The surname Brazeau

If you have been reading my posts, I’m sure you have figured out my obsession with finding the biological parents of my great grandfather, David Brazille Plunk.

Today, my curiosity has turned to his middle name, Brazille. At one time, I have thought this might be a family surname passed down. In actuality I still think it is, but my initial thought was that it was from the Rev. Bracewell family. Some variations of the surname Bracewell are Braswell, Brazell, Brazil, Breazeale, Brazille, anything that rhymes with dazzle.

But, there is apparently another possibility of the origin of his middle name. Of course, I’m no expert, and I have no proof, but merely offer this as a possibility and another avenue of research.

I’ve been researching Lucinda Coker’s son, Charles E. Nipps, and the women he may have known. During the Civil War, Lucinda was seeking passport from the Rolla Refugee Camp to St. Lewis, MO, along with her children, to join her then husband, Thomas Boatwright. Lucinda must have died between 1864 and 1865, because Thomas Boatwright married Rebecca Phillips in October of 1865, in St. Genevieve, MO.

So, at least for awhile, her son, Charles E. Nipps, was living in the St. Genevieve area. In fact, St. Genevieve, MO is where Charles E. Nipps met and married Margaret Catherine Albert Courtois. Margaret’s first husband was Francis/Francois courtois and they had a daughter, Antonia Elizabeth Courtois.

Out of curiosity, I started looking at the people living in St. Genevieve, MO during the time Charles E. Nipps would have been living there. In so doing, I ran across Jean Baptiste Brazeau married Marie Joseph Biroleau in St. Genevieve in 1755. No clue if this is Missouri or where or even if he is related to the Courtois family.

It’s the name Brazeau that caught my attention. There are, of course, several variant spellings of this surname which has its orginations in France. I’m wondering, if by the time the family made it into Missouri, considering the level of education available at the time, accents of the region, and other factors, could it be possible that my great grandfather’s middle name of Brazille was actually Brazeau?

A Knip Puzzle – Part Two

In several other posts I’ve explained why I believe my Plunk ancestor is actually a Nipp/Knipp/Knepp. For more information on the YDNA project please see or

At, I manually entered the markers for the Plunk descendants and we have 3 matches from that database. All of them are 37/37 marker matches.

1. KNEPP[USA-Pennsylvania]: 4gen

I have no way of contacting this Knepp tester to ask him to join our YDNA project, but I hope someone in his family sees this and decides to test.

This person states his ancestry is:

Henry KNEPP b. 6 Jun 1852 Shiloh, Pennsylvania, USA

b. 9 Nov 1893 Clearfield, Pennsylvania, USA

alice Rosalie b. 22 Feb 1856 Shiloh, Pennsylvania, USA

I hope someday there will be enough men in these families to test to accomplish the goal of tying them all to their immigrant ancestor.

A Knipp Puzzle

Traditionally, genealogy is supposed to be fairly easy, right? You start with yourself, list your parents, their parents, etc. Then at some point, you hit a brick wall. This happened to me when I got to my great grandfather, David Brazille Plunk. I’ve written about him numerous times before so I won’t go into the whole story again, as far as his family knows, of how he became a Plunk.

Until I discovered the combination of DNA and genealogy, I thought his line would always be a dead end. But now, my dead end is a brick wall. Brick walls can be torn down.

I now have all these pieces of information to fit together. It is just like a puzzle trying to find where all the pieces fit. Unlike most people, I can’t travel up my family tree to find where the pieces go. Instead, I have to go up, down, and sideways. Very much like a cross word puzzle.

I’ve also written before about the fact that the descendants of three men, David Brazille Plunk, Thomas Lee Boatwright, and Edmund Knipp match on their Y line DNA exactly 47 markers out of 47 markers and why I think all of them belong to the Knipp family. I’ve explained too about my own autosomal DNA tests with genetic cousin matches to people that also descended from this family.

Before genetree closed, I had manually entered 42 markers of David’s Y line DNA, matched no one, and promptly forgot about it until I received an email notice that genetree was closing and I should download any match information before it was no longer available. I did so, and was pleasantly surprised to find this match:

Protected 41/42 97.62% KNEPP [United States]

What that means is that this tester chose to not make his name and email address available to matches, that he matched the Plunk YDNA 41 out of 42 markers, that the strength of the match is. 97.62% and he’s descended from Knepp. In a Court of law, a test to determine paternity comes back at 99.9%, you’ve proven the father of a child. To me, 97.62% is pretty close!

This man did provide somewhat of a family tree:
Daniel Knepp
Verner Knepp, Virginia

Not much to go on, but! Do you remember that I said from my own autosomal tests I have genetic cousin matches to the Knipp family? The most notable of this is a man than is matched to me as a relationship range of 3rd to 5th cousin, and suggested as my 4th cousin. His line to Knipp goes like this:

Lula Rebecca Bible – mother
Andrew Bible – grandfather
Leann Knipp great grandmother
Daniel Knipp 2nd great grandfather
Varner Knipp 3 great grandfather

Do you see it? The unknown tester at genetree is claiming descendency from Verner Knepp through his son Daniel Knepp. My genetic cousin match is claiming his descendency from Varner Knipp through his son Daniel Knipp.

If Mr. Reed is my 4th cousin, there is no way Verner Knipp, 1760 – 1839, is the father of David Brazille Plunk, 1879/80 – 1955. But, let’s look at the age of Mr. Reed. He was born 1914, Greene County, TN. Sadly, Mr. Reed has recently deceased, however, I was able to confirm with one of his relatives that the man born in 1914 was the man who took the test and the lineage I have for him is correct. What does that mean? I was born a whole lot later than 1914! Now we look to see if Mr. Reed and I could be 4th cousins.

If I go to my gedcom program and make David’s father unknown, his grandfather unknown, and Verner Kniptp as his great grandfather, along with Mr. Reed’s lineage, look what happens. Mr, Reed is your 4th cousin!

So, for me, a piece of the puzzle fits together and I get to remove a brick from that wall. I may not know the father of David Brazille Plunk, or even his grandfather, but it appears to me that Verner Knipp is David’s great grandfather.

What do you think? Did I just find the great grandfather of my great grandfather?

Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke

This is my conclusions of this family at the present time. If anyone has information to the contrary, or can help me fill in the blanks, please email

Andrew Jackson Nipp, the son of Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker, married Sarah Hawke and had the following children:

William J. Nipp, born 1869 AR married Sarah “Sallie” Adeline Looney on 1 Oct 1891 Ripley County, MO
Charles A. Nipp, born 1870 AR married Laura M. Carter, 1896 Lawrence, AR
Eli Nipp b 1875 AR married Lettie Rigsby on 7 Oct 1902, Lawrence, AR
Nancy Ann Nipp b 1877 AR
Thomas Nipp b 1878 AR
James Nipp b 1880 AR married Mittie Love 30 June 1909, Lawrence, AR
Ida Belle Nipp b 1885 AR married William E. Covington

Let’s look at my Family Finder matches from Family Tree DNA to see if I have any genetic matches to the spouses of these children.

There are two matches, listed as 5th to remote cousins, with the name Looney in their list of surnames. Unfortunately, for me, they don’t have the Looney information in their gedcoms. I will email them to see if they have any information. Fingers crossed.

I don’t know much about Laura M. Carter yet, but I have several matches with the Carter surname in their lists. Definitely more work needed on her.

There are no matches for Rigsby at this time.

I have two matches with the surname Love in their lists that I will be contacting.

I also have five matches with the surname Covington in their lists that I am currently working on.

Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker

I do not have any first hand personal knowledge of this family, but yet, I appear to be genetically connected to them.  Starting with a completely blank slate as to the entire family, this is what I’ve been able to piece together.  If anyone reading this has any information to help fill in the blanks, or to correct any of the assumptions I’ve made, please email me

I apologize for bouncing back and forth because that’s how I tend to work, but hopefully, you can follow me as I learn about this family.

This begins where I started, with Lucinda Coker Nepp/Nipp Boatwright, an ancestor of the YDNA match to my Plunk line. 

In the 1850 US Federal Census, Marion County, AR, living in the household of Charles Coker (her father):

Lucinda Nepp


Henry Nepp


Jackson Nepp


Charles Nepp



The son, Henry, is listed as blind.  I haven’t been able to find any other record of him.

The Turnbo Manuscripts by Silas Claiborne Turnbo (1844 – 1925)


“…Lucinda who married Henry Nipps and after his death she married Tom Boatright…”

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Sugarloaf, Marion, AR:

Thomas Boatright, age 33, born TN

Lucinda, age 34, born AR

Jackson Nipp, age 14, born AR

Charles E. Nipp, age 11, born AR

William Boatright, age 8, born AR

Joseph C. Boatright, age 6, born AR

James J. Boatright, age 3, born AR

Luticia C. Boatright, age 1, born AR

I have not been able to find a marriage record between Lucinda Coker and Henry Nipp nor Thomas Boatright.

In a letter dated March 11, 1864, Lucinda Boatright is requesting transportation, along with six children, from the Rolla Refugee Camp, Rolla, MO, to join her husband, Thomas, in St. Louis, MO.  You can view this letter, along with a lot more information on the Boatwright/Boatright family at

On October 24, 1865, Thomas Boatwright married Rebecca Phillips and had other children.  In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Township 33, Range 3 East, Iron County, MO, living with Thomas and Rebecca are:

Joseph Boatwright


James Boatwright


Kassia Boatwright


Mary Boatwright


John Boatwright


Wm H Boatwright


Nancy E Boatwright


Notice that Jackson and Charles Nipp are not living with them, but I want to focus, for the moment, on the above James Boatright.  He was born 1857, AR, and on 27 Feb 1875, MO, he married Mahala Anne Johnson.  The following children are attributed to this couple:

Thomas Lee Boatwright (my Plunk descendant matches the YDNA of one of his descendants)

Florence Elizabeth Boatwright

Clorene L. Boatwright

Lawrence J. Boatwright (neither the Plunk YDNA nor Thomas Lee’s descendant matches a descendant of Lawrence.  However, Lawrence’s descendant matches the YDNA of other Boatwright descendants.)

John Morine Boatwright

Walter Cleveland Boatwright

Mahala Ann Boatwright

Carl E. Boatwright

Zella Cornela Boatwright.

The YDNA results of the descendants of the above two Boatwright brothers, compared with the genetree match of my Plunk to Knipp, the FTDNA  match of my Plunk to Thomas Lee Boatwright but not Lawrence J. Boatwright, the grandmother of Thomas Lee Boatwright first being married to a Nipp, and my autosomal match to a person with the Christian Knipp line in his family leads me back looking at the Nipp/Nepp/Knipp families.

Remember, Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker had three sons.  Their oldest son, Henry, born abt 1845 was blind, according to the census.  I cannot find a record of him after 1850.

Their other two sons were Jackson, born abt 1847 AR and Charles, born abt 1848 AR.

 I believe that Jackson Nipp/Nepp is Andrew Jackson Nipp.  1870 U.S. Federal Census, Little Black, Randolph, AR is the following family:

Andrew J Nips


Sarah Nips


William J Nips


James H Nips




1880 U.S. Federal Census, Warm Springs, Randolph, AR: (my notes in parenthesis)

Andrew Nipps


Sarah E. Nipps (Sarah Hawke)


William J. Nipps


Charles A. Nipps


Eli Nipps


Nancy Ann Nipps


Thomas Nipps


James M. Nipps


Mary Hawkes (mother in law)


(It’s interesting to me that there was a Baptist circuit preacher by the name of Patterson, whose brother married into the Plunk family, who traveled between Randolph County, AR and Ripley County, MO where my great grand-father was raised.)

The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was destroyed by fire, but other researchers say this couple had an additional daughter, Ida Bell Nipps born abt 1885.

I will pick up with the family of Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke in the next installment.


Research Journal April 22, 2013

The gloomy weather today seems to be an extension of my mood.

It appears that every positive step I take results in another brick wall.

My main objective is to locate the biological parents of David Brazille Plunk, who simply assumed that surname from the people who raised him.  I finally get a perfect 37/37 marker match to another male tester who, as my luck would have it, isn’t who he thought he was.  I then find a male descendant of the suspect line that I think my Plunk descended from, and again, my luck, he isn’t who he thought he was either.

I sent out a plea last night to message boards and on FaceBook to men with the suspect surname asking them to test so we can put it all together.  So far, the only response was from a smart aleck asking me to give him a hundred thousand dollars in exchange for his DNA.  Words can not explain the anger, hurt, and disillusionment I felt from his comments.

David Brazille Plunk was born 1879/80 in AR according to his WWI Draft Card and Census records.  The first record I can even find of him is in 1900, listed as a boarder, living with his adoptive parents.

I’m assuming that his parents would probably have been born sometime around the mid 1800’s.  Say 1850 – 1860.  This is the time frame for the Civil War.  From everything I’ve read about the suspected biological line, they would have been in Marion County, Arkansas at that time.  There were a lot of deaths during this time, of both men and women, due to the war and illness, resulting in quite a few children being raised by relatives and oftentimes assuming surnames of the people who raised them.

I keep trying to convince myself to just walk away from it for a while in hopes that distance and time will bring more clues.  But, I can’t.  Something keeps me thinking about it and wondering what I’m missing.

Research Journal April 19, 2013

I have information overload. With the various DNA results, I’ve managed to collect so much information on other people’s ancestors. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to trash any of it because how will I know if I’m throwing away a clue to my unknown ancestors?

For example, today I counted fifteen different gedcoms for people I don’t even know. I’m constantly switching back and forth looking for someone I recognize from my own lines. Not easy when I’ve accounted for around seven thousand known ancestors.

I’ve downloaded the trial versions of RootsMagic Essentials 6 and GenSmart both from You know the problem with trial versions? The features I need are only available on the purchased versions. I’ve played with both of them enough tonight to know I’m going to be buying them tomorrow. Then all those gedcoms are getting combined into one!

Okay, I have to admit I also bought a laptop to be used only for genealogy. I know it’s not necessary, but I’m rewarding myself for all the work I’ve done.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike Windows 8? Oh! I guess I just did.