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Dr. James M. Owston (#47059231)
 member for 8 years, 7 months, 14 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, KATHY, Michael Millike..., P.R.V.C. Histor..., Pam Owston, R. Pinkerton, Suzanne Damien, Todd Walker, Tracy Francis
Messages left for Dr. James M. Ow... (791)[Leave Message]
Denise Snowden
Harriet Whitfield
I must say that your dates of transition of my father's wife, and a surrogate mother of mine, Mrs. HARRIET WHITFIELD was entered incorrectly. Her transition was not in the year you placed in the information portion, although her date of transition was January 15th. I shall not share the correct year, since you have or appear to have professional standards, I shall leave the editing to you, although I, myself have placed the correct year of her transition, upon the website. I DO REQUEST, that until you decide to do the appropriate research for this website, you make no attempts to place a post on her husband, my father Duane I. Whitfield, unless you have your records straight, rest assured, I Do!!

Denise Snowden aka Denise Whitfield
Added by Denise Snowden on May 22, 2017 4:22 AM
Daniel McGough
Jane Darlene Adams
Dr. Owston,

I found Jane's death certificate and have submitted her corrected birth and death dates and places. I was wondering if you knew anything about her mother: Mary Elizabeth Gray, wife of Leslie Suder Adams?


Dan McGough
Added by Daniel McGough on May 18, 2017 9:36 PM
Owston family - Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, NY
Dear Dr. Owston;

I have found a very beautiful tombstone belonging to the Owston Family in Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, NY on Plot 54; lot 3942.

According to cemetery records, the Owston's in Plot 54 appear to be the parents of Frank, and perhaps Grandparents, of Frank Hunter Owston on whom you have created a Find A Grave memorial page.

My attention was drawn to the stone because it had a Masonic symbol on it.

I have added Find A Grave memorial pages for the Owston's in Plot 54, and am adding others I have found in the cemetery records.

May I ask how you are related to these "Owston's"? Is there any information you could give me to add to their biographies?

I have added family links in Find A Grave as they were pointed out in the cemetery records.

I will take additional photos in the upcoming days.

Here is the link to William H Owston, who was in the Civil War.

Best regards,

Added by frwill48 on May 13, 2017 2:49 PM
Mark Race
Request Transfer
Could you please transfer my family memorials listed below to me. All are located with McKeesport Versailles Cemetery in McKeesport, Pa.

34740091 Mrs. Thomas Race
34539625 Blanche M Meyers Race
35527899 Pearl Race
34539627 Raymond Race
34527659 Robert Elliot Race
35534049 Robert William Race
34539629 Thomas Edward Race
34527660 Walter Race

Mark W Race, Find A Grave Contributor #48724671
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Added by Mark Race on May 11, 2017 8:16 AM
William A Storer
Possible birth date 1902 in Elizabeth Allegheny, PA to Arthur STORER and Euphemia Cowan who are buried in the Elizabeth Cemetery. Francis L. STORER Thank you!
Added by Francis on May 06, 2017 8:03 PM
Janet memorials
My wife Kathleen E. KLEA STORER is a grand daughter of Mary KLEA Janey #34529361 and Louis Janey #34529360. I would appreciate the transfer of these memorials to me, if you would do so. Thank you very much for your excellent work on these memorials. FRANCIS L. Storer
Added by Francis on May 06, 2017 7:24 PM
Norma R. Wolfe
First name Hagop not Hagok
Hello Dr. Owston, thank you for your wonderful service in creating memorials that help those of us doing family history work. I noticed that the first name is misspelled on the memorial for Hagop David Shakarian. His Grave stone clearly reads 'Hagop'.
Thank you again!
Norma Wolfe

Added by Norma R. Wolfe on May 05, 2017 9:39 PM
Gene King
Grave #33245672
Thank you for adding this to I believe this to be the grave of of my great grand mother, Louisa Elizabeth King, who died on June 11, 1871 according to the bible of a very close family member. She was Louisa Meeks born on October 6, 1838 in Maryland. I have not been able to clarify why her passing was handled this way by her husband and family. If there is a way to substantiate the identity or to provide a means for further study, I would be grateful to know. I believe her son John William King to have been buried nearby in 1896 and suspect an infant from August of 1870 to also be nearby.
Added by Gene King on Apr 29, 2017 11:34 AM
Mark Race
Find A Grave Memorial# 34740091
I have spoken at length with the funeral home in Duquesne Pa regarding the memorial for "Mrs. Thomas Race". They have taken time for me over the past week and confirmed what I had already suspected... this specific memorial and grave for Mrs Thomas Race is, in fact, Dinah Marie- Pickering-Race. She was the wife of my great uncle Thomas, and the mother of Annie Edith Race-Davies (1884-1873).

She died at 2:00pm on December 21st, 1899 at 212 Duquesne Ave of Bright Decease which caused her liver to fail. Funeral services were held at her family home and Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home administered the burial. Unlike McKeesport Versailles Cemetery records, she was buried on the very same day and not on the 23rd at the location in the memorial.

I still have to apply for her death certificate with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Those records were not retained by the funeral home prior to 1906, if at all.

I am going to proceed with the memorial edits and can supply you a copy of the death certificate, if necessary, when I receive.

Find A Grave Contributor, Mark Race

Added by Mark Race on Apr 28, 2017 5:02 PM
Mark Race
Find A Grave Memorial# 34740091
I would like permission to post a photo of the general burial location of the captioned Find A Grave Memorial for Mrs Thomas Race. I have been to the cemetery within the past week and photographed the area's of burial and available headstones for the Race Family there.

I am currently in correspondence with Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home in Duquesne, across the river from the cemetery, who handled her funeral & burial arrangements in 1899. I believe this to be Dinah A Pickering-Race who emigrated from England in 1888 with her husband Thomas, and daughter Annie.

She was my great uncle's wife. Of course, I will need to corroborate my claim with the documentation gathered from Pennsylvania & the funeral home. I have birth & baptism records, marriage cert., passenger listing, and both England & US census. I feel certain that this is Dinah's final resting place.

Regardless, the photo is in the proper section, row & grave location. I will not submit any edits to the memorial until I can provide undeniable proof that this is Dinah.

Find A Grave Contributor: Mark Race #48724671
Added by Mark Race on Apr 22, 2017 1:32 PM
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