Our Close Ancestors

Ted and Isabel, our parents

Or, depending on mother’s mood, Dad was sometimes John. These two, with their vastly different backgrounds, managed to make their way through the cruelty of the Great Depression in the Big City, the horrors of World War II, and a lifetime of living on the edge.Yet they left us strong values, good memories and a foundation of love.

Dad was raised in a second generation German household, the only male child in his generation. Surrounded by love, he had many opportunities and was proud to have a flourishing business career and  a substantial bank account when he married our Mom. The bank account was spent on a house in Valley Stream, a house that was lost in the same depression that took away his career. With no livelihood and me on the way, Mother set up a bakery in their tiny apartment. She baked for the lucky folk who could still afford such luxuries, and Dad and my uncle, her brother, sold and delivered her goodies. Later she worked for the Boy Scouts of America as a comptometer operator, pretending to be single because it was the Depression after all. It would be eight more years before they and I arrived back in Dutchess County where mother had been born. Dad finally had a job, delivering baked goods for the Krug Baking Company, and we finally had our family intact. We were ready to welcome Marilyn, Diane and Craig. His mother and stepfather (the man we knew as Grandpa), who had raised me in their Jersey City home, came to live with us when he retired.

Mom was born into a solidly American household with Colonial roots, but tragedy struck early. Her father lost one leg, which was a life-long disability, and her mother died in the 1918 flu epidemic.The four children were scattered but reunited as adults. Mother was adopted by a Worden, her grandmother’s sister, and sent to live in New Jersey, where she eventually met and married our dad. Her birth father, a wonderful warm, loving, long-suffering man, lived with us for a number of years in his later life. 

Franklin Bowyer and Marie/Mamie Tigges, Dad’s parents (our paternal grandparents)

The relationship between Franklin and Marie could well have been doctor-patient, especially since Dr. Bowyer signed Dad’s birth certificate as officiating physician. That he was our grandfather, and not Theodore Muller, was discovered only in 2018, when DNA proved it. Artificial insemination? An affair? We will never know.

Franklin’s parents had come together from England to New York, with her mother, in 1849. Their roots go back at least into the 1600s in England, and there may be a royal connection to Bowyer but it is not proven. Church records show both families to have espoused Protestantism quite early. They lived in the same area of England, Wiltshire near Bath, for many generations.  Franklin's father was a farmer, and the house the family lived in in Chestertown was large and accommodated several farm hands. In his later years, it is said that he enjoyed carrying folks to town in one of his numerous buggies and sleighs.

Grandma Tigges’ parents arrived separately from eastern Gerrmany. Her father’s history is less well known than any other close relative, but it is proven based on DNA. Some relationships are based on DNA but also a fair degree of logic and common sense rather than printed records. There is room for further research. Her mother’s line is fully proven and supported with DNA.

Jonas Coons and Anna Edna Tipple, Mother’s parents (our maternal grandparents)

Jonas comes from a long line of Coons/Coon/Kuhn men, whose immigrant ancestor came from Switzerland in 1710 with the first mass migration from Germany to New York. His mother’s line also descends from that same immigrant population. With all the subsequent marriages, his line represents Dutch, German, Swiss and French Huguenot, truly a melting pot. Interestingly, despite the heavy migration from New York to points north, south and west, my direct ancestors never left New York and the area where they first settled in Columbia and northern Dutchess Counties, that is, until mother was adopted and sent to New Jersey. But she hurried back as soon as she could. 

Anna Edna’s father also descends from that same mass immigration, the Palatine movement of 1710 with its own fascinating history fraught with danger and disaster. His mother’s line leads to our Mayflower ancestor, Elder William Brewster. Anna Edna’s mother’s line takes us back to our “gateway ancestor,” the one with a proven royal lineage (see the chart on Peter Worden’s page https://doriswheeler.org/g0/p56.htm#i1663), to our authentic pirate, and to many of our early Dutch settlers, among others.