Bryan S. Godfrey

Member for
11 years · 7 months · 11 days
Find A Grave ID


"Have you FAGged your relatives lately?"
For the most part, I limit my contributions to relatives, with exceptions made for friends, acquaintances, relatives of relatives, or relatives of those I know. I gladly process transfers or edits upon request, in a timely manner. I am not the type who would record an entire public cemetery, but I do tabulate churchyards, family plots, or other smaller cemeteries in which the majority of burials are related to me.

In 2014, after having a website since 2000, which had become voluminous with links, photographs, and files consisting of descendant and ancestor reports or charts, I deleted it due to buying out and phasing out all such sites. So for now, my only online venue for my genealogy work is what I have submitted to FAG and Facebook.

I reside in the West End of Henrico Co., VA, near Richmond. I work as a mathematics, social studies, and/or SAT Prep educator, now in Fredericksburg, VA Public Schools. A proud "eduholic," I hold Bachelor's degrees in History and Mathematical Sciences from College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively, and a Master of Education from University of Richmond. I have been interested in genealogy, historic and environmental preservation, and travel since childhood. I belong to Manakin Episcopal Church (Powhatan Co., VA), Sons of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars, Jamestowne Society, Huguenot Society of Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia, Order of First Families of North Carolina, Society of Mareen Duvall Descendants, Callaway Family Association, Pierre Chastain Family Association, Mendenhall Family Association, and North Carolina Friends Historical Society. My contributions to FAG began in 2012, after 16 years of adding or downloading over 250,000 names into my Family Tree Maker file. I consider FAG an extension of my ongoing FTM work, my Facebook genealogy postings, and other efforts, a way to make my efforts and those of others more accessible. Because I deleted and reposted updated files in my website so often, FAG memorials are a more permanent way of sharing information, photographs, and graves of individal relatives, especially if they are linked to parents, spouses, and children. One adjustment in using FAG is that females are listed by the name on their grave, not necessarily their maiden name, whereas standard genealogy practice is to enter women by their maiden names on charts, in books, or in genealogy software.

My grandparents, all 8 of my great-grandparents, 12 of my 16 great2-grandparents, 15 of my 32 great3-grandparents, and only 9 of my 63 great4-grandparents (yes, I have 63 instead of the expected 64 due to a duplicate great4-grandfather) have marked graves that I have visited, and I know where several more of these ancestors in the first 7 generations are buried but their graves are unmarked. I also take pride in having pictures or portraits of all of my ancestors through the first 5 generations (back to all my great2-grandparents), of 14 of my 32 great3-grandparents, of 6 of my 63 great4-grandparents, and several more ancestors farther back (not including many noble or royal ancestors in Europe), all of which are shown on memorial pages for these respective ancestors. The problem of unknown or unmarked graves, generally located in family plots on farms, that is discouraging to me is typical of ordinary families in the South more than a century ago, and before the mid-1800s, Quakers in particular usually did not mark graves, even in Quaker Meeting graveyards, because they believed tombstones to be pretentious. Few graves in Bedford Co., VA, in Virginia's Piedmont, were marked before the 20th century, whereas many of my Colonial or Early American Eastern Shore of Virginia and Long Island, New York ancestors have extant tombstones, possibly because it was easier to ship stones there and they could afford them. Unknown burial locations for so many ancestors more than 5 generations back is a handicap for me with regard to, for it would be better for me to link as many of my ancestors and their descendants as possible using this site, but FAG rules prohibit one from posting memorials for those with unknown graves or creating cemeteries just to link people.

I admit a sense of "WASP guilt" when comparing my good fortunes to those who are more genealogically disadvantaged due to adoptions, illegitimate ancestors, loss of records, or nonexistent records, in particular African-Americans, the Irish, and those of more recent immigrant descent than I am and who therefore have linguistic or geographic barriers to their research. For this reason, I am honing my research skills, so they benefit those from other backgrounds. Fascinated by mathematical models revealing the genealogical connectedness of the human race despite geographic or ethnic barriers, I value genealogy for its present-day tendency to reveal typicality rather than its traditional stereotype as a promoter of exclusivity. I pursue royal ancestry because it is difficult to trace European ancestors in medieval times who were not of the nobility or royalty, and as a result, it alone is what links, through written records, many of the famous people or families of western civilization. I have found 8+ immigrant ancestors with well-documented royal ancestries, but because such are often disproved, and several more royal descents have been disproved already, I am seeking more.

In spite of my relatively good fortune, for a southern WASP of a middle-class immediate background, in being able to trace the majority of my lineages back to the 1700s, I am bothered by problematical areas of my ancestry in which I have been unable to trace back more than 7-8 generations. 6 of my 32 great3-grandparents have ancestries that become unknown 1 or 2 generations prior, so that alone makes almost 25% of my ancestry vacuous before the 1800s, making me wonder what interesting ancestors and other relatives I have who may never be known. These are all in my paternal Albemarle area of North Carolina sides, so this area needs the most attention. But many records in Tidewater and Piedmont Virginia were destroyed by courthouse conflagrations or the Civil War, which makes tracing many of my colonial ancestors there difficult or impossible. DNA testing is helping solve some mysteries that written records cannot.

To go to my findagrave memorial, from which one can click my parents' names to move farther back in my ancestry, enter 138849606 or my full name on the findagrave memorial search screen, linked below. One can also move back in my stepfather's ancestry by clicking his name on my mother's page. For my farthest ancestors back on each side for whom I know grave locations and for whom it is therefore within FAG guidelines to have memorials, I have pasted their respective ancestries, generated from Family Tree Maker reports, on their memorials.

Search memorial contributions by Bryan S. Godfrey