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January 14, 2016

Who's Got Blacksheep Ancestors?

Blacksheep ancestors. We all love 'em. Let's be honest - there's something exciting and intriguing about having a bad boy or bad girl in our family trees. What constitutes a blacksheep ancestor though? It ranges from someone who sold booze without a licence to a murderer.

So without discussing the human tragedy aspect of an unsavory character's influence on family members, let's have some fun and list our blacksheep!

Here is my list of blacksheep ancestors

New Netherland (New York)

* 1657 & 1658: 8th great grandparents Jan and Dirckien Van Alstyne were fined on several occasions for selling beer to the Indians, and he was fined for selling brandy "after the ringing of the bell and during the sermon".
* 1657 & 1658: 8th great-grandmother Dirckje Van Alstyne taken to court several times for monies and goods owed and not paid
* 1659: 8th great-grandmother Dirckje Harmens Boertgen charged with theft of goods from a home
* 1682 : 9th Great-grandfather Albert Andriessen de Noorman aka Bradt charged with "behaving improperly before the young people" in an indecent way. Also charged that year with assaulting a neighbour with a knife
* 1685: 9th Great-grandfather Albert Andriessen de Noorman aka Bradt charged with starting fires and threatening his son. His other sons were ordered to confine Albert or "remove him from town"

Ontario Canada

* 1869. Great-grandfather Alexander McGinnis charged with assault
* 1879. Great-grandfather Alexander McGinnis sentenced to jail for selling liquor without a license.
* 1895. Great-grandfather Stephen Peer the victim of an axe attack by a neighbour and involved in a lengthy court case
* 1901: Great-grand-uncles Albert and Herman Vollick sentenced to 18 months in Kingston Penetentiary for stealing a cow
* 1916: Grand-uncle Ernest Simpson court martial for "having allowed a prisoner under his charge to escape" (found not guilty)

My daughter-in-law's interesting criminal ancestors (so far!) are:

*1672: Trois Rivieres Quebec. Her 11th great-grandmother Gillette Bonne, wife of Jacques Bertault hung for poisoning then beating her son-in-law to death

I am going to make a list of my husband's blacksheep ancestors and have him post it on his blog ( for fun! Meantime why not visit my son's website Blacksheep Ancestors.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic post. We have a few in our family that stand out. My second great aunt was imprisoned for stealing two loaves of bread - breaks my heart. My fifth great grandfather was dismissed as a mariner's apprentice for his disorderly and drunk behavior. Apparently alcoholism runs strong down my paternal line. But we take the bad with the good, and find it instructive the more we learn.

Jackie Corrigan said...

Your daughter-in-law and I share that same ancestor. I wrote about the case on my blog.

Unknown said...

My great-grandmother's kid brother, the handsome and musical Milton Oliver McClellan, abandoned his young wife and infant son in 1915, never to be seen again. He'd dragged her as a newlywed from their home in Tenino, WA to Kennett, CA, a copper mining town that was drowned when Shasta Dam created Lake Shasta (reservoir). He told her he was leaving to scout another mining job and never came back, leaving her to make her way home to Tenino. I found his WW I Draft Registration Card which he filled out in Sept 1918. On it he listed himself as an employee of one of the biggest gold mines in the country at that time, and a resident of Plymouth, CA.

He listed his father's correct name and address as the person who would always know where he was, ie; the person to notify if he was drafted and killed in the war. But there's no evidence his father or any of the family in Oregon City, OR knew he was there. His father's two obituaries in 1924 mentioned Milton as possibly having gone missing in WW I. Wishful thinking or family story coverup? I'm sure I'll never know. His subsequent movements and date of death are unverified despite much ransacking of census and other records. His young wife waited three years before finally divorcing him to remarry.

Sharon said...

I had a few of them. One of my great uncles went AWOL from the navy in WW1, then re-enlisted in the Army under his brother's name. He died in Baghdad, so officially my other uncle had been killed, even though he was tucked up safely at home.
My great grandfather was a barefist fighter, and from the reports he was quite good too.
The ones who got into mischief were are more entertaining than the ones who just got one with life.