. Lantay)
36646436 - Samuel B. Lape
Hello once again. Samuel B. Lape that died Nov 9, 1940 was the husband of Mary Wintermyer Lape 1908-1980 when he passed and the father of James E. Lape 1929-1954.(both buried in Penn Lincoln M-Pk CEM).
Samuel B. Lape was born in McKeesport Feb 21, 1902 the s/o Edward J. Lape (Find A Grave 35534632) and Anna Cook Lape (Find A Grave #35534680). Samuel Lape had killed himself (self-inficted gun shot) per PA dc #99508.
Could ya kindly edit his Find A Grave Memorial to include his place & date of birth, place of death, death cert # and link to both his parents. His 1st and 2nd wives do not as yet have Find A Grave Memorial #s.

Thank you
Added by G. Charles Ogline Lantay ... on Aug 20, 2014 2:00 PM
FindAGrave Memorials 33810996,33810987,33810994
Please transfer ownership of these three listings to me. The people represented are members of my extended Moon family. Thank you for the work to create these in the first place, and for your assistance in transferring ownership.
D Christine Adams
Member 47641500
Added by DCA on Aug 19, 2014 7:55 PM
Kelly M
Susan Bayard Ekin Memorial
I would like to request a transfer of this memorial to myself, please? Susan B. Ekin is my 4x g.grandmother. I would like to update and correct the information. The children listed are actually her grandchildren.
Added by Kelly M on Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM
G. Charles Ogline Lantay (aka Gregory P. Lantay)
Elizabeth Scally UPDATE
She was born June 17, 1864 in Chartiers, Washington County, PA, and died in Bradock, Alleghemy County, Pa with burial in Versailes Cemetery.
Added by G. Charles Ogline Lantay ... on Aug 13, 2014 12:21 PM
G. Charles Ogline Lantay (aka Gregory P. Lantay)
36172763 - Elizabeth Lape Scally
Elizabeth Scalley had md Micael Scally b in West Virginia 12/09/1892 in Fayette County, PA (M/L Attached) - BOTH are buried side by side in Versailes Cemetery. Elizabeth was the daughter of Jonathan M. & Elizabeth E. Cramer Lape born in Washington County, PA. Would ya kindly update her Find A Grave Memorial and link her to her husband Michael F. Scally. QUESTION: Jonathan & 2nd wife Elizabeth Cramer LAPE are suppose to be buried in a Mckeesport Cemetery - Could ya kinndly as time & circumstances allow check this out as I believe ya like to look around?. Thank you very kindly again
Added by G. Charles Ogline Lantay ... on Aug 13, 2014 12:16 PM
RE: Arthur Paul NAYLOR (37170296)
thank you for letting me know!
best wishes
Added by kittenimp on Aug 12, 2014 5:42 PM
G. Charles Ogline Lantay (aka Gregory P. Lantay)
46817633 - Anna Reynolds Lape
Please edit her Memorial - MARY REYNOLDS LAPE was born February 26, 1868 in Verona, Allegheny County, PA the d/o Benjamin Franklin Reynolds & Alice Hulton Reynolds. She died July 10, 1957 in rural Fayette twp, Allegheny County, PA @ the Age 89 the widow of John Lape. If any questions, please contact our family - This is Contr #39265068.
Added by G. Charles Ogline Lantay ... on Aug 12, 2014 4:42 PM
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