Sunday, October 12, 2014

Columbus Connection

Harold Delbert Currey ("HDC") (1902-1981), the father who raised me as opposed to my birth father, had some vague ideas about his ancestry. It turns out that he was mostly wrong, but that's a story for another day. What I want to focus on today is his tenuous connection to Christopher Columbus about which he was completely ignorant.

Although the Currey/Curry side of the family immigrated to Canada from Ireland in the late 18th century, they didn't move to the United States until the 1850s. However HDC's maternal ancestors can be traced back to colonial America and are much more interesting from a genealogical viewpoint.

Ethel Viola Plank, from my personal collection. I knew her as Grandma Currey

His mother Ethel Viola Plank was born in Nebraska in 1882. The family moved to Oregon before 1900 and that's where she met and married Delbert Artemus Currey; HDC was the oldest of their three children.

Currey children on Oregon beach (before 1910) from my personal collection

It's Grandma Currey's mother's family, the Boals, that provides the alleged Christopher Columbus connection since one of her extended cousins, Theodore Davis Boals married Mathilde Dolores Denis de Lagarde, believed to be a descendant of Columbus.

The Boal Mansion in Boalsburg in Centre County, Pennsylvania is a house museum open to the public that's on the National Register of Historic Places. There the visitor can tour a property that's been the home for 8 generations of Boals, and includes the Columbus Chapel, which claims to be "the most important Columbus collection on the North American continent"  The Chapel also houses " two pieces of the True Cross of Jesus, which were given to the Columbus family in 1817 by the Bishop of Leon in Spain."

Columbus Chapel, photo source: Boal Mansion website

I've never worked out the exact relationship between Grandma Currey and Theodore Davis Boals but it's definitely there. Nor have I explored whether Mlle de Lagarde is actually a descendant of Christopher Columbus and what the likelihood is that the relics in the Chapel are genuine.

But it's a great story and a complete surprise to find any connection to Columbus!

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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