A Legend in Wathen Genealogy

A Legend in Wathen Genealogy

Last week I had the great joy of traveling to South Bend, Indiana to meet the highly respected Wathen genealogist, Carolyn Huebner Collins. Above is a picture of Carol and me, taken by my 16-year-old son, Jonathan, who traveled with me.

Carol researched the Wathen family for decades, publishing the core of her research in the late nineties in a spiral-bound book called The Wathen Anthology. Well before the era of the internet, she travelled around the United States and to England to find valuable records relating to the Wathen family. Carol Collins has rightfully been regarded as the premiere genealogist of the Wathen family for many years, and my own research would not have been possible without her pioneering work.

Carolyn is linked to the Wathen family by her maternal grandmother, Anna Elizabeth Wathen Dooley. Carol was fascinated with the “fantastic Wathen family” – those are her words – and became obsessed with studying their genealogy and history. Anna Elizabeth Wathen was one of the daughters of Raphael Wathen (Nicholas2, Barton1) and Mary Ann Cavanaugh. Raphael was born in Washington County, Kentucky, but his family moved to Daviess County, Indiana when he was just six years old. Carol has meticulously studied not only her branch of the Wathen family, but branches around the country. At the risk of repeating myself, my own research relies very heavily on her decades of study.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Carol just celebrated her 95th birthday and has unofficially retired from genealogy. She still enjoys doing online research in her free time, but she is no longer traveling or doing much writing. For some time, Carol has been looking for someone to carry on her Wathen research, and I was deeply honored when she called me last month to ask me to do so. She invited me to visit her and pick up some of the files of research that she has compiled over the years.

My son Jonathan and I thoroughly enjoyed having lunch with Carol and visiting her home. It was a pleasure to hear stories about her family and about her past genealogy research trips. We knew that we were in the presence of a legend!

As previously mentioned, I’ve begun working on a new volume of Wathen genealogy and history called Wathen’s Adventure: The Genealogy and History of John Wathen of Southern Maryland. While my previous book focused on Southern Maryland Wathens, Wathen’s Adventure will more fully outline the first five generations of our Wathen family, including dozens of Wathens who were born in Kentucky. Carol’s branch of the Wathen family did not receive much attention in my previous book but will be more fully investigated in Wathen’s Adventure.

As always, thank you for your interest and support!


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