My Ancestral Connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura_Ingalls_Wilder_cropped_sepia2
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