Friday, August 1, 2008

The Four John Tiptons

As any professional or amateur genealogist has discovered, family members with the same names are perhaps the greatest challenge in researching their family history. In the Tipton family, next to Jonathan Tipton, perhaps the most common name is John Tipton. In my immediate family there are four John Tiptons.

John Lee Tipton, Sr. (10 Jun 1944 - ) – my brother
John Lee Tipton, Jr. (22 Feb 1973 – 22 Feb 1973) - my nephew
John Hannum Tipton (29 Aug 1922 – 14 Sep 1961) – my uncle
John Michael Tipton (21 May 1947) – my first cousin

One would ask how this came about. Here is the explanation. My uncle John Hannum Tipton was missing in action during World War II. When my brother John Lee Tipton was born June 10th, 1944, he was named after his Uncle John Tipton, who was presumed dead, another casualty of World War II. After World War II ended, it was discovered that my Uncle John was a prisoner of war in Germany. He was liberated from the prisoner of war camp and returned home and married his longtime sweetheart, Margaret Frances Meehan (13 Jul 1928). Their first child was a son, John Michael Tipton (21 May 1947.) Thus, in the span of three years, my immediate family had three John Tiptons. How did we keep them straight? Uncle John was always referred to as ‘Uncle John.” My brother John has always been referred to as “John.” Not “Jack”, “J L”, or “Jay”, but “John.” Cousin John has always been referred to as “Johnny”, possibly because he was the youngest John. Some years later my brother had a son and he named him John Lee Tipton, Sr. (22 Feb 1973 – 22 Feb 1973). Unfortunately, his son died shortly after birth. This is how my family came to have four John Tiptons, thus providing fodder for confusion for future genealogists of my Tipton line. In my next blog installment, I’ll tell the story about the Three Isaac Tiptons – my Father, brother and nephew and how I avoided being named Isaac, which would have been logical since I am the oldest son of Isaac Walter Tipton. Then there is the story behind "Walter", which is the middle name of myself, my brother, my Uncle Edward Tipton and his son Edward, Jr. Sometimes it seems that we Tiptons seem determined to make life difficult for future Tipton family genealogists.

Note: The photo in this blog is of my brother John Lee Tipton and three other John Tiptons (grandfather, father and son) who we met at a Tipton Family Association of America reunion at the 1994 Tipton-Haynes Historic site in Johnson City, Tennessee.) Yet another example of Tipton family members contributing to confusion for future Tipton family genealogists. I don't have any pictures of my cousin John Michael Tipton. The picture below is of his Father and my Uncle John Tipton in his Army uniform.


Bunny said...

Interesting to know.

Ron said...

Thank you. I have to update my postings on the Tiptons. Right now I've been so busy searching cemeteries. There are a lot of Tipton stories. The story of Billy Tipton is especially interesting. I hope to have a blog posting soon about her.