One of the fun bonuses of writing Appalachian fiction set in my home state and inspired by my own family (seven generations worth of Mountaineers!) is connecting with a world of cousins who have discovered me through my stories. Lately, I’ve been hanging out on a genealogy page on Facebook dedicated to the county our family farm is located in. What a treat! Pictures, stories, connections–these are my people. Literally!

I’ve long known the Phillips family line (my great-grandmother) because that’s the one our farm was passed down through. But I’d never dug all that deep into the Loudin line (my great-grandfather).

When we were kids, Dad often talked about being Irish, but when I researched the Phillips I found mostly English and Dutch. Oh well, it felt a little less romantic than being good ole Scots-Irish Appalachians, but still interesting. Well, turns out the Loudins are where the Irish comes in.

Here’s the line:

  • 1757 John N. Loudin (Ulster, Ireland) & Sarah Lindsey Loudin (NJ)
  • 1789 William Loudin (PA–moved to Upshur Co., WV) & Sarah Davis Loudin (Barbour Co., WV)
  • 1812 George Alexander Loudin & Zenia Loudin (from here on it’s all Upshur Co.)
  • 1853 John Wesley Loudin & Delilah Jane Brady Loudin (In photo above–he has on a black jacket and she’s wearing a white collar. I think that’s my great-grandmother Jane standing behind John because I have other pictures where she’s standing just like that.)
  • 1875 Perry Sylvester Loudin & Lydia Jane Phillips Loudin
  • 1910 Rex Phillip Loudin & Nellie Bly Markley Loudin – My grandparents

Yes, I get a kick out of those two Sarah’s getting the ball rolling back in the 1700s! Plus, Zenia–you can bet I’m gonna use that name in a novel.

Then I dug a little deeper. It seems the name Loudin is an Irish variation on the Scottish Loudoun. Makes sense that they’d be in Northern Ireland. And then I found the family crest for the Loudoun/Loudin/Louden family. You’ll have to Google it if you want to see it–the image is copyrighted. But it’s an evergreen tree with a dog standing at the base. There’s a hunting horn and the motto is – The sentinel sleeps not.

Well. That tickles me right down to my ever so slightly Irish toes!