There is a book by author Ken Courtney titled, “Banister – The New World,” a 1744 adventure about a young couple that endures months of dangerous sea travel to get to the New World. I can envision a similar sacrifice somewhere in what I now call, “Banister World,” my own personal study of this family that is becoming more and more a part of my life. I often get lost in “what if?” scenarios as I reflect back on my upbringing. The actual Banister story begins with Laborn in 1801 and his marriage to Sarah “Sally” Yoder. There are obviously many early pieces to the puzzle missing as to how their Banister descendants got to the New World, like this book describes.
In exploring “Banister World” this past week, I’ve spent a lot of time on the “Legg” branches of the tree. Without much effort, I can easily take this wing of the family back to the mid-1700’s, and further if I wanted to invest another $99 in the Ancestry World Explorer package that allows access into England and other genealogical databases. I can even save 33% is I upgrade today! To give you an idea of the size of this family, there are over a 150 Legg relatives representing just a single generation! In fact, the Jerry Banister Tree may have more Leggs than branches. As it currently stands, there are 280 Leggs on my tree, with many more to add if I want, and only 232 Banisters plus 53 Bannisters. As far as Legg-Banister connections, I do find that Vernel Fredric Banister born in 1932 married a Legg, Mickie Sue, daughter of Mack and Polly Legg. I’ve had a frustrating time trying to find a Phillip Legg, a close DNA match to me on 23andMe, and will continue sorting out the Legg family ties until I find him. You also have to love the name, Rubel Eugene “Bird” Legg!
I have had quite a bit of success recently finding other “DNA relatives” in the tangled tree branches. These include Terry Bannister, Ryan Donohoo, JD Storch, Jered Stinehart, Gail Lodell, Linda Thompson, and Tina Sharp, bringing my total to 15 DNA matches. I mark each one with a special green “DNA Match” label on my Jerry Banister Family Tree. It’s a work in progress, but also a fun puzzle to try and solve. I’ve given up other computer games in favor of this one! I’m hoping to find some patterns in these matches, and still have many more to pinpoint on the family map. There are 1026 matches through my test with 23andMe and thousands more through Ancestry. I’ve obviously tried to focus on “strength of relationship.” However, most of these people continue to be complete strangers, with only a few responding to my efforts to communicate. In the meantime, I’ll continue to Legg-it-out like cousin “Bird.”