My Ancestral Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder

On February 10, 1957, fifty-six years ago today, American author Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) died at the age of 90 in Mansfield, Missouri. Wilder was most famous for her series of books, Little House, which were based on her childhood in a pioneer family. These books were so loved that they were turned into a successful television series, Little House on the Prairie, which ran for nine seasons from 1974 to 1982.

While researching my family history, I discovered that I have an ancestral connection to this beloved American author. When I began researching the ancestry of my paternal grandfather, William Kernan (LIVING), I researched a family that married into my Kernan branch, the Dunton family. As I dug deeper into this branch and its related branches, I found my ancestral connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was by my 9th great grandparents, John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) and Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708). According to research on Wilder’s genealogy, her paternal great grandmother was Martha Jane Locke (1753-1785), who was a great granddaughter of John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) and Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708). While researching my grandfather’s ancestry, I found that my grandfather’s great grandmother, Harriet Dunton (1836-1928) was a great-great granddaughter of the same John and Elizabeth Locke, through her mother’s Knowles family.

The following is a chart that shows the decent of both Laura Ingalls Wilder and my paternal grandfather, William Kernan (LIVING), from John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) and Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708):

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Line: My Grandfather’s Line:
1 John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) m. Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708) 1 John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) m. Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708)
2 Edward Locke (ca. 1655-1739) m. Hannah Jenness (1673-?) 2 William Locke (1677-1768) m. Hannah Knowles (1678-1769)
3 Thomas Locke (1713-?) m. Abigail Berry (1719-?) 3 Jemima Locke (ca. 1721-1765) m. John Blake (ca. 1716-1760)
4 Martha Jane Locke (1753-1785) m. Jonathan Ingalls (ca. 1750-1834) 4 Mary Blake (1747-?) m. Daniel Knowles (ca. 1746-1817)
5 Samuel Ingalls (1771-1841) m. Margaret Delano (1773-1837) 5 Mary Comfort Knowles (ca. 1801-1845) m. James Cyrus Dunton (ca. 1800-1845)
6 Lansford Whiting Ingalls (1812-1896) m. Laura Louise Colby (1810-1883) 6 Harriet Dunton (1836-1928) m. Owen Francis Kiernan (1836-1901)
7 Charles Phillip Ingalls (1836-1902) m. Caroline Lake Quiner (1839-1923) 7 George Edward Kernan (1884-1960) m. Maudena Elizabeth Stearns (1885-1936)
8 Laura Elizabeth Ingalls (1867-1957) m. Almanzo James Wilder (1857-1949) 8 Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979) m. Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992)
9 William Kernan (LIVING) m. Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004)

Based on the generations of descent from John Locke (ca. 1626-1696) and his wife Elizabeth Berry (ca. 1631-1708) listed above, my paternal grandfather, William Kernan (LIVING), and Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) are 6th cousins, 1x removed. This makes Laura Ingalls Wilder my 6th cousin, 3x removed.

Opening Credits for Little House on the Prairie Television Series


8 thoughts on “My Ancestral Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder

  1. Well I guess now you know where you got the writers gene. It’s in your DNA.
    Thanks for doing the research and sharing it with us.
    Take Care.

  2. Just thought that you should know:

    I went on to, did a search for John Locke w/ Elizabeth Berry and found lots of trees, which i knew I would. I sent this msg to them (not all just a hand full).
    I am not part of the family;I just saw this blog and thought you should see it.

    My Ancestral Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Line

    Sent to Family Trees:
    Owner: HRaber
    Don Jones Family Tree2
    Owner: Don Jones
    Owner: kevohall1
    Owner: maharvey
    Babb Family Tree
    Owner: LBabbHastings
    Wayte Family Tree
    Owner: Alan Wayte
    Butlers of Brockton
    Owner: blantyr
    Owner: pkhartman
    Heltsley – Wilch – Newman – Kenaston
    Owner: maxpsych1
    Dawna’s Family Tree
    Owner: puckaluck

    1. Thanks for sharing this! John Locke and Elizabeth Berry are my 10th great grandparents. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my favorite author growing up. I still own all her books!

  3. I got a reply from one of the family tree owners.

    Today 6:39 PM GMT
    Thank you very much! So interesting. .

  4. My ancestry is the Colby’s. Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder’s grandmother was Laura Louise Colby Ingalls. She was the mother of Charles Phillip Ingalls. I believe the Colby name went back to her father. He was a brother to my ancester. My mother was a Colby.

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